Saturday, March 14, 2020

Curaçao Day 3: Blue Room Fail and a Second Stop at Grote Knip

Greetings! We'll still in Curaçao! It's still incredible and wonderful and very very strange to get US and other world news trickling in whenever we're back on WiFi. But I've covered that, so let's jump back to travel blogging and go back in time to Tuesday morning when we all slept in and woke up to the bright blue ocean behind our house.

We ate breakfast and packed a picnic lunch with mysterious Dutch deli meats (I know we could google translate the names, but that would take away some of the fun; mostly we think it's been varieties of ham), delicious cheeses, and the best whole wheat bread rolls we've ever had and put it all in the little cooler with blue ice provided by the owner of the rental house. It was already nearly 10 a.m., so we decided to skip a stop at a popular beach we'd heard about and go straight to plan 2 of the day: a hike to The Blue Room!

The Blue Room, per google and other reviews, is a magical underwater cave that is full of blue light reflected off the ocean floor. It’s a "long hot hike" to get there and “not for children,” but we felt confident this was our kind of adventure so we drove to Playa Santa Cruz to park and begin our journey.

We were the only car at the beach, which I suppose should have been a sign, but off we set, following walking directions I'd screen shot on my phone and carrying everything we thought we’d need. I'd been warned by many reviews that thieves are notorious at The Blue Room because you have to leave your things on rocks near the water before diving in and swimming in to the caves. So we only carried what we'd need to snorkel, the kids wearing their snorkel vests, and everyone in their suits and water shoes, along with two water bottles and the waterproof pouch we'd bought to hold our keys and phones while we swam.

As promised, after 10 minutes of walking through the prickly path, we arrived at the beautiful black sand beach of Playa Santa Pretu. It was like a secret- completely empty, no access except through the 10 minute walking path from Playa Santa Cruz.

We enjoyed our private beach for a bit and then pressed on.

And then the real hike began. Turns out, there’s a shorter, easier, wide open dirt path that takes 20 minutes and a narrow, longer "scenic" path along the cliffs through cacti and thorny bushes that takes 40 minutes and half a pint of your blood. Guess which one we unknowingly took?!

As James noted, rather than the lush tropics of Costa Rica, all the plants here want to bite your face and/or kill you. We were all cut and bloody after a while but we were SO proud of our troopers who soldiered on, including Cora in flip flops (!) because she forgot her water shoes despite being reminded by me 3 different times to bring them.

every single plant, branch, and vine is COVERED in long thorns

wants to bite your face

Finally, FINALLY, sweat pouring through our suits, we made it to the place where you swim to The Blue Room! Only to find a local there who remarked it was much to rough to safely enter that day. It was beautiful, and James jumped in the water, just to get a look at the entrance, but with the crashing waves (and what turned out to be an incoming storm) we definitely couldn’t swim in.

(We were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow for that sound, if painful, decision.)

And so, still in our suits, still sweaty, and still carrying our snorkel masks and life jackets, we turned around and walked back in the now steady rain.

The kids took it well- as we told them later, their good spirits are why we can have (or attempt!) these adventures, and at least now we were on the wide open easy path! We stopped back at our private black sand beach and I tried to air out my sweaty swim suit.

And then continued on the final leg to play a bit at the (still entirely empty!) beach where we started.

Cora's poor feet were pretty abused, so Claire carried her to the water.

But when it began to rain again, we decided to head back to the house and eat our picnic lunch in our cave.

And so we did.

The water was super rough and splashy, which is precisely why we couldn't be in an underwater cave. But the kids climbed the grotto walls and established a new club house and I thought about how much I would have adored that when I was little.

Like a Anne of Green Gables-on-the-sea up there.

Once everyone had rested a bit and recovered, we decided to head back to our beloved Grote Knip, where we had been just the previous day because it was beautiful and easy and involved almost no walking.

It was late in the day, so the sun was mild, the crowds light, and the views spectacular. James got in a swim, I lifeguarded, and the kids splashed and played and jumped off the cliffs.

Blue Room Fail not withstanding, it was another beautiful day in Curaçao, and don't worry- we'll make it to the Blue Room in a later post.

(All Curaçao posts tagged here.)


  1. Tried to click on the other post that came up in my reader but it's gone now! Anyway, the email you got from HR made me seethe with rage. If you want to send them an example of a good one - here's what all University of Minnesota employees got from our president (the first woman President of the U of MN, NOT a coincidence that she's been amazing):
    " If you have young children at home, now that the state’s public and charter K-12 schools are closed, we know you may be unable to commit to a full day of work. We understand that and thank you for your best efforts. You do not need to take vacation or sick time to make up any perceived difference. Do what you can, take care of your family, and we will all emerge stronger." I cried and cried when I read that.

    Also I had a full-on meltdown yesterday that led to me sobbing about how I feel guilty (regularly) about bringing our 3 children into this hellscape of a world. I'm over that today (for now) and glad of our collective existence but - it happens.

    1. Thank you so much. I pulled it because it needed editing and I was too tired to do it. And I wanted to sleep on sharing the HR quotes, but ultimately I decided if you're going to send that out to thousands of professional employees then I'm going to talk about it. Lightly. And without 99.5% of the rage I felt upon reading it. I remain so angry and insulted by it; I expected better.