Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Curaçao Days 1-2: Travel and the Perfect Shade of Blue

It's almost 9 a.m. Atlantic Time (or it was when I started this; it's 9 p.m. now that I'm publishing it, though I'm sitting in the same place) and I'm sitting one the deck at our rental house in Curaçao, looking out over the ocean, listening to the waves, and enjoying the breeze. I've got my tea, James is about to make breakfast, and the kids are still asleep. They swam and splashed and played for a solid 7 hours yesterday and while the lure of the "new house" and its private grotto and ocean caves is strong, it's probably not surprising they're still sleeping hard. We had simply the most incredible day.

But first, we had our travel day. I had everything packed the day before, so on Sunday morning James just ran Maggie to her doggie camp while I did all the last minute packing up and parceling of the packed lunches and snacks in each kids' bag. We left for the airport at 8 a.m. for our 10:30 a.m. flight and everything went super smoothly leaving DFW. We landed in Miami a few minutes early and had exactly 4 hours to kill before our flight to Curaçao. The kids were ordered not to touch anything while they rode escalators and roamed the Duty Free shop, and they mostly followed our instructions.

No Touchy.

We ate a late lunch/early dinner in a pretty good Cuban restaurant in Terminal D and boarded our second plane, now headed to Curaçao! Which then sat on the tarmac for nearly 2 hours for a mechanical issue (nose light). We got within minutes of the crew's duty day deadline which would have required deplaning and finding a new crew (it was now 8:15 p.m.), which sounded horrifying, but while I wanted to complain, James was asleep and the kids didn't seem realize we hadn't taken off yet, so I suppose it really didn't matter. We ended up making the deadline and took off at 8:30 p.m, landing just after 11 p.m. (original arrival time: 9:27 p.m.). We were the only plane in the airport, flew through customs and were picked up immediately by the small car rental company recommended by the home owner. They were so great- our car was ready to go, they made me pull up the map I'd downloaded on my phone to make sure it was giving me good offline directions, and, though we planned to drop off the car the night before our early Monday morning flight home, they checked their computer to see if anyone needed the car that day and then told us to keep it the extra night free and just leave it at the airport parking lot, making our lives a whole lot easier. It was nearly midnight when we headed out, offline map in hand, to our rental house 25 miles away in the pitch black of night with only a few sporadic street lights lighting the way. We nearly missed the house, circled back, and were greeted by warm and friendly but obviously tired house managers. They gave us the quick tour, handed over the keys, and said to call with any questions. We crashed immediately.

90 minutes into our "plane ride"
have no idea we're still on the ground

And on Monday morning, woke up to this.

We hadn't eaten since our airport linner in Miami the afternoon before, so we had plans to set out for the big grocery store outside Willemstad right away, but we took a few minutes to explore our new home and the private staircase to a big grotto and coral cave system behind it.

The kids were entranced.

We piled in the car with our reusable grocery bags from home and basically drove all the way back to the airport for groceries. While there were some American items thrown in, most of the products and all of the labels were Dutch, making grocery shopping an adventure for sure. I nearly mooed at the meat counter to ensure that "rundergehakt" was indeed ground beef (it was! James made spaghetti and meatballs with it that night), but the guessing is part of the fun. There was a fantastic bakery that provided our breakfast: pannenkoeken, saucijzenbroodje (sausage rolls), ham and cheese croissants, and more I can't remember. The perfect fuel to shop on. We got enough to cover breakfast each day, a few lunches, and three dinners and that filled 4 bags and cost $255, including a couple bottles of wine. Food is pretty pricey on the island, but groceries are certainly cheaper than eating out, especially with our hungry crew/James.

We bought many Dutch cheeses

We got back to the house, unloaded our food, and set forth for the beach! I picked the one that looked the prettiest on google, the one I didn't think could possibly be as stunningly blue as it showed in the pictures, Grote Knip.

And oh my Poseidon, it was even better.

These pictures are straight from my camera and they still just can't capture the almost *glowing* brilliant blue of this water.

that coral is 20 feet below me

When you park, you walk over to a cliff overlook to view the bay below and it simply takes your breath away.

We walked down, found a set of chairs under an umbrella ($15 USD, which seemed reasonable to my fair skin), and jumped in.

We swam, splashed, and snorkeled.

The kids were in heaven.

Then I happened to look up to see James jumping off a cliff into the water, followed by Landon and then Claire, because of course my family would be the only ones jumping off stuff. I'd told him on the drive over that I'd read you could cliff jump online, and we all know that everything on the internet is always true.

At least when it comes to Grote Knip it is.

I climbed up and jumped too, of course, and Cora is going to "tomorrow." We got lots of claps from onlookers, but no other takers.

We'd packed a little cooler at the house and I drank a beer (Amstel bright; quite refreshing and crisp!) under my umbrella.

We all should have applied more sunscreen, but what can you do? We were in new swimsuits and new sunglasses and this ridiculous impossibly beautiful beach was before us.

Eventually we decided to pack up and try the beach next door, Klein Knip, as you could show your receipt for the umbrella and chairs to use the same at that beach for free. It was a little smaller ("klein" means "small" and "grote" means "great" or "big" in Dutch so that all checks out).

It was also lovely and nearly empty. After about 30 minutes it was our private beach and I don't think I'll ever forget watching the kids splash and play in the surf there.

Around 5:00 we decided it was time to head home, which is about a 20 minute drive (less than 10 miles, but such are the roads). The kids went back to explore their cave and I poured a glass of wine and watched them from the top of the stairs.

Kids Club meeting commenced

James made dinner with our "probably ground beef" and we sat at the table overlooking the ocean, listening to the waves. The kids were in bed at 8:50 and unconscious by 9. James and I made it until maybe 10:30. It was a simply beautiful day.

(All Curaçao posts tagged here.)


  1. It looks so nice Rebecca! Have a great vacation. Blandine

  2. This is beautiful! I am so glad you are having this time. Makes me want to go back to Curaco.

  3. When you're back I think another book roundup is in order! I copied the last one into my notes and have been steadily working through it!