Let's Scoot Around Curacao

Trip Start Apr 08, 2011
Trip End Apr 23, 2011

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Flag of Netherlands Antilles  ,
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And I thought the water was clear in Aruba! Who could have guessed that it would be even more so in Curacao? I could probably have drop a quarter into the water and watch it sink all the way to the ocean floor! The view of the island of Curacao from the ship was phenomenal, and I couldn’t wait to see what the town of Willemstad had to offer.

Curacao is perhaps the most unique and diverse Caribbean community. The 38-mile-long volcanic isle is home to a living history of cultural birthrights found nowhere else in the region. Willemstad, capital of Curacao and the Netherlands Antilles, is one of the richest cities in the world in terms of culture. It has a population of approximately 135,000, which is composed of 55 nationalities, most of them the direct descendants of Spanish, Potuguese, French, English, and Dutch settlers, and several native tribes

Willemstad is divided into two sections -- Punda and Otrabanda -- connected by the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. Built around St. Anna’s Bay, the lovely pastel colors of the buildings are said to have originated because an early mayor of the city suffered from migraines due to the then prevalent glaring white of most buildings. Therefore, he ordered that all structures in Wllemstad be painted in pleasing pastels. Today, several colonial buildings are considered to be UNESCO World Heritage monuments and can be found in the historical center of Otrabana.

The Globetrotters wanted to get an up-close-and-personal view of Curacao, so we decided to rent a scooter ($50 for the day +$150 refundable deposit) and explore some seldom-visited areas of the island. Our ride around the island was captured much like that of our scooter junket in Bermuda a few years ago -- Michael at the handle bars and I riding shotgun with the video camera. 

Although surrounded by water (it IS an island, you know), Curacao’s landscape was quite arid. It reminded me of Arizona’s dry deserts with cacti and prickly palms dotting the rocky soil. In search of a beach to do some snorkeling, we had donned our swimwear beneath our clothes, but much to our surprise, the beaches were illusive. It seemed that all roads led to ... nowhere. Well, not exactly nowhere, but with every twist and turn of of the highway, we found yet another quaint neighborhood, shopping disctrict, or construction zone, but no beach. Hmmmmm, well, we would not be deterred. Beach or no beach, the Globetrotters were determined to explore. And explore we did. Up desolate highways into the dry mountains, then down busy streets onto the bustling city thoroughfares we drove. Then back to Otrabana and over Queen Jualiana bridge to Punda. As we crossed the busy bridge, cars and truck wizzed passed us, and I began to wonder if we were actually supposed to be riding our little scooter across that big old bridge. Thankfully, we made it to the other side. Watch the video and view the photos to see what we saw while there.

Four hours on a scooter and you better believe the Globetrotters had sore buns and sun-burned skin. It was definitely time to get off the scooter and return to the ship. Although we didn’t find a beach, we did enjoy touring the town of Willemstad and discovering some interesting sights. What a great day in Curacao.
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