Destination Curaçao - The Family Trip Your Kids Wants You To Book Part 2 - Banda Abou Side
You wouldn’t expect a small tropical island located in the Dutch Caribbean to have so many different things to offer for both young and old. While Curaçao doesn’t offer a Disney-like theme park, it definitely offers plenty of family friendly restaurants and activities for all ages. In my previous blog post I wrote about the best things the Banda Ariba side has to offer. In this part I will take things across the bridge (and even off island) towards the lush and green side where there are stunning bounty beaches and hidden caves, mountains and natural wonders to explore. May we soon greet you with Bon Bini na Korsou (Welcome to Curaçao).
Fun fact and speaking about a bridge, did you know that the downtown city areas of Punda and Otrobanda are on the UNESCO World Heritage list? That these two are connected by the 500+ meter long Queen Juliana bridge which is accessible by car? Want to go on a walkabout? No problem. The other way the two city areas are connected and accessible by foot is via the renewed 170 meter long Queen Emma floating (pontoon) bridge or by ferry. Plenty of shops, museums, galleries, street art restaurants, cafe’s and movie theaters to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
Excited much? The only thing left is to pick your faves, plan your itinerary, and get the computer going to book your best next vacation towards the Dutch Caribbean. Below you’ll find a selection of the best restaurants, beaches and adventurous outdoor as well as indoor activities located in the Banda Abou side that will surely appease the whole family.
Restaurants (And More)
The island is filled with places to buy your fresh Coco Friú (cold coconut) and drink your Awa di Coco (coconut water). Done drinking? Have them cut it in half to scoop out the remaining coconut meat. Prices vary and mostly cash.
Get your tasty and decadent cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon and more at Hato International Airport. Perfect for after your Hato Cave tour.
De Visserij Curacao is a casual open kitchen concept and self order seafood restaurant near a beach that is fully open air ventilated. They don’t take reservations, only walk-ins. Piscadera z/n. Waiting lines can get really long, so you better get there on time.
Komedor Krioyo at Landhuis Dokterstuin is one of the oldest and best known Creole restaurants at the West side of the island located in a beautiful plantation house offering a wide variety of delicious seafood, meat and side dishes. Tip: In the weekend its best to arrive early. Weg naar Westpunt, nearby Barber. (+5999) 864-2701.
Head over to Westpunt for the best pizza and brownies at Sol Food. Open in the weekend. Reservations are highly recommended as they are a small restaurant. (+5999) 864-0005. Curacao Sunshine. Playa Kalki G1A.
For all your Frappuccino’s, iced lattes and more, check out Starbucks Curacao located at the Renaissance Mall and conveniently next to the movie theatre with ample air-conditioned seating inside as well as shaded seating outside and free wifi.
Most of the below mentioned beaches are paid beaches and offer a wide range of amenities. From an onsite dive shop, bikini shops, restaurants and beach bars, sun beds, cabanas, showers, restrooms, ample parking and easy access to the water as well as beautiful snorkeling and diving experiences.
Located at the West coast of the island and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Willemstad, Groot Knip (Kenepa Grandi) is one of the largest public (free) beaches and also the most popular one on the island. Often you’ll be able to buy local sweets (kos dushi) and savory snacks (kala), bring cash. If you don’t want to be out in the sun all day I suggest you get there early and/or avoid the weekends.
Kokomo Beach is a beautiful natural bay on the road to Bullenbaai, located at Vaersenbaai. They have a large covered onsite restaurant with plenty of healthy options. The entrance to the beach is free.
With its turquoise water, waving palm trees and bright white sand, Cas Abou Beach is a true gem on the Southwest coast of Curaçao. The beach is ideal for swimmers of all ages and a true paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers. https://casabaobeach.com
Playa Porto Mari is a popular white sandy beach at the West coast of Curaçao, located near the village of Sint Willibrordus. The clear blue water is offering an excellent scuba diving and snorkeling experience on the double reef. If you’re lucky the resident pigs pay you a visit. Just make sure they don’t steal your food! www.playaportomari.com
At various saliñas (salt pans) on the island you are able to spot flamingos in their natural habitat (keep enough distance). A large and popular one is Jan Kok, located on the West side of the island on the road to Willibrordus. There is also an observatory tower where you have a better view of the flamingoes. Next to it is the photogenic sign of Willywood.
For a while now street art has been popping up all over the island, both as artist expressions and to liven up the neighborhoods. The latest community projects were done at the UNESCO World Heritage Ser’i Otrobanda District. You can explore the area all by yourself, starting at Bario Urban Street Food and have a bite and drink afterwards at Maira’s Kitchen or Grand Cafe De Gouverneur, or opt for a paid “Tur ku Kurt”. Once a week Kurt Scoop, co-owner of Bario Hotel and Bario Urban Street Food takes people on a guided tour through the Ser’i Otrobanda neighborhood and talks about the historical facts of how Punda, Otrobanda and its community came to be. The tour costs $10 pp. Meeting point is at Bario Urban Street Food at Bario Hotel
Another alternative is to join a free guided walking tour with Free Walking Tours Curacao throughout Otrobanda.
As you pass through the coral and canon adorned entrance arches from either the movie theatre or city side the shaded courtyard of Rif Fort Village opens before you with many restaurants, bars, stores, shaded benches and tables. There are four levels to explore and accessible via stairs or elevator. There is a lot of history here. In 1829 the Rif Fort was completed and armed with 56 cannons protecting the entrance to St. Anna Bay and Willemstad against pirates and enemies. Head towards the top level to take pictures of the St. Anna Bay, historic Fort Amsterdam and Willemstad waterfront.
Just off the coast of Curaçao is the small bounty island Klein Curaçao where a few resident fishermen still live. Walk around (with your flip flops on), bring your reef guard shirt, hat and lots of sun screen. Check out the light house, the ship wrecks or go snorkeling. Maybe you’ll spot some turtles or even a manta ray. Klein Curaçao boat trip companies Blue Finn Charters, Irie Tours Curacao, Bounty Adventures, Mermaid Boat Trips and Breeze Boat Trips all offer day trips to Klein Curaçao.
Rent a boat or book a guided boat trip with Nemo Boat Trips Curacao and discover the wonderful side of the west part of the island. Book via WhatsApp (+5999) 523-1316 or email@example.com Facebook Nemo boat trip curaçao
Zapata Flyboard Caribbean lets you fly like a dolphin. For ages 10+ years old. Call (+5999) 512-3359 to book your experience.
Myronchi Trip offers private and tailored tours of which the “Blue Room” Cave is definitely an island favorite. At the Blue Room Cave something magical happens between the sun and the water, transforming the underwater cave into a blue room. Along a coastal trail starting at Playa Santa Cruz you will be guided by Myrond towards the cliffside where you climb down and get into the water. Myronchi Trip
Explore the island’s sea life in its own environment without using complex scuba gear
In Need Of A Beach Break
Besides a large food court, plenty of international renowned brands, products by a well known local herbalist, a zero waste shop for all your beauty needs and the large supermarket Carrefour, the Sambil Curacao mall offers plenty of indoor and outdoor activities as well to please every age group. Below I’ve listed my faves. Veeris 27.
Book your bowling session online at Facebook Dushi Bowling or call (+5999) 679-2131
Xtreme Zone Curacao (indoor trampoline park): More info on Facebook Xtreme Zone Curacao. Book online here
Tropical Paint Ball (paintball, archery and more): Book your experience here
Bam Bam Tech Sport Zone (sports performance and entertainment facility): WhatsApp (+5999) 563-3131.
Kidi’s Park Curacao (indoor play ground): More info on Facebook Kidi’s Park Curacao
Movie theatre Cinemark: Check their movie schedule here
As part of the Renaissance Mall you’ll find the second movie theatre by The Movies Curacao, which is conveniently located next to Starbucks. Besides the standard, they also have two VIP auditoriums sporting recliner seats and a food and beverage service. Baden Powellweg 1, Otrobanda.
The 300.000 year old Curacao Hato Cave is located on the North side of the island and the biggest and most prominent cave on the island. Since 1991 the Hato Cave was officially open to the public and made accessible by foot with help from the Government of Curacao. After a visit to the Hato Caves you can enjoy the cactus garden or walk the Indian Trail. (+5999) 868-0379. F.D.Rooseveltweg z/n
Between Playa Jeremy and Lagun is a trailhead leading towards the “Tree of Life”. Some people think it’s dead, but it’s as strong as ever. It will take you about 1 to 2 hours to reach it from the start of the trailhead but goes all the way to the top of Seru Para Mira with stunning views of the Santa Martha Bay. These tour companies will take care of whatever fits in your budget and schedule: Irie Tours, Erik's ATV Adventures, Adrenaline tours, Curacao Activities
Going For A Drive
A trip towards Christoffel National Park and the climb of the largest mountain on the island with an elevation of 372 meters remains an absolute must when you visit our island. The park offers 8 hiking routes with different levels and chances to spot the local flora and fauna.The climb up as well as the view from the top is stunning. If you get the chance, get there early so you can see the sunrise and it’s also nice and cool as well as without the crowd. Try to avoid the weekends, as those are obvious the busiest. Bring snacks and enough water. Another options is to explore the park with one of their professional guides in a jeep safari. The park & museum are open every day from 6:00 am till 2:00 pm. Mountain climbing is only allowed until 10:00 am.
Plantation House Savonet, Weg Naar Westpunt, Curaçao
At Hofi Pastor the mighty kapok as well as the carefully maintained trails and fruit laden trees are protected by Amigu di Terra. The distinctive silk-cotton kapok tree is widely cultivated in tropical regions for its fiber and brought to Curaçao over 400 years ago by the Caiquetios, a tribe of peaceful Arawak Indians. (+5999) 662-2318. For guided hikes with groups in the park and long hikes to the rough northern seacoast, call (+5999) 737-3965. Monday to Sunday (except Thursday) from 9am till 4pm. Hofi Pastor
Barber, West Punt (next to the Big yellow Roman Catholic Church).
Shete Boka National Park is an area adjoining the Christoffel Park covering almost 10 kilometers of rocky north coast with impressive waves crashing on the limestone cliffs. The park has approximately 7 sea inlets and 10 pocket bays (boka’s) where 3 species of sea turtles are known to lay eggs. Wear sturdy shoes and start your exploration at Boka Tabla, where huge waves thunder into an underground caverning area. The park is open every day from 09:00 am till 4:30 pm (No admittance after 16:00. You are required to leave the park before 16:30). (+5999) 864-0444. Weg naar Westpunt z/n
I hope you enjoyed reading my post and may my recommendations inspire you to visit our Dushi Korsou and add that extra something to your stay. I invite you to reach out to the locals for more inside information, and who, besides the local language of Papiamentu, all largely speak English and Spanish.
For more inside information, as things keep on growing and developing, you can follow me on Instagram melsblisscuracao
#FeelItForYourSelf #Curacaotourismboard #Curacao
xoxo Melanie Muskus