Travel Diary: Curaçao
by #EidonAdventurer, Chrissana Wilmot - Follow her adventures here
Twenty-four hours was all I had on this Dutch Caribbean island but I was determined to make it count. Accompanied by my insta-friend turned local guide, Kimberley, I'd set out to explore the Western end of her home island with the few precious hours I had. Cruising on this perfect Sunday we journeyed off the beaten path. Through bumpy dirt roads, fields of dried shrubs and prickly cacti we finally arrived at the Padiki Blowhole at Boka Patrick. With a rugged, undulating shoreline in front of us, we stared ahead at the powerful Caribbean Sea as it violently crashed against the coastline, sending towering bursts of water into the air. This rhythmic eviction of water was so thrilling to watch particularly when it happened almost simultaneously from the shore and the renowned blowhole.
We worked up an appetite trying to dodge salty sprinkles and laughing at our failed attempts of doing so, so we headed to Jaanchie’s, the premiere restaurant for local cuisine in Westpunt. This place was quirky yet quaint with its decor and layout exuding hints of European and Latin roots. However, the real charm in this place came from the walking talking menu, Mr. Jaanchie himself who sits at every table and recites the menu to hungry patrons (a routine I found to be so unorthodox yet refreshing at the same time). We enjoyed our meals consisting of local dishes made with cornmeal and seafood all while being serenaded by the choir of sugar fed birds affectionately called Suikerdiefje (little sugar thieves).!
No visit to any island would be complete without a trip to the beach so we headed to nearby Playa Piskadó. An obvious fishing hub, it also operates as a turtle conservation site. To the delight of the public it offers the opportunity to watch and even interact with rehabilitated creatures. I was only able to see one from the little pier that serviced the fisherfolk, swimming carefree through the warm water, but that site warmed my heart nonetheless. A quick drive around the bend and we were greeted with a spectacular view of Playa Kenepa. Everything about this little bay seemed so serene; from the gentle ripple of the turquoise water to the sparkle emanating from the grains of white sand. Views like this never get old.
With time quickly passing by, we raced against the sun to catch the last rays of light at the Saliña di Jan Kok. With an elevated deck to enhance the view, these salt flats are a favourite feeding ground for wild flamingos. Sadly, time worked against us as the flamingoes had already left for the evening. Oh well, I didn’t mind giving my undivided attention to my first Curaçaoan sunset which did not dissapoint.
Last but not least was Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. It was such a pleasure to wander these streets at night that I was left longing for the chance to do so in daylight. This little city was an explosion of colour that even the shadow of night could not conceal! From vibrantly painted structures to artwork splashed across the walls, the energy radiating from the tropical hues was enough to awaken the sleeping artist in all of us! Even the Queen Emma Bridge continued the theme with its multicoloured lights that shone overhead. I can only imagine what this place looked like during Christmas! What further added to the intrigue was listening to the locals deep in conversation as they enjoyed their relaxing Sunday strolls
And just like that, my day trip to Curaçao was over. As I bode farewell to Kimberly and retired to my Airbnb for the night, I reflected on three valuable lessons:
1) Overnight layovers can be a perk and not a burden if you do it correctly;
2) Never underestimate how much can be done in a day, let alone, a few hours and;
3) Instagram is truly a blessing when it comes to connecting people.
With newfound friends who feel like family, and so much still left to see and do, it is only a matter of time before I return to my sweetheart of an island...my dushi, Curaçao