Day 1: Bonaire to Curaçao
After all the thinking about getting our luggage onto the Divi Divi flight, there was nothing to it. (We found their baggage information was confusing.) We checked in our larger duffel bag and both carry-ons and it was all waiting for us when we got through immigration. It was raining hard when we arrived in Curacao so we waited before crossing the parking lot to pick up our rental car shuttle. The shuttle dropped us at the rental car place where the driver transferred our bags directly to our waiting car. We went inside briefly to pay for the car and get directions and download the helpful Maps.me app they recommended which offers offline directions. It worked great; I wish we’d known about it for Aruba and Bonaire.
Then off to the Centrum supermarket — also as recommended — to stock up before heading north to Sabana Westpunt. Our apartment was ready so we got a brief tour and dropped off our stuff before heading to Jaanchie’s for dinner.
The photo on the left below is of Lac Bay on Bonaire. The other is inside our plane.
Jaanchie’s wasn’t the best meal ever but they were super friendly and it was fun watching the birds at the feeders. The owner gave me a little coin purse that will make a nice Christmas ornament souvenir. Back at our apartment, we walked across the street to Playa Kalki, which our host says is supposed to be one of the better snorkeling beaches in the Caribbean. He might be biased but it did look pretty nice.
Day 2: Scouting Beaches
We were kind of in limbo because we lost power this morning for a while and because my tummy was upset with me again. But about noon we got it together and drove down the coast to check out some of the beaches.
We stopped at Playa Grandi first where they feed turtles and you can see them without even having to get in the water. Then we drove on to Playa Forti where we stopped for a bit before heading on to Kleine Knip and Grote Knip. They both look nice; we didn’t really do much other than check them out. Then we drove back to the restaurant at Playa Forti to eat before sitting by the pool for a bit.
Day 3: Snorkeling at Kleine Knip
Today we went snorkeling for the first time, at Kleine Knip beach. Then we stocked up at the grocery store. There aren’t any stores of any side near us so we drove back to Centrum.
There were lots of police around. They had a detour set up at one intersection and further north a car was waving us off to the side of the road. A few minutes later a cavalcade of tour buses and other official and unofficial vehicles went by.
Day 4: Relaxing
We talked to our host this morning and found out the excitement yesterday was because the king, queen, and princess of the Netherlands were visiting the island. We had light rain off and on today so we didn’t venture far. We walked down to the beach and scouted for snorkeling. In the afternoon we walked down to Sol Food for pizza and saw a goat herd on the way. That’s why our place has giant gates that need to kept closed, so the goats don’t get in and eat all the plants. It started raining while we were waiting for our food so we switched tables.
Day 5: More Relaxing
We scouted for snorkeling again today and I got sunburned in the process. It’s easier walking into the water with water shoes on. We went back to Sol Food for dinner, this time fish. They were out of snapper so we had tuna, with mango salsa plus rice or Caesar salad.
The bird on the left below is a tufted sparrow. The one on the hammock outside our window wants to be inside.
Day 6: Snorkeling at Playa Kalki
We finally braved snorkeling at Playa Kalki and saw a fair number and variety of fish. Have I mentioned we’re finicky snorkelers? Other than that we sat by the pool and had snacky food for dinner. Sol Food is only open Friday-Saturday-Sunday and we didn’t feel like venturing further out.
Below are some of the things we saw from our patio.
Day 7: Willemstad
We drove to Willemstad today and walked around Punda. We saw the colorful Dutch style buildings and street art it’s famous for and a good sized pedestrian area, very pleasant. We bought a flamingo ornament.
Willemstad is also famous for this floating, swinging bridge. We walked most of the way across. We heard you can get stuck on the opposite side for hours if they need to open it.
We had a burger and schnitzel for lunch at Pleine Cafe Wilhelmina, plus an excellent local IPA. Then we stocked up on groceries for the rest of our stay here, including Crystal Light of all things! We needed more mixer and were surprised they had it.
Day 8: Snorkeling at Playa Kalki
We went snorkeling again today, this time a little earlier since they cleaned our room. (They do that weekly here.) We saw some different fish today. I saw a yellow trumpet fish, a butterfly fish, and a puffer fish. There are little reef hills where they hang out. We went back to Playa Forti to eat.
The photos below are of the restaurant, which is perched on a cliff that people jump off. Our entertainment today was watching schools of fish get herded by larger fish.
Day 9: Christoffel National Park
We snorkeled later today but still saw plenty of fish. Then we drove around the national park, and got more beer while we were out. We finished up our snacky food for dinner.
I almost stepped on one of these iguanas walking down the road. I couldn’t see it tucked in the grass.
Day 10: Aborted Snorkeling Attempt
We tried snorkeling today but it was too rough to be enjoyable. I got sucked out into the water then spewed up on the beach trying to get my fins on. We went to Sol Food for pizza again and shared a delicious brownie dessert with caramel sauce.
The photos below are of our neighborhood here in Sabana Westput.
Day 11: Snorkeling at Playa Kalki
We tried snorkeling one last time today. It wasn’t as rough as yesterday but visibility wasn’t good for us so we didn’t stay out long. Sol Food for pizza one last time.
Below is a photo of one of the small Divi Divi places we flew on, and scenes from our trip back to Aruba. We found the airports on all three islands modern, air conditioned, and efficient, if small. Island hopping was pretty painless.
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Our one-bedroom apartment at Nos Krusero was spacious and clean and had a full kitchen and a nice patio. It’s right across the street from a beach with decent snorkeling and swimming. That was an unexpected delight. The atmosphere was calm, relaxing, and friendly. Our neighbors were staying for 49 days. I could see doing that! Abraham, Tarik, and Jose were wonderful hosts.
There weren’t a lot of dining options within easy reach. But they were good options. We loved the pizza at Sol Food. Service was a little confused at times but everything worked out. Jaanchie’s is a local institution. We both had fish with beans and rice, fries, salad, and over cooked vegetables. And free dessert. Great atmosphere. At Playa Forti we tried catch of the day, seafood pasta, and chicken satay, with rice and beans and tutu, a mix of cornmeal and beans, similar to refried beans, with cheese. We ate at Pleine Cafe Wilhelmina while in Willemstad for the day. There are many more options there.
It looked like Curaçao had decent bus connections, even way up where we were. We rented a car for ease and flexibility.