My husband is a beach person. He can spend hours watching the water or hours in the water watching the fish. Me? Not so much. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but I am more of a go-er and do-er. One or two days on the beach is usually more than enough for me. But, it was a milestone birthday for him, and I wanted to treat him, which is how we ended up in the land of ‘dushi’.
Dushi (rhymes with sushi) is a native Papiamentu term that can take on multiple meanings: ‘darling’, ‘tasty’, ‘wonderful’. Mostly, though, dushi is a feeling — perfect peace and happiness in the soul — that we were so fortunate to find on this amazing Dutch island 30 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Dushi began the instant we stepped off the plane into the bright warm sunshine and was so intense that I actually cried at hotel check out. First time that ever happened — except every time I leave Finland!
The Beach House
We taxied to our apart-hotel, passing colorful buildings and colorful birds, houses with cacti fences and snoozing dogs. The Beach House is just steps from Mambo Beach with a balcony to enjoy the cool ocean breezes and look over the Caribbean Sea. Our unit was sparkling clean, and the welcome package with staples, snacks, and cold beer was indeed so very welcome after a long travel day. The Beach House team is friendly and accommodating, taking the time to make us feel most welcome and comfortable. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this hotel and its family were!
This man-made strip offers oceanfront food, beverages and shopping. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a bit of a micromanager when it comes to travel. A bit. 😊. Most especially with food, because I don’t want to be hangry and wander in just anywhere and pay for a bad meal. Mambo didn’t disappoint; there are plenty of beach clubs where you can grab a chair, some noshes, and cold adult beverages to watch the turquoise waters and the golden sunsets. Chill Bar and Grill and Hemingway were two of our favorites – try the shrimp skewers, cheese balls, and a Blue Chill made with genuine Curaçao liqueur. I must also mention Bonita, which served up THE BEST ICED TEA I have ever had. No alcohol, just good old-fashioned iced tea in a mason jar garnished with oranges, ginger, and mint. It was so good, I had to have two.
The Natural Beaches – Playa Piskadó, Playa Lagun, Knip, and Playa PortoMari
Curaçao is home to over 20 natural beaches, many of them public and government-run. The snorkeling and diving are A-FREAKING-MAZ-ING to put it mildly. Playa Piskadó –Fisherman’s Beach – is a great place to see the local catch. The sea turtles are always close by ready for the scraps, so this is a terrific opportunity to snorkel with them. Best experience is arriving early, before too many swimmers cloudy up the water.
Knip is one of the world’s 25 best beaches, and the water here is crystal clear, perfect for close encounters snorkeling or diving. Adventurous travelers can climb the cliffs for a jump, but wear water shoes to avoid cuts from the sharp coral. (If you haven’t already invested in a pair, try these affordable ones from Amazon – we found them quite serviceable for our needs).
Playa PortoMari is home to wild pigs, so do take care with your belongings! As with other beaches, there are plenty of snorkeling and diving opportunities, and you will find loungers and chairs for rent. PortoMari also boasts a nice bar serving Curaçao’s only craft brew and Williburgers (goat) cooked on Big Green Egg grills.
One of Curaçao’s national parks and a don’t-miss spot. The water is hypnotizingly beautiful crashing against the cliffs, but very rough – there is no swimming or snorkeling here! What you will find is a walk-down cave where you can view the water and waves framed by the rocks. Plan on a slippery set of stairs and plan to get wet when the bigger waves come to say hello.
Curaçao lies outside the hurricane belt, so no devastating winds and flooding. The temperature averages about 80 degrees F / 27 degrees C, warmer in the summer. Our trip was during ‘rainy season’, which means localized, brief downpours that last 3-5 minutes, after which the sun comes back out to dry everything off quickly. Being close to the equator means about the same amount of daylight each day with only slight variances. In other words, the weather is just about PERFECT 😊.
I saved the best for last! Curaçaoans are some of the warmest, most welcoming, friendliest people we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Adults and children alike would wave and shout when our tour bus drove by. Speaking of tours, we can personally (and very highly) recommend Samurai Curaçao. Nicole and her colleague took us on a private tour, and they really went above and beyond to make our time with them the highlight of our vacation. They also took the time to explain and share the rich history and culture of the island with us, making the experience even better for us.
We have already begun planning our next trip – two tickets to superdushi Paradise, please!