Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Curacao and Bonaire ~ August 2021

In August, we ventured to the Dutch Caribbean again where we visited Curacao and Bonaire – two new islands for us! Our intention was to attend our friend’s wedding in Curacao for a few days before hopping over to Bonaire for the week. Unfortunately, one of the bride’s-to-be tested positive for COVID only a few days prior the wedding and the festivities were called off! We were all so disappointed, but look forward to celebrating with them sometime soon. 

Despite the wedding cancellation, we continued with our plans and spent our first three nights in Curacao.

We stayed at the BijBlauw boutique hotel in the heart of the trendy Pietermaai area. We also rented a car to navigate the island. I highly recommend renting a car in Curacao!

We enjoyed dinner at Kome every night in Curacao. It was a few steps from our hotel and the food and drinks were excellent and reasonably priced. The green beans were out of this world!

On our last day, we stopped at the Scuba Lodge next door and had an awesome beachfront breakfast!

We visited the Queen Emma Floating Bridge and stopped at a few other places for a drink in between snorkeling and eating. Dutch cheeses continue to be our favorite cheese and there was no shortage in Curacao. 

What we love most about this part of the world is the snorkeling and during my planning, I was sure to find the best spots. Klein Knip had the best beach, Playa Lagun had the best overall snorkeling and while the beach at Playa Piscado was busy, it had a ton of sea turtles. We also snorkeled at Kokomo beach and saw wild flamingos during the drive!

Lunch at De Visserij was another highlight of our visit to Curacao. The line was already 20+ deep by the time arrived – 20 minutes before they opened. Very similar to Zeerovers on Aruba, the fresh fish and shrimp were outstanding. 

Following our three days in Curacao, we hopped on a Divi Divi flight over to Bonaire, which is only 50 miles away.

We visited Aruba on two occasions over the past year and thoroughly enjoyed the Dutch Caribbean. Why not hit up all three ABC islands in 2021?!? Aruba – Check! Curacao – Check! Bonaire…oh, Bonaire – Check! 

We absolutely LOVED Bonaire and this post cannot capture the overall mood of the island. This hidden gem is not so hidden to the divers of the world. Considered “A Diver’s Paradise” the underwater world of Bonaire is magical. 

We stayed at the only chain hotel on the entire island. Thank you Marriott points! The relatively new Courtyard Marriott was very comfortable and cute. There was a nice pool overlooking the waterway and we really had no complaints.

While Bonaire is a Diver’s Paradise, we spent most of our time snorkeling. We snorkeled at least 3 sites every day. It’s quite possibly one of my favorite things to do and Bonaire surpassed any previous snorkeling we had done. The diversity of the sites, the depth and the beauty of the fish was simply fascinating. 

The underwater camera just didn’t do it any justice, so I left it behind and just enjoyed the scenery. Trust me!

There are 63 official dive sites off the coast of Bonaire and another 26 on Klein Bonaire. Each is identified by a yellow rock. Some are strictly for divers, but we tried as many as we could and at the end of the trip, we had snorkeled 17 different sites (a few 2-3 times)! Our favorites were Aquarius, Tori's Reef and Andrea #1.

During our golf cart adventures, we also saw several donkeys, the old slave huts, Cargill salt works, flamingo sanctuary, Willemstoren lighthouse and Sorobon beach.

We rented a small SUV and a golf cart for our entire stay. While we didn’t really need a car, the golf cart was a MUST HAVE. It was so much fun and we were the envy of many. Divers typically rent a truck so they can keep all of their tanks and gear in the bed of the truck, but for someone who is only snorkeling, a golf cart is the way to go. 

During our our island adventures we also visited the capital city of Rincon where we visited the Cadushy distillery and Seru Largu, the highest point on the entire island...all in a golf cart :)

While the snorkeling was the highlight of Bonaire, the food and restaurants were another favorite. I had done my research and we were not disappointed. Coursed meals with wine pairings are our favorite way to enjoy food and Bonaire had no shortage of these. After a day of snorkeling, we would watch the sunset and enjoy a special meal to finish our day. 

Our favorite places to eat were CHEFS Bonaire, Brass Boer, At Sea and It Rains Fishes.

CHEFS Bonaire was an incredible experience from beginning to end. They require reservations nearly 6 months in advance and there is one seating of 12 patrons per night. It's well worth the wait and I look forward to going once (or twice!) during our next visit. 

I reserved the sunset lounge at Brass Boer, followed by dinner. Wow! The sunset was spectacular and we enjoyed every single snack they served, including yummy oysters. Dinner was something we'll never forget.

At Sea gave us the option of a 3, 4, 5 or 6 coursed dinner. We chose 5 courses with oysters. The veal loin was my best bite of food of the entire vacation!

It Rain’s Fishes was another coursed menu. It makes the list for dessert alone. Pistachio crème brulee is not an easy find and they served it to perfection. I just hope they have it again during our next visit :)

We enjoyed Sebastian’s for the view. We ordered their special 4-course dinner and it was sub-par (also very inexpensive!) Next time, we’d order off the regular menu. The sunset views are worth it.

We loved stopping for breakfast at Between 2 Buns before driving on the north end of the island. Not only do we love lunch for breakfast, but we also love dessert to-go!

We also enjoyed a few meals at La Cantina Cerveceria and Joe's. Both had nice patios.

Food trucks are another staple on Bonaire. Divers migrate to the trucks after their underwater adventures and indulge in one of many options, including tuna burgers, beef burgers, and hot dogs.

Stoked Food Truck was in a bad-ass location on Te Amo Beach. Their burger and potato wedges were awesome. 

Also on Te Amo beach, we visited the Kite City Truck on two occasions. The tuna and beef burgers were both great!

The King Kong Truck could be found on Bachelor’s Beach and had great burgers, hot dogs and garlic fries!

Bonaire is very laid back with flip flops, pony tails, food trucks and golf carts. Truly our paradise. 

The three ABC islands are very different in their ambiance and beach terrain. When ranking them, we choose Bonaire then Aruba and then Curacao. Aruba’s beaches are phenomenal, but it’s very Americanized and touristy. Curacao wasn’t as easy to navigate and a car was a must. Aruba and Bonaire both offer considerably more. 

Bonaire is like no other place we’ve ever been. We loved Bonaire so much, we are scheduled to visit again in July 2022 and I have no doubt it’ll exceed our expectations again.