Furthermore, a description of our stay on Curaçao follows, but first a word of explanation about the flight and arrival at Hato. After a direct flight of about 10 hours from Schiphol, we arrived at Hato, the airport of Curaçao. On the plane, an hour or so before landing, you will be given a landing card, which you must complete. If you have already filled in the ED-Card online at home, you can skip this. The ED card is mandatory for every tourist who does not want to stay longer than 30 days on Curaçao and no more than 180 days per year. After waiting impatiently to get off the plane, we arrived at Customs. We thought this was going to be a piece of cake with our online declaration, but we were in the Caribbean ...
Long queue at Hato
The electronic gates or were it the scanners for people with an online declaration did not work "that day"! We all had to go through a customs officer through the same line. That took more than an hour, a bit like in Florida and completely different than in Belgium. I am always surprised how easily you pass Belgian control. They just look at the photo on the passport, compare your face and if you are not signaled, you can continue. In Florida and Canada they keep asking you questions, which means that sometimes it takes a long time. I do think they sometimes exaggerate a little there.
Once outside, we took a taxi and arrived after a drive of 20 minus on our stay in Curaçao for the coming 2 weeks.
Our stay on Curaçao
As usual, we rented an apartment. Here was the fun mini resort "Home Sweet HomeIn a residential area of Jan Thiel. The 4 apartments and the penthouse are quietly located, close to a nature reserve. An hour's walk from Home Sweet Home, you can already take a nice walk along the Jan Thiel Salt Pans. Sometimes you see flamingos. We had apartment 3 on the left corner of the annex.
We had some doubts about whether we could not take that more expensive penthouse, but with this apartment we made the right choice for our stay on Curacao.
Apartments Home Sweet Home
This ground floor apartment with a spacious wooden terrace borders directly on the Jan Thiel nature reserve. Every day, with a clear view of the beautiful nature, we could enjoy the peace and the many birds that live there. The large windows of the salon give access to the covered terrace and can open completely. That makes the apartment almost twice as large. Each apartment also has its own washing machine. Home Sweet Home is situated on a hill and has a fantastic view from the penthouse on the nature reserve, the Spanish Water and the Caracas Bay. One of my 7 best activities that you can do, is kayaking on the Spanish water.
Sunset from "our terrace"
By night, after we admired the sunset from the terrace, we turned the air conditioning on in the rooms. We kept the doors of our bedrooms closed against the mosquitoes during the day. We had almost no problems with mosquitoes during the Easter holidays when we were there.
The first 2 days I heard a rather strange noise from our terrace on our stay in the nature reserve. It was as if some fence was blowing open, but this turned out to be a typical pigeon from Curaçao. The 3de you almost did not hear it anymore and when I got back home, I missed it.
Get sugar water for the birds
There are also many iguanas and swarms of small parrots that come together every day, at the same time, on the same branch next to the enclosure. If you place a bowl of sugar water on the edge of the balustrade of the terrace, different kinds of birds will come at it (and the pigeon). We bought a bottle of 3 liters of sugar water at Aquarian Pet Store, a pet store on the way to Willemstad, and half-full every morning. Address: Monreposweg, Willemstad. Open every day from 9u00 to 18u30 (Sunday 10u00-13.00)
Car hire on Curaçao
Tip: If you want to rent a car in Curaçao and you stay in Home Sweet Home, be sure to ask Patrick, one of the managers, if he can help you rent a car. Compare the prices with the prices of the major car rental companies at the airport. You can take a taxi to the mini resort, and the rental car is ready. It was cheaper for us, even including the price of the taxi (40 dollar). Please note that you agree well on the price of the taxi from the start. We already had a "word" about the agreed price the first day. You can check the official prices on a map, which hangs from the waiting area of the taxis.
The price is fixed by area of the government of Curaçao. Take a picture of it to avoid a discussion. The taxi can pay you in US Dollar.
Shopping for groceries
Antillean Guilders (ANG) are not available in Belgium and must therefore be bought on Curaçao. For 1 € you now get about 2,2 ANG. This is possible at the airport, but not far from the mini resort "Home Sweet Home" is an Albert Heijn with a cash machine. You pay a transaction fee every time you withdraw money, and not depending on the amount. So better take enough money from the machine in one go. I thought the Albert Heijn itself was on the expensive side. Be sure to bring your coffee from home, because coffee is really way too expensive there. There are less expensive shops to buy food on the way to Willemstad, but buying food on Curaçao is more expensive than in Belgium or the Netherlands.
Residential neighborhoods around Jan Thiel
Make sure that you do not leave or return to Jan Thiel during rush hour. Many people live in these neighborhoods who work in and around Willemstad. You are guaranteed to be stuck in traffic during rush hour. We drove somewhere every day. We usually came back from Bandabou, the west of the island, around 5pm. It is possible to stay on site without renting a car, but I would not recommend it unless you are staying in an All-inclusive hotel on the coast. It is a 10 minute walk to the beach of Jan Thiel, which mainly depends on the youth. Lots of music and expensive drinks. Jan Thiel Beach is located on a bay with a beautiful beach. There is a raft off the coast, which you can swim to and there is also one diving school.
If you go to Jan Thiel Beach, then best go during Happy Hour, which is usually at 17u00. The price of one wine cost 11 dollar, no bottle, and even at "Happy Hour" I think it is still too much. Soft drinks and beer are cheaper. There are 4 good restaurants on the beach. You can do that here see. On the beaches in the west of the island is something much cheaper and the beaches are quieter, but then you do need a car to get there. With a taxi it is too far and too expensive. Because our apartment was not directly on the sea, it was also cheaper. We paid about half of an apartment by the sea, and you get the peace for free.