Two-thirds of our family arrived on the island of Curaçao last Saturday. The other third opted for Ocean City, Md. I personally struggled for months trying to figure out how to say Curacao, but finally decided to pretend I was an Italian doctor and pronounce it Cure-a – Sal?
If, like me, you haven’t heard much about Curaçao, it’s an island not far from Aruba, an island country in the Lesser Antilles located in the southern Caribbean Sea.
It is considered part of the Dutch Caribbean region, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, about 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast.
We chose it because it was not a budget-buster.
Because I don’t like islands or beaches, the equator, tropical storms, all-inclusive diets, and extreme temperatures, I’ve often been described as the Goldilocks traveler.
Add to that I can’t stand sitting too long, standing in endless lines and sunbathing, so we called it a family trip.
Our hotel, a Hilton related property with many amenities, was very nice. There was a gift shop where suntan lotion was only $34 a bottle or $272 a gallon, but you could get a free $24 cap when you bought two t-shirts. So there was that. Anyone need a Curacao hat?
With the exception of a short rainstorm and a tropical storm warning that turned into a full day on Wednesday, if you like 84 degrees with 80% humidity, the weather was great.
The van driver who took us to the hotel informed us that Curacao never gets hurricanes. In fact, the last hurricane was in 1887. He said that was a good thing because none of the buildings could withstand heavy storms.
Therefore, this tropical storm warning added some excitement to our stay.
People here usually speak not one or two, but five languages.
There were over 20 languages to choose from when connecting to their wireless network.
We met people from South America, Holland, North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and God knows where else. It’s a virtual melting pot of humanity that I personally loved.
When your 7-year-old grandson plays in the sand and changes nationality to nationality, everything becomes clear.
We are all meant to play and work together, to get along and enjoy life. He happily shared his bucket of sand with them and ran in and out of the sea without noticing the language barrier, skin tone, religion or even their attitude towards what has become an international puzzle. United States.
We had seafood from the nearby Caribbean Sea under a thatched roof while watching a Southern Hemisphere sunset. We walked into the city center to explore the colorful Dutch buildings, restaurants and even a casino where the slot machines were fun.
We ate a wonderful meal at a restaurant in the old fort and another on the shore that was as Italian as any restaurant in Italy.
There were some aggressive pigeons around our hotel that needed to be pre-fed to keep them from bombarding our plates.
Honestly, if you like sand and beaches, good food, diversity, nice properties, nice people, and no monkeys (little guy is terrified of monkeys), consider Curacao.
There are beautiful tropical birds, a few iguanas and a few mosquitoes here and there. There are plenty of great nightly performers, Miami TV channels, Wi-Fi, and plenty of free drinks (included in the package), which, of course, includes Heineken beer.
If it wasn’t for the airfare, you could probably come here for less than you’d spend in a week in Ocean City, and it’s all inclusive. If that sounded like an advertisement, remember that in the mid to late 1980s, I was the CEO of Laurel Highlands Tourism. It’s in my DNA.
Nick Jacobs of Windber is a healthcare consultant and author of the book “Taking the Hell Out if Healthcare”.