Coastal Colors in Curaçao
The Netherland Antilles’ Hidden Gem
By Meghan Chalfant
There are so many incredible destinations that are undeniably magical, and given the opportunity to travel to these enchanting cities is an absolute dream come true. It’s within these exotic locales that swaying palms, glistening beaches, and turquoise waters are beyond your wildest imagination. Curaçao–the Netherland Antilles’ hidden gem–is becoming a popular (and favorite) wedding and honeymoon destination among couples–and for good reason! If your idea of paradise includes stunning landscapes, quaint beaches, piercing blue skies, and rich history, then discover the endless adventures and intimate settings this charming island has to offer. Escape the ordinary and get swept away by Curaçao’s colorful oasis.
Located in the southern Caribbean is an inviting destination that captures the essence of natural beauty. Part of the “ABC islands” (together with Aruba to the west and Bonaire to the east), the Netherland Antilles island of Curaçao is the hidden gem of the Caribbean. Stretching about 38 miles long and seven and a half miles wide, this southernmost locale is not only the largest island in the Dutch Caribbean Islands group, but is also known for its pristine white beaches, azure blue waters, historic culture, and the pastel-painted waterfront of Willemstad―a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage trading capital. With a population of approximately 150,000 residents consisting of 55 nationalities, it is no wonder that Willemstad is considered to be one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. Willemstad is filled with friendly inhabitants, vibrant color, and 750 historic buildings to explore.
Situated below the hurricane belt, Curaçao’s tropical climate has year-round warm weather with only about 22 inches of rainfall during the year (mostly between October and February). Although the average temperature is in the mid 80s, the trade winds give a refreshing breeze from the east, making humidity relatively low.
Where to Stay
Nestled in the southeast region of Curaçao on 27 acres of open mountain terrain [Tafelberg Mountain] is the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. This premier luxury, full-service oceanfront resort boasts world-class accommodations encompassing Caribbean charm wrapped up with international sophistication. Featuring 350 spacious guest rooms and 16 suites, the resort offers its guests waterfront views of the sea and modern amenities, flat-screen TVs, and contemporary bathroom designs including plush robes. For those newlyweds and couples seeking an intimate, upscale experience, the Sea Traditions honeymoon suites are the perfect option. Here you’ll find tranquility at the private enclave swimming pool, nightly turndown service, and on-call butler service among many more exclusive amenities.
From casual midday snacks to exquisite fine dining, you’ll find cuisine to satisfy your palate at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Each menu brings the freshest seafood and farm-to-table ingredients to each dish as you dine with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, lounge poolside, or watch meals come together in the open-air kitchen. Enjoy á la carte selections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Medi Restaurant, sea-to-shore dishes at Shore American Seafood Grill, or indulge in sushi and cocktails at Jun’s Sushi Bar―the newest dining option. During the day, fulfill all of your afternoon cravings at Splash Restaurant, offering an array of salads, sandwiches, and refreshing tropical drinks.
From relaxation to adventure, there are many things to explore while honeymooning in Curaçao. At the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, bask under the Caribbean sun on St. Barbara Beach, lounge by one of the three resort-style pools, unwind at the Atabei Spa, or tee off at the par-72, 18-hole, on-site Pete Dye championship golf course. (*Fun fact from the resort: Hole 8 is the most picturesque hole on the course.) For the adventure seekers, visit Ocean Encounters (on-site) for water sport rentals such as diving, snorkeling, and sailing activities.
Curaçao has a vibrant, eccentric nightlife that’s not to be overlooked. Begin your evening enjoying tropical libations at the beach bar during sunset and dancing the night away at local bars or clubs. For the risk taker, try your luck at various gaming tables at one of the many nearby casinos like Diamond Beach Casino (located just 10 minutes away in Jan Thiel Village). Your nights can be as laid-back or as eccentric as you wish!
Getting Married in Curaçao
With spectacular backdrops and unforgettable sunsets, Curaçao is a popular location for destination weddings. For couples interested in getting married in this tropical oasis, guests must submit required documents at least two full months prior to the wedding date and meet with the registrar at city hall at least three days before the wedding date, once approved. With eight unique ceremony and reception locations to choose from, along with an experienced wedding planner, your special day at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort will be exactly how you’ve always imagined. Whether you’re planning an intimate affair or extravagant fête, the resort’s dedicated wedding professionals will not only assist in planning and coordinating, but will ensure all necessary documents and details are taken care of.
What to Pack
Are you notorious for over packing? Don’t fret! Curaçao is known for their friendly, laid-back island, so there’s no need to over pack with items you won’t use. Bring a few sundresses, a pair of sandals that can be easily dressed up or down, a pair of sunglasses, swimwear cover-ups, and of course you can’t forget about your cute bikinis! You’ll also need your travel documents, basic toiletries, plenty of sunblock, and any medications or health supplements, of course.
How to Get Here
Traveling to Curaçao has never been easier! While American Airlines and Dutch Antilles Express offer daily nonstop flights to Hato International Airport from Miami, JetBlue now provides weekly direct flights on Tuesday and Saturday from nearby JFK Airport. With pristine beaches and endless activities, there’s so much to discover in the Netherland Antilles’ hidden gem! For more information about Curaçao and to book your dream honeymoon or destination wedding, visit www.santabarbararesortcuracao.com.