After staying at a nice resort in the area of Seaquarium Beach, I wanted to extend my stay by a week, so I started looking around for an affordable place. The regular hotels in this area (Lions Dive, Royal Resort, Kontiki, Bon Bini, Breezes) were all charging more than I was willing to pay. Much more. So I checked out the two-storey Sea Horizon Apartments, a small unassuming apartment building located in the middle of all these resorts. It turned out to be a decent place and it cost a lot less.
For this lower price I got a one bedroom apartment with a kitchen, a large balcony and a spacious living/dining area. It had two televisions (with a huge range of channels, including some in Spanish and Dutch), free wifi, a refrigerator, gas stove, microwave, and air conditioning in the bedroom. Small bathroom with a hot shower. The bedroom had two beds: a king size bed and a single bed
The owners, Roderick and Gina, were friendly and helpful. They went out of their way to help me. If you like a friendly, personal touch, you’ll get that here. A child-friendly place.
These apartments are one street inland from Seaquarium Beach, on the other side of the road from Kontiki. So the beach was only about 400 steps away, measured from my front door to the beach chair. So the entire Seaquarium Beach area is easily accessible from these apartments. However, you have to pay the entrance fee of a few dollars, unless you go early in the morning.
There’s a long breakwater in front of this whole beach, resulting in a calm pool-like lagoon with a sandy bottom. (So no wave action here.) Really, the swimming at this beach was perfect. Everyone was loving it. My impression is that Seaquarium Beach is considered a cool place to be. Six companies operate concessions along this beach. Going from east to west, they are: Lions Dive (free for hotel guests), Aloha, Mambo Beach, Wet & Wild and Cabana (free for Kontiki guests). There are a few restaurants, shops and an ATM. Mambo Beach turns into a night club on some nights.
You’re also within walking distance of the Seaquarium itself (with dolphins, seals, etc.), the other resorts, a large Ocean Encounters dive operation, a good gym called Body Beach, the Breezes casino, a handful of restaurants, a fruit juice stand and an amusement complex.
You’ll enjoy your stay much more, I think, if you have a car. Gina can set you up with someone for a good rate.
But you don’t absolutely need a car if you stay here. The Seaquarium Beach is walking distance. The public bus stop is close by. The bus, which runs to Punda in one direction and Jan Thiel in the other, does not run frequently (about once an hour). There are always minivan buses that take you directly into the bus depot in the centre of Willemstad (on the Punda side). There are free shuttle buses going to large supermarkets nearby. I caught them at the lobby of a nearby hotel. However, there is no bus going to and from the airport. You have to take a cab for this, and it’s $35 one way for a taxi from the airport to Sea Horizons.
This is not a run-down place. It’s comfortable, clean and well taken care of. My apartment was a tad in need of sprucing up. Also, some of the furnishings are due for replacement. Perhaps the other units are different though. And my comment does not extend to the huge, modern refrigerator and perfect air conditioner.
The sinks in the kitchen and bathroom didn’t have hot water. (The shower did.)
The wifi signal was sometimes difficult to connect to.
As in most apartments in the Caribbean, tiny ants will show you where you’ve failed to clean up after yourself. I avoided them by keeping the kitchen area fastidiously clean.
They have a BBQ and a washing machine (without dryer) but they are simple and beat up.
Guests pay extra for electricity and water. It ended up being only $53 for the week and I slept with the air conditioning on.
There was no air conditioner in the living room. The single air conditioner was in the bedroom and they charged extra for electricity, so I kept the door shut. Only the bedroom stayed cold.
The hotel is set up to catch the wind. I kept the front and back doors wide open and battened down all the hatches. This allowed the strong breeze to blow through and cooled down the living room somewhat -- but it still wasn’t enough for my northern bones. When I retreated to my apartment at the end of the day, I could barely bring myself to leave the comfort of the bedroom!
Be sure to ask in advance about the additional taxes, cleaning fee, utiility charges, etc.
I suspect older affluent travellers looking for an upscale holiday apartment would not really feel comfortable here. But, hey, everyone likes a good deal, right? And there’s no reason for a Caribbean holiday to break the bank when there are places like this around.
I’d recommend this to any budget-minded traveler who wants to be close to Seaquarium Beach and does not necessarily need to stay in a resort.
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- Also Known As:
- Sea Horizon Apartments Curacao/Willemstad