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Just back - Trip Report

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Baltimore, MD
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198 posts
33 reviews
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Just back - Trip Report

My husband, myself and my two teenage children had an enjoyable week in Curacao. I'll try to write a brief trip report but it's going to be hard to condense 7 days into one short report!

Accommodations: We did a vacation rental by owner at the Ocean Resort directly across from the Seaquarium. It was clean, updated and had plenty of room for the four of us. Had a ground floor terrace, pool and small, private beach, complete with good snorkeling and hermit crabs. We rented a car at the airport which I highly recommend so that you can do some exploring and get to the grocery store if you're not at an all-inclusive type place.

Beaches: Lions Dive/Mambo Beach - Convenient, so-so snorkeling, pricey at $9 a person but you did have good mojitos right there at Hemingways.

Playa Forti - I had read that you could do some cliff jumping there so we packed lunches (take a soft sided cooler along for day trips) and headed west to this beach. Used the map that came with the rental. Pretty isolated location. The restaurant looked closed. My 17 year old jumped but no one else had the nerve -it's pretty high. Found lots of colorful sea glass. Free.

Playa Lagun - My favorite beach that we visited. $5 per person, small "restaurant" with really cold, cheap beer. We saw sea turtles here and great variety of fish. Beautiful place.

Caracasbaai - Close to our location, restaurant with really good seafood soup, okay snorkeling, no fees, interesting hundreds of years old fort to explore.

Porto Marie - Very popular, a little crowded for my taste, great snorkeling. We saw big, scary-looking eels here and lots of fish. Also, cute iguanas climbing the cliff on the beach. $7 per person, busy restaurant

Restaurants: Hemingways- OK to Good food but super slow service.

Seaside Terrace - Too greasy, everything being fried. Fish soup was good though. Pricey for what you get.

Surf and Turf - A lot like it's neighbor Seaside Terrace, also expensive but we liked the conch. Both served traditional food.

Iguana Cafe in Punda - great scenery on the waterfront, watched the bridge move into place, good food and salads.

Rysttafel - good Indonesian and Thai food but expensive $25-30 per person

Fish Market at Mambo beach - The best meal we had! Fresh, perfectly grilled fish, good salads and potato wedges. Pricey but worth it!

Seaquarium: My son did the Animal Encounter Dive. Liked feeding the sharks and rays. My daughter swam with the dolphins and refuses to remove her wrist band she loved it so much.

Overall: We've been to several Caribbean destinations. This was one of our favorite. This island was hotter and drier than we've had before. Nice people.Everyone could speak enough English that we could get by easily. We would return!

Ottawa, Canada
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1,342 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Good report, thanks.

One precision, Playa Lagun has NO entrance fee at Playa Lagun, it is apublic beach. However, if you use one of the lounge chairs, Peter, the owner of Baya and the chairs will be vigilant and charge you $5.

Hope tom see you again!

Baltimore, MD
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198 posts
33 reviews
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2. Re: Just back - Trip Report

You're right, winteravoider, the fee is for the use of the beach lounger or a beach chair. Money well spent in my opinion!

KVR
Odessa, Texas
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1,604 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Can I ask how you booked the Sea Aquarium animal encounter dive? I'm getting conflicting prices on their web-site and can not get anyone to respond to my e-mails.

What day and time is the fish market at Mambo Beach?

Did the Surf & Turf has fresh lobster? I've not been able to find much info about this resturant.

Baltimore, MD
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198 posts
33 reviews
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4. Re: Just back - Trip Report

We booked the Seaquarium Animal Encounter Dive directly at the Seaquarium. I suggest booking as early as possible because it seems they book up fast, especially the dolphin encounters. It cost $99.It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dolphin swim was $159. It was supposed to be 1/2 hour but was longer.

The Fish Market at Mambo Beach was Friday night. I know it was there one other night that week, but don't remember which one - maybe Sunday. They also have a BBQ night. There is fresh lobster, shrimp and scallops available in addition to the fish.

I don't remember seeing lobster at the Surf and Turf restaurant. It is pretty rustic with tables on the sand and oil lamps for light and island dogs running around. Same with the Seaside Terrace. It seemed popular with divers. We watched a few wade in from shore night dives and eat there.

KVR
Odessa, Texas
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1,604 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Thanks, just the info I was looking for. I wonder way the Sea Aquarium web-site has the booking form listing the price for $59.00? That's why I haven't booked it yet, I wasn't sure it was the right program.

I'm going to re-think the Surf & Turf.

I've already planned something for Friday night. Hope Mambo Beach has the fish on Sundays also.

New England
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98 posts
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6. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Enjoyed your report. What color were the eels?

Baltimore, MD
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198 posts
33 reviews
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7. Re: Just back - Trip Report

If I remember correctly they were either brown or greenish. From the shore, we snorkeled left, along the shore line in shallow water and saw smaller brown eels in the rocks on the bottom. Once we got to the end of the cove, we turned and snorkeled straight across to our starting point, across the deep section of the water. There I saw a dark greenish colored eel, easily 5 feet in length, maybe longer.

Hollywood, Florida
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355 posts
31 reviews
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8. Re: Just back - Trip Report

I too enjoyed your report, especially as my trip is counting down to less than 3 weeks!! I am going to do the Animal Encounter as a result of your and KVR's posts, so I'm looking forward to that. We'll be at Breezes, that's right there by Mambo Beach right?

Baltimore, MD
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198 posts
33 reviews
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9. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Yes, Breezes is next door to Mambo Beach. I saw the trapeeze from the beach. There are security fences so I'm not sure how easy it is to walk to Mambo Beach from the resort. I don't know how old you are, but Sunday evening happy hour at Mambo Beach is a big party for younger twenty-somethings. Looked like fun! Have a great time!

New England
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98 posts
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10. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Back to eels- were they moray eels?

Also, how did you decide upon Curacao?