Last October, the island of Curašao gained its independence from Holland. While the governmental transition will be gradual, this quiet, tropical resort maintains qualities that distinguish it from other Caribbean locales. To take in all Curašao has to offer, Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino is an ideal destination.
The hotel staff is knowledgeable and very courteous and the location is perfect for all manner of island tours - some within walking distance. Within the vibrant Dutch-style pastel architecture, suites are tropically tasteful, set amongst the cobblestone and courtyards of the hotel. The locals say the island is shaped like a guitar or a curvaceous woman.
While Curašao has less coastline and beach than nearby Aruba, it makes for a greener island and a quieter tourist experience. There is an abundance of undeveloped land, yet vacationers need not sacrifice on luxuries. Nature lovers should scale the manageable heights of Mt. Christoffel (1,240 feet) in The National Christoffel State Park, to better appreciate the view. The average active adult can make the climb and others have completed it with children as young as seven.
Visit Boka Tabla for a glimpse of the limestone coast. Ocean Encounters Dive Shop in Kura Hulanda offers snorkel excursions via a small boat to nearby dive spots featuring caves and colorful sea life. The Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino offers tasty lunches, from barside fare to burgers or pasta. Dine here by night, or check out the island's highest rated restaurant, a private home called Landhuis Misje.
There, a local resident prepares traditional cuisine that will melt in your mouth. Start another active day tooling about the island in an ATV from Eric's ATV Adventures. Auto drivers are courteous, and your guide will take you to scenic vistas. You'll even get photos from the tour. After a break for lunch, stroll the historic streets of the capital, Willemstad. Sample the farmers markets or browse fine jewelry, footwear and souvenirs. Be sure to visit Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
Back at the Kura Hulanda, the Sculpture Garden and a history museum, allow tours right on the property. If your interests range anywhere from art to archaeology, you'll be right at home. The Sculpture Garden is also the site of a Four Diamond restaurant featuring lobster, fish and beef. Another tasty choice is Angelica's Kitchen, where a charming hostess offers an easy cooking class (and wine) before dinner. Angelica's is a short walk from the hotel.
By the time you return to the Spa and Casino, a lively, small band will be entertaining guests and others. One more natural attraction is Den Paradera, a traditional herb garden where informative tours are led by herbalist and healer Dinah Veeris. She will explain the properties of the local plants and several of the customs unique to Curašao.
For a relaxing vacation convenient to American shores, make history in newly independent Curašao. At the Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino, one may walk, swim, climb or bike through this pristine paradise.