WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – May 2017 – The Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao not only recently graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017, the most widely read magazine issue in the world, but this spring, the tiny, yet bustling, nation is upping the ante with a new JetBlue flight schedule, hotel renovations, experiential packages, island-wide promotions, and a full calendar of highly anticipated events. Read below to find out what’s new in Curaçao.
- Curaçao Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017
The colorful ABC island of Curaçao set the stage for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017. Curaçao’s striking blue waters are prominently featured in the magazine, which is on stands now through the end of May. The two-week shoot, which was photographed by veteran photographer Ben Watts, included top models Vita Sidorkina, Rose Bertram, Samantha Hoopes, Barbara Palvin and Myla Dalbesio. The crew stayed at Avila Beach Hotel and explored many of the island’s highlights, including Playa Porto Mari, Jan Thiel, Shete Boka and more. For more information, visit www.si.com/swimsuit/2017/curacao.
- JetBlue Adjusting Current Flight Schedule for New York to Curaçao Route
JetBlue is adjusting its current flight schedule to Curaçao. Starting on June 19, travelers can fly nonstop from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Curaçao’s Hato International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Currently, the airline flies non-stop from JFK to Curaçao on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the trip takes approximately 4.5 hours. In addition to the New York routes, North American travelers can fly direct to the island from Toronto, Miami and Charlotte. For more information, visit www.curacao.com.
- Island-Wide Discounts for Summer Travel
In celebration of the Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (CHATA) 50th anniversary, travelers can save on travel to Curaçao this summer with exclusive island-wide offers at more than 15 hotels. Travelers can choose from 50th anniversary-themed savings at colorful boutique properties in Pietermaai to laid-back resorts tucked away on the island’s western side, with sales ranging from $50 off room rates, to $50 resort credits to use on dining and spa treatments. For more information or to book, visit www.curacao.com/chata50.
- Scuba Lodge Completes Renovation
The vibrantly colored Scuba Lodge & Ocean Suites in the island’s trendy, up-and-coming area of Pietermaai has renovated one of its five buildings to include six new Superior Rooms. The new rooms include king-size beds, rainfall showers, and small kitchenettes. The 28-room boutique hotel, which is within walking distance of downtown Willemstad and the Queen Emma Bridge, also updated its guest check-in and reception area. For more information, visit www.scubalodge.com.
- Hilton Curaçao Upgrades Meeting Spaces
The Hilton Curaçao recently upgraded its meetings spaces with new carpeting and aesthetic finishes. The beachfront property has more than 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including an intimate boardroom for smaller meetings and a large ballroom able to accommodate groups of more than 400. Situated on Piscadera Bay, the resort also features two of Curaçao’s largest beaches, a PADI scuba diving center and on-property casino. For more information, click here or email: [email protected]
- New Additions at Rancho El Sobrino
Rancho El Sobrino Resort & Restaurant on the island’s rugged west coast has completed its three new studios, which each accommodate two guests and feature wood floors and a modern glass shower. The rooms also include a small kitchen with a gas stove, kettle, refrigerator, coffee machine and more. In addition to the new studios, the property recently began offering car rentals for guests to explore the island. Rentals begin at $40.00/day and guests can pick them up at the hotel or at Hato International Airport. For more information, visit www.ranchoelsobrino.com.
- Royal Sea Aquarium Resort Introduces New Happy Hours and Breakfast Bar
The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort recently added a new poolside breakfast bar for guests to start their day on the right foot with classic favorites like omelets, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit and tropical island smoothies. Ideally located on its own private island, the resort also now offers Royal Happy Hours and a Tuesday Night Loko Party featuring eclectic cocktails, a fire show, live entertainment, and Dutch “Dushi” Waffles for dessert. For more information, visit www.royalseaquariumresort.com.
- Koko’s Restaurant Opens on Jan Thiel Beach
Jan Thiel Beach recently welcomed Koko’s to its roster of beachside restaurants. The open-air hangout spot serves up a delicious selection of street food, including pulled pork flatbreads, Philly cheesesteaks, a slider trio, and more. The restaurant also offers fresh fruit smoothies, healthy shakes, juices, and cocktails. For more information, visit www.janthielbeach.com.
- Willemstad Welcomes Shelterrock Paradise
Shelterrock Paradise, a colorful restaurant just outside of downtown Willemstad recently opened its doors. The restaurant boasts breezy wind sails, decorative wooden tables, vibrant color accents and incredible water views for enjoying the sunset. The small eatery, which is already becoming a local favorite, serves up island delights, including BBQ chicken and ribs, fried plantains, peas and rice, fresh fish and more. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/shelterrockparadise.
- Williburger Opens in Banda Bou
The latest addition to the Curaçao culinary scene is WILLIBURGER in Banda Bou on Curaçao’s west side. The new restaurant recently introduced its very own “kabritu burger,” which is a spicy goat burger. The innovative dish, which is typically served as a stew, has been craftily created into a tasty burger. A portion of the food proceeds go to support talented children and encourage youth entrepreneurship. WILLIBURGER is still in the process of perfecting the dish and plans to expand its “kabritu burger” to various restaurants around the island. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Williburgerclub.
- Trunkdivers to Expand Guided Dive Options
This month, Trunkdivers, one of the island’s dive operators, will add three new sites to its guided dive options. The first will take divers to see the caves of Watamula, an area known for its volcanic rock, before exploring a steep drop-off. The dive concludes at Playa Gepi, a small sandy cove on the island’s west coast. Another new guided dive option for advanced open-water certified divers is at North Shore, a site that sits 70-80 feet below sea level. Trunkdivers will also now offer a special archaeological dive in Sint Annabaai upon request. For more information, visit www.trunkdivers.com.
- Hilton and Caribbean Sea Sports Launch Dive Package
The Hilton Curaçao has partnered with Caribbean Sea Sports to offer a special four-night dive package, which includes accommodations, daily breakfast and WiFi, along with six dives. Travelers will enjoy a two-tank dive each morning to some of Curaçao’s 65 distinct dive sites and will be provided with a tank, weight belt and BCD. The package starts at $530/person and is valid for booking now through June 30, 2017 with travel from May 1-July 31, 2017. To book, call 5999-462-5000 ext. 6011, or email: [email protected]@hilton.com.
- Substation Curaçao Aids Medical Research
Substation Curaçao has partnered with Sirenas MD, a California-based pharmaceutical company that researches new medicines by studying marine biodiversity. Together, the organizations recently completed a trip to Klein Curaçao in search of new sponges that contain chemical entities that modulate human immune response. The dives were completed in late March and ranged between 300 and 1,000 feet. The crew aboard the mini submarine discovered several new sponges, which are currently being researched in the company’s San Diego facility. For more information, visit www.substation-curacao.com.
- CURious 2 Dive Offers New Dive and Lionfish Experience
CURious 2 Dive now offers a two-tank dive every Thursday to East Point, a pristine reef on the island’s eastern tip that’s home to a school of tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles. Once the divers resurface, the guides will teach participants how to clean any lionfish that were caught, which can then be sampled at The Pier, a restaurant in the Jan Thiel area. For more information, visit www.curious2dive.com.