A Travellerspoint blog

Beaches in the North West

March 3

We set off in the car to travel out of the city, up the island to some beaches that have a reputation for good snorkeling. It took about an hour to get to the first one, Playa Laguna. I sat in the shade in the car and enjoyed the breeze while the guys went snorkeling. When they returned, they were a bit disappointed with what they had seen, although the water is so clear and warm.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Tree tunnel road

Tree tunnel road


So we drove on to Westpunt to have lunch. I managed to get another blue lizard photo when we pulled to the side of the road to turn around. We ate at Jaanchie's Restaurant, which was quite an experience. They have a bunch of bird feeders, that they put white sugar in and the birds just flock in there to eat. Bare eyed pigeons, troupials, and lots of bananaquits. It is amazing to sit there and watch the scads of birds flying around and the noise is quite remarkable.

Another Bonaire Whiptail Lizard

Another Bonaire Whiptail Lizard


Bananaquits at the restaurant

Bananaquits at the restaurant

Westpunt park with great painted trees

Westpunt park with great painted trees


We then checked out Kenepa Beach, where I sat under a palapa up on the hill, as they went down to snorkel. They thought it was OK but not equal to the ones on Bonaire. Then we went a short distance down the road to a smaller beach, Little Knip, which they voted the best of the day. Lovely turquoise clear warm water.

Kenepa Beach from the lookout point

Kenepa Beach from the lookout point


We decided to try and explore the north shore of the island on the way back to the city. But that coast is so rugged, with high rocky cliffs, that there are no roads leading to the sea. So we gave up and joined the rush hour to get back for supper.

Posted by katdill 17:40 Archived in Curaçao Comments (0)

More Blue Lizard Excitement and Checking out the Old Town

March 2

We had quite a slow morning which got quite exciting very suddenly. Our host has a cat and a dog, both of whom think they should visit us whenever our door is open (or window in case of the cat). So this morning the door is open to let in the breeze and the cat comes in with a blue lizard in her mouth! So we grabbed the cat and she dropped the lizard, which was still alive. It runs under a chair to hide. We were trying to keep the cat out while also trying to catch the lizard. Lizards are very quick!! So Don threw a towel over it, so he could scoop it up without it getting away. Then he placed it over the wall in the neighbour's yard, in hopes it will get away before the cat has a chance to catch it again. Needless to say, no pictures were taken during all this!
After that bit of excitement, we set off in the car to check out "Punda" and "Otrobanda", which are the two oldest areas of Willemstad on opposite sides of the harbour. We found a parking spot and after figuring out the parking payment system, started exploring. First off was the Round Market - a round building with a covered market all the way around it. Quite a variety of stuff for sale, but there were two cruise ships in port so that is not a good day to shop - prices tend to go up when the cruise ships are around!

The Round Market

The Round Market


We also walked the narrow streets and had lunch at an open air restaurant, called "Plein Restaurant". Most of the colourful dresses I have seen for sale here are polyester or rayon, neither one of which I will buy. So I guess my wardrobe is not going to expand while I'm here. Our parking time was running out, so we went back to the car after buying fruit at the "floating market". It is called this because boats from Venezuela come with fruit and vegetables on board. They dock and unload their wares into a booth right on the dock. So although we were on solid ground, we could see the boats floating behind the booths.

Floating market booths

Floating market booths

One of the floating market boats

One of the floating market boats


We drove around some of the streets, stopping a few times to take pictures of the lovely old colourful houses. They are truly remarkable. So after exploring some more and stopping for a few more groceries, we made it back home to have supper and relax. I'm actually sitting outside on the patio while writing this, with a lovely breeze keeping the mosquitoes away. A very nice night!

From across the harbour

From across the harbour

Just lovely

Just lovely

And historic as well

And historic as well

Posted by katdill 17:14 Archived in Curaçao Comments (0)

Our New Home in Curacao

March 1

We had a Dutch woman taxi driver this morning to take us to the airport. She's been living on Bonaire most of her life. Once we were at the airport and thru the inevitable check-in line, we had to wait quite awhile for our flight. The plane was late - not that it mattered to us. It's only a 20 minute flight to Curacao! A nice young couple from the car rental place were waiting for us at airport to give us a ride to our accomodation. He's from Curacao and she's from Holland, they met when he went over there to school. Now she is moving to Suriname, where her parents are from, and starting a Bubble Tea store. She told us lots about Suriname and was very enthusiastic about her new country.
It was a long drive from the airport and we were very glad we didn't have to navigate our way around. Once we got to our place, our rental car was waiting for us, as well as our host, Peter.
Here they just turn the car and key over to you - no paper to sign, no money changes hands, just trust that you are on an island and you can't get away with the car anyway. After all the hassles to rent a car in Canada or the States, it certainly seems strange!
This definitely the ritziest place we have stayed this trip. 2 storey, 2 bedroom, huge living room, pool just outside the kitchen window, hot tub in the master bedroom, shaded patio on main floor and sunny balcony on the second that both bedrooms open on to. (I know - dangling participle!)

Shaded patio at front

Shaded patio at front

Living room

Living room

Kitchen with pool outside window

Kitchen with pool outside window

Sunny patio outside front door

Sunny patio outside front door

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

Rob got the master bedroom because he won the coin toss!

Rob got the master bedroom because he won the coin toss!

View from the upstairs balcony in the morning

View from the upstairs balcony in the morning


Those doors onto the balcony caused a problem. I had opened one of ours and Rob had opened one of his to let in more air. After we had been out having lunch and getting groceries, we were sitting around discussing plans and it started to pour!! It goes from no rain to bucketing down in about 1 minute - the wind gets violent and everything is soaked. So we rush upstairs - I got quite wet just shutting the door and then there is a lake on the floor and the bed is wet. Yikes! It took 2 beach towels to soak up all the water on the floor and we took the comforter off the bed and deposited it in the shower for the night. So even after we had supper and went to bed, I ended up putting a towel down on my side of the bed so it wouldn't feel so wet. What a way to start our visit here.

Posted by katdill 05:22 Archived in Curaçao Comments (1)

Little Blue Lizard

February 28

Today is our last full day here on Bonaire. Don and Rob went to catch a water taxi over to Klein Bonaire, which is the little deserted island off the coast that is a marine park. More snorkeling for them!! I drove the car back and returned it to the rental place which is just down the street from us. Then I set off on foot. I wanted to get a good picture of a Bonaire Whiptail Lizard before we leave the island. I had one photo but it wasn't very good. These lizards are found only on Bonaire and Curacao apparently. So I walked over to where I had taken the previous photo and looked around. I saw one almost right away, but he saw me as well and went under a big brush pile. So I stood in the shade and tried to wait him out. After about 25 minutes I gave up and started to walk away. Then I saw another one, which didn't run off, instead it did the "if I freeze in position, nobody will see me" move. So I finally got him.

Bonaire Whiptail Lizard

Bonaire Whiptail Lizard

I went on to a couple of stores to buy a few supplies and then walked back home. Hot!! I sat in the shade with cold water and ice to cool down. We have been putting out fruit and veggie scraps for the iguanas and the birds, so I dumped a bowlful out while I was cooling down. Then the action started. Three iguanas came at once to eat, but the biggest and oldest wouldn't let one of the others eat. He kept chasing him away. I think they are both males and the third one a female. They would both allow the female to eat with them, but the older male would not tolerate the younger one eating while he was there. Quite entertaining!

Then I had a quick lunch and set off to go downtown to visit a few of the interesting stores I had seen while driving past. I had a good time poking in some stores - didn't buy anything much, but I was tempted a few times. I guess it's a good thing my suitcase is so full, or I wouldn't have an excuse not too bring more junk home with me.

Just after I got home from downtown, the guys got back. Hot and tired as well, so we all just cooled it the rest of the afternoon. Tonight we had more tuna and all the leftovers and things that need to be eaten from the fridge. Last suppers can be interesting, but it was pretty good. Tomorrow we are off to Curacao for our last week!!!

Last sunset from our yard

Last sunset from our yard

Posted by katdill 16:03 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (2)

More Exploring in Bonaire

February 27

First thing this morning, Don went down to the water and bought some fish from a fisherman who had just come back. He got some nice tuna, enough for two suppers for us for $15.00. He had the fisherman fillet the fish so all he had to do was de-bone it before we ate it.

Fisherman cleaning his catch

Fisherman cleaning his catch


We set off in the car to see the south end of the island. We stopped at one of the dive sites along the coast and they started snorkeling. I drove the car down the road a bit to another site and waited for them there. That way they didn't have to swim back to their starting point. It was a little painful for me to shift the car, but not too bad. My wrist is still not very strong and I'm being very careful with it.

We continued down the coast road to the salt flats. Here they have big fields of salt water, that they harvest salt from. And there are mountains of salt waiting to be shipped out! We saw the tiny slave huts that they used in the past to house the slaves that worked in the salt fields. Awful places - people can be so terrible to other people!

Foreground is salt water pond, background is large piles of salt

Foreground is salt water pond, background is large piles of salt

Inside slave hut

Inside slave hut

Slave hut showing how small

Slave hut showing how small

As we drove the coast road we saw people kite surfing, and later on wind surfing. It was a very windy day and the ocean on the east side of the island was pretty wild. The guys had thought they might want to snorkel around the mangroves that grow on that side, but once they saw it, said "No way!"

Wild donkeys

Wild donkeys

Flamingos by the mangroves

Flamingos by the mangroves


We saw some wild donkeys and wild goats, as well as some more flamingos. When we got to the end of the road at the east side of the bay, we found a fisherman village(?) with some little houses, boats, docks, etc. The most notable thing there was the huge piles of conch shells piled up by the shore. They must have been catching them for years and piling up the shells! Conch soup is quite popular in Latin American, I think.

Wild ocean

Wild ocean

One of the many piles of shells

One of the many piles of shells


In the later afternoon, I dropped them off to snorkel up the west coast from our place and then waited at the Spice Beach Club for them to arrive. Of course, this meant I had to have a beer while waiting for them. Can't just sit in the shade and not drink!! Then it was time to come home and clean up and have a delicious tuna supper. Yum, Yum!

Posted by katdill 17:26 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (0)

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