WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – APRIL 2016 – The Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao may only measure about 180 square miles, but the small bustling island has no shortage of newsworthy events, openings and happenings. Here’s what is going on this quarter:
- New E-Gates Ease Immigration Process in Curaçao
The Curaçao International Airport recently introduced six e-gates that allow travelers to pass through immigration in less than one minute. To take advantage of the e-gates, travelers must be 18 years or older and have an American, Canadian, or European passport with a chip. Six traditionally manned gates will continue to be available. To use the e-gates, travelers must fill out an Online Embarkations/Disembarkation (ED) Card 24 hours before arrival in Curaçao. This can be completed at www.curaçao.com.
- New Curaçao Island Pass Available in May
This May, local tour operator, AC Travel & Leisure, will debut a Curaçao Island Pass. With the exclusive pass, travelers will have easy access to the island’s top attractions and scenic locations right from the palm of their hand, as well as exclusive deals for excursions, stores, restaurants, museums and more. Travelers can purchase the pass online prior to landing in Curaçao and pick it up directly from their hotel or vacation residence. The pass is valid for three months and can be purchased by visiting www.islandpasscuracao.com.
- Ocean Encounters Building New Dive Center
Ocean Encounters, one of the island’s largest dive operators, is renovating their dive center at the Sunscape Curaçao Resort, Spa & Casino. The new dive center, slated for completion at the end of April, will also offer Scuba Schools International (SSI) dive certifications in addition to its current PADI offerings. For more information, visit www.oceanencounters.com.
- New Restaurant Opening in Pietermaai
Mosa Restaurant in the trendy Pietermaai district is expected to open its doors this month. The restaurant will serve internationally inspired tapas in what its chefs are calling an ‘introduction to bistronomy.’ The sharing-style dining experience is great for families, and the restaurant will offer outdoor seating. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/mosashareddining.
- Cliffside Restaurant Opens in Westpunt
Situated on the cliffs of the island’s westside beach, Playa Forti, the Blue View Terrace & Bar recently opened, offering diners fresh island-inspired dishes and spectacular views of Curaçao’s turquoise blue waters. Open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Blue View Sunset Terrace & Bar also serves up light salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, pasta and their signature Curaçao Sprizz. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/blueviewcuracao.
- Hilton Curaçao Unveils Renovated Meeting Rooms and Recreation Areas
The Hilton Curaçao’s meeting rooms were recently renovated to feature a new interior design and upgraded audiovisual equipment. The resort offers more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space that can hold up to 450 guests, including an executive boardroom and six meeting rooms. Additionally, the resort updated its fitness equipment and reopened its recreation center for guests to enjoy ping-pong, pool and foosball. For more information, visit www.hiltoncuracaoresort.com.
- Baoase Wins 2016 TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award
Baoase Luxury Resort Curaçao, the island’s only five-star Caribbean hotel, took home a 2016 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Award. Ranked No. 6 among the top 25 ‘Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean,’ Baoase is an ultra-exclusive tropical retreat tucked away near downtown Willemstad. A popular celebrity vacation spot for stars like Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, Baoase features villa-style suites with private infinity pools, impeccable attention to detail, and unparalleled service. For more information, visit www.baoase.com.
- City Suites Curaçao Now Offers Airport Transfers for Guests
City Suites Curaçao, a boutique hotel in Willemstad’s Punda neighborhood, now provides guests with exclusive, round-trip airport transfers. Travelers can visit the hotel’s website to arrange shared or private rides through Curaçao-Actief, a registered tour and transportation company. Rides range from $35 to $195 USD depending on the number of passengers. For more information, visit www.citysuitescuracao.com.
- ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas Partners with Ocean Encounters
Ocean Encounters and ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas recently launched a new partnership for their hotel guests. Now travelers staying at the family-friendly property can enjoy day-long dive trips to the east side, Klein Curaçao, or Mushroom Forest, along with diving with dolphins and snorkeling offerings. For more information, visit www.acoyacuracao.com.
- International Drag Fest, April 29 – 30, 2016
Celebrating its 45th year anniversary, the International Drag Fest will take place April 29 – 30, 2016 at the Curaçao International Raceway in Willemstad. During the festival, drivers from the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao will compete during ten different automobile classes and five motorcycle categories. For more information, visit www.curacaodrag.com.
- International BlueSeas Festival, May 6 – 7, 2016
Following the success of last’s year’s inaugural event, Curaçao is gearing up to host the second annual International BlueSeas Festival May 6-7, 2016. Seamlessly blending blues, soul, punk and rock music, this year’s lineup is sure to impress with acts by Daddy Long Legs, Lucky Peterson, Laurence Jones, Samantha Fish, Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child,” and headliner Leon Russell, who’s performed alongside legendary B.B. King, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. With six distinct concert venues in Curaçao’s trendy and up-and-coming Pietermaai District, the festival is a celebration of traditional and gentrified jazz music, and all concerts are free to the public. For more information, visit www.curacaoblueseasfestival.com.
- XcapeFest, May 20 – 22, 2016
This annual island celebration showcasing the realms of music, comedy, fashion and social media, returns to Curaçao on May 20 – 22, 2016. The three-part event includes a Silent Disco Party, Comedy Show and Beach Bash. The party weekend kicks off with a silent disco pub crawl in Willemstad’s Punda neighborhood, followed by a pulsing after party on the iconic Queen Emma Floating Bridge. Highlights this year also include appearances by TV host, Nick Cannon and popular comedians, Anthony Anderson and Russell Peters. Guests can enjoy musical performances by popular EDM artist Walshy Fire from Major Lazer, Kardinal Offishal, and DJ Power. For more information, visit www.xcapefest.com.
- Viva La Música Latina, June 3 – 4, 2016
The second edition of Viva La Música Latina will take place June 3 – 4, 2016 at the Sambil Mall. Last year’s performances included Jorge Celedón, Alberto Barros, Ola Tañón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, the Guaco Group Venezuela and more. This year, organizers have confirmed the performances of Elvis Crespo and Gente De Zona, a popular group that fuses Cuban and Reggaeton flavors. For more information, visitwww.facebook.com/Viva-la-Música-Latina-Curaçao.
- Curaçao Yoga Week, June 3 – 4, 2016
Curaçao will launch its first-ever Curaçao Yoga Week, June 18-25, 2016. Ideal for yoga-enthusiasts wanting to salute the sun in one of the region’s most beautiful islands, the eight-day, seven-night power yoga itinerary includes everything from morning meditations, yoga classes for all experience levels, a “soul food” brunch, and a sailing adventure Klein Curaçao. Accommodations at Lions Dive and Beach Resort and transportation are included as part of the package. Rates begin at $1,190 USD, excluding airfare. For more information and a comprehensive schedule, visit www.tourism-curacao.com/yogaweek.