Curacao Island: Over, Under, Sideways, Down

Go beyond the beach to explore the Caribbean’s Curacao island By: Mark Rogers
The Curasub, a mini-submarine, can reach depths of 1,000 feet. // © 2012 Curacao Tourist Board
The Curasub, a mini-submarine, can reach depths of 1,000 feet. // © 2012 Curacao Tourist Board

After Curacao’s beaches and Willemstad shops have been thoroughly investigated, suggest that your clients look a little further afield and explore Curacao, over, under, sideways and down. Combining new and old attractions on Curacao opens up the breadth and scope of experiencing the island.

Over
The newest attraction on the island is Fly Over Curacao, which was started by a group of young graduate pilots of the KLM Flight Academy, the Netherlands. In part they created Fly Over Curacao to give them the number of hours in the air to stay competitive. Since it’s a win-win situation for pilot and tourist alike, rates are kept low.

The flights take passengers for a bird’s-eye view of the island, passing over beaches, tourist points of interest, Klein Curacao and the natural beauty of the less-developed east point of the island. Flights for three passengers are aboard the Cessna 172, a small and safe aircraft well-designed for tours of this type.

Fly Over Curacao offers four flight tour options. The 30-minute Banda Abou flight is recommended for nature–lovers since it offers a good look at Christoffel mountain. The 30-minute Banda Ariba Hip & Happening flight offers views of the island’s bays, Willemstad’s bridges and wharf, popular beaches, clubs and luxury resorts. The Curacao, Complete option is a 60-minute flight  offering a comprehensive view of Willemstad and Banda Abou. There’s also a 90-minute option called Full on Curacao, Speechless & Divine. This adds flight time over Klein Curacao, and the east point of the island. Prices range from $150 to $250 per flight for three passengers.

Fly Over Curacao
www.flyovercuracao.com

Under
Substation Curacao has launched Curasub, a certified mini-submarine for tourists that descends to depths of 1,000 feet, unreachable for divers. Passengers aboard the sub will observe colorful fish, corals and old shipwrecks visible in the crystal clear waters surrounding Curacao. From inside the Curasub, passengers have a clear view with visibility of over 60 feet. The design of the Curasub is based on Aquarius submarine, which today is still operational. Unlike scuba diving, submarine diving has no effects of pressure change on the body. This means that people who are unfit to dive because of medical reasons are almost always allowed to dive with the submarine. Curasub descends four times a day from Bapor Kibra. Prices begin at $425 per person. Curasub is closed on Sundays and it’s recommended to make reservations at least one week in advance.

Curasub
www.substation-curacao.com

Sideways
One of the most celebrated artists on Curacao is island-born and self-taught painter Nena Sanchez. Her colorful canvases featuring eye-popping colors, brightly painted homes and mysterious blue maidens have been delighting visitors for years.  Sanchez is now hosting workshops in her studio where visitors and locals alike gather to recreate some of Nena’s better-known works. Sanchez developed her skill on her own by experimenting with acrylic on different materials such as wood, canvas and paper. Today her paintings are found in private collections in North and South America, Europe and Curacao. As an added lure, Sanchez’s workshop is in a house purported to be haunted.

Nena Sanchez Art Studio
www.nenasanchez.com

Down
One of Curacao’s most appealing natural attractions is the Hato Caves. They’re easily reached from Willemstad and major resorts on the island. Visitors access the caves via 49 steps. Once inside, they’ll join an hour-long guided tour to hear the history of the caves as they look upon stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls and pools. Inside, visitors will find evidence of Indian petroglyphs dating back 1,500 years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, runaway slaves who escaped from nearby plantations used the caves as a refuge. Long-nose fruit bats live in the caves and it’s forbidden to take photographs until the very end of the tour, so as not to disturb the creatures. Tours are given seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Hato Caves
www.hatocaves.com

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