Today we are making a little road trip, driving from the Lodges to Westpunt and back.
Jan Kok Lodges is located centrally, in the middle of the island. When you drive East, you will go to Willemstad and further on to (more touristc) Jan Thiel. When you drive to the less crowded and less tourist West, you will experience a very different landscape. With different vegetation, mostly more greener and there are also more hills compared to the East. Also here, from Jan Kok Lodges to Westpoint, you will find beautiful beaches. Departing from the Lodges, we will take the main road, the road to Westpunt (which says it all 😊) and returning to the Lodges, we will take the coast-road, so you actually will not cross the same road twice.
Our first stop is at the Weg naar Westpunt at the Kunuku House or Kas di pal’I maishi. A small historical museum with objects and lots of info on the rural population of Curacao. If you want you can attend workshops and participate in a tour – for this, however, check their facebook page before your visit.
After this educational break we continue and drive further to Westpunt. On the way, we enjoy the colorful houses and pass Landhuis Dokterstuin and Landhuis Ascension, which we will visit some other time. At Westpunt we stop at Playa Kalki for lunch. We park along the road (no need to park at nearby hotel Kura Hulanda, where you will be charged a parking fee) and take the steps down to the beach. You enter a shady wooden terrace with a diving school at your left and a cute little informal restaurant at your right. Sitting here in the shadow, overlooking the blue sea, enjoying a cool drink and some food….we doubt whether there are any better places to be at. The reef in front of Playa Kalki is known as Alice in Wonderland and is a gorgeous shore dive. But for now we resist diving in and continue our trip.
We make a short stop at Playa Kenepa Chiki, or Kleine Knip, a sweet white sandy bay between rocks, popular for long BBQ afternoons. Next to Kleine Knip is Grote Knip, or Playa Kenepa Grandi, a beautiful lagun between high rocks. You will definitely be amazed by the blue color of the sea. There are plenty of sunbeds available and there is a simple bar where you can get drinks, smoothy’s and something to eat. Here we stay a little longer, the snorkeling is always great! There is a big change you will meet some sea turtles and manta rays here.
Then it is time to drive back to the Lodges, but not before we make a stop at San Juan, a wonderful spot if you want to get off the beaten path. You enter the estate via a gate near the main road. Following is a dirt road, which eventually ends right before the ruins of landhouse San Juan. You will be greeted by a representative of the family that owns the estate and he will collect 10 Nafl entrance fee. Beyond the landhouse is a dirt road leading to 4 beautiful beaches. Note that the dirt roads in dry season can be a challenge. During wet season you need a four-wheel drive to get around. If you find the roads too challenging (and important: do not have the right car insurance which allows you to drive on dirt roads) – don’t worry, wondering and exploring the ruins of the landhouse is already an adventure. Make sure to leave the estate again before 6 PM, when the gate will be closed (and we are actually not sure whether there is somebody checking whether there are still visitors around).
Approx 15 minutes later we are back at the Lodges, a wonderful day it surely was.
Kas di pal’i maishi, open from 10 AM tot 2 PM. Entrance fee Nafl 10 per person. More info on facebook Museum Kas Di Pal’i Maishi. Playa Kalki, the restaurant is open daily and closes around 4.30 PM. Grote Knip and Kleine Knip free entrace. San Juan, open daily till approx. 6 PM (ask the guard), entrance fee 10 Nafl per car.
Scharloo is the neighborhood at the northside of de Waaigat harbor in Punda, Willemstad. It is the youngest colonial district of the city and known for its colorful mansions built in the 18th century. During that time, Curacao was a popular port with wealthy shipyard owners who lived in these beautiful houses.
Last week we visited Scharloo (although we come here more often, not the least for the good coffee, more about that later). We parked our car in Punda and walked via the floating market and crossed the bridge to Scharloo. The first thing you see is the Maritime Museum, located in a beautiful restored building. The museum shows more than 500 years maritime history of Curacao and in addition organizes several tours, also a harbor tour. Definitely worth a visit!
Before the museum, go to the right where at the end you enter a small alley. The small houses were originally built for the people who worked on the shipyards. Further on you will find more of these houses, all painted in similar bright colors. At the end of the alley, turn right and you will see a building with a gorgeous colorful nature mural. Since a couple of years, Scharloo is more and more well known for its murals, which are all being initiated by Street Art Skalo. This organization makes it possible for the artists to make their master pieces. Street Art Skalo wants to bring people together through art by making the streets of the district more beautiful. Their mission: turning Scharloo into the creative district of Curacao.
When you walk straight ahead you are at the Scharlooweg, which is parallel to the Waaigat. Here you will find many of the beautiful restored mansions. All of them with baroque elements and painted in the most vibrant colors: pink, green, yellow, blue and bright red. Many of them host governmental institutions or function as business offices.
Today Scharloo is slowly becoming a hipster district. Not only because of the many murals but also because of the presence of creative businesses and new local (lunch)shops. When you turn around and walk back to the building with the colorful nature mural, turn right and here is the shop of Integra Natural. The address for hand made natural products like body scrubs, lip balms, body lotions, soaps and much more. You will not leave without buying a couple of things! At the opposite of the street is Eatery Shop Fleur de Marie (Fleur de Marie is the name of the area on the rocky slope northwest of Scharloo). A little further (back to the main street at your right), is lunch café Beyglz. You can sit inside (where it is lovely cool) or at the terrace in the back. We enjoyed coffee (as always), fresh juice and some good food. For sure we will be back!
When spending your holidays on an island, it is impossible to not enjoy a meal (or two or three) with fresh fish. You can choose to drive in the early morning to one of the nearby beaches and buy from the local fishermen and prepare your seafood on your BBQ. A lovely alternative is to have lunch or diner at De Visserij.
De Visserij is located in Piscadera, approx. 15 minutes drive from Jan Kok Lodges (follow the direction to Willemstad), directly near the sea and next to Pirate Bay beach. It’s a perfect location: fishing boats just stop right at the restaurant to drop off their catch of the day.
The restaurant offers a simple concept. At the entry there is a counter with a large menu on the wall. You can choose from Dradu, Mula, Tuna, Red Snapper, fish soup, etc. And there are several (simple) side dishes too: salad, fries, bread (sweetbaked bread), etc. Place and pay your order for food and drinks and pick your seat overlooking the sea or more in the middle of the restaurant.
We ordered Tuna, Red Snapper and scrimps. And were definitely not disappointed at all. As a side order we had salad, fries and some funchi. Everything is prepared with simple seasoning and you really taste the fish as it should be! We will be back for sure!
Open Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 AM to 9.00 PM. Making a reservation is not possible. Located in Piscadera next to Pirate Bay.
Just a few minutes away from Salina, close to shopping-malls Zuikertuin and Promenade, you will find hidden treasure Number Ten, just along the road, direction Santa Rosa Weg. The exit from the road is just in the corner, do not drive too fast, you easily miss it.
Number Ten is located in the lush garden of Landhuis Bloemhof. Lots of old trees surround the property. There are hanging chairs and swings in the garden, not only nice for the kids ?. The place is owned by beautiful Liberty, who also has her yoga studio close by, and her Island Barista. You will like the cosy but at the same time a bit chic atmosphere, think heavy cutlery and beautiful plates. Definitely a place that is not in your average Visit Curacao manual.
You can sit outside on the patio, at the large table or in one of the chairs. But if you prefer to be in the air-conditioning, you can sit inside, although it happens pretty often that there all the tables are reserved. Inside it is lovely though, it reminds of a French café with antique furniture and well-thought-out styling.
Breakfast is served all day and this time we picked the Acai Bowl, which is fresh and tasty, and the house-baked Granola with mixed berries (very good). Of course with an iced coffee and as the day was going to be a long one, another cappuccino too. Breakfast and lunch are all prepared with fresh and local ingredients and the pastry and homemade goods make you come back again.
Reservations are recommended and can be made via www.numbertencuracao.com. Number Ten is open on Monday – Friday: 07:30 – 16:00. Closed on weekends.