Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, approximately 65 kilometers north of the Venezuelan coast, it’s capital is Willemstad. One of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.
Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on the 10th of October of 2010, Curacao was administered as the “Island Territory of Curacao.
The original inhabitants of Curacao were the Arawak people.
In June 2017, the island was named the Top Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean by Cruise Critic, a major online forum.
The Curacao Sea Aquarium and the Dolphin Academy share an islet on the west coast of the island.
Curacao is a multi-lingual society. The official languages are Dutch, Papiamentu and English.
Nonetheless, Dutch is the sole language for all administration and legal matters.
Most of Curacao’s population is able to converse in at least two languages – spanish included.
Some of Curacao most interesting sites are:
Willemstad, Curaçao’s capital city – Pastel colored Dutch architecture buildings decorate the streets of the capital.
Travel along the waterway to the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge on your way to the historic downtown district.
Fort Amsterdam – is part of the capital built in 1635. today serves as the Governor’s Palace, it there is a Protestant church in the Palace’s courtyard.
Main Street – is full of floating boats where fresh produce is delivered from Venezuela by schooner.
The Queen Emma Bridge – connects pedestrians between the Punda and Otrobanda districts.
This swings open to allow the passage of ships to and from the port.
The Queen Juliana Bridge – is the tallest bridge in the Caribbean, it connects mobile traffic between the Punda and Otrobanda districts.
Buggy Excursions – enjoy a buggy excursion of the untamed nature and secluded spots only accessible by off the road vehicles.
Snorkeling – Snorkel and swim with tropical fishes then participate in an echolocation experiment – Get a ride from 2 dolphins pulling you up to the surface with their dorsal fins.
Deep Sea Fishing – Enjoy fishing on a yatch for marlin, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and tuna.
Boat cruise to Klein Curaçao – stroll the beach, visit the lighthouse, snorkel, and encounter sea turtles.
Kayak across Caracas Bay – great views.
Tugboat and Reef Snorkel Tours – scenic and extraordinary sites that you may not easily find on your own.
Private Yatch Cruise Tour – Sail the Caribbean Sea on board a private yacht, They usually serve drinks and snacks as you sail. Lots of Dolphins on the route.
Small Yatch Tour – see some of the Caribbean island’s most beautiful lagoons, jump off to swim and snorkel around shipwrecks.
Ostrich Farm – Find out how an ostrich develops from an egg to the fastest-running bird in the world. Feeding is allowed.
Participate in an echolocation experiment – Get a ride from 2 dolphins pulling you up to the surface with their dorsal fins.
Dolphins – Take this great opportunity to meet dolphins. Dive and swim with them.
There is no doubt Curacao is the place to Travel to.
Sint Eustatius also known as Statia, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Sint Eustatius became a special municipality within The Netherlands on October 10th, 2010.
The island is 21 square kilometres that is approxinmately 81 square miles.
The official language is Dutch, English is the widely spoken.
The island of St Eustatius does not really have its own specialized cuisine, but there are some tasty Creole options for those looking for something a little exotic.
The food is mainly Dutch cuisine, although you can savour a host of international flavors sucha as European, American, and Asian spices.
The capital city of St. Eustatius is called Oranjestad, the smallest capital in the world.
To reach St. Eustatius, you first have to first fly to St. Maarten.
There are regular flights to St. Maarten from Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
WinAir Airlines flies from St. Maarten to St. Eustatius frequently – it’s a 20 minutes flight.
Statia has become a marriage favorite in the Caribbean. that’s because of the many wedding packages available in the island.
You can get married in the Courthouse, in one of the churches or on the beach, in Fort Oranje which was built in 1636, in the Dutch Reformed Church, in a Jewish Synagogue built in 1739, or in the The Miriam C. Smith Botanical Garden.
Getting married in any of these places is possible any day of the week.
Another island attraction is The St Eustatius National Marine Park created in 1996, which protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs.
Within the Park are two actively- managed Reserves in which no fishing or anchoring is permitted.
St. Eustatias has a dormant volcano ‘The Quill’ and the ‘Boven’ which is an area covering five hills in the north of St Eustatius, also known as The Northern Hills.
Various types of habitats are protected, from the forests at the top of the Quill volcano to the thorny woodlands on the lower slopes.
The Miriam Schmidt Botanical Garden is a great place to visit, it was created in 1998 – this garden is protected an provides the opportunity to rest in a peaceful environment.
Statia has great hiking trails some lead to the volcano, you can buy a trail tag in the National Park office which costs $10.00 and is valid for a year.
No doubt Statia is the place to travel to, maybe the perfect place for that special moment .
Whatever you choose – take lots of pictures of it’s almost untouched natural nature.
Brief History of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a great place to travel to, it’s history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them:
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico) is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the Caribbean.
It consists of the main island Puerto Rico, and three small islands which are the Isla de Mona, Culebra, and Vieques.
History books tell of an Ortoiroid people who were displaced by the Saladoid’s, a culture from the same region that arrived on the island some time around 250 BC.
The Taíno culture developed on the island between the 7th and 11th century. By 1000 AD, it had become the dominant race.
By 1493, when Columbus arrived, the island was populated by an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 Amerindians Tainos, led by the cacique chief Agüeybaná.
The Tainos called the island Boriken, which means “The great land of the valiant and noble Lord”.
Christopher Columbus claimed the island, for the Crown of Castile in Spain.
For four centuries after that the island was transformed into a colony of Spain.
This changed the islands ethnic, cultural and physical landscapes. Some of which is still evident in Old San Juan.
During this era the island’s population grew with Africans, Canarians, and Andalusian settlers from Spain.
Hundreds also arrived in Puerto Rico, Corsica, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland.
As the population grew they immigrated to the islands of Vieques and Culebra.
In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States of America appropriated Puerto Rico together with most former Spanish colonies under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
The Spanish vocabulary of Puerto Rico has words that differentiate them from the Spanish spoken in other Caribbean islands.
It’s similar to the Castilian dialect from Spain, with some Taino words in it.
Mainly in the context of vegetation, natural phenomenas or musical instruments.
They also use some words that are similar to words used in the West African languages, chiefly in the contexts of music dances.
For the last century the culture in Puerto Rico is Americanized which has led to the increment of the use of Spanglish.
Spanglish are english-spanish words. Many of which now grace the pages of dictionaries.
Since the occupation of Spain, the Roman Catholic faith is the dominant religion in the island. Every town has a catholic church in it’s town center, usually close to the Town Hall.
Other christians faith have grown in the island are the Pentecosts, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Adventist and Mormon’s faith, and a few Jewish Synagogues.
It is now the dominant religion in Puerto Rico. All municipalities in Puerto Rico have at least one Catholic Church, usually located in the center of the town, close to the Town Hall.
The largest and oldest Public University is the public Universidad de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico University), it has 11 large campuses.
You must have a B average (3.0 GPA) or higher or to get in, and you must maintain it in order to graduate.
The quality of the education it offers has been compared to Princeton, and Harvard.
It has a four (4) schools of Science and Medicine, and three (3) – ABA-approved Law Schools.
Some of the islands most brilliant minds, prominent senators, scientists, and scholars are graduates of the University of Puerto Rico.
The University of Puerto Rico has helped restore the islands faith in public education.
Puerto Rico also is one of the few countries in the world to have 5 Miss Universe title winners.
Must see places in Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Forest, Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, La Fortaleza, Museo de Arte de Ponce, Culebra, Vieques, Isla de Mona, Condado Beach, Arecibo Observatory, Cayo Icacos, Cuevas de Camuy.
El Yunque Rain Forest
Hike through El Yunque Rain Forest and discover a true green paradise. La Coca Falls has an impressive natural water fall.
Flamenco Beach, Zoni Beach and El Polvorín are three of the must see beaches in Culebra especially for those who like to swim, dive or snorkel in a clear water – white – sand beach.
Culebra is a great place to do some beach hopping, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and even surfing.
You can also hike and do some interesting like bird watching. There are tons of different birds and parrots. Some are huge.
Most people in Culebra park the car and walk everywhere.
Or you can just go there to get away from the city life, connect with nature and relax.
The Island Vieques
Vieques is an island to simply relax. There are no casinos, no golf courses, no strip malls no major shopping centers, like there are in the main island.
Vieques is a getaway. What is there? A low tide beach, great food, and a relaxing atmosphere.
There is a bay that glows in the dark, the other is in Lares.
At night the sky lights up over Vieques – since the island is small the street lights do not dominate the space. The stars dominate the space. There are a few more than the city light allows you to see. I would say, a few hundred more.
The Arecibo Observatory is a radio telescope in the municipality of Arecibo.
The radio telescope terrestrial aeronomy experiments include the Coqui II experiment, supported by NASA. The telescope has military intelligence.
The Arecibo Observatory telescope is said to be the largest on the planet. See the video. The city of Old San Juan
The first thing that you will notice about old San Juan is that it has been preserved. It houses, buildings, streets and forts that date back several hundred of years.
Old San Juan has the largest harbor in the region, and is the the capital of Puerto Rico.
Take a boat trip around San Juan then walk thru the city. It’s a wonderful way to start a day.
By the water front, you will see the Condado (Tourist Area), the Fort San Cristobal, it’s the largest fort built by Spain in the New World.
North you will observe, the Capitol Building – it’s made of marble. Similar in shape as the one in Washington, D.C.
Across the bay you will see the Bacardi Distillery in the (islet) Isla de Cabras with its Fort, San Juan De La Cruz. They have daily tours.
In old San Juan you will also see the – Paseo de La Princesa (full of street vendors), the Roots Fountain, The Governors Mansion (San Catalina Castle) and Fort San Felipe Del Morro – which dates back several hundred years.
Camuy River Cave Park
Once you arrive at the Camuy River Cave Park, you will board a trolley to descend about 200 feet (60 m) underground to an million year old cave, where you will walk through Cueva Clara. It has a limestone floor. And a gothic looking ceiling.
The cave is said to have been used by the Taíno Indians.
For such a small island Puerto Rico has a huge history, one of the great things about Puerto Rico is being able to hop on a cruise boat and sail away.
Puerto Rico Cruises
Have a good time in Puerto Rico, whether you get there by plane or cruise ship – you’ll be amazed.
Don’t forget o let me know about your trip.
Meanwhile, the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda.
Threre after the Dutch West India Company began its salt mining operations in the island.
The Spanish wanted to control the salt trade and attacked the island, taking St. Martin from the Dutch in 1633.
Fifteen years after the Spanish conquered the island, the Eighty Years’ War ended. The Spanish deserted the island in 1648.
Saint Maarten freedom was welcomed news to the Dutch and the French, they reestablished their settlements.
Alot of the Dutch came from St. Eustatius. The French from St. Kitts, while the French came from St. Kitts.
In 1648 the Dutch and the French signed the Treaty of Concordia dividing the island in two, but this did not put an end to the conflict between them because the borders kept moving.
Between 1648 and 1816, the border moved 16 times.
During those years the Dutch and the French cultivated cotton, tobacco and sugar. As their harvest grew their need for man power grew.
They began to import slaves – so many that they became a populous race in the island, and their demands and rebellions against harsh treatment were hard to ignore.
In 1848, the French government abolished slavery, including in St. Martin. The slaves on the Dutch side then protested and it was said that they began to flee to the French side were they would be given asylum.
The local Dutch authorities then emancipated their slaves, this was seen as a sign of good will.
In the 1950’s the Dutch side of the island began to focus on tourism, the French side following suit two decades later.
Making Princess Juliana International Airport one of the busiest in the Eastern Caribbean.
During the era of growth the islands population grew from a 5,000 people to around 60,000 people by the mid 1990’s.
On the 10th of October of 2010, Sint Maarten became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, making it a constitutional equal partner with Aruba, Curacao, and the Netherlands proper.
The Courthouse in Philipsburg is one of the symbols of Sint Maarten.
The Constitution of Sint Maarten was unanimously adopted by the island council of Sint Maarten on 21 July 2010.
Eugene Holiday was appointed as the first Governor of Sint Maarten by the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in September 2010.
He assumed office on 10 October 2010.
During the past few years Saint Maarten has put it’s name on the map because of the large amount of ships that docks in it’s port, from different parts of the world.
There is no doubt that Saint Maarten is a small island with a interesting history that keeps growing. Saint Maarten is known for it’s many beautiful beaches.
Chief among them are the ones where many cruise boats that visit the island daily park. There is one in the capital.
While packing remember that Electrical sockets in Sint Maarten (St. Martin) usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. Take an adapter if needed.
Have a good time in the island, it does not matter how you get there plane or ship you will have a great time.