Communicating in Curaçao

A multi-cultural island where locals speak many languages, communicating in Curaçao is relatively easy for travelers. Still, there are a few key terms you should know when you visit the Dutch Caribbean.

Papiamentu

Papiamentu, or Papiamento, is the local tongue in the Dutch islands. It is a mix of many languages, mostly Portuguese and Dutch, but also English, African, Creole. It’s an interesting language and is the most commonly spoken tongue in the Caribbean Netherlands. Which means you will hear it spoken in the ABC islands of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire, and likely the other Dutch islands.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak this language. English and Dutch are commonly spoken here as well, but it will help to know some of the key Papiamentu terms, which is why this post on communicating in Curaçao.

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Hiking in Curaçao

When we’re near land, Brian and I like hiking. We exercise, commune with nature and wildlife, and see the local views. After too much down time, we’re grateful to be healthy enough to hike and explore the island of Curaçao. Here are some tips and recommendations for hiking in Curaçao.

trail hiking in Curacao
A hiking trail in Curaçao

Be Prepared

Any time you hike, be prepared. Pack essentials like water, snacks, and bug spray. Wear good walking shoes (waterproof), a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen or clothes with SPF protection. Before hiking in Curaçao, read the following tips.

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Dealing with Health Issues on A Sailboat

I consider myself more a “seize the day” than a “one day at a time” type person. Lately, seizing the day hasn’t been an option. Having health issues on a sailboat means you take each day as it comes and that’s how it’s been these days on Sava.

Brian’s been dealing with health issues and I’ve been trying to keep everything going while he heals.

The Health Issues

It goes back to November, when Brian went to a doctor for a checkup. The doctor thought he had a hydrocele, which requires a simple procedure to drain liquid from the scrotum. With Covid lockdowns and hospital staff in quarantines, getting an appointment for surgery took over a month. Finally, Brian got scheduled for surgery in mid-December, a simple “day procedure” they said.

Hospital Curacao Sign
Social Distancing Enforced throughout the Hospital

It’s now late January so how are we still dealing with Brian’s health issues on a sailboat when he had his surgery in mid-December? We should be in Colombia now! We thought so too. It’s another chapter in our “don’t make plans on a sailboat” catalog.

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Getting Exercise on a Sailboat

It seems like it would be difficult to exercise on a confined, moving space. Good news: as long as you’re willing to be flexible and work within the limitations, getting exercise on a sailboat isn’t tough. In time for a new year of resolutions, here’s how to exercise on a sailboat, and stay fit and healthy on board.

We spend a lot of time onboard, with lockdowns, passage making, quarantines and illnesses keeping us on the boat for days at a time. We don’t always have the luxury of doing hashes, so I have to be creative to try to stay fit on a 46 foot monohull.

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Christmas in Curaçao

This is our third Christmas since we moved aboard Sava, and again we are in a new location, this time the biggest of the ABC islands, Curaçao. As an island with rich history and many cultural influences, of course it’s an interesting place to spend the holiday season! Curaçao got into the Christmas spirit early, with stores displaying holiday cheer in October, and early celebrations at the beginning of December. As we are enjoying Christmas in Curaçao and all the decorations that come with it, I thought I’d share some stories and photos of what the celebrations are like in the Leeward Antilles.

Interested in Christmas in other places? Read about spending Christmas in the Caribbean and in Florida

Christmas in Curaçao Starts Early

The decorations have been up since Halloween but that’s not even what I am talking about. One of the holidays has already happened.

St. Nicholas Day is the traditional day for presents from Santa and people get excited! Men dress in colorful costumes, paint their faces and jump into cars and drive around yelling out the windows and honking. At least that’s what we’ve seen. So many of them get into one car it’s like a clown car, more noticeable in the days of social distancing.

St Nicholas costumes
St Nicholas celebrations
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Two Years Living on a Boat

It’s sometimes hard to believe that we moved onto Sava two years ago! December 5, 2018. Which means we’ve spent two years living on a boat. Happily, we’ve survived and in some cases even thrived through all the crazy twists and turns that boat life – and life – have thrown in our way. We started out so ignorant and naive about life aboard, but we’ve done and learned a lot in two years.

Sava under sail
Sava under sail racing in Bonaire
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Curaçao Street Art

I love discovering street art when I travel, and I’m wowed by the street art in Curaçao! Downtown Willemstad is a treasure trove and since there is a lot, I’ve divided this post by neighborhood, so you can do your own walking tour when you go!

Want to see more posts about street art in The Caribbean? Check it out in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Bonaire.

The Top Curaçao Street Art is in Otrobanda

We stayed at an airbnb in Otrobanda, so this hip and growing neighborhood introduced us to the colorful street art of Curaçao. In our first days in the city, we wandered the streets taking photos and learning about the community. We also went on a Free Walking Tour and our guide showed off this trendy neighborhood and its street art.

  • Love Locks
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5 Curaçao Rainy Day Activities

It’s rainy season in Curaçao which means day after day of downpours. Want to know what to do on this Caribbean island when the weather is bad? Here are 5 Curaçao rainy day activities, so you can still have fun without the sun.

Curaçao rain
Rainy day view from our boat in Curaçao

Curaçao Museum

Housed in a pretty former hospital building, The Curaçao Museum‘s collection honors the island’s history.

Curaçao Museum
Curaçao Museum

Art, crafts and furniture fill up the main building, but the highlight of the museum is the old airplane in the hangar in the back. So either bring your umbrella for the run through the raindrops, or find a break in the rain because you want to see the tiny aircraft in the shed. The Snip carried 4 crew and Christmas mail from Europe to the Caribbean in the 1930s, marking the first KLM trans-Atlantic mail flight, which took 8 days. They had to take off the wings to fit it in the barn, but it’s a cool exhibit and story.

The Curaçao Museum is located in Otrabanda Willemsted.

Snip plane 5 Curaçao rainy day activities
The Snip at the Curaçao Museum
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