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.
Housed in a pretty former hospital building, The Curaçao Museum‘s collection honors the island’s history.
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.
For such a small island, Bonaire has more dining options than you would expect. Once we were free from quarantine and could roam the island, we satisfied our cravings for barbecue, sandwiches, seafood, satays, cheese and chocolate! We did have 3 months, after all! With all that experience, here are my recommendations for eating and drinking in Bonaire.
About Eating and Drinking in Bonaire
Though we were there during the pandemic, most restaurants served take-out, and many had dine-in options with social distancing and other restrictions. Many times, we provided names and emails for contact tracing. Prices are in US dollars, and costs are comparable to what you would pay in the U.S. or Canada, but some items are less expensive. Most places are in or near downtown Kralendjik, but a few are further afield. This map lays out all the places mentioned in the post.
Gio’s and Luciano Ice Cream
Ice cream is a luxury to most cruisers! Many cruisers don’t even have space for it on board. We are lucky to have a full freezer but we don’t often have ice cream in it because markets are rarely close to transport ice cream from bus to dinghy to boat fast enough to keep it from melting. So when there’s a gelato shop – or two – on land – we sample the flavors.
Eating and drinking in Bonaire should include at least one stop for ice cream. When we were in downtown Kralendjik, we bopped back and forth between two main spots but the tiny town has multiple places for ice cream, way more than we ever saw on the entire island of Antigua.
Modern day sailors want to avoid hurricanes more than almost anything including wearing shoes and giving up drinking. We came to Bonaire for hurricane season and are happy we made the choice. Here are all the reasons we are happy to be in Bonaire for hurricane season.
Bonaire is Safe
Located in the western Caribbean near Venezuela, Bonaire is generally south of the hurricane zone. Which is a relief because 2020 is already a bad year for hurricanes and the season barely started.
Safety on Bonaire extends to crime. In some Caribbean islands, theft and worse crimes are common. In Martinique, we got our gas tank stolen out of our dinghy while it was locked to our boat, and in other islands, dinghies and more are stolen if you’re not careful. While we remain diligent about locking our dinghy, these crimes are rare in Bonaire, another good reason to stay.
It’s been one week of freedom for us and we are savoring every moment. Here’s how we’ve kept busy and entertained in our first week in Bonaire.
Checking in to a new county is more complicated during Covid-19. Instead of just heading right to the customs and immigrations offices, Bonaire has a few more steps we had to complete, after 2 weeks quarantine, of course. On our last day of quarantine, we had to call the health department, tell them we finished quarantine and don’t have any symptoms, and within 24 hours they provided a letter of health for us to bring to customs and immigration.
We walked from the marina to the government offices on Thursday morning. While it was hot outside, we didn’t mind at all because we were off the boat! It was our first walk in 2 and a half weeks so it was the most exciting experience for us! Kralendjik is a charming town, with colorfully painted buildings and vibrant street art, so we enjoyed the hot walk to customs.
We have been in Antigua for over four months so we must know the island pretty well. Granted, a lot was shut down with the pandemic but we still had time to explore the islands, which have a lot to offer visitors. Here are our Antigua and Barbuda favorites for when you get the chance to visit.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Nelson’s Dockyard is a top site in Antigua for history buffs, hikers and sailors. Continuously running since 1754, the working dockyard site includes a small museum with historical exhibits and is surrounded by acres of land holding old forts and military buildings.
Admiral Lord Nelson ran the English naval post here and many of the original structures are scattered about the grounds, including munitions and lovingly restored buildings.
After spending 3 weeks in a remote anchorage, and not visiting a supermarket in almost 4 weeks, the crew of Sava needed supplies. Our intrepid captain Brian summoned up his skills from a past life as a restaurateur and found a wholesaler to stock our anchorage. We are becoming experts at provisioning during Covid-19 curfew.
Straight to the Source
Brian’s idea was brilliant because the wholesaler has scant customers right now. The hotels, resorts and restaurants that are their regular businesses are all shuttered. We cruisers stepped in to fill the void, and our pantries, fridges and freezers and bars. This was a good provisioning.
Google Docs FTW
The wonders of technology, and Brian’s skills, made this provisioning pretty pain free. The wholesaler sent us 4 lists of products and prices, we made them available to our 7 buddy boats, and people spent a day creating their orders.
We used shared google docs folder so we could see each other’s orders, which was really helpful because many of the supplies were only available in bulk. But what’s 15 lbs of bacon or pork loin between 7 boats?
Cruisers are a social bunch, so this “stay on your boat” business is wearing thin. I am sure everyone can relate no matter where you are social distancing. Fortunately, we cruisers are pretty ingenious too, and we’ve created our own fun. Learn what we’re doing for lockdown entertainment.
Antigua Status Update
First, an update on what is going on in our part of the world. Antigua is ramping up efforts to test their citizens, and to protect them from the virus.
As of midnight on April 1st, the country locked down for everything except essential businesses which are open for limited hours. Supermarkets and pharmacies are considered essential, and are open daily from 7a-12n, which means very long lines to provision. Not that we would know: our last trip to the store was 2 weeks ago yesterday and we’ve been sequestered in a remote anchorage for over a week filling the time with useful projects.
On Tuesday, Antigua announced its first death from Covid-19, followed quickly by a second. The island wide lockdown is extended another week, and Easter weekend means full closures this Friday, Sunday and Monday.
Lockdown on Sava
Brian, Domino and I are anchored in a big beautiful protected bay alongside about 20 other boats. Our anchorage is outside of the public eye, away from towns, marinas and even the main island, but we have our boat buddies. We moved to this anchorage with 5 other boats we knew, and have since met the occupants of a few others, either via VHF, electronically, or from our dinghies. Social distancing rules apply on the water too.
We loved Dominica the first time we visited. Since Season 2 is about expanded exploration, we had to return. Our second visit to “The Nature Island” allowed us to snorkel, dive and visit more sites we missed the first time. We found so much more to do in Dominica.
This town is much cuter and more interesting than I knew! We were warned off from spending much time here on the trip down, but we spent three nights in Roseau and found a lot to like. We enjoyed walking around, shopping in the stores and eating and drinking at an eclectic range of spots. In town, High Rise Beach Bar is popular with locals for the views of the port, cheap Kubulis and decent lunch specials. It is not in a high rise nor on the beach.
The cruise ship travelers were all at Ruins Rock Café, a bar built in the ruins of an old building near the port. It’s also a cool place, well decorated, with good wifi and lots of oddly flavored bush rums. We found out later that these two places are connected.