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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We Made Our Boat Nicer To Live On

After almost two years sailing and anchoring in the Caribbean, Sava and her crew needed some TLC. Sava moved to Curaçao Marine for bottom paint and more while we moved into an apartment in town. We only took two weeks away from the boat, but it made a world of difference! During that time, we made our boat nicer to live on, which is good for all of us.

Improving S/V Sava

We’ve done a lot of work on Sava over the years, but we didn’t focus on cosmetics. Fixing the engine, batteries, watermaker and everything else was more important, but since we know how that stuff works now, we can make life on Sava better! While in the yard at the marina, we prettied her up inside and out! Since we made our boat nicer to live on, she’s like a new boat to us and we love her all over again.

S/v Sava
Sava didn’t look terrible when we took her out of the water
But the new bottom paint on S/V Sava is an improvement!

Cleaning Sava

We rented a one-bedroom apartment while Sava was in the yard, which meant a thorough boat clean. First on our list was emptying the boat: we took out all the food, defrosted the fridge and freezer, and scrubbed all the cupboards and storage lockers. We vacuumed the boat multiple times since we had shore power and did such a good job cleaning Sava I was almost sad to restock her!

Staying in An Airbnb

While Domino took a few days to get used to living on land, she eventually made herself comfortable.

Domino liked the bed in our Airbnb
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Why Bonaire Is A Diver’s Paradise

Scuba is a main driver of Bonaire’s tourism for a good reason. The reef is everywhere, the fish are plentiful, and access is easy. During our three months in Bonaire, we dove a few times a week for pleasure, and about once a week for reef renewal. Here’s why Bonaire is a diver’s paradise.

Diving Bonaire
Let’s Go Diving!

Ease of Diving in Bonaire

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Street Art in Bonaire

I love exploring places through the street art. It’s cool to see the local talent and what they choose to depict in their murals. Not surprisingly, in Bonaire, the artists paint a lot of marine life. Read on to see and learn about the street art in Bonaire.

The Sea

In Bonaire, locals and tourists celebrate the wonders of the sea and the fun activities to enjoy on and in it. Not surprisingly, that appreciation is reflected in the island’s street art.

snorkelers mural bonaire
Mural of Snorkelers in Bonaire
Diving Bonaire Street Art
Life is a Beach Bonaire

Donkeys

Donkeys roam freely around Bonaire so it’s no surprise to see art devoted to these sweet and ubiquitous animals.

Donkey structure Bonaire
A wooden donkey by the side of the road in Bonaire
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Driving in Bonaire

Although a relatively small island, Bonaire is worth taking the time to explore. I recommend renting a car or pickup truck as there is no public transit and it is too big and hot to walk or cycle. In our three months in Bonaire, we shared a pickup with friends from another boat. The truck was perfect on the rough roads and to transport dive tanks for shore diving. It’s not just the roads that make driving in Bonaire an interesting experience.

The Good Parts of Driving in Bonaire

Unlike other Caribbean islands, you don’t need to pay for a driver’s license in Bonaire. This is a plus because it saves you money and a trip to the police station. Seriously. In Grenada and Dominica you have to get a license at the police station to rent a car, and some places they sell it to you at the rental agent. In Bonaire, it’s much easier as there’s no license to buy!

Another plus about driving in Bonaire is the flat terrain. And the drivers are pretty polite. You don’t get honked at as much as back home. Plus, they drive on the same – right – side of the road just as we are used to back home. So for the most part, driving in Bonaire is a good experience. Here’s what makes it interesting.

Van driving in Bonaire
Our rental truck had room for scuba gear for 4 of us!
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