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Curaçao or Bonaire? #314578
03/01/2024 03:43 PM
03/01/2024 03:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 112
between the Purcells and the R...
B
barata Offline OP
Traveler
barata  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 112
between the Purcells and the R...
Looking for laid back OCEANFRONT accommodations that won’t break the bank.

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Re: Curaçao or Bonaire? [Re: barata] #314714
03/03/2024 10:59 AM
03/03/2024 10:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 600
Eastern NC, N Topsail Beach
S
SXMFOX Offline
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SXMFOX  Offline
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S
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 600
Eastern NC, N Topsail Beach
Well this is just our point of view. We went to curaçao right after hurricane Irma destroyed st maarten. We rented a villa right on the ocean in a gated community that also had several nice restaurants right on the water, seems nice right? We wish we had those 10 days back and had spent them on Bonaire, hands down. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people love curaçao, just wasn’t our taste, want be setting foot on that rock again. Spend your money in Bonaire, you will not be disappointed. As far as accommodations that want bust the ban, sorry I can’t help you there. But if you look for accommodations on the interior of the island I’m sure you’ll find something. Good luck.

Re: Curaçao or Bonaire? [Re: barata] #314745
03/03/2024 06:40 PM
03/03/2024 06:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 18
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Ifeltlikeagringo Offline
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Ifeltlikeagringo  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 18
We'll be able to tell you more later this month after our first trip to Bonaire, but we enjoyed Curacao quite a bit. We spent basically zero time around Willemstad and to the south/east except for an afternoon snorkeling at the tugboat. We stayed at the Marazul Dive Resort in Westpunt & it was an incredible value (as in around $125 a night). It's basically a group of small townhouses with an open plan kitchen/living/dining room on the first floor, with full bath, and a bedroom and another full bath upstairs. Porches both floors. A little bit away in Lagun there are two similar developments, Lagoon Ocean and Lagun Blue--all of them are built basically on top of cliffs (with spectacular views) and you can go down steps to the beach or, in the case of Marazul, straight into the water. Both areas also have have decent restaurants within walking distance. We enjoyed the entire series of bays going down the coast--there was great snorkeling, easy parking, and easy entry via sandy beach.

We're really looking forward to Bonaire, but we know it's not going to be quite as "beachy" a vacation--there are only a few beaches on the island instead of one every mile or two. We're definitely going to need our hard soled dive boots to get in and out of the water, even though we're only snorkelers! There are also lots of warnings about not leaving anything (including things like flip flops!) in your vehicle, and to leave everything unlocked with the windows down to minimize the damage from thieves. That being said, our unit at the Sand Dollar Condominiums was reasonably priced and very well reviewed, and the complex has a tiny beach, ocean front loungers, and is within walking distance of a few restaurants.

I'll be happy to tell you more after March 19, but we certainly didn't hate Curacao and hope to enjoy Bonaire as well. We're looking forward to lots of snorkeling.

Last edited by Ifeltlikeagringo; 03/03/2024 06:43 PM.
Re: Curaçao or Bonaire? [Re: barata] #317009
03/30/2024 02:32 PM
03/30/2024 02:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 18
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Ifeltlikeagringo Offline
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Ifeltlikeagringo  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 18
OK, back from Bonaire! There are some similarities with Curacao (great Dutch supermarkets!) but overall, they're quite different. We spent almost no time on a beach in Bonaire--there are only a couple that are what you think of when you think of a nice beach, and the nicest (no name beach on Klein Bonaire) is accessible only by water taxi. That and the minimum 25-knot winds when we were there made beach time not really easy or fun (although Klein Bonaire is great and water taxis are only $25 round trip). Curacao wins big time on beachiness.

Bonaire is smaller than Curacao, with overall shorter drives to get to key spots. In fairness, we stayed at the absolute western edge of Curacao, and many people stay closer to Willemstad (which is very much a city), but the best beaches are in the west so you'd probably be doing some driving anyway. On Bonaire we stayed at Sand Dollar Condominiums in the Hato neighborhood, just outside the center of Kralendijk. It was a great location, with one of the few tiny sandy beaches and a long seawall with loungers. Our condo was just right for us--a very well equipped studio with a screened in porch and great view for $160 per night via VRBO. We really love screened porches and don't understand why more island places don't have them. I really hate bug spray, so I love screened porches! Sand Dollar has wonderful snorkeling (and diving) at Bari Reef, right offshore, and it's easy walking distance to some good restaurants. We can recommend Pizza Mare and Breeze n Bites, both right next door. Lodging is a wash vs. Curacao, or maybe a slight advantage to Bonaire.

We are avid snorkelers and both islands were great in that regard. Bonaire's shore entries are mostly fairly difficult--lots of ironshore, some fairly rough seas and strong currents. It makes up for the level of difficulty with some of the most amazing sea life we've ever encountered, but almost all of the sites drop off very quickly and there isn't much coral near shore. We took the morning water taxi to Klein Bonaire that drops you off at the edge of the reef to drift back to the beach, plus a second boat trip for some night snorkeling. On Curacao we were able to snorkel the cliff sides of the bays and get in very close to see tiny creatures and lots of bright encrusting corals and sponges. Both islands would make any snorkeler happy.

So that's about it. If you have any specific questions, just ask!


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