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Doing it on our own?

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We did a tour last time in Curacao--beaches, sea turtles etc---and really would just like to go to a great beach and relax for 3-4 hours. Then head back to port to shop, explore downtown etc. I've seen the taxi rates for the 4 of us and they're not "unreasonable" but I also don't like being somewhere and not having guaranteed transportation back. However, I don't need all the entertainment/stops of an excursion. I've looked at some private tours but that seems like a lot of money/waste of an awesome guide's time to go to 1-2 beaches and just wait to take us back. 

Thoughts on the easiest way to do this?

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We just reserved a midsize car through Advance rentals for the day when we’re there n early December.  $75 all-in and all we have to do is fill up before returning.  Comes with GPS and a cell phone to call the owner if needed.  Comes highly recommend and they meet you right across from the ship.  I’ll report back but if you’re going soon I’d look into that, as all we’re doing is using it to get to some of the farther out beaches.

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We took the Beach Break bus through the ship's excursions and went

to Blue Bay for the morning.  The bus picked us up and we went back

to the ship for lunch and then to Willemstad.  We would price compare

for other excursions. 

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On 11/4/2019 at 11:57 AM, cruiseapril said:

We took the Beach Break bus through the ship's excursions and went

to Blue Bay for the morning.  The bus picked us up and we went back

to the ship for lunch and then to Willemstad.  We would price compare

for other excursions. 

We are also considering this excursion and read some mixed reviews from others saying the tour bus to get there is very long and you actually only get less than 2 hours at the beach. I was happy to see your post hoping maybe you could give us a rundown on the excursion and if you liked it and how much time you actually did get at blue bay resort. Thanks so much! 

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We just returned from our cruise which included a long day stop at Curacao (8am-10pm).  There were several things we wanted to do so we rented a car from Celestino at Advance car rentals ($75 for the day - 4 door Chrysler - insurance included and no extra tax - $75 was the exact and complete price).  He met us at the gate of the port, and, as mentioned above, gave us a cell phone to contact him and a GPS to find our way around and he even inputted all our planned destinations so it was easy to navigate.  This was by far our favorite of our 8 port stops on our cruise.

 

We went to the Hato caves (free parking - entrance = $9 us pp), then headed out to the far beaches (Went to Grot Knip first for a dip and some snorkeling (maybe 35 minutes from Hato).  No charge for the beach, and security guard patrolling the parking lot.  2 chairs and a shade umbrella cost $15 but we didn't go for it since we were not planning to stay that long.  Small beach but beautiful.  Just locals at the beach.  Then we headed just a short distance to Santa Cruz, which is another small beach type bay.  No cost.  Snorkeled there and had lunch at the one restaurant there.  Just a quiet piece of heaven.  No crowds at all - just a few locals.  While  there, we took the 1pm snorkel excurision with Captain Goodlife ($22 us per person) to snorkel at the Blue room (it will blow your mind), and the shipwreck and the Buddha caves.  This is all very rustic.  The boat, the restaurant, the beach bay - like something out of Gilligan's Island. 

 

After that, we headed to the National Park at the end of the Island (Shete Boka) (took us about 20 minutes from Santa Cruz).  Cost $10 us pp to enter, but no entry after 4pm and posted park closing at 5pm.  We arrived at 3:30pm and the ladies manning the entrance had already closed up and were waiting for people to leave the parking lot so they could go home.  They told us to just park outside the gate and walk from there (adds an extra minute - but no cost so it saved us $20).  The views were just breathtaking as the waves crashed on the volcanic rock.  It can be very hot during the middle of the day, but was just perfect for us at 3:30pm.  We were back at the pier at 6pm and Celestino met us there to recover the car.  Total to fill up with gas was $11 us)

 

Don

Edited by Mud_Shark

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MudShark, that sounds amazing and incredibly economical for a family...I might steal your exact itinerary. 🤔😎 

 

Did you reserve your snorkel excursion in advance or just sign up at the beach?

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On 11/23/2019 at 2:18 AM, Mud_Shark said:

We just returned from our cruise which included a long day stop at Curacao (8am-10pm).  There were several things we wanted to do so we rented a car from Celestino at Advance car rentals ($75 for the day - 4 door Chrysler - insurance included and no extra tax - $75 was the exact and complete price).  He met us at the gate of the port, and, as mentioned above, gave us a cell phone to contact him and a GPS to find our way around and he even inputted all our planned destinations so it was easy to navigate.  This was by far our favorite of our 8 port stops on our cruise.

 

 

 

Don, did any of your snorkel locations include seeing seaturtles? That is pretty high on our list of things we'd like to see while we're there. 

 

I contacted Celestino but unfortunately he only has midsize vehicles available the day we're in Curacao. Trying to decide if we should rent 2 (for our family of 6) or find another option. (Different rental agency, taxi, etc.)

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1)  We did not see any turtles ourselves, but we were not really looking either, as we had seen them both in St Thomas and again in Barbados.  I am told there are common turtle sightings in many of the beaches in the area around Grot Knip. No first hand knowledge of that.  Also was told earlier in the day is better for turtles in these bays.

 

2)  There are no advanced reservations with Capt Goodlife (its a very laid back affair).  We arrived early (before noon), had some lunch, snorkeled in the bay, and then boarded for the excursion at 1pm.  A variety of Dutch tourists showed up about 15 mins before departure.   There was enough room to accommodate all of us and maybe 5-8 more.  There were probably about 25 of us on board.  We were the only North Americans on the excursion, but most could converse in English to some degree.

 

Don

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On 11/29/2019 at 6:32 PM, Mud_Shark said:

1)  We did not see any turtles ourselves, but we were not really looking either, as we had seen them both in St Thomas and again in Barbados.  I am told there are common turtle sightings in many of the beaches in the area around Grot Knip. No first hand knowledge of that.  Also was told earlier in the day is better for turtles in these bays.

 

2)  There are no advanced reservations with Capt Goodlife (its a very laid back affair).  We arrived early (before noon), had some lunch, snorkeled in the bay, and then boarded for the excursion at 1pm.  A variety of Dutch tourists showed up about 15 mins before departure.   There was enough room to accommodate all of us and maybe 5-8 more.  There were probably about 25 of us on board.  We were the only North Americans on the excursion, but most could converse in English to some degree.

 

Don

 

Well, I had everything planned and now our port days were switched and we will only be in Curacao until 4pm! I switched our rental cars (decided to get 2 from Advance) but I'm nervous about the timeline for the snorkel tour. If we go out with Capt Goodlife from 1:00-2:30, then there is a 42 minute drive according to google maps from there back to the port...that only leaves us with a 48 minute margin for getting from the snorkel to the car, traffic, getting lost, returning the rental cars (getting gas?), and walking back to the ship! The risk-averse side of me is anxious that something goes wrong and we miss the boat. And since we're "on our own" the boat won't wait. Was Capt Goodlife pretty prompt getting back by 2:30 (or do you think if I told him we can't be late he'd make sure to get us back in time)? And is it pretty straightforward to return the rental car and get back on the ship? Does 'depart at 4' mean you're ok getting on the ship at 3:55 or is it like a flight takes off at 4 and you need to board an hour earlier?

 

I really want to do that snorkel excursion, as the blue room sounds amazing to view! But obviously I don't want to miss our boat!!

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