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NoNoNanette

Our FABULOUS day in Curacao!

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Happy New Year, gang!

 

Here's an excerpt from my original cruise review on the HOLLAND AMERICA board. You folks interested in beaches should read on! Pictures in first YAHOO photo link in my signature

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*THURSDAY 12/7 CURACAO. Word of the day: “WOW!”

We LOVED this island, In beauty, I place it just below Bora Bora.

We had arranged to hit a few beaches through www.curacao-actief.com

The moment we disembarked, I heard my name called. Curacao-Actief had hired a cab driver, Ramsey, to pick us up and deliver us to their office parking lot. Very nice guy, stopped a couple times for pictures, and pointed out some landmarks. Dom flipped him a $5 after the short ride. Very likeable fellow.

We were met by our tourguides/bodyguards, Saskia and Priscilla. If I may speak for my husband, “WOW!”. *grinning* These 2 cuties were Dutch interns. 19 and 22 years of age. Absolutely wonderful!

They drove us to a grocery store where we picked up a case of 8 oz. Venezuelan POLAR BEER and a couple bags of ice for $18.

Our first beach was the one that I picked out. Daaibooi Baai (“Die-Boy”). WOW! This place was virtually deserted. Fabulous! Facing the water, I snorkeled along the cove on the left. I’d NEVER seen such an assortment of fish. Some of the biggest Parrot Fishes that I’d EVER seen! The snorkeling was breathtaking. Water clarity was wonderful. WOW!

Next, we headed to CAS ABOU “Bon-Bini Beach”, which was Priscilla’s favorite. (A Dutch “Baywatch” type series was filmed here). CAS ABOU was an expansive, white sand beach. Probably a total of 30 people, if that, scattered about. The shades of blue were gorgeous.

Swam out to a floating raft with snorkel and bread for fishes. From there, I began swimming out to the reef. Honestly, before I got to the “drop off”, I turned around and swam back to the raft. I felt almost “too alone” out there. Water clarity was wonderful, just a little too much “nothing”. Had Dom been with me, I would have been fine. Just felt isolated.

I then snorkeled along the left side cove. WOW! There was a huge area with literally thousands (A million???) of small silver fishes. When I released some bread, it was quite the spectacle! They even overwhelmed the Angel Fish, who didn’t even attempt to feed. WOW!

Left there and drove a beautiful scenic route to the top of the island. Went to Saskia’s favorite beach, “GROTE KNIP”. The view from the parking lot, looking down on the beach was breathtaking. Talk about a photo-op. Wow!

Grabbed my snorkel and took off to the right. The water was out of this world. Great snorkeling. This may have been MY favorite beach, as well. Spent the remainder of the day sunning and splashing.

The gals drove us back to port. This was an 8 HOUR venture. $80 per person. I can’t say enough about our girls and their company, Curacao-Actief. Throughout the day, they stressed that it was “OUR TOUR”, and we were calling the shots. Heck, we were just along for the ride and loving every minute of it!!!

The owner, Anite, is to be applauded for planning this customized beach tour. We emailed back and forth a few times, then she called to chat, getting an idea of our expectations. These expectations were fulfilled a thousand-fold! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this company. (Especially after seeing 2 other tour companies who had their clients packed like sardines in their vehicles!)

I’ve dying to go back to Curacao and hit a few more beaches. WOW!

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Thanks for the great review. I have been in touch with Anite about doing a tour in February and they have been great. Very responsive and had many great suggestions. I think I will probably be booking with them.

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Thanks for your great review. I have a tour booked for my family of 4 in Feb. I am so excited to see this island. We booked the 1/2 day tour. It is supposed to be from 9-1. What time were you picked up and returned to the ship?

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Hi! I saw that you spelled out your email address to someone you met on a cruise in '02. Is there some cc rule that states that you cannot just write it as it is? I have noticed other people doing the same thing. Thanks

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Nanette,

I have been in contact with saskia and pricilla and my husband and I are planning on using the two of them in April for our day at the beach. We you the only couple they took around. I wasn't sure if they would take just 2 of us. It sounds like you were very pleased. We are wanting to go to the beach in the morning and then plan on driving around the island in the afternoon. Any advice would be appreciated. We are looking for a beach that has good snorkeling, chairs and bathrooms. What would you suggest?

 

Barbara

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Hi Barbara-

 

Yes, it was just the 4 of us. (The gals, my husband and I).

 

The snorkeling was out of this world at all 3 beaches that we went to. I'm fairly certain that there were chairs and bathrooms available at each one. You might want to ask the girls, though.

 

Honestly, Barbara- Just when I thought we were at "The Perfect Beach", we'd venture to another one that knocked our socks off.

 

As far as driving around the island..... We were all the way up to the "top" of Curacao, when we were at Grote Nip. So, we really did get a "tour" of the island just beach-hopping.

 

You'll love Saskia and Priscilla. They're little dolls!

 

Have a blast!

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Nanette-Thanks for the review. I have a few questions. Was lunch provided? You look like you are lying on a blanket, did you bring your own? And, that's a nasty looking toe. What are the conditions on the beaches. Smooth sand or are they a little rocky? Would I need water shoes?

 

Pat.

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Nanette-Thanks for the review. I have a few questions. Was lunch provided? You look like you are lying on a blanket, did you bring your own? And, that's a nasty looking toe. What are the conditions on the beaches. Smooth sand or are they a little rocky? Would I need water shoes?

 

Pat.

 

Hi Pat- actually, we picked up some snacks at the grocery store when we stopped for our beer.

 

I had brought an OLD sheet that I usually take to beach vacations...so yeah...it was ours. All of the beaches had huts/and or seats available, though.

 

Our FIRST BEACH (probably my favorite) was rocky. I'd left my shoes in their vehicle, and tip-toed around. I'd bring 'em, kiddo! (Dom sprained his toe whilst snorkeling....wasn't paying attention and got jammed) :)

 

CAS ABOU (Bon Bini) was a gorgeous white sand beach.

 

I want to say that our last stop, GROTE KNIP might have been in-between.

 

Hope that helps you!

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Nanette,

We have booked with Saskia and Priscilla, but they will be leaving before April, so we will have someone else. Hope they are as good. Did you buy a cooler at the store for your drinks and snacks? Also, if we want to beach to snorkel and sun, which would you suggest? I love to snorkel, but after a while just like to chill. Would love to have a recliner if they are available. Did you drive around and look at any sights or shop in town with the girls?

 

Barbara

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Good morning, Barbara-

 

Shoot me an email, OK? nanzo#datasync.com

 

***************************

 

To answer your questions-

 

Dom and I had brought a collapsible rolling cooler on board. (I loaded it up with a case of wine for the cruise). That's what we used. Picked it up at WalMart a couple of years ago for maybe $10. The girls also had a couple of coolers with ice and water for themselves.

 

Honestly, all 3 of the beaches that we visited were gorgeous. As far as "sunning" goes, Bon Bini was more of a "beachy" beach. Does that make sense? White sand, more of it, more Caribbean-looking.

 

I'd highly suggest that you head up to Grote Knip, too. It's all the way at the top of the island. The drive was quite pretty. That was our "sightseeing".

 

No.... sorry. No shopping.

 

HOWEVER, the gals made it clear that it was OUR day to do whatever we wanted. You're going to be delighted, Barbara!

 

Please...email me.

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Nanette,

We are all set with our tour. Can't wait! I think we might take a small cooler also. Do you think we should pack a sheet to take along?

 

Barbara

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Nanette,

We are all set with our tour. Can't wait! I think we might take a small cooler also. Do you think we should pack a sheet to take along?

 

Barbara

 

Hi Barbara-

 

We had a collapsible cooler with us. I also had a ratty old "beach sheet" that we used in Curacao and Dominica. I ended up tossing it before coming home.

 

I wanted to email you the following.... at the risk of getting flamed..... you might consider "smuggling" room service sandwiches and chips off of the ship. We had club sandwiches, steak sandwiches, cake, etc. Basically had a "picnic" with our gals. (They were delighted!). I know it's "against the rules", but it saved us a bundle, and was alot of fun! :)

 

I know that you'll have a delightful time. The beaches are absolutely out of this world! (Dunno if I mentioned it, but we had cheapo-snorkels from WalMart.... perfect!)

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Nanette,

We are all set with our tour. Can't wait! I think we might take a small cooler also. Do you think we should pack a sheet to take along?

 

Barbara

 

Hi Barbara-

 

We had a collapsible cooler with us. I also had a ratty old "beach sheet" that we used in Curacao and Dominica. I ended up tossing it before coming home.

 

I wanted to email you the following.... at the risk of getting flamed..... you might consider "smuggling" room service sandwiches and chips off of the ship. We had club sandwiches, steak sandwiches, cake, etc. Basically had a "picnic" with our gals. (They were delighted!). I know it's "against the rules", but it saved us a bundle, and was alot of fun! :)

 

I know that you'll have a delightful time. The beaches are absolutely out of this world! (Dunno if I mentioned it, but we had cheapo-snorkels from WalMart.... perfect!)

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Nanette,

Thanks for the food idea. That is what we will plan on doing.......can't wait until April when we are in the beautiful caribbean!!!!

 

Barbara

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To all those who have booked with curacao-actief - please let us know how you got on. Based on the review here, we booked with them, and we were disappointed with their service. Fish and coral were great though! Please let us know how you got on - maybe we just caught them on an off day.

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NoNoNanette - How long did your tour last? And what time did you start? How long did you stay at each beach? I'm interested in the beaches you went to and am trying to determine the time to get between them. Thanks!

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Hi Barbara

 

They were late in picking us up - didn't seem to know what terminal we were coming in to, even though it had all been confirmed in advance. We were then left by a taxi driver outside a restaurant and had to wait again for the tour guide, and we didn't understand why (they later explained it was because only taxis are allowed inside the terminal). Then they didn't know what tour we had booked - again confirmed in advance. They didn't have the right size flippers for me - even though it was confirmed in advance, so we had to make another stop to get some. By this time we were getting pretty hacked off! :mad:

 

Our time in Curacao was limited, and so we didn't understand why, after one stop at tug boat, we were then taken on a very long drive to the next beach. We didn't really want to spend so much of our day on the road. Those were the main niggles.

 

It was all a bit of a botch up. As I said, I'm sure we caught them on an off day as so many other reviews have been really good, but out of all the tours we booked on our two week cruise, they were the ones that let us down. They did give us some money off as they realised we were not happy.

 

As I said before, the snorkelling that we did was good, and I'm glad others have had good experiences with them - but personally we wouldn't use them again. Next time we are in Curacao we will probably take a taxi to Director's Bay and snorkel round to the tug boat, and arrange a taxi pick up to bring us back to the ship.

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NoNoNanette - How long did your tour last? And what time did you start? How long did you stay at each beach? I'm interested in the beaches you went to and am trying to determine the time to get between them. Thanks!

 

Hi there!

 

Honestly, I don't remember times, but I'm confident in saying that this was a full 7 or 8 hour day.

 

Probably stayed a couple of hours at each beach. Curacao-Actief made it perfectly clear that we were calling the shots... they were just our drivers.

 

If you're into crystal-clear water, I'd highly recommend our stops. I was in HEAVEN! (I've turned into a bit of a "beach-snob" over the years!) :)

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Thanks, Nanette. Just curious how long it took the owner to get back to via email when you were in contact with her? I've emailed her a few times - finally got a reply to my first email, but still haven't heard back from her on my followup email...and it's been three days.

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There were problems with their mailserver, my mails were not received. I mailed after a couple of days again, and received a mail immediately.

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I've received a comfirmation email, so everything is OK :D

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I've received a comfirmation email, so everything is OK :D

 

Tell me.... what do you have planned with them in a couple of weeks? Please report back upon your return. :)

 

Have a blast, Sheik!!!!

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Thanks NoNanette, we booked the sightseeing tour (7 hours) without the snorklingpart.

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We just got back from our Southern Caribbean cruise. We took NoNo's advice and took a island tour with Curacao Actief. Anite (pronounced as Anita) was wonderful. She gives a fabulous Curacao tour.

 

It is well worth the money and you will not regret booking with Curacao Actief.

 

Here is the web site:

http://www.curacao-actief.com/index.php

 

Thanks for the recommendation NoNo!

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Hi there, Roy-

 

I'm delighted that you had such a nice time with them... They knocked my socks off! :)

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I had a wonderful 'private' guidetour with Curacao Actief. I'm just back from the cruise, so I have to unpack right now. I will talk about it later.

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going to curacao for the 1st time in december...we are 2 families traveling together (4 teens between us). this company seems to have it all.

what would you suggest? we are on the 12 night panama canal cruise. my husband does not have to snorkel or be at a beach all day.

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I'd shoot them an email, asking for suggestions.

 

You'll find them VERY accomodating, cruzobsessed. (Love your moniker!)

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Nononanette,

 

I know its been awhile since your trip but do you remember how much of your trip was spent driving. How far to the first beach and how far each inbetween and how far back. Those beaches sound beautiful but the family wouldn't enjoy too much driving. Thanks.

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