Island update: What’s new in Q1- Curaçao releases the latest happenings on island
WILLEMSTAD - With temperatures cooling down across the North East and Canada, the Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao is only just heating up this year with a myriad of events, island news, and offerings this quarter:
- New Airport Terminal Expansion Project
Curaçao Airport Partners has announced an extensive airport terminal expansion project to be completed in 2018. The planned airport expansion will offer added space in the waiting areas, as well as more shops, and food and beverage facilities. The project is slated to begin in the second quarter of this year. For more information, visit www.curacao-airport.com.
- Canadian Arrivals Up 43%
According to the latest data, the Curaçao Tourist Board saw a significant influx in visitor arrivals from Canada last year, with a reported 43% increase for 2015, and an increase of 130% arrivals from Quebec. The new airlift from Toronto and Montreal with Air Canada and Air Transat (from Toronto) has contributed significantly to the increase in visitors from this region. For more information, visit www.curacao.com/en/directory/corporate/statistics-and-downloads.
- Second Cruise Pier in Progress
The island recently announced plans to build a $43 million second cruise pier, the Tula Pier, to keep up with the cruise traffic demand to the area. Construction began in November on the new Tula Pier, which will be located in the Otrobanda area, west of St. Anna Bay. For more information, visit www.curports.com.
- Chobolobo Factory to Celebrate 120th Anniversary
Combining the best of both the old and new, the famous Chobolobo Factory will celebrate its 120-year anniversary on March 28, 2016 with the release of a brand new liqueur flavor. In addition to the new liqueur flavor, the Chobolobo Factory has also debuted five new cocktail workshops including, Tiki Cocktails, Famous Classics, Party Favorites, Martini Heaven, and Chobolobo Specials to celebrate the anniversary. For more information, visitwww.curacaoliqueur.com.
- Curaçao Wins “Most Imaginative” Booth
Earlier this month, the Curaçao Tourist Board fascinated thousands of New Yorkers with a 360-degree virtual reality experience at the New York Times Travel Show, taking home the prize of “Most Imaginative” booth. The show is the largest trade and consumer travel event in North America and hosts 500 exhibitors from over 150 countries. The Curaçao booth featured a replica of the island’s iconic Queen Emma Bridge, as well as a virtual reality station where participants were able to get a 360-degree view of downtown Willemstad and enjoy a simulated experience of what it would feel like to actually walk over the Queen Emma Bridge. For more information, visit www.nyttravelshow.com.
- Scuba Lodge Debuts New Suites
One of the island’s boutique hotels, Scuba Lodge, recently unveiled three new one-bedroom suites, expanding to 22 rooms and nine apartments. The hotel now offers accommodations for every party, from single and double hotel rooms, to one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom luxury suites. In addition, the property features a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, a PADI diver center, and is conveniently located in one of Curaçao’s most lively and up-and-coming areas, Pietermaai Smal. For more information, visit www.scubalodge.com.
- Curaçao Marriott Renovates its Restaurant
The Curaçao Marriott has completed renovations to the property’s outdoor restaurant, the Palm Café. The restaurant now includes a new breakfast spread, complete with marble counter tops, LED ceiling lighting in color, and new tables and chairs. The Palm Café is open every morning for breakfast, on Mondays for a BBQ buffet, and for special occasions. For more information, visit www.curacaomarriott.com.
- Avila Under New Ownership
The oldest operating hotel on Curacao, the Avila Hotel, was recently sold to the Vogels family, who owns the well-known property Lions Dive & Beach Resort. With the new ownership, the property has undergone a complete rebranding with the new name “Avila Beach Hotel,” as well as an extensive beach upgrade and room renovation. For more information, visit www.avilahotel.com.
- Hilton Curaçao Unveils Renovated Dining and Recreation Areas
The Hilton Curaçao has recently completed renovations to its dining, recreation, and common areas. In an effort to continuously offer guests an upscale and unforgettable experience, the beachfront resort recently upgraded its beach bar, newly renamed as Celeste Beach Bar. Celeste Beach Bar has been redesigned to include an elegant wooden structure, styled with white furniture, and bright colored fabrics to reflect a Caribbean vibe. In addition to Celeste Beach Bar, the resort also recently completed renovations to its Bligh’s Bar, lobby space, entrance signage, and pool area. For more information, visit www.hiltoncuracaoresort.com.
- Kunuku Aqua Resort Debuts 90 New Rooms
Located on the island’s West side, Kunuku Aqua Resort recently added 90 rooms its property, expanding to 114 apartments and rooms. Just a short drive from the Hato Caves, this relaxing resort offers fun for the whole family with a built-in water park, which includes several swimming pools and three water slides. For more information, visit www.kunukuresort.com.
- Curaçao’s Carnival, February 2016
Often considered one of the best events of the year, the main events of Curaçao’s Carnival will take place in mid-February. Consisting of a variety of parades and street festivals through the Banda Abou and Willemstad neighborhoods, Carnival celebrates the island’s heritage before the start of Lent. The festival features parades with beautifully decorated floats sponsored by a variety of carnival groups, neighborhood districts, and social clubs on the island, accompanied by costumed marchers and live music. For more information, please visit www.curacaocarnival.info/.
- Seú Harvest Festival Parade, April 2016
In April, more than 2,000 locals of all ages come together to celebrate the island’s harvest festival. Originally a festive march through the field, the seú is made up of graceful dance steps, called “wapa,” which mimic the movements used in planting and harvesting back in the 17th century. Today, the march is part of a large festival where locals dress up in traditional costumes and parade through the streets of Otrobanda and Banda Abou. For more information, visit www.curacao.com/en/dont-miss.
- International BlueSeas Festival, May 6 – 7, 2016
Following the success of last year’s event, the island will host its second annual International BlueSeas Festival on May 6 - 7, 2016. The festival will be a celebration of traditional and gentrified jazz music, and will feature a variety of international musicians, including Daddy Long Legs, Jimmie Vaughan, Laurence Jones, Leon Russell, and more. Last year’s performances included the legendary Original Blues Brothers, Buddy Guy, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Moreland & Arbuckle. For more information, visit www.curacaoblueseasfestival.com.