The airport in Bonaire is pretty strange – check-in is under a roof, but there are no walls – it’s an open-air check-in area. Check-in however was very quick and nothing terribly exciting. We opted to wait in a cafe that at least had a mild breeze to cut the hot temps outside which was better than nothing. In retrospect, we should definitely have gone straight through security to the gate, since the one-room gate area was air conditioned and nice and cool!
Boarding was roughly on-time and soon we were on the plane for the short 15 minute or so flight between Bonaire and Curacao.
Insel Air Flight 306
Bonaire (BON) to Curacao (CUR)
Depart 11:40, Arrive 12:15 – arrived 10 minutes early
Fokker F-50 Prop Plane, Registration PJ-KVG, Manufactured 1991
Seats 1A and 1C
This flight featured open seating, so we made sure to be first on board to grab a decent seat. Not that it mattered for such a short flight, but was still nice to be in the bulkhead row. It was a short flight of 15 minutes tops, and I was surprised we actually went up to 6,000 feet for the short hop. Soon we were in Curacao, through immigration and to the hotel.
The airport is on the extreme north side of the island, and the Hilton is on the far south side, so it was a good 20 minute or so taxi ride there, but very uneventful. Check-in was a bit of a disaster, taking over 20 minutes due to an extremely undermanned front desk and the couple folks that were working were quite slow.
Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we headed up to the Executive Lounge for 30 minutes to wait where we met the real gem of this hotel. The lounge attendant was absolutely fantastic and was doing everything in her power to make sure that everyone was having a great stay. All other shortcomings of this property aside she was absolutely wonderful.
After checking in, we grabbed lunch at the beach bar, which was quite disappointing. A subpar burger and sandwich and a slow-moving staff that seemed bothered when you requested things. It wasn’t bad, but it did seem like we were more of a bother than paying customers.
We spent the balance of the afternoon swimming first in the ocean, and then in the large pool for a bit. The beach area is nothing great, and was definitely a big let-down after both Aruba and Bonaire. The pool was nice, but all in all, Curacao was the biggest disappointment of the three from a beach point of view. Instead of white sand the beach was rather rocky, and there really wasn’t anything interesting to see in the water.
The clientele was also quite different. Aruba seemed to be the lost borough of New York City, Bonaire was definitely a scuba crowd, and Curacao definitely felt like Dutch package tourists. Not bad, just a very different atmosphere. After relaxing a bit, we headed into the city to explore!