Hotels & Resorts

VIETNAM: Best Western To Open New Beach Resort In Cam Ranh

Just a month after announcing a new BW Premier Collection property that will be opened in Vung Tau, Vietnam, Best Western Hotels & Resorts has announced yet another property that will open in Vietnam.

Best Western Premier Cam Ranh Seahorse Beach Resort is the latest addition to the hotel group’s growing portfolio.

Best Western Premier Cam Ranh Seahorse Beach Resort will be nestled on an idyllic stretch of golden sand on Vietnam’s south-central coast, overlooking the azure East Sea.

The new upscale beach resort in Cam Ranh is ideal for all types of travelers, from families seeking a beachfront vacation to corporate groups planning memorable meetings.

We are delighted to sign such a prestigious project in Vietnam, as we ramp up our expansion strategy in this dynamic country, said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western’s Managing Director of International Operations – Asia.

Best Western Premier Cam Ranh Seahorse Beach Resort is a perfect example of the type of first-class properties we are now attracting in Asia.

With record numbers of international visitors, a large domestic population and rising levels of affluence, Vietnam is an incredibly exciting destination with huge tourism potential.

We look forward to welcoming guests to this excellent resort in future and will continue to seek opportunities to bring Best Western’s world-class standards of hospitality to more areas of the country in future, Olivier added.

Upon opening, Best Western Premier Cam Ranh Seahorse Beach Resort will feature a total of 376 rooms and suites, all equipped with upscale facilities, spacious bathrooms and cutting-edge technology, including complimentary Wi-Fi.

Guests can sample delectable local and international cuisine in the restaurant, enjoy soothing therapies in the spa, have fun on the tennis court, cool off in the tropical outdoor pool, or simply stroll along the sandy beach or beside the landscaped lakes.

For corporate clients and event planners, the adjacent convention hall provides an ideal setting for every type and size of event.

This including major international conferences, all backed up with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.

Located in Khanh Hoa province, in the south-central coast region of Vietnam, Cam Ranh is a stunning destination with golden sands and turquoise seas.

The expansion of Cam Ranh International Airport, which will soon open a new international passenger terminal featuring 80 check-in counters and ten aircraft bridges, is helping to transform the area into a major tourism destination.

The airport now welcomes direct flights from major cities including Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.

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Tourism

CAMEROON: Yaounde Taxi Sharing So Risky. Mind Your Phone And Wallet , Plenty Of Game Meat

Yaounde is the capital of Cameroon with a population of approximately 2.5 million, the second largest city in the country after the port city Douala.

It lies in the Centre Region of the nation at an elevation of about 750 metres (2,500 ft) above sea level.

Most of Yaounde’s economy is centered on the administrative structure of the civil service and the diplomatic services.

Due to these high-profile central structures, Yaounde enjoys a relative higher standard of living and security compared to the rest of Cameroon.

Major industries in Yaounde include tobacco, dairy products, beer, clay, glass goods, and lumber. It is also a regional distribution centre for coffee, cocoa, copra, sugar cane, and rubber.

Local residents engage in urban agriculture. The city is estimated to have 50,000 pigs and over a million chickens.

In 2010, under Mayor Jean Claude Adjessa Melingui, Yaounde began a flood reduction project, the Yaounde City Sanitation Master Plan, to deal with severe floods that disrupted the city 15 to 20 times a year, affecting as many as 100,000 people at a time.

After four years, the frequency of flooding had been reduced from fifteen to three times a year, and cases of water-borne diseases such as typhoid and malaria were reduced by almost half.

Although Melingui died in 2013, local officials are continuing his efforts to transform the city.

Ongoing improvements to sanitation infrastructure are being carried out under a $152 million plan, largely financed by loans, primarily from the African Development Bank and the French Development Agency, slated for completion in 2017.

Despite the security issues and humanitarian crises that have plagued the Central African nation, its economy remains stable.

In fact, there is diversification of its productive economic activities, with the services sector contributing about half of the total domestic production.

However, just like many countries on the continent, Cameroon has been grappling with corruption, which dominates almost all the sectors, particularly in the capital city.

Oil, gas, and mining revenues are rarely reported, which implies massive graft. In addition, there is weak protection of real and intellectual property, and the judicial system is vulnerable to political manipulation.

According to Yaounde City Council data, there has been over 130 floods that have been striking the city from 1980 to 2014, causing massive loss of life and economic damage.

However, there has been reduction of flooding in the city since the establishment of a sanitation master plan to address the issue.

Another measure was to relocate people living along the drainage routes and in low-lying flood zones.

The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos district, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European, American and other continental communities drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps.

The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi district.

Also found in Yaounde are:

– The Cathedrale Notre Dame des Victoires, seat of the Archdiocese of Yaounde

– The Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apotres, built on the site of the first missionary church in Cameroon

– Cameroon Art Museum, located in a former Benedictine monastery.

– Cameroon National Museum, located in the former presidential palace.

– Blackitude Museum

– Afhemi Museum

– Reunification Monument

– Sport Palace (Palais des Sports)

– Palais des Congres

There is a small zoo in the Mvog-Betsi neighbourhood. Yaounde has a small assortment of Pubs, nightclubs and restaurants.

A distance outside Yaounde is the NGO Ape Action Africa, which rescues and rehabilitates Great Apes threatened with extinction by the illegal bushmeat and deforestation trades.

Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate with constant temperatures throughout the year. However, primarily due to the altitude, temperatures are not quite as hot as one would expect for a city located near the equator.

Yaounde features a lengthy wet season, covering a ten-month span between February and November.

However, there is a noticeable decrease in precipitation within the wet season, seen during the months of July and August, almost giving the city the appearance of having two separate rainy seasons.

It’s primarily due to the relative lull in precipitation during these two months that Yaounde features a tropical wet and dry climate, as opposed to a tropical monsoon climate.

Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaounde Airport is used by the military.

Train lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N’Gaoundere. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan districts.

Frequent buses run on the road between Yaounde and Douala, which has witnessed several fatal accidents. Travel time by road between Douala and Yaounde is approximately 3 hours.

Traffic in the city can be heavy during weekdays, but is very light during the weekends. Yaounde has made significant progress in infrastructure, especially road construction.

Cameroon is a bilingual country, where English and French are both official languages.

Therefore in the city there is a coexistence of French educational system schools, where the degree giving access to university is the Baccalaureate.

All the education is in French, and the English educational system schools, where the degree giving access to university is the GCE Advanced level.

There are three American schools in Cameroon, the American School of Yaounde (ASOY) and Rain Forest International School (RFIS), and the American School of Douala (ASD).

There is also one Turkish School, The Amity College/School.

Yaounde is the site of several universities: the University of Yaounde I, the University of Yaounde II on a campus outside of town, the Protestant University of Central Africa (UPAC) and the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC).

Several of the nation’s professional schools are also located in Yaounde, Higher Teacher’s training college, École Militaire InterArmes du Cameroun, as well as various schools for Engineers (Polytech), Doctors (CUSS), Nurses and Diplomats.

The largest hospital is the Central Hospital of Yaounde – Hopital Central de Yaounde with 650 beds.

Yaounde General Hospital – Hopital General de Yaounde – HGY had 302 beds when it was built in 1985.

Other hospitals are the Yaounde Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital – Hopital Gyneco-Obstetrique et Pediatrique de Yaounde – HGOPY and the University Hospital Center of Yaounde – Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Yaounde- CHU.

The national football team plays some of its home matches in the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium and the football clubs Canon Yaounde, Impots FC and Tonnerre Yaounde are all based in the city.

The Grand Prix Chantal Biya, a men’s road bicycle racing event on the UCI Africa Tour starts and finishes in Yaounde.

Yaoundé is also the base for the National Institute of Youth and Sport (INJS); this school trains government workers who will be in charge of sport all across the country during their career.

Yaounde Market
Joel Embiid, center for the Philadelphia 76ers, and Luc Mbah a Moute, a forward for the Houston Rockets are from Yaoundé, as are Breel Embolo, a footballer for Schalke 04 and Vincent Aboubakar, a footballer for Porto.

Flight schedules to Yaounde and Europe have been reduced in the past few years, and today (2018) there only direct flights to Paris, Brussels, and Istanbul.

Most flights to and from Europe first descend in Douala. These flights frequently continue on to Yaounde and do not require passengers to disembark.

Alternately, one could get off in Douala and take one of the numerous bus or train services to reach Yaounde, a 3-4 hour ride.

Trains are usually used to move cargo from the southern provinces to the northern provinces. There are passenger services that run daily from Yaounde to the Adamawa province.

It’s really worth getting the prestige service if you’re coming from Douala. If for no other reason than the seatbealts, it’s worth the splurge, but take a jumper incase they crank the air-con.

City busses do exist, but shared taxis are the way to go. They will slow down for you to call your destination, and beep to say yes.

The price is fixed at 200CFA, unless you’re travelling a long way, or if you’re not going far, you can try calling cent francs and your destination.

The city’s not really set up for tourists, but some fun things to see are the Mvog Betsi zoo for primates and lions, with a kids’ playground, the Mokolo market which is very big and in-your-face, Mont Febe, or maybe the swimming pools of some of the hotels.

The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos neighbourhood, with most homes owned by Cameroonians.

It is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European community drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps. The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi neighborhood.

Also found in Yaoundé are:

– The Cathedrale Notre Dame des Victoires, the seat of the Archdiocese of Yaounde

– Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apotres, built on the site of the first missionary church in Cameroon

– Cameroon Art Museum located in a former Benedictine monastery

– Cameroon National Museum located in the former presidential palace

– Afhemi Museum

– Palais du Sport

There is a small zoo in the Mvog-Betsi neighbourhood. Yaoundé has a small assortment of nightclubs and restaurants.

If you’re volunteering with an NGO, make sure that you’ve verified its credibility with an independent source.

A good way can be to look at the NGO’s partner organisations; if it has any big ones ie. UN etc., they will probably have checked it out.

It is sad to see eager and well intentioned volunteers have their time and money wasted and their benevolent zeal diminished.

If you need CFA, there are a handful of ATMs at banks around the city, as well as one in the Hilton in the center of Yaounde.

There are also many people on the street who will change money, e.g. at the airport, outside the Hilton, and at the Casino supermarket.

Money changers on the street can be recognized by seeing them rub their thumb and middle finger together at you not a rude gesture, just a sign.

They will generally accept Euros but some may also accept dollars. Know the conversion rate before you go in case you need to haggle, but the group of people who change money outside the Casino give a good rate without haggling

There is a Casino, a large French supermarket chain next to the Notre Dame cathedral in the center of town where you can buy typical European brand-name foods.

The presence of native restoration centers nearly at every turns with a local menu and the many accustomed may provide a unique experience if you care to stop by.

Street stalls are everywhere, but a nice place to go is Nlongkak round about. Here there’s a bit of a variety, and plenty of places to get a beer.

A plate of beans should cost between 200-500CFA, an omlet around 500 or 1000 if in a restaurant with chips, and a plate of spagetti maybe 500CFA. Prices may vary considerably depending on the honesty of your vendor.

Cafe Yaounde, Hippodrome. Pricey for food. Seems to be catering to the expat crowd with a focus on European style cuisine. Nice ambiance with patio seating in a lush garden area. One of the best restaurants in Yaounde.

Kajazoma is a very chic art gallery/eatery that is defiantly worth checking out for dinner or for drinks. Located in a tranquil, open garden or Bastos.

Cosypool is a thai inspired restaurant with a lot of delicious options (Bastos).

Salsa the pizzas are amazing (Bastos).

Yaounde is well served by many mid-range hotels in and around the city-center.

Hotel La Falaise, CFA 55,000, is one of the best of the mid range. Nice rooms, with a pool and gym. Rooms either face the street or the courtyard where the pools is.

Courtyard rooms can be a problem if there is a party in one of the halls on the main and second floor which can sometimes go well into the early hours of the morning.

Street facing is better choice even if the sound of cars start quite early.

The restaurant is ok, but expensive. There are a few options around the hotel and a cheap cab ride away.

Hilton Yaounde, Boulevard du 20 Mai, Yaounde, Cameroon 11852.

Taxi sharing can be risky, even for Cameroonians, and you may wind up with your cell phone and wallet stolen. It is recommended to hire a private taxi recommended by your hotel or a friend.

Yaounde, spread over 7 hills, is the capital city of Cameroon. It is in the southern part of the country.

The 20th-century Notre Dame des Victoires cathedral has a striking triangular roof. Nearby, in the Lake Quarter, the former presidential palace is home to the National Museum, with cultural exhibits such as masks and sculptures.

Farther west, Mvog-Betsi Zoo is home to primates rescued from the bushmeat trade.

South of the center, the Marie Reine des Apotres basilica was built on the site of one of Cameroon’s first missionary churches.

South of the city, a sanctuary run by Ape Action Africa, in Mefou National Park, raises orphaned chimpanzees and lowland gorillas.

A few kilometers north of Yaounde, the Benedictine monastery on Mont Febe is home to the Musee d’Art Camerounais.

Its extensive collection includes masks, pottery and artifacts made of bronze and wood.

Tourism Observer

Travel

ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Airlines To Start Addis Ababa To Jakarta Direct Flights July 17, 2018

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest Aviation Group in Africa and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, is to launch thrice weekly flights from Addis Ababa to Jakarta, Indonesia as of July 17, 2018.

Member of the G-20, Indonesia, is the world’s 4th most populous nation and 10th largest economy in the world.

With this new serve, Ethiopian will service all 5 of the most populous countries in the world.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said: We are very happy to launch a direct service to Jakarta, the first direct connection between Africa and Indonesia and the first flights into Jakarta by an African carrier.

Our new service will further cement our growing footprint in Asia and will enable us to remain the carrier of choice for travelers connecting between Africa and Asia.

Indonesia is one of the most populated countries in the world with a fast growing economy and an emerging manufacturing hub.

In the coming years, African and Indonesian trade, investment and tourism ties are set to grow in an exponential manner and our direct flights will make a significant contribution in the enhancement of Africa-Indonesia cooperation.

We plan to increase our flights to daily, very quickly in line with our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap of connecting Africa with the major trading centers of the world thru our fast expanding global network.

Ethiopian will deploy the modern Boeing 787-8 on the route, which not only offers unparalleled onboard comfort to passengers.

But is also the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft with its lower carbon and noise emissions.

Tourism Observer

Hotels & Resorts

SINGAPORE: Capitol Kempinski Hotel To Open In Singapore

Kempinski Hotels announced plans to open The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore at Capitol Singapore, the first luxury heritage lifestyle destination in the city-state’s downtown Civic District.

It is owned and managed by Singapore-based, Perennial Real Estate Holdings Limited.

Comprising three heritage buildings, Capitol Singapore houses the premier shopping and dining destination Capitol Piazza, the iconic Capitol Theatre, the luxurious Eden Residences Capitol and the upcoming The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.

Rich with history and alive with memories, these carefully restored iconic buildings offer the perfect stage for a cultural renaissance in modern-day Singapore.

The hotel itself is an art deco jewel, housed in the restored Capitol Building and Stamford House, with 157 guest rooms and suites.

It will also feature a leading international restaurant under the helm of a Michelin-starred chef.

The holistic Kempinski experience will extend beyond the hotel to the Galleria, an air-conditioned sheltered promenade which is part of Capitol Piazza, where an array of quintessentially Kempinski gastronomic delights will enchant tourists and locals, with an exquisite selection of culinary treasures.

While hotel guests will be able to appreciate a plethora of arts and cultural performances and events at the Capitol Theatre.

Residents at Eden Residences Capitol will also be able to enjoy the bespoke concierge and personalized services to be provided by The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.

The full range of services at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore will be made available over the course of several phases towards the end of 2018, starting with the hotel opening in September.

Commenting on the collaboration, Pua Seck Guan, Chief Executive Officer of Perennial Real Estate Holdings Limited says: We are pleased to appoint Kempinski to operate The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.

Kempinski is an internationally renowned hotelier reputed for its deep expertise in managing luxury hotels, resorts and serviced residences, hosting large scale meetings and events, as well as providing programming support for theatres adjacent to its hotels.

Combining the rich heritage of Capitol Singapore with the finest traditions of European hospitality, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore is set to become a landmark destination which will redefine service standards and create exquisite guest experiences.

We look forward to collaborating with Kempinski to extend the highly acclaimed Kempinski touch beyond the hotel to Capitol Piazza and Capitol Theatre, and usher in a new chapter for Capitol Singapore as the leading integrated luxury lifestyle destination in the country.

Bernold O. Schroeder, Vice-Chairman of the Management Board of Kempinski Hotels says: Singapore is one of the world’s most exciting destinations and a crossroads of the past and future, making it an ideal stage for our continued expansion in Asia.

The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore will attract Singaporeans and international travellers alike as the brand old new place to be, blending the best of the city-state’s past with the energy, creativity and entrepreneurship of modern day Singapore.

Tourism Observer

Hotels & Resorts

GREECE: Lazart Hotel Thessaloniki Has Been Leased To Zeus International For 25 Years

Greek hotel management and consulting company Zeus International on Tuesday announced that its lease of the Lazart Hotel in Thessaloniki has been renewed for 25 years.

Recently acquired by NBG Pangaea Real Estate Investment Company for 7 million euros.

The Lazart Hotel is located very close to the heart of the city, opposite the renowned cultural center Moni Lazariston, and offers luxurious accommodation in its 74 spacious rooms.

According to an announcement, in less than a year’s operation of the Lazart Hotel, Zeus International managed to record high occupancy levels and the desired financial results.

This attracting the interest of leading investor NBG Pangaea to acquire the property from Madison Point Hotels.

Acknowledging the significant contribution of Zeus International to the promotion of Lazart Hotel as one of the best city hotels in Thessaloniki and its experience in the management and operation of such units.

NBG Pangaea is renewing the lease for the next 25 years, the company said.

Tourism Observer

Hotels & Resorts

GREECE: 310 Room Grand Hyatt Hotel To Open In Athens

Grand Hyatt Athens, will open in the Greek capital by September this year, Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced on Tuesday.

This will be the very first Grand Hyatt branded hotel in Greece.

The hotel will be located in the property where the former Athens Ledra hotel and formerly the Ledra Marriott once operated on Syngrou Avenue.

The hotel is currently undergoing a major renovation and will mark the second Hyatt hotel in Greece – joining its sister property Hyatt Regency in Thessaloniki.

This follows a franchise agreement of a Hyatt affiliate with both Henderson Park and Hines to open the first Grand Hyatt hotel in Greece.

The Grand Hyatt Athens hotel will be managed by Kokari Limited of Y&T Daskalantonakis Knossian Group.

According to Takuya Aoyama, vice president, development for Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS at Hyatt, the hotel chain had long sought to bring the Grand Hyatt brand’s luxury to Athens.

This deal represents a significant milestone in Southeast Europe, an important growth market for Hyatt, Aoyama said.

The Grand Hyatt Athens is expected to appeal to business and leisure travelers who seek exceptional settings.

The 310-room hotel is centrally located in Athens’ Koukaki district, close to golf courses, restaurants and within walking distance of Filopappos Hill.

Following its renovation, the Grand Hyatt Athens will reflect its Greek culture through its architecture and innovative design.

First class rooms will welcome guests along with a rooftop bar and restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and a view of the Acropolis.

Extra amenities will include best-in-class food and beverage venues, more than 11,600 square feet of meeting space as well as a spa and fitness center.

Our investment into Grand Hyatt Athens was driven by its potential as a luxury asset with a historic heritage, said Nick Weber, founding partner of Henderson Park.

Grand Hyatt is one of the world’s leading premium brands and working with Hyatt on this hotel is an endorsement of our ambitious strategy and a strong addition to Henderson Park’s portfolio of iconic European hotels.

On his part, Paul Gomopoulos, managing director, Hines Greece, underlined that the Grand Hyatt is a global brand with the caliber of offerings needed for the Greek market.

We look forward to delivering an experience in Athens worthy of celebration, Gomopoulos said.

Tourism Observer

Travel

MOROCCO: Royal Air Maroc To Fly To 5 East African Nations, Signs Codeshare With Alitalia

Royal Air Maroc RAM has signed a code sharing agreement with Alitalia to boost air links between Morocco and Italy.

Under the deal, they will increase air links between Morocco and Italy to 29 from 7, RAM said in a statement on Wednesday.

Royal Air Maroc (RAM) the national carrier for Morocco announced plans to launch flights to five other East African cities.

Royal Air Maroc already has flights from Casablanca to Nairobi.

Royal Air Maroc Country manager in Kenya, Othman Baba says the move, caused by their gainful experience on the Nairobi route.

Royal Air Maroc which joined the 23-member single African air transport market (SAAM) last year, has said it will ride on the continental aviation framework, to speed up regulatory approvals.

It is so far the only North African airline that runs a direct Nairobi—Ndjamena (Chad) flight.

We will be extending operations in East Africa in in the short-term with new destinations like Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kigali, Maputo and Khartoum,he said.

With more than 30 destinations in West Africa, it is imperative that Royal Air Maroc has decided to spread into East Africa to share on the lucrative East African market.

Royal Air Maroc started with two weekly flights to Nairobi in 2016, but has since increased frequency to three fights a week.

Royal Air Maroc, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, South African and Egypt Air are Africa’s largest flying Airlines.

Air Maroc says its key success point remains its low ticket prices.

Royal Air Maroc maintains strict control over its costs structure and processes, resulting in lower ticket price and cargo tariffs.

Tourism Observer

Travel

KENYA: Kenya Airways Cuts Baggage Allowance,Seeks Exemption From Competition Regulations

Kenya Airways is seeking exemption from competition rules in its joint venture deal with Tanzania’s national carrier Precision Air.

KQ, which has a 41.23 stake in Precision Air wants regulatory approval to discuss revenue sharing, price setting, route schedules, sales and marketing on the two airline’s joint venture routes in Kenya and Tanzania.

The two carriers already have a code-sharing agreement that allows airlines to sell seats on each other’s planes on the Nairobi-Dar es Salaam route.

They have now applied to be exempted from competition regulations until April 2022.

In the joint venture agreement, the parties intend to align and coordinate reciprocal code sharing on the joint venture routes, said Competition Authority of Kenya director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki in a notice.

The routes in discussion are Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, Dar-es-salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

The parties intend to align and coordinate network management activities with respect to the Joint Venture including terms of routes, schedules, capacity and designation, pricing of ticket fares on the joint venture routes says Mr Wang’ombe.

The two airlines are also seeking exemption of competition rules in the management of any and all revenues attributable to the performance of the joint venture by any party.

These including without limit, setting up joint venues management systems and joint venue analysis systems, and joint marketing and sales activities with respect to joint venture.

Although competition laws forbid collusion to set prices, the law also allows companies to apply for exemptions. The Competition Authority gave the public 30 days to submit opinions on the proposal.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways reduced baggage allowance on its intra-Africa routes to one bag, making it more expensive to fly with additional baggage.

The airline previously allowed users flying in Economy Class from one African country to another two bags of a maximum weight of 23 kilogrammes.

Flyers will now be allowed to have only one bag, with charges applicable for extra bags.

Baggage charges are a popular revenue makers for airlines.

Kenya Airways will implement a new baggage policy that will entitle its guests to 20 per cent discount on any extra bag purchases up to 24 hours to departure.

In addition to reduced extra baggage, fees within intra-Africa flights, guests will be entitled to one free bag in the Economy Class cabin at a maximum weight of 23 kilogrammes per passenger, Kenya Airways says.

The carrier however said the intra-Africa one bag allowance will not apply to passengers travelling to and from other continents, while Business Class passengers will maintain their allowance of two free bags at 32 kilogrammes maximum weight per bag.

Charges added onto the actual cost of a ticket have become a way for carriers to make additional income while keeping the cost of tickets low.

The carriers charge Economy Class passengers fees for baggage, legroom and seat selection.

The new baggage policy is part of Kenya Airways’ strategy to provide simplified and discounted competitive prices for passengers who book their extra baggage, any time before 24 hours to departure while enhancing customer service for our guests, says Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz.

Tourism Observer

Travel

CURACAO: Free Trade Zone, Sex Destination. Prostitution Is Legal Here

Curaçao is an island in the Caribbean, among the group known as the ABC Islands alongside Aruba and Bonaire. This trio is located near Venezuela, and are considered to be outside the Caribbean’s so-called hurricane zone.

This means that vacations to the island are rarely disrupted by such tropical storms. Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

One of the most notable things about the island is its culture. This Dutch Caribbean island features building styles you’d find in the Netherlands, but painted in beautiful pastel shades.

However, the people of the island have developed a culture, and even a language, of their own. Papiamentu or Papiamento, is the island’s native Creole.

Papiamentu is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch. Official spelling has existed for only a few years.

Curaçao is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony (1815–1954) and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao it includes the main island of Curaçao and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao or Little Curaçao.

It has a population over 160,000 in an area of 444 km2 (171 sq mi), and its capital is Willemstad.

Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the Island Territory of Curaçao, one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Willemstad is the largest city in and capital of the Netherlands Antilles. It is on the island of Curacao.

Flights are regularly from Amsterdam, the other Lesser Dutch Antilles Aruba, Bonaire or US destinations.

There are no ferries or other regular connections by boat, but you do find the island on most of the cruise ships that pass by the vicinity.

Vienna Biergarten, Handelskade (Willemstad, Curacao). 08:00-22:00. Very good cafe with great food, Great beer & Great service. Right on the Harbor so watch the ships come in all day.

Curaçao experienced an economic downturn in the early 1980s. Shell’s refinery on Curaçao operated with significant losses from 1975 to 1979, and again from 1982 to 1985.

Persistent losses, global overproduction, tougher competition, and low market expectations threatened the future of the Shell refinery in Curaçao.

In 1985, after a presence of 70 years, Royal Dutch Shell decided to end its activities on Curaçao. Shell’s announcement came at a crucial moment; the fragile economy of Curaçao had been stagnating for some time.

Several revenue-generating endeavours suffered even more during this period: tourism from Venezuela collapsed after the devaluation of the bolivar.

The transport industry deteriorated with deleterious effects on the profits of the Antillean Airline Company, and the Curaçao Dry Dock Company experienced major setbacks.

The offshore industry especially financial services, also experienced a downturn because of new tax laws in the United States.

In the mid-1980s, Shell sold the refinery for the symbolic amount of one Antillean guilder to a local government consortium.

The aging refinery has been the subject of lawsuits in recent years, which charge that its emissions, including sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, far exceed safety standards.

The government consortium currently leases the refinery to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

Due to an economic slump in the late 1990s and early 2000s, emigration to the Netherlands has been high.

On 1 July 2007, the island of Curaçao was due to become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 28 November 2006, this was delayed when the island council rejected a clarification memorandum on the process.

A new island council ratified this agreement on 9 July 2007. On 15 December 2008, Curaçao was scheduled to become a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands as Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles were.

A non-binding referendum on this plan took place in Curaçao on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans.

The dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles came into effect on 10 October 2010. Curaçao became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy.

The kingdom was also to oversee the island’s finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed between the two. Curaçao’s first prime minister was Gerrit Schotte. He was succeeded in 2012 by Stanley Betrian, ad interim.

After elections in 2012 Daniel Hodge became the third prime minister, on 31 December 2012. He led a demissionary cabinet until 7 June 2013, when a new cabinet under the leadership of Ivar Asjes was sworn in.

Although Curaçao is autonomous, the Netherlands has interfered when necessary to ensure that parliamentary elections were held and to assist in finalizing an accurate budget.

In July 2017, Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath stated that he wants the island to take full responsibility, but asked for more cooperation and assistance from the Netherlands.

He asked with suggestions for more innovative approaches to help Curaçao succeed, increasing the standard of living.

The Dutch government reminded Curaçao that it has provided assistance with Oil Refinery negotiations with the Chinese on numerous occasions.

Curaçao, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and also Trinidad and Tobago, lies on the continental shelf of South America. Curaçao’s highest point is the Sint Christoffelberg 372 m (1,220 ft)[30].

The coastlines bays, inlets and hot springs offer an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal, or seawater used in hydrotherapy and mesotherapy, making this island one of many balneoclimateric areas in the region.

Flora of Curaçao differs from the typical tropical island vegetation. Xeric scrublands are common, with various forms of cacti, thorny shrubs, evergreen, and the watapana tree, called divi-divi on Aruba, characteristic for the ABC islands and the national symbol of Aruba.

Curaçao has a tropical savannah climate with a dry season from January to September and a wet season from October to December.The temperatures are relatively constant with small differences throughout the year.

The trade winds bring cooling during the day and the same trade winds bring warming during the night. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 26.5 °C (80 °F) and the warmest month is September with an average temperature of 28.9 °C (84 °F).

The year’s average maximum temperature is 31.2 °C (88 °F). The year’s average minimum temperature is 25.3 °C (78 °F).

Curaçao lies outside the hurricane belt, but is still occasionally affected by hurricanes, as for example Hazel in 1954, Anna in 1961, Felix in 2007, and Omar in 2008.

A landfall of a hurricane in Curaçao has not occurred since the United States National Hurricane Center started tracking hurricanes. Curaçao has, however, been directly affected by pre-hurricane tropical storms several times.

The latest to do so were Tomas in 2010, Cesar in 1996, Joan-Miriam in 1988, Cora and Greta in 1978, Edith and Irene in 1971, and Francelia in 1969.

Tomas brushed Curaçao as a tropical storm, dropping as much as 265 mm (10.4 in) of precipitation on the territory, nearly half of the annual precipitation in one day.

This made Tomas one of the wettest events in the island’s history, as well as one of the most devastating; its flooding killed two people and caused over US$28 million in damage.

Meteo, the Curaçao Weather Department, provides up to date information about weather conditions, via its website and mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The northern sea floor drops steeply within 60 m (200 ft) of the shore. This drop-off is known as the blue edge.

On Curaçao, four major geological formations can be found: The lava formation, the Knip formation, the Mid-Curaçao formation and Limestone formations.

Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, international trade, shipping services, oil refining, storage (oil and bunkering) and international financial services being the most important sectors.

The Venezuelan oil company PDVSA has a lease on the island’s oil refinery expiring in 2019; the facility employs 1000 people, refining oil from Venezuela for export to the US and Asia.

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil field services company is incorporated in Curaçao. The Isla oil refinery is claimed to be responsible for Curaçao’s position in the world’s top five highest countries for CO2 emissions per capita.

Curaçao has its own currency and its economy is well developed, supporting a high standard of living, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 27th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita.

Curaçao possesses a high income economy, as defined by the World Bank. Activities related to the port of Willemstad like the Free Trade Zone make a significant contribution to the economy.

To achieve the government’s aim to make its economy more diverse, efforts are being made to attract more foreign investment. This policy, called the Open Arms policy, features a heavy focus on information technology companies.

Reduced foreign demand due to Venezuelan unrest has led to decreased exports along with increased public demands for services and goods which has resulted in economic stagnation since 2016.

Expansion was recorded in the construction, financial intermediation, and utilities sectors while other aspects of the economy contracted.

While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao’s economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean countries. Most tourists originate from the Netherlands, Eastern United States, South America and other Caribbean Islands .

It is a leader in the Caribbean in cruise tourism growth with 610,186 cruise passengers in 2013, a 41.4% increase over the prior year.

Hato International Airport received 1,772,501 passengers in 2013 and recently announced capital investments totaling US$48 million aimed at transforming the airport into a regional hub by 2018.

In 2017 the tourism sector was expected grow at 1% in terms of the total tourist stay over and by 15% in total cruise visitors versus 2016.

The island’s insular shelf has a sharp drop-off known as the Blue Edge which is often visited by Scuba diving tourists.

Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou.

The coastline of Curaçao features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.

In June 2017, the island was named the Top Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean by Cruise Critic, a major online forum.

The winners of the Destination Awards were selected based on comments from cruise passengers who rated the downtown area of Willemstad as amazing and the food and shopping as excellent.

Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef’s condition.

Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish.

Curaçao trades mainly with the United States, Venezuela, and the European Union.

It has an Association Agreement with the European Union which allows companies which do business in and via Curaçao to export products to European markets, free of import duties and quotas.

It is also a participant in the US Caribbean Basin Initiative allowing it to have preferential access to the US market.

Prostitution in Curaçao is legal only for foreign women who get a temporary permit to work in the large open-air brothel called Le Mirage or Campo Alegre that has operated near the airport since the 1940s, and for the men locals included who make use of their services.

Curaçao monitors, contains and regulates the industry. The government states that the workers in these establishments are thereby given a safe environment and access to medical practitioners.

This approach does exclude local women or men to legally make a living from prostitution and does lead to loss of local income as the foreign prostitutes send or take most of their earnings home.

The U.S. State Department has cited anecdotal evidence claiming that, Curaçao is destination island for women trafficked for the sex trade from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, according to local observers.

At least 500 foreign women reportedly are in prostitution throughout the five islands of the Antilles, some of whom have been trafficked.

The US Department of State has said that the government of Curaçao frequently underestimates the extent of human trafficking problems.

Prostitution in the Dutch Caribbean – Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten is legal and regulated.

At least 500 foreign women are reportedly working in prostitution throughout the islands. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Curaçao are sex tourism destinations.

Prostitution has been known to exist in Curacao since pirates and privateers used the island in the 17th century. In the 1920s, oil refineries were opened on the island.

Women migrated to the island to service the needs of the oil workers and sailors from the tankers. In the 1930s and 1940s, Venezuelan, Colombian, and Dominican prostitutes operated in the town centre.

The arrival of the Dutch and American navies to guard the island in the 1940s increased the demand for prostitutes. The government banned prostitution from the town centre, but this was unenforceable.

The governor appointed a commission that included the police, the public health department and the clergy with a view to solving the prostitution problem.

They concluded that the best alternative was to concentrate prostitution in one location away from the town centre, The plan was for a complex of appeasements where prostitutes could work independently.

On May 30, 1949, the complex named Campo Alegre also called Le Mirage was opened.The brothel is still open and is the largest brothel in the Caribbean.

Only foreign prostitutes are allowed to work there, regular health checks are carried out and the women have to carry a health certificate or pink card.

Some prostitution occurs in other bars on the island and in small unlicensed brothels. Open-air snacks, where drinks and fast food are served are also places prostitutes attract clients.

Sex trafficking is a problem in the country.

There is a single state sanctioned brothel on each of the islands of Bonaire, Curacao, and Sint Maarten.

Curacao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten are destination islands for women trafficked for the sex trade from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

In 2011, a human trafficking ring was broken up after trafficking women for sex exploitation from Colombia to Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Bonaire.

Curaçao is a polyglot society. The official languages are Dutch, Papiamentu and English. Dutch is the sole language for all administration and legal matters.

Most of Curaçao’s population is able to converse in at least two of the languages of Papiamentu, Dutch, English, and Spanish.

The most widely spoken language is Papiamentu, a Portuguese creole with African, Dutch and Spanish influences, spoken in all levels of society.

Papiamentu was introduced as a language of primary school education in 1993, making Curaçao one of a handful of places where a creole language is used as a medium to acquire basic literacy.

Spanish and English also have a long historical presence in Curaçao. Spanish became an important language in the 18th century due to the close economic ties with Spanish colonies in what are now Venezuela and Colombia and several Venezuelan TV networks are received.

Use of English dates to the early 19th century, when the British took Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire. When Dutch rule resumed in 1815, officials already noted wide use of the language.

According to the 2001 census, Papiamentu is the first language of 81.2% of the population. Dutch is the first language of 8%, Spanish of 4%, and English of 2.9%.

These numbers divide the population in terms of first language and do not account for the high rate of bilingualism in the population of Curaçao.

Because of its history, the island’s population comes from a number of ethnic backgrounds.

While the majority of Curaçaoans are of Black African descent, there are sizeable minorities of Dutch, Latin American, French, South Asian.

East Asian including Javanese who descend largely from workers contracted from the island of Java in the former Dutch East Indies or modern Indonesia, Portuguese and Levantine people. Additionally, there are both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.

The people of Curacao are of various faiths as follows:

– Roman Catholic; 72.8%

– Pentecostal; 6.6%

– Other Protestant; 3.2%

– Adventist; 3%

– Jehovah’s Witnesses; 2%

– Evangelical; 1.9%

– Other; 3.8%

– None; 6%

– Unspecified; 0.6%

This includes a shift towards the charismatic renewal or charismatic movement since the mid-1970s. Other denominations include the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Methodist Church.

Alongside these Christian denominations, some inhabitants practice Montamentu and other diaspora African religions. Like elsewhere in Latin America, Pentecostalism is on the rise. There are also practising Muslims and Hindus.

The Catholic diocese of Willemstad encompasses all the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean which includes Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The diocese is also a member of the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

While small, Curaçao’s Jewish community has had a significant impact on the island’s history. Curaçao has the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Americas, dating to 1651.

The Curaçao synagogue is the oldest synagogue of the Americas in continuous use, since its completion in 1732 on the site of a previous synagogue.

Despite the island’s relatively small population, the diversity of languages and cultural influences on Curaçao have generated a remarkable literary tradition, primarily in Dutch and Papiamentu.

The oral traditions of the Arawak indigenous peoples are lost. West African slaves brought the tales of Anansi, thus forming the basis of Papiamentu literature.

The first published work in Papiamentu was a poem by Joseph Sickman Corsen entitled Atardi, published in the La Cruz newspaper in 1905. Throughout Curaçaoan literature, narrative techniques and metaphors best characterized as magic realism tend to predominate.

Novelists and poets from Curaçao have made an impressive contribution to Caribbean and Dutch literature. Best known are Cola Debrot, Frank Martinus Arion, Pierre Lauffer, Elis Juliana, Guillermo Rosario, Boeli van Leeuwen and Tip Marugg.

Local food is called Krioyo and boasts a blend of flavours and techniques best compared to Caribbean cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Dishes common in Curaçao are found in Aruba and Bonaire as well.

Popular dishes include: stoba which is a stew made with various ingredients such as papaya, beef or goat, Guiambo – soup made from okra and seafood, kadushi – cactus soup, sopi mondongo – intestine soup, funchi – cornmeal paste similar to fufu, ugali and polenta and a lot of fish and other seafood.

The ubiquitous side dish is fried plantain. Local bread rolls are made according to a Portuguese recipe. All around the island, there are sneks which serve local dishes as well as alcoholic drinks.

The ubiquitous breakfast dish is pastechi: fried pastry with fillings of cheese, tuna, ham, or ground meat. Around the holiday season special dishes are consumed, such as the hallaca and pekele, made out of salt cod.

At weddings and other special occasions a variety of kos dushi are served: kokada – coconut sweets, ko’i lechi – condensed milk and sugar sweet and tentalaria – peanut sweets.

The Curaçao liqueur was developed here, when a local experimented with the rinds of the local citrus fruit known as laraha. Surinamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Dutch culinary influences also abound.

The island also has a number of Chinese restaurants that serve mainly Indonesian dishes such as satay, nasi goreng and lumpia which are all Indonesian names for the dishes.

Dutch specialties such as croquettes and oliebollen are widely served in homes and restaurants.

Curacao has a tropical Savannah climate, with little rain and warm temperatures throughout the year. Travelers will enjoy the low humidity and frequent breezes penetrating the heat of the day.

The native language of Curaçao is Papiamentu, which is a richly unique mixture of Portuguese and African languages, Spanish, with some influences from Amerindian languages, English, and Dutch.

Most people from the island speak this language in addition to Dutch, English, and Spanish. Almost everyone speaks some English. A few people also speak French, Portuguese or German.

Curaçao exists outside the right to abode laws of the Schengen Area therefore Schengen E.U. freedom of movement laws don’t apply to

Although Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of Netherlands makeup, those living ouside Curaçao have limited freedom to visit Curaçao. Dutch nationals and citizens living outside Curaçao can visit visa-free for 6 months.

Visa Free. Those living in the countries and territories listed below can visit Curaçao visa-free for 30 to 60 days.

European Union/European Free Trade Association countries, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil. Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia.

Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica.

Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican City, Uruguay and Venezuela.

These country’s citizens get a lot of attention at Immigration. Those living in British Overseas Territories must follow the same visa exempt policy as the other countries mentioned.

Citizens of Canada, European Netherlands, Ireland, Saint Martin, a Schengen country, United States, United Kingdom holding a valid residence permit of the country/territory you live in are exempted from the visa requirement.

In early 2016 Curacao’s Hato Airport was the first in the Caribbean to implement E-gates. Visitors can pre-register like with the US ESTA for Visa free entry to Curacao.

Filling out an online ED-Card can qualify you for the Curacao Visa Waiver Program and save you a lot of time waiting for a human Immigration Officer on arrival.

Captain, crew and passengers aboard a ship or aircraft are exempted from the visa requirement for no longer than 48 hours.

Those holding a official United Nations Laissez-Passer are exempted from the visa requirement.

Those who want to travel by air can enter at Curaçao’s airport, Hato International Airport (CUR). It is located in Plaza Margareth Abraham, on the North side of the island, not far from the capital of Willemstad.

Services mostly International and regional carriers. American Airlines has daily flights from Miami and JetBlue offers 2 flights per week from New York’s JFK airport. Also there are daily flights from Amsterdam KLM & TUIfly formerly Arkefly.

If you fly Insel Air, give yourself at least 24 hours grace period between any connecting flights. Insel Air is notorious for their unreliability and poor customer service.

Hato International Airport is located on the island. Its runway parallels, and is adjacent to, the northern coast.

It has services to the Caribbean region, South America, North America and Europe. Hato Airport is a fairly large facility.

It has the third longest commercial runway in the Caribbean region after Rafael Hernandez Airport in Puerto Rico and Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport in Guadeloupe. The airport serves as a main base for Insel Air, the national airline of Curaçao.

Cruise ships arrive at Curaçao Mega Pier or the Curaçao Cruise Terminal. From these ports it’s just a short journey to many of the island’s popular tourist destinations.

Travelers can also enjoy nearby shopping at duty-free stores. Larger ships will arrive at the Mega Pier, and smaller ships will dock at the Cruise Terminal.

Sailors can enter at ports in Willemstad which has various marinas at which seafaring travelers can dock their ships.

Cars can be rented for about $45 U.S. per day, from a variety of merchants at the Hato Airport and across the island.

The island is quite small, about 60Km long and up to 15Km wide, therefore renting a car on Curacao will maximize your reach and allow you to make the most of all the island has to offer.

Driving in Willemstad is pretty similar to most Caribbean locations, with aggressive drivers, loosely enforced traffic laws, and driving on the right side. Take special care on the weekends after 4pm.

As yet there is no way of measuring/enforcing driving under the influence of alcohol or speed violations.

Signs will be in Dutch and European traffic markings. Be advised that most streets are not marked with any signage, so get a map of Curacao out in advance.

If you are involved in an accident, local laws prohibit moving your car. You’ll need to dial 199 for road service.

Do watch out for road hazards in the more rural stretches of the island outside of Willemstad, such as donkeys, goats, and iguanas.

If public transit isn’t your style, and you don’t want to rent your own car, taxis are another option. Be aware that taxis on Curacao do not have meters but has fixed rates stipulate by the government of Curacao.

They, too, are marked, and their plates read TX. Some taxi drivers will even be your tour guide for the day, if you ask. But remember to agree on a fee before heading out.

A standard fare from the Hato Airport to Willemstad will cost between US$30-35 for up to 4 passengers 7,50$ per person. It is advisable to either rent a car or ask your accommodation if they provide airport transfers.

These usually cost between US$10-20 per person.

There are two types of buses on the island, BUS. and Konvoi. The easiest way to ride is to go to one of the two bus stations in Willemstad.

These include Otrobanda Station, located across the street from the Rif Fort and Punda Station, at the post office, across from the Circle Market.

For the most part, the Punda bus station serves stops along the Eastern side of the ring, and to the East.

This including Salina, Zelandia, Mambo, while the Otrobanda station serves destinations West of the Bay, to include the Airport, Piscadera and even Westpunt.

The destinations do not typically overlap, so a 10-15 minute walk between stations may be necessary for cross island trips.

Konvoi are large metro-style buses which run infrequently between major points in the city. Prices and routes are set at about 2 NAf.

BUS., on the other hand, are 9-12 passenger vans which look a lot like a taxi. You can spot a BUS. by a cardboard cutout in the front windshield listing a number of its stops, instead of the yellow Taxi sign in the windscreen or on the roof.

Unlike taxis, the BUS. prices are not negotiable (1-3 NAf), but the route is. A common practice with bus drivers is to negotiate how close the driver can take you to your destination.

Be sure to ask the bus driver if the bus stops near your destination before entering. You can pay the driver while the BUS. is en route, or before exiting the bus.

You can board a bus anywhere on the island by waiting at one of the ubiquitous yellow Bushalte signs and waiving at a coming BUS. or Konvoi.

Taxi drivers will also try to lure you in. So make sure to look at the sign in the window or a licence plate that says BUS. to avoid paying high taxi fares.

The bus schedule varies, from about 6AM-8PM for most stops, and until 11pm or even midnight and sometimes later to Salina and Mambo.

If you are ever lost during daylight hours, just find a yellow bushalte sign, and the bus should take you to either Punda or Otrobanda.

The 2A and 2C from Punda and, presumably, 4B from Otrobanda all serve the airport. Don’t bother trying to use the bus if you have lots of luggage.

Ferries are a great way for shoppers to get to and from some of the island’s main shopping areas. Please do note however that there is no available ferry service between the ABC islands or to neighboring Venezuela.

There is a June 2015 initiative by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of The Netherlands to implement a fast ferry between Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire to help foster budget travel between the Leeward Dutch Caribbean Islands

– Museum Kura Hulanda, Willemstad. Open Daily from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. This anthropological museum chronicles the African slave trade as well as the cultures of Curacao. Entry: $9

– Postal Museum, Willemstad.

– Maritime Museum, Willemstad. Open Tu-Sa 9AM-4PM.

– Queen Emma Bridge or The Swinging Old Lady, Willemstad. A floating pontoon bridge that links the Punda or Point Side and the Otrobanda or Other Side of the Willemstad across the Sint Annabaai Channel.

You get to see the bridge open and close to away marine traffic into St. Anna Bay. In the event the bridge is open for a prolonged time, there is a ferry service across the channel as well.

– Queen Juliana Bridge, Willemstad. At 185 feet, this is highest bridge in the Caribbean and one of the tallest bridges in the world. The bridge overlooks St. Anna Bay as well as Willemstad.

– Christoffel National Park, West Point . A national park that is run by the by the Carmabi Foundation.

– Christoffel National Park is home to Boca Grandi, Indian caves where you can see paintings left by the Arawak Indians and Mount Christoffel. At 1292 feet high, Mount Christoffel is the highest point in Curacao.

– Shete Boka National Park, West Point. A national park also run by the by the Carmabi Foundation, Shete Boka is home to the 7 boca’s including Boca Tabla and Boca Pistol also known as – The Shooting Pistol.

In season, some of the boca’s serve as sea turtle breeding grounds.

– Curacao Sea Aquarium, Bapor Kibra Z/N. Home of the Dolphin Academy. This is one of the most popular attractions in Curacao.

If you wish to do a Dolphin activity book as early as possible. Entry price depends on activity you choose But paying for an activity such as something at the Dolphin Academy gets you entry to all of the Aquarium.

– Hato Caves, F.D. Rooseveltweg Z/N Open 7 days a week, with tours 2 times a day. Coral and limestone caves that was carved out below the sea and born when the sea level dropped.

There are beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as water pools and a waterfall. The cave is also home to a colony of long nose fruit bats.

Because of the colony, photography is limited and not allowed in certain chambers.

– Snorkeling and Diving at Curacao’s Marine Park. The complete southwestern side of Curacao is one large coral reef and marine park.

In the north you can dive at the Banda Abou National Park, in the center at the Central Curacao Underwater Park and in the south at the Curacau Underwater Park.

Curacao offers plenty of dive sites, from easy shore dives, pristine coral bay dives to sheer drop-offs especially in the southeast.

– Curacao Ostrich & Game Farm, Santa Catharina. The Curacao Ostrich Farm is one of the biggest Ostrich farms outside Africa. The tour takes you around the ostrich pens and incubator.

Meat from this farm is shipped to Aruba Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.

– Fort Amsterdam, Punda Side, Willemstad. The seat of the Netherlands Antilles, Fort Amsterdam sits at the mouth of the harbor at the end of the Sint Annabaai Channel on the point. The complex has restaurants, shops as well as the Governors Palace.

– Fort Nassau, Willemstad. Fort Nassau was built on the hill to defend both St. Anna Bay as well as part of the city of Willemstad. The fort is open for tours and there is also a restaurant that overlooks the bay.

– The Floating Market, Punda Side, Willemstad. The floating market is actually a mini boat fleet that comes in from Venezuela and sells ultra fresh fish and fruit at the best prices.

You’ll find it roughly one block north of the Queen Juliana Bridge on the east side of the harbor mouth.

Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue. The oldest continuously operating synagogue in the western hemisphere, with a sand floor and museum containing ancient artifacts.

– Amazonia The Lost Cultures, Guided 1 hour tour, Santa Catharina 66 Right in front of Koral Tabak in L’Aldea, 9 am till 4.30 pm. A guided one hour tour with more than 100 exotic reptiles.

See amphibians, small mammals and big birds surrounded by acient cultures’s ruins, temples and piramide. Tour hours .9 am – 10.30 am. – 01.30 pm. 3 pm. -04.30 pm. $10 and $20.

– Mikve’ Israel Emmanuel Synagogue, Willemstad. Completed in 1730, this is the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the entire Western Hemisphere.

It was build by sephardic Jews whose ancestors fled to the Netherlands from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. A very interesting site to see. USD$10.

– Klein Curacao, Only accesible by ferry. This small deserted island 15 miles off the coast boasts Curacao’s longest and most pristine white sand beach. You’ll never see water any clearer and get to snorkel with sea turtles!

The island is only accesible by ferry or boat for day trips. Numerous companies leave several times per week for day trips.

Most packages include food. Mermaid Boat trips is the only company with beach chairs and huts to relax on the island as well as having large boat to prevent sea sickness. Well worth it and highly recommended. $USD100.

– Made in Curacao, Curacao. To do Made in Curacao, visit the site and find local producers. Find, feel, small, taste and experience the local culture.

The diving on the island can be quite nice, with warm waters, mild currents, and decent visibility. Numerous dive shops/centers are available and the average going rate for a one tank guided dive is 125 gilders ($70 USD), with gear included.

A popular site for diving and snorkeling is Tugboat, which has a pretty good coral wall though the wreckage of the tugboat itself may prove more interesting.

Some dive schools on Curacao also provide free transport to and from your accommodation. The most innovative of these have partnered with a hotel to offer a cheap and hassle free way of experiencing the island underwater.

Curaçao’s beaches are concentrated on the southern coast, especially the western side. Find these from Rif St. Marie up to Westpunt.

This site provides aerial videos of the best Beaches on the West side of Curacao.

Playa Kalki, also known as Alice in Wonderland, is located at the far west end of the island past the town of Westpunt.

Kura Hulanda Lodge has a restaurant at the beach and Ocean Encounters West which is a full service dive shop. For a small fee, you have use of a dive locker for storage of personal items while diving/snorkeling and use of fresh water showers and equipment cleaning area.

Playa Grote Kenapa, also known as Big Knip is a large sand beach west of the town of Lagun.

Playa Kleine Kenapa, also known as Little Knip is another beach past the town of Lagun.

It is a nice secluded beach with plenty of shade trees if you desire to stay out of the direct sun. The bar/restaurant on this site operates on a sporadic schedule, so visit prepared.

Playa Jeremi is a small secluded beach slightly north of Lagun. There are no facilities here.

Playa Lagun, is a secluded bay towards the western end of the island in the town of Lagun. It is a small sandy beach on a rectangular shaped bay with tall cliffs on each side.

The waters adjacent to the cliffs is excellent place for snorkeling. Both sides of the bay along the cliffs are teaming with a wide variety of marine life and corals.

The left side of the bay has a greater variety of underwater structure for a better experience. The beach has the Discover Diving Curaçao dive shop which also has a small restaurant.

Playa Porto Mari is a large beach with a full service restaurant, and a complete dive shop including fresh water showers and restrooms operated by Porto Mari Sports

Cas Abao is a beach on a plantation. It is a long stretched sandy beach with lots of facilities including huts, beach chairs, restaurant, fresh water showers and bathrooms.

Daaibooi Baai is near Habitat in Rif st. Marie. Limited facilities. Huts, restrooms, grill area. Beautiful protected cove with calm waters. Avg depth: 20m

Pirate Bay is located on the Piscadera Bay. The location is a short drive a few miles west of downtown Willemstad near The Marriott and Hilton hotels. It has many beach amenities including showers/bathrooms, Hook’s dive center and an excellent full service restaurant.

Habitat Beach is located in Rif St. Marie on the SW coast. It is Curacao’s Newest beach and has a full service Dive Operator, DiveVersity, Habitat Dive Hotel, Oceans Restaurant, and in the gated community of Coral Estate.

Kontiki Beach is is about a ten minute drive east from downtown Willemstad near Breezes hotel. Kontiki is a full service beach offering watersports, shops, beachbar and a restaurant. It is also serviced by Ocean Encounters dive center.

Mambo Beach, Is next door to Kontiki beach and is the place where locals and tourists alike visit for the nightlife partying here.

Seaquarium Beach

Jan Thiel Beach

Caracasbaai

Barbara Beach Private beach and future home to the Hyatt Hotel.

The Dutch Antilles Guilder also called Florin is the official currency, but The U.S. Dollar($) is readily accepted.

Automatic teller machines are widely available throughout the island, and many machines will dispense Guilders and the U.S. Dollar. Currency can generally be exchanged at local hotels, casinos and places of business.

The exchange rate is generally pegged to the USD and stable. It is unlikely for tourists to be taken advantage when changing currency, but it is best to be aware of the current rates prior to arrival.

There are a plethora of random shops and markets around Willemstad offering clothing, souvenirs, crafts, and other goods. These include a commonly-termed duty free enclave in the downtown area.

Offerings emphasize European goods, to include jewelry, timepieces/watches and linens, plus the usual collection of souvenir shops. Perhaps not noted for great bargains, you may find items at decent prices you’ll see nowhere else in the Caribbean.

A water front market lies on the near north side of the main shopping area. It’s packed with fresh foods and flowers, best seen or shopped in the mornings.

On Sundays, however most businesses except restaurants in the city are closed.

Local cuisine in Curaçao is a mixture of European, West-Indian and East Asian particularly Indonesian flavours. Dutch influences are found in the use of cheeses, bread and seafood, which are also important in Curaçaoan food.

Indonesian cuisine, a migrant from Suriname, another of the Netherlands’ former colonies, can be found on the island, and explains the widespread availability of Sate and Peanut sauce along with the islands more Caribbean fare.

Also, Chinese snacks can be found all over the island serving cheap Chinese food. They cater mostly to locals, but most serve good food.

Vegetarians will find enough options available if they are willing to go a bit out of their way to look. Also, some knowledge of basic Spanish or Dutch words describing food is helpful when speaking with locals to determine whether a dish is vegetarian.

Curacao is littered with Snacks, small bar restaurants which serve Chinese Food. These are typically inexpensive, double as convenience stores and bars, and are typically open later than most other restaurants which cater to local rather than European patrons.

Five Fingers Indonesian/Suriname Bar Restaurant, Breedestraat 1, Otrobanda – Blue House on the corner of Roodeweg .

Across from the Curoil and Colon Shopping Center. 11:00am to 6:30pm. Surinamese Restaurant & Seafood, Everyday Specials, Home-Cooked Meals & for a Good Price. $6 – $16.

Plasa Bieu, located in Punda, about 300 meters ENE of the floating bridge in Punda, is the favorite lunch spot of most, if not all, of the island’s local-born population working in Punda.

Open M-F, 10am-3pm, the Plasa Bieu has about five restaurants within it, serving Chinese, Jamaican and Krioyo (local) food.

Try t Cabritu Stoba (stewed goat) at Grasia di Dios, for an excellent example of the island’s local cuisine, at one of the only restaurants in Punda which offer it. 8-14 NAf

Downtown Cafe at the Hotel Estoril Breedestraat 179, located 200 west of the Arti Supermarket, on the Otrobanda Side’s main shopping strip the Breedestrat/Roodeweg.

Open seven days per week 7A-8P, el Estoril, as the locals calls it, packs its seven or so tables full from about 10am-4pm, with Venezuelan, Colombian and Dominican expats.

The Estoril serves a mix of local and latin dishes, all served in a more typically latin style. Order at the bar and sit down when a seat becomes available. You’ll be expected to share a table if your party cannot fill it. 8-20 NAf.

Seaside Terrace is located next to Breezes Hotel and close to Lions Dive Hotel and Mambo Beach near the end of Penstraat. Seaside Terrace has a limited menu, but serves delicious fresh fish – red snapper, dradu, tuna, etc.

If available, very well prepared lobster against very fair prices. The owner Amigo is very friendly and makes you feel at home right away.

On y va picnic With a picnic basket full of delicacies from On y va, your day at the beach becomes a unique experience. Order your favorite basket one day in advance and pick it up along the way to the beach, or let us deliver it.

They are located on your way to the beautiful beaches on the west side of the island. 26-45 NAF
Gouverneur de Rouville is a popular restaurant in Willemstad that serves a variety of continental European dishes in a wonderful atmosphere.

Located Just north of the floating bridge on the Otrobanda Side, 25-45NAf.

Oceans Restaurant is located at Habitat Dive Resort in Rif. St. Marie on the SW coast. Serves a wide variety of International and regional cuisine. Overlooks the Caribbean Sea in an open air casual decor. Has full service bar. 15-35 Naf

Wilhelmina Plein Cafe located 200 meters East of the Floating Bridge in Punda, this cafe is a favorite among the island’s many Dutch interns and businessmen.

Wilhelmina Plein Cafe offers exclusively outside seating along a major pedestrian thoroughfare, with good food and one of the island’s better beer selections. 18-28 NAF

Vincent’s Cafe Copa Cabana is a relatively hidden cafe just East of the Iguana Lounge’s Main bar along the water on the Punda side of the bay.

Skip the overpriced and mediocre waterfront restaurants on the Punda side and go to Vincent’s for great sandwiches as well as a number of good daily special entree’s.

Vincent’s is an outdoor Cafe under the shade of a number of trees and the two buildings between which it is sandwiched, which also create a very pleasant breeze. 8-20NAf. M-S Lunch – 6:30PM.

Old Dutch Cafe Located on the Pietermaaiweg 500m East of the Bay on the Punda Side, the Old Dutch Cafe serves inexpensive Dutch cuisine with a Kitchen that stays open late into the night. 15-28 NAf. Closed Sundays.

Kontiki Beach Club is a seaside restaurant offering good food in an idyllic location right on the beach. It is a little outside of the city, but it is well worth the short drive.

La Granja is a Peruvian influenced chain restaurant with a very local feel, serving great latin cuisine, including excellent Whole Chicken, Lomo Saltado, and other great dishes. Sta Rosaweg 15-25 NAf. Open 7 days.

Il Forno is a popular italian/pizza restaurant with two locations, Caracasbaai location and Doormanweg location serving European (though not Italian) style pizzas with fresh and delicious ingredients. 15-30 NAf.

Kasbanini located in the Rif Fort, 100m South of the floating bridge on the Otrobanda Side, is probably the best of the Rif Fort’s five or so mid level restaurants. Offering typical seafood and chops with a bit of local flair. 30-40 NAf. 7 Days, Lunch and Dinner.

La Pergola located in the Old Fort on the Southwest Side of Punda, is likely the island’s best italian restaurant.

Offering good pasta dishes as well as a few innovative ‘secondi’, La Pergola’s quaint waterfront view completes an excellent dining experience. 25-40 NAf.

Golden Star is located on the Dr. W.P. Maalweg, on the way to Salinja. It serves local creole food and drinks, and is a good value for the amount of food you get. Prices vary from 15-25 NAf for a main course with sides.

L’Aldea (Brazilian all you can eat steakhouse), Santa Catharina 66, Right before Koral Tabak. 6pm till 11 pm. L’Aldea is a brazilian all you can eat steakhouse. Huge salad bar with cold and warm dishes.

Ambience: rainforest and Mayan and Inca’s ruins. Free shuttle from Hotels available with reservation. $26 – $46.

Bistro le Clochard, located in the Rif Fort, offering outstanding French Cuisine with a beautiful waterfront view, Bistro le Clochard is an excellent restaurant with superlative service. Open 7 days. 50-80 NAf

Scultpure Garden Restaurant located in the Kura Hulanda Hotel one block West of the Governeur Restaurant, Sculpture Garden offers excellent international cuisine with some very innovative specials

Amstel Bright Beer. Amstel Bright is a beer that used to be locally brewed by Antillaanse Brouwerij which is a subsidy of Heineken International. It is a pale style lager an usually served with a wedge of lime.

Curacao. is famous for the blue alcoholic beverage of the same name, now also available in yellow/gold. It is made from bitter oranges grown on the island.

Tap Water. which comes from a large seawater desalination distillation plant, is excellent tasting and perfectly safe for consumption.

Accomodations

Poppy Hostel Curacao, Mgr. Niewindtstraat 20, Otrobanda 10min walk from Pontoon bridge down Breedestraat. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Private Rooms @ Hostel Prices. Cozy restored and renovated UNESCO listed property in Central Willemstad.

10 min walk to anywhere in town, some beaches included. All 5 rooms are private no dorms and sleep between 1-3 persons. Common areas: Lounge, Kitchen, Covered Patio. 2 large/modern bathrooms for 7 guests max. Free Wi-Fi. from 25-50$ p/night.

Sunscape Curaçao, Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd 78, Willemstad. All inclusive beachfront resort. It includes three restaurants; Oceana (Seafood), Di Mario Restaurant (Italian), and Himitsu (Pan-Asian), plus a beach grill, and a children’s snack bar.

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino has excellent restaurants such as the Portofino Restaurant and the Seabreeze Bar and Grill, which specialize in local dishes and fresh seafood.

Curacao Island rentals has many properties available for rent ranging from simple 1 bedroom accommodation to luxurious 4 bedroom villa’s located all over the island.

Flamingo Villa, St. Willibrordus. Luxury villa that sleeps 12 people with a private pool and overlooks the magnificent Caribbean Sea.

Hilton Curaçao, John F Kennedy Boulevard PO Box 2133, Willemstad.

Hotel Scharloo, van den Brandhofstraat 12, Willemstad. A new hotel in town, an old colonial building that has been totally restored.

Pietermaai Smal Apartments, Pietermaai Smal 51, 20 meters away from the Caribbean sea. In a 200 years old renovated country house surrounded with an stylish swimming pool, you will find boutique hotel style apartments. Apartments with a distinctive design.

Seaside Curacao, St. Willibrordus, Banda Abou. 10+ private villas to choose from. New beach-bar and restaurant, private pools sleeps 4-10 in a pure countryside setting with friendly security.

Westhill Bungalows, Westpunt, west from Willemstad. A place for a short or extended stay. Just up from Playa Forti and a short drive from other great beaches, each of the 2 bedroom bungalows are well equipped and all have kitchens. Nice grounds, pool and wonderful owners. 100.

Villa Carpe Diem Curacao, Vista Royal B6, Curacao, Jan Thiel. Luxury villa with private pool. Located in Jan Thiel, within walking distance of the beach and the Spanish Water. Perfect for large families with children.

Ritz studios, Scharlooweg 25, Eight minutes walk from down town. checkin: 2:00; checkout: 12:00. The Ritz Studios are situated in the former Ritz Ice cream factory and loacetd in the historic heart of Willemstad.

City center and historic places are on walking distance. Pool, tv, kitchenette, mini market, car rental, walk to downtown and buses. Friendly staff. $35-$120.us.

Villa Seashell, Coral Estate. Oceanfront villa with private pool. Beach, restaurant & dive shop just down the street. Sleeps 8, with 4 bedrooms all with a private bathroom.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Santa Barbara Plantation, Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curaçao. Experience luxury at the Santa Barbara Beach Resort in Curaçao, with golf & spa services to meet all your needs in paradise.

Safety is not a big issue on Curacao. The locals are friendly, welcoming, and willing to give assistance. After all, a major part of their island’s income comes from tourists. There is crime but this is not something the average tourist needs to worry about.

It is generally safe to walk the streets of the capital, Willemstad, during daylight, even in some of the less populous areas.

In regards to walking at night some locals say it’s safe with no problem, while others recommend against it. Nevertheless, this island is most definitely among the safest of Caribbean travel destinations.

If you rent a car, do not, under any circumstances, leave any personal belongings in the car. Like anywhere else, car break-ins are not uncommon on the island. If you think you are alone, you may not be.

If you think your trunk is a safe place to store belongings, it is not. Even if your items are of little value, you still have to deal with the cost for a replacement window, the headache of dealing with your rental car company, and a wasted day filing police reports.

Exiting Curacao will require you to pay exit tax not included in your flight ticket, Unless you’re flying KLM or TUI/Arkefly about 40 USD for international flights, Visa and Mastercard accepted and 20 USD for regional connections in cash only.

Ferries to the other islands or to Venezuela are not available, yet. Do not try to arrange passage to South America from Curacao on a ship without investigating the requirements.

Aruba, Smallest of the ABC island, 20 minutes away by airplane.

Bonaire, A paradise for divers, 20 minutes away by airplane.

Saint Martin, A former member of the Netherlands Antilles, with many Gourmet, Shopping and Beach options.

Suriname, A former Dutch colony in South America, culturally linked to the Dutch Caribbean.

Venezuela, South American mainland to the south; the nearest country.

Otrobanda

Otrobanda is one of the historically important quarters of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao.

The district was developed in the 18th cenury and picked up in the early 19th century when the once walled city of Punda became overpopulated.

Otrobanda was connected to Punda in 1888 via the Queen Emma Bridge and in 1974 by the Queen Juliana Bridge. The main center of Willemstad is separated in two quarters: Punda and Otrabanda, which stands for ‘city’ and ‘the other side’.

Kura Hulanda is one of the best restorations of Otrabanda. Many of the over 700 UNESCO listed buildings in Willemstad have been restored and or renovated to serve as homes, shops, offices and accommodations like Poppy Hostel Curacao.

The restored area now shelters Riffort Village, a shopping and entertainment center that offers panoramic views of Punda and the sea. The Brionplein is the centerpiece of Otrobanda’s waterfront.

Willemstad, Capital of Curaçao

Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean island. It’s known for its old town center, with pastel-colored colonial architecture.

The floating Queen Emma Bridge connects the Punda and Otrobanda neighborhoods across Sint Anna Bay. By the water is the 19th-century Rif Fort, now housing a shopping center.

City restaurants serve dishes influenced by the island’s mostly Dutch and Afro-Caribbean cuisines.

In the city center is the sand-floored, 18th-century Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue. The adjoining museum offers religious and cultural artifacts.

The Kura Hulanda Museum has displays tracing the history of the African slave trade, as well as cultural relics and Caribbean art.

The city is a gateway to western beaches such as Blue Bay, where scuba divers can access a vertical coral wall from the shore. Other beaches include Seaquarium Beach, next to the Curacao Sea Aquarium.

The aquarium is home to stingrays, sea lions and sea turtles, and features an interactive touch tank.

CARNIVAL IN CURAÇAO

Curaçao’s Carnival is one of the largest and longest-lasting Carnival spectacles of the Caribbean and one of the best times to visit the island.

Carnival began as a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of “Carne Levale,” or giving up meat for Lent.

In the 19th century, Curaçao continued the tradition by organizing masquerade parties and marches in private clubs. It wasn’t until 1969 that Curaçao Carnival! started to gain the popularity it enjoys today.

Jump In / Jump Up

After the official opening day of the Carnival! Curaçao season, Carnival groups assemble and dance in the streets. They follow musical bands, wearing T-shirts so the audience can recognize the name of the group.

During the following weeks, they organize Jump ups (outdoor) and Jump ins (indoor), selling T-shirts to raise money for their participation in the Gran Marcha (“The Grand Parade”).

Characters and Contests

The main marches, the product of weeks of enthusiastic preparation, take place in February or March. They feature hordes of fantastic floats, costumes, and characters, plus Carnival royalty elected during full-scale beauty contests.

There are two big parades, one on Sunday in the daytime. Curaçao’s Gran Marcha (“The Grand Parade”) — and the Marcha di Despedida (“the Farewell March”) a couple of days later, on Tuesday evening.

The latter has a special magic — floats are adorned with sparkling lights and at the finale of the parade at midnight, the Momo (a big straw-filled doll) is burned. Carnival celebrations usually last until the eve of Ash Wednesday.

Characters include:

Carnival Queen – Represents Mother Earth, the symbol for fertility and peace.

Carnival King (King Momo) – As a symbol for infertility, sins and bad luck, this straw-filled king is burned in a spectacular ritual at the end of Carnival.

Prince and Pancho – Carnival’s boisterous energy stands out next to these two city leaders.

Tips for Visitors

The Carnival route starts off in Santa Maria and always goes through Otrobanda. Arrive early to get a good spot, and ask your hotel concierge about special seating for tourists. If you want to dance and mingle with the locals, stick to the streets. The crowds are generally friendly and family-oriented. And if you get the chance to join the parade, definitely take it! It’s an experience of a lifetime. And most important of all — don’t forget your camera!

Teen Carnival

Apart from children and adult activities, Carnival festivities include special festivities for teens as well. They also have their own tumba contest, their own Queen of Carnival, King, Prince, Helper Pageant elections, and their own parades.

In these parades, secondary schools demonstrate their abilities, designing their own costumes and a special dance performance. The first Teen Curaçao Carnival parade takes place the Friday before the adult parade.

The farewell parade takes place, together with the children’s parade, on Monday evening, the day before the big farewell March.

Children’s Carnival

Even Curaçao’s kids present their own version of Carnival. Just like the adults, they have their own Queen of Carnival, King, Prince, Helper Pageant, and Farewell Parade. They also have their own road march election.

There are two children’s parades: the first on the Sunday before the Gran Marcha and the second — the Children’s Farewell Parade — on the Monday evening following the Gran Marcha.

Tumba Festival

The word Tumba originates from the word Tambu. Around the beginning of the last century, it started out as a double dance in binary measure an outline in which the authors put rumors to music.

Currently, the Tumba Festival is a four-day musical event where the best local composers, singers, and bands compete to have their piece selected as the year’s official Carnival road march Tumba song.

This isn’t just any festival. It’s a musical extravaganza! And winning means gaining prestige sought by the world’s most talented musicians. The winner becomes Rei di Tumba (King of Tumba).

The Curaçao Tumba Festival is quite a party, often lasting well into the night. But there’s plenty of beer, great food, and fun dancing to keep things going.

Tumba Festival tickets can be purchased for the entire week. Also, a separate Children’s & Teenagers Tumba Festival allows aspiring young singers to show off their talent.

Tourism Observer

Travel

COLOMBIA: Avianca Starts Flights To Argentina

Colombia’s flagship carrier, Avianca, has been given a 15-year concession to operate within the South American nation starting July 11.

As part Avianca’s continuing expansion across the continent, German Efromovich, Avianca’s Chief Executive Officer, had been in talks with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri to open routes in a restrictive market, dominated by the country’s main carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas.

Avianca will begin by operating a daily flight between Buenos Aires and Reconquista (Santa Fe).

We have to connect Argentina, a country with fewer internal flights than 30 years ago, said German Efromovich to La .

The ambitious plans include connecting the capital, Buenos Aires, with planned hubs in Cordoba, Mendoza, Iguazú, Rosario, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy.

A total of 16 domestic routes are part of the concession.

Avianca’s incursion in Argentina amounts to an investment of US$180 million dollars, the acquisition of six planes costing US$25 million each and US$30 to US$40 million in start-up costs.

The CEO aims to move 125,000 passengers before the end this year.

In March, Argentina’s Anti-corruption Office (OA) launched an investigation into a possible conflict of interest when in 2016 the Macri family sold their airline MacAir Jet to the shareholders of Avianca’s local holding company, Avian S.A.

The OA shelved the probe last month claiming there were no issues as the Macri family business was founded back in 1993 and the sale was no guarantee to Avianca’s entry into the local market.

By offering a foreign-based airline access to domestic tourism, Efromovich believes Argentines will welcome greater competition.

I don’t know if it’s expensive to fly in Argentina, but it’s going to be cheaper when we fly, he said.

As a member of Star Alliance, passengers flying within Argentina will be able to accumulate miles with other affiliated airlines that include United, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines.

Tourism Observer