If someone from Venezuela is called a Venezuelan, and someone from Florida is called a Floridian, then what do we call a person from Curaçao?

Sorry, it was a trick question. There is no official English word for a Curaçao native. Some people fake it with "Curaçoan," but that's not really English.






For HCP/Aboard Publishing and the Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association, managed and edited the 2009 and 2010 editions of the in-room hotel-association books, each 17,000 words in US English, many written by native Dutch speakers, translated into 20,000 words in Latin Spanish. Below, a Welcome story summarizes the book and provides a writing sample.



Bon biní

Find everything for your best vacation on this one little island — beaches to culture, fine dining and nightlife, great sites for sights, good diving and fishing, fabulous shopping, salubrious spas, and dreamy accommodations with tolerant hosts.

Bon biní (welcome) to the island where Old World Europe meets 21st-century Caribbean, where Dutch Baroque buildings wear the colors of sherbet, where the locals are even more diverse than the architecture. Welcome to Curaçao.

While some vacation spots offer nice beaches, others have good dive sites, and a few boast of their culture, nowhere but Curaçao offers everything on the same island, plus that famous Dutch tolerance for eccentric visitors.

Multicultural. Unmistakable Willemstad packs a world of heritage into its tiny footprint. The UNESCO World Heritage committee acclaims its unique multiculturalism, urban structure and architecture. Curaçao’s art scene creates fascinating works from disparate media, finishing each with international flair. Authentic festivals celebrate life through music, dancing, food, fishing, diving, biking and boating. Yes, the locals do love a good party.

Beachy. While culture is a great thing, you can’t find these pearly white sands or clear blue waters in Amsterdam. Only Curaçao offers 35 named beaches, from fun and friendly to remote and uncrowded, each perfect for snorkeling in the shallows or lazing in the sun.

Sightseeing. Besides sun, sand and sea, Curaçao offers starfish, sponges, stingrays, sharks, shrimps and similar specimens, several suitable for swimming, snorkeling or scuba.

Go ahead, feed the fish. Pet the dolphins. For something completely different, descend into caves for a bit of spelunking. Commune with colorful butterflies. Hike, bike or ride horseback through Cristoffel National Park for a rugged adventure far off the tourist track.

At a slower pace, browse the postal museum, with stamps as fine art, or the maritime museum, with centuries of high adventure from slave traders to cruise ships, told through models, charts and displays. Soar high in the sky for a thrill ride by helicopter.

Get wet. See why divers and snorkelers rate Curaçao as the Caribbean’s healthiest marine environment — tops for marine life, beginner diving, shore diving and overall. Sixty named sites, 57 corals and 500 tropical fishes entertain wide-eyed divers and snorkelers from across the globe. Witness coral spawning in summer and coral gardens, plunging walls and mysterious wrecks any time.

Stay dry. The sportfishing grounds lure anglers to Curaçao, transformed into a major fishing destination by the Curaçao Yacht Club’s successful Blue Marlin Release Tournament each spring. Optimal sailing conditions attract lovers of schooners, sloops, cats, kayaks and kites. Golfers of every handicap enjoy quick and easy access to the championship course at Blue Bay, with stunning seaside fairways and tricky seaside breezes.

Dine and dance. Great cuisine is a competitive sport for Curaçao’s chefs, whose national team routinely out-cooks its Caribbean peers during Taste of the Caribbean each year. Gourmands always enjoy a well-mixed drink, world-class meal and grandiose dessert made by these top talents, who skewer old assumptions with fresh takes from globally sourced tapas to locally harvested lobsters to pastries inspired in Paris. Do the nightlife circuit from happy hour to wee hour, sampling techno to jazz. Just order an Amstel and follow the crowds.

Casinos. Lady Luck is a frequent visitor. Hit the slots at beachfront Casino Royale, among the largest in the Caribbean, the Emerald, featuring live music, Curaçao Casino, a hot spot among locals, or the Plaza, in Willemstad.

Shopping. Fun vacations get even better with some well targeted shopping. Take home as much curaçao — the eponymous liqueur — as you can pack. Duty is cheap, but the sweet puckery-orange liquid is priceless. Other finds include authentic island crafts — beaded necklaces, shells gathered for bracelets, ceramic and wooden vases and bowls, and homemade candies. Recreational shoppers ply the stores of Punda for traditional Dutch Delft pottery with beautiful blue illustrations, plus finely embroidered linens and wonderful wheels of Edam and Gouda.

People purchasing fine jewelry or watches buy them here to save on taxes. Leading merchants represent Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, David Yurman, John Hardy, Roberto Coin and other designers at duty-free prices. Fans of fine fragrances find the sweet smell of savings here as well. Check out Penha & Sons, the perfumer that doubles as a 300-year-old architectural wonder.

Spa day. Start your Curaçao stay with a salubrious spa day. The island features several emporia at which to “take the waters.” A great vacation is a great time to treat yourself to a facial, massage or other body treatment.

Taking care of biz. Bring the whole gang to Curaçao for that next regional meeting. The World Trade Center and large hotels and resorts accommodate gatherings of 20 to 850. The new Academy Hotel trains eager young professionals in the ways of hospitality. Just in time, since the island anticipates thousands of new rooms over the next few years, creating as many as 10,000 new positions. Beach and golf developments offer visitors their own slices of paradise, with hundreds of luxurious home sites and condos, some by celebrity architects.

Roots. Curaçao remembers where it comes from. It set up the Pro Monument Foundation to spotlight the architectural heritage of beautiful Willemstad, recognized worldwide by its unique Dutch style, Caribbean colors, graceful colonnades and coral accents.

Contributors. To tell this story of Curaçao, our editorial team includes an Antillean native who works for the local newspaper; a child of Curaçao who has made it in New York; a Dutch photojournalist who loves all things nautical; an environmentalist who introduces Americans to their Caribbean neighbors; an American writer who met Curaçao on a history tour; a contributor to US newspapers and magazines who vacations here; and one lucky guy who actually gets paid to travel the Caribbean photographing its beauty. Bon biní!

Experience Curaçao 2010, Welcome section, main text.



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Banner illustration by Jeff Borg