Caribbean Paradise in Curacao

I started this journey scouring the scuba forums, getting advice from friends, and looking all over the internet (including trip advisor). Normally, we stay at Marriott properties or resort-style places, but we decided to go with something different since this was a mostly dive vacation. We did the right thing!

The staff at Scuba Lodge is incredibly friendly. Dalise (probably not spelled correctly) was a lifeline. She was courteous, happy and could make anything happen, including a rental car on the fly. We dove with the Scuba Lodge dive shop and they provided us with superb local spots, great choices for non-touristy lunch options and tons of local lore. We stopped at the Heart of Curacao and learned the legend which was not a dive stop. Daan took us to a fishing pier where we dove with huge sea turtles and moray eels. They were helpful with our 15 year old daughter who had never shore dove before. It was a fantastic experience!

The Scuba Lodge staff embodies the great thing about the island- people are happy, relaxed and work together. Dive shops gathered on Thursday for a “happy hour” at the Scuba Lodge. We were never approached by vagrants or people trying to sell things and we walked around safely at night as we explored the restaurant scene. Let me qualify that with Scuba Lodge is located in the city, not in the resort- touristy area. Crumbling buildings, construction and graffiti art was ever-present.

One of the great things about Scuba Lodge IS the location, especially if you are a foodie. All of the best restaurants on the island were walking distance. Though, Scuba Lodge’s restaurant would not be one of those. We tried breakfast, lunch and the bbq and all were disappointing food-wise. The service was good, but food was over priced and not tasty. Stay here but do not eat here. Go to Kome, Chapter or any of the other amazing places right there.

One of the other surprises as a guest was there was not a beach persay. You are right on the ocean, but there is no traditional beach. The pics on the site are a little deceiving in that way. They have a sandy dining area overlooking the ocean, which is beautiful, but not a walk-in beach. The infinite pool is awesome and does hang right over the ocean, but it is rocky and heavy seas.

We stayed in the 2 bedroom apartment, city view. i kind of wished we had the ocean view, but we were not in our room enough to make a huge difference. The apartment was huge!!! Upstairs and downstairs with two enormous bedrooms. A great kitchen with updated appliances. A bathroom off of the living room with a washing machine and a roomy balcony to hand scuba gear and enjoy a cup of coffee. The bedrooms are ice cold air conditioned, but the living area and kitchen are not air conditioned. Again, that was not a big deal since we were not there much. The apartment had beautiful flooring, large windows and comfy beds.

When we next come to Curacao, we will stay at Scuba Lodge. It was a fantastic experience. Next time we will have Dalise get us a car for the last couple days, have her do a little grocery shopping for us (nothing close with good groceries other than produce at the floating market) and schedule two days to dive the Superior Producer!

Fishalicious:

I was so excited about this place, but it did not live up to my expectations. I love, love seafood and it is not easy to find a menu with a range of seafood in Willemstad.

Unfortunately, the fish was not cooked properly. We ordered the tuna medium rare and the snapper special as two of our entrees. The fish was cooked well all the way through and the snapper, though it looked well-seared, had very flimsy rather than crisp skin. The shellfish dish on the other hand was perfect. The scallops were soft and buttery and the shrimp was tender. The amouse bouche of swordfish was also quite tasty.

As far as service, we had reservations but were sat at an uncomfortable bar table. Our server was friendly and fairly attentive though the food took a very long time, even by Curacao standards. All in all, this was one of our more expensive meals, but not worth the cost. Too bad since it is one of the only fish-dedicated restaurants on the island.

Kome:

Our first night in Curacao and we planned to just find a place for dinner. We stayed at the Scuba Lodge and were heading towards Brasserie based on a rec. but wanted more seafood selections. Enter Kome. We walked by it and I recognized the name from trip advisor.

The interior is just gorgeous. Dark panel floors, eclectic art, vaulted ceilings and an open kitchen. We did not have reservations, but the manager took pity on us and gave us a table near the kitchen.

Like most restaurants in Curaçao, the service is fairly leisurely. Which is OK because it’s an island. Our server was phenomenal! She was friendly, knowledgeable and gauged when we wanted refills or when we needed something and was attentive to that.

It was hard to pick what we were going to eat. The menu has a very wide selection and everything sounded delicious. We ended up choosing the burrata plate and green curry soup with fish dumplings to start. Our mains were the duck with cherry gastrique, green curry shellfish over rice noodles and the snapper special. Everything was deftly seasoned. The portions were good, not huge and the pickled vegetable made the perfect accompaniment.

We finished with a tawny port and glass of gewurtzemeiner. Perfect end to a fabulous meal.

Ginger:

Usually, I wait until I am home to do this, but I just could not wait. The ambiance and menu at Ginger are fantastic! Loved the outdoor seating area and the handhewn box seating. The music matched the vibe. The menu had lots of yummies to choose from. We started with thai fish cakes and ordered whole red snapper (tandoori style) and the shrimp in lemon-tequila marinade. Both were delicious and well-prepared.

Unfortunately, this story does not end well. The service was the worst in any country I have ever had (which I surmise to be the reason it is not a higher rated). Our sever, who we could never get her name out of, for the most part ignored us. The service in general here is slower than the US which is to be expected. Every time we needed something we had to flag down the other server because ours was hanging out at the bar or doing side work. She was not friendly. As we were waiting for someone to come take our dessert order, one of her other tables had to go to the kitchen to finally get their check. The lady was in a wheelchair and had to make her way around a non-handicap accessible area just to find the server to pay.

The only time our server was attentive was when the other server brought us our check. She proceeded to clear everything from our table, including our still being finished dessert. It was one if the rudest moments of the evening. In total, we were there over three hours. Forget about drink refills, ordering another glass of wine or anything beyond what you order the first round.

When we first got there, we planned to come more than once during our trip because of the atmosphere and menu. Now we will go nowhere near the place. If anyone does decide to go and an Indian waitress shows up at your table, ask for the other server.

Saint Tropez:

Went here for breakfast three times because of the proximity to the hotel. Food was delicious- they have fluffy pancakes and our server was awesome! Had a quick lunch in between dives and it was equally tasty!

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