Booking a honeymoon was not something Jarid & I had ever done before. We knew we wanted it to be special, affordable, tropical, romantic, and memorable. We also knew that we wanted to go somewhere that neither of us had ever been. We considered places in Europe (on each of our bucket lists), Hawaii, and Mexico. The trouble with Hawaii, was the insane cost of airfare from PA cross country to the island. The trouble with Europe, was the fact that we kind of wanted to be near a beach. And finally, the trouble with Mexico, is that during this time of year, it’s smack dab in the middle of the hurricane zone. We did a bit of research and prayed about it. For the most part, I would’ve been happy anywhere that I could take a break from the craziness of life and just enjoy time with my new husband. We are both somewhat adventurous, so the idea of a place that not many people had heard of was slightly appealing. Before we got an email from Living Social, a free email subscription that both Jarid & I are registered for, I had never heard of Curacao before.
We decided to just go for it! I think our parents were more nervous for us than we were for ourselves — traveling out of the country and all. We got our passports and the next step was booking our flights! Jarid found a good deal, where we were able to fly from Baltimore, MD to Miami, FL and from Miami, FL to Curaçao. Because Momma Snyder gets great rates on hotel rooms, after our reception we drove to Baltimore and stayed in a beautiful hotel room the night of our wedding. We were exhausted from the day, but I think our anticipation and adrenaline was enough to keep us awake! Here’s a brief play-by-play:
12:45am- Check into our hotel in Baltimore
4:45- Scurry to the airport & check our bags
6:10am- Flight from Baltimore –> Miami
8:35am- Arrive in Miami and devour airport breakfasts
11:20am- Miami to Curacao
2:15pm- Arrived at honeymoon destination
2:30pm- Made it through customs and picked up our bags
2:45pm- Realized that our shuttle service from the airport to the hotel was non-existant & called a cab
3:30pm- Checked into our honeymoon suite & began exploring
One of my favorite things about the area was the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. Everytime there was a boat that needed through, the bridge was literally pushed aside to allow it through. In cases like this, if people were on the bridge already, they either turned around, or in some cases were risky enough to try jumping as the bridge was pulling away from shore!
We stayed in the Plaza Hotel & Casino Our hotel was exotic and casual — it reminded me of a bed & breakfast…only, it was gigantic.
Did I mention, it was right along the water…?
…And that there was a casino inside? Because there was 🙂 Jarid & I aren’t big gamblers, but we designated $1-2 each night, just for the heck of it, for the casino machines. We ended up $12 to the positive after our week there!
Overall, Curaçao was not quite as tourist friendly as neighboring islands like Aruba. The pastel colored buildings were endearing and I enjoyed strolling and exploring all of the areas of the country.
We didn’t have or really need a rental car for most of the week, so we did a lot of walking! Would you believe that the work-out-a-holic that I am, I didn’t spend ONE morning in the hotel’s gym?! 🙂 I was rather proud of myself for just kicking back and relaxing for once. Every morning, we went for a walk on the island.
All of the shops closed by about 6pm (which we found kind of odd), so if we wanted to get souveniers or family gifts, we had to do it in the morning. We developed a routine, though, which was easier for me to adapt to than it was Jarid, of waking up at a decent time (somewhere around 9am), eating breakfast, and starting our adventures for the day. We ended up crashing and relaxing at the hotel then after dinner around 7:30/8pm every night.
Our hotel had a shuttle which would take us to and from the closest place to soak up the sun…Cabana Beach!
The first day we were here, we were able to snatch up a spot under the cabanas and no one ever came around to collect our money… the second time, we weren’t so lucky and ended up shelling out $15. Not too bad for two days worth of cabana shelter…and my own personal cabana boy 😉
The sun was super hot, so I had to make sure that my husband was always lathered up in sunscreen, and that we re-applied it every couple of hours. He still ended up with some nice color even with the SPF 50 buffer! Cabana Beach had the whitest, silkiest sand that I’ve ever felt before. It was so fine that it blew with the wind. Water there was like no water I’d ever experienced before either. You could see straight to the bottom, complete with views of the teensy fish weaving in and around people. Temperatures in the ocean must’ve reached 60° because I, for one, can NEVER submerge myself…but here, it was easy!
After the beach each time we went, we usually took a dip in our hotel pool to cool off after the bus ride back.
Which brings me to the hands-down, most amazing part of our trip: scuba diving… something that can now be checked off of both Jarid & my bucket lists.
Jarid & I walked to the Scuba Lodge about mid-week, after reading up on the best spots. We only had a rental car for one day, and since it was only about 1 mile to walk, we put our legs to good use 😉
For the first 45 minutes of our session, we had to listen to all of the safety precautions and instructions… probably the best idea for first timers. Our instructor was pretty cool — down-to-earth with a good sense of humor — but Jarid wasn’t a fan because he said he was “checking me out”. Ha.
Anyhow, when we finally got to the hands on part, we slipped into our wetsuits (some easier than others).
There was a sweet dutch woman who was part of our group. She said that her husband was a higher level diver and she was trying to catch up so they could go together. She also laughed outloud when they showed her the suit she had to squeeze into.
I was completely taken off guard by how heavy the oxygen tanks really are. Honest to gosh, I could hardly walk with one strapped to my back! Jarid, the gentleman that he is, kindly was able to stop laughing long enough to help me into the water.
The most difficult thing to get used to for me, was having a mask strapped over my face and being unable to breathe out of my nose. I’m not a mouth breather…even when I work out, I usually breathe out of my nose.
One of the cool things we learned was that most experienced divers barely swim at all to maintain a certain level in the water. They control how high or how low they are in the water by their breathing alone.
The more water in your lungs, the more buoyant you are, and thus, the higher in the water you remain. Everytime you exhale, you will sink lower into the ocean.
Thanks to my parents, who gave us their underwater, fancy shmancy camera to borrow, we were able to bring the memories of our sealife adventure home with us! It was an incredible experience and I’m so thankful to have it all in photos!
See you soon for PART II of our honeymoon posts!