Culture, Food

An Island, a Liqueur, and a Whole Lotta Questions

Which came first – Curaçao island or Curaçao liqueur? Trick question of course, but then again, Curaçao is a mysterious liqueur.

When it comes down to it the real deal is to be able to drink a Curaçao cocktail while relaxing on the magnificent Caribbean island of Curaçao.

Yes, that is the life.

Ok, back to business, let’s clear up some of the general confusion surrounding the enigmatic liqueur.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortFact – Curaçao came from a failed attempt of the Spanish to cultivate Valencia oranges on the island.

Fact – Curaçao is naturally colorless.

Fact – Most people associate Curaçao with the color blue.

Fact – Curaçao is made from the oil of dried orange peels, and is then mixed with secret ingredients such as certain local herbs. The oranges are peeled with wooden knives, and then the peels are left to dry.

It all started in the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after the Spanish discovered a little slice of paradise just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast.

Eventually those industrious Spaniards decided to develop Curaçao agriculturally, and being from Spain, they began to plant Valencia oranges.

Valencia’s may grow abundantly in Spain, but they sure didn’t thrive under the sizzling sun and arid climate of Curaçao.

After no success was found, the Spanish abandoned the project, and the Valencias were left alone to grow wild and free. Apparently not even the infamous Curaçaoan goats would touch the things.

Quite some time later, it was discovered that the peels of the orange, once dried by the sun, contain etheric oils that make them fragrant.

No longer the Valencia Orange, as it had a bit of time to evolve and transform, this new orange was dubbed the “Citrus Aurantium Currassuviensis.”

Since that’s a mouth full, the locals named it “Laraha.”

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortSo, Why is it Blue?

Great question. Humans love to make things colorful, and once dye was invented, Curaçao got dyed blue somewhere down the line, and it just stuck!

In fact, Curaçao sans coloring doesn’t have too much color to it, but the coloring doesn’t affect the taste, so typically distillers give it a little color!

Blue, green, red, orange, and clear are the typical colors Curaçao is found to have. The sweet taste and pretty colors are usually why the liqueur is used in fruity tropical cocktails.

Where to Try

Of course, Curaçao can be purchased at grocery stores, or you can taste it in cocktails at any given bar or restaurant (usually), but the best place of all to taste is, of course, Curaçao island!

We recommend heading to Curacao Liqueur Factory, which is run by the family Senior & Co., and produces the ancient liqueur in the famous Landhuis Chobolobo – essentially an old plantation surrounded by the natural beauty of the island. The factory offers free tours at Landhuis which includes a complimentary tasting of the fine liqueur!

Naturally you don’t have to travel all the way to Curaçao to taste Curaçao liqueur, but we highly recommend doing so as a gift to yourself! For the utmost in luxury and convenience, book your stay at the beautiful Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. The friendly team at Santa Barbara can help you arrange your tour at the Factory, along with provide recommendations for anything and everything else you desire to see or do throughout your stay!

Bon Voyage and Cheers!

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort

 

Culture, Destination

Sing the Blues in Caribbean Paradise at BlueSeas Festival 2016

Tumba, Reggae, Calypso, Compás, Salsa, Bachata, Punta, Zouk, and too many more to name, are all incredible Caribbean music genres.

Blues though? Would anyone guess that Blues is becoming one of the most popular genres in and around the Caribbean?!

It’s true, and one island in particular is celebrating the genre BIG TIME in a few weeks, for the 2nd year in a row, and trust us, this is not an event to miss.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortCuraçao, the “C” of the ABC islands in the southwest Caribbean, is hosting a two-day, completely free, blues music festival.

The 2nd Annual Curacao International BlueSeas Festival is going to be bigger and better than last year, if that’s even possible, and yes, is seriously free.

Imagine a vacation on a Caribbean island – white sandy beaches, tepid warm ocean water, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking to panoramic views, eating, drinking and general merryness. Sounds like a dream right?

It is. Add listening to world-famous blues artists, for free, to the mix and now you’ve got an unparalleled experience waiting for you.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortFrom Friday May 6 through Saturday May 7, six stages will be built in the historical area of Pietermaai where the musicians will be performing. The genres we can expect to hear are blues, blues-rock, bluegrass, soul, and even gospel.  

Talent includes emerging artists such as the British Laurence Jones and American Samantha Fish, to well-known established artists such as Robert Randolph and The Family band and Royal Southern Brotherhood.

Headlining is none other than American music legend, singer/pianist Leon Russell, one of the most accomplished and versatile musicians to date. Russell has been in the industry for 50 years, and has worked with the likes of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, The Rolling Stones, and Elton John.

So what can you expect to be doing, eating, and experiencing over the course of this two-day festival you might ask?

Well, let us illuminate the answers for you!

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortDoing:

Naturally if you venture to Curaçao for this incredible festival, you’ll be listening to some stellar blues.

  • You may also be lounging on one or more of these beaches (for a little R&R in between sets).
  • Or checking out the beautiful buildings and unique architecture in and around the festival in the historic neighborhood of Pietermaai, which is known for being a cultural, raw, edgy, but also in parts luxurious neighborhood. A bit of historical Curaçao meets modern hip Curaçao.

Eating:

One of the most delicious and exciting ways to experience a new culture is through its food! Because Curaçao is a serious melting pot of cultures – think Spanish, French, British, Dutch, African, and more, the local food has influences from across the globe.

  • Keshi Yena, a local dish of cheese stuffed with meat. Often times the cheese is gouda, and is commonly stuffed with spiced chicken, onion, olives, capers, and tomatoes.
  • Okra Soup, this yummy soup is made with the green okra vegetable, which is boiled and then mixed with fish and salted meat. Similar to American gumbo.
  • Pastechi, a delicious pastry stuffed with chicken, cheese, tuna, or minced meat, and typically eaten for breakfast.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf ResortExperiencing:

Well that’s simple – the sights, sounds, and activities of everyday life in Curaçao! Plus a plethora of Blues artists! For your time before and/or after the festival, here are a few fan-favorite Curaçao activities:

  • Scuba Diving, whether you’re a seasoned diver, or a beginner, Curaçao boats some of the most spectacular diving spots in the Caribbean.
  • Ostrich Farm, this is a real thing. Not sure how this ended up on the island, but regardless everyone is guaranteed a good, and hilarious, time.
  • Hiking, one of the best ways to get a solid feel for the island, not to mention ahh-mazing views, there’s a variety of hikes in size and scope you can try out, visit here for more information.

Do your inner blues afficionado a favor and find your way by plane, boat, private jet, yacht, or any other way you can discover, to Curaçao for the epic 2nd Annual Curacao International BlueSeas Festival. Two days might not seem long enough for some fun in the sun, which is why we always recommend arriving before, or staying after, to continue enjoying the delights our beautiful island has to offer.

For your accommodation needs, book your stay at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort – a perfect blend of luxury and culture, while being secluded yet centrally located to all the islands attractions. Happy festing!

Culture, Family Travel

A Holiday Dressed in Orange, Fit for Kings, and Filled With Bargains: Koningsdag 2016

Koningsdag, also known as “King’s Day” is not your average holiday. Not that there’s anything remotely average about the colorful Dutch island of Curaçao.

For those new to the culture of Curaçao, King’s Day is not simply just a day to honor the King of the Netherlands birthday, oh no, it’s a day to swim in a sea of orange, find the best bargain on anything and everything, and party your heart out.

Destination, Health & Wellness, Luxury Travel

Cleanse the Spirit and Detach From Everyday Life on the Idyllic Island of Curaçao

April showers bring May flowers. Ah, Spring, that time of year where everything begins to feel like a breath of fresh air.

A season filled with the energies of renewal and rebirth, a clean slate to begin again. Finally the weather permits windows and doors to be opened, a chance to let out the stuffiness of Winter, to clean out the clutter, and invite sunshine and happiness inside.

Destination, Family Travel, Health & Wellness

This Caribbean Gem Has Enough Culture and Excitement For the Entire Family

Imagine, a blissfully isolated island, piña colada in your hand, and nothing on the agenda except relaxing under the sun, and listening to waves roll in. Sound like paradise?

It might for some, and for others that might sound boring. The point is, everyone’s ideal vacation is different, and trying to find a destination that fits the needs of all, can be challenging.

Health & Wellness, Luxury Travel

You Deserve a Spring Getaway That Will Renew Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Could your mind, body, and soul use a Spring cleaning? We don’t typically consider applying the concept of Spring cleaning to ourselves, and yet, spending some quality time clearing the clutter out of our minds, pampering our bodies, and indulging in activities that satisfy the soul, might be just what we need this Spring. Why should our houses, cars, and offices get all the love? Send some of that Spring cleaning gusto to yourselves!

Destination Weddings, Family Travel, Romance

6 Tips That Will Revolutionize Your Destination Wedding Planning Process

Is wanderlust your middle name? Or could it be that you want a smaller wedding? Or perhaps you simply find it dazzlingly romantic to say “I Do” somewhere exotic? Whatever your reason for desiring a destination wedding – it’s a fabulous idea. Destination weddings are becoming increasingly more popular as the cost of travel is decreasing, accessibility of exotic regions is improving, and folks are wanting to get away from the hum drum of normal life.

Destination, Destination Weddings, Luxury Travel, Romance

Destination Unknown: How to Start the Planning Process For Your Dream Destination Wedding and Honeymoon

Palm trees, warm tepid waters, and plenty of delicious fruity drinks – is this a similar picture that’s painted in your mind? If you’re one of the many couples who have their hearts set on a destination wedding, or a honeymoon far, far away, then congratulations! It makes complete sense to want to spend the most romantic and meaningful days of your life in a small slice of paradise. Celebrating one’s union in a new country, with unique landscapes and cultural offerings is a profound experience, and one you’ll remember forever.

Before you begin to let your imaginations run wild, there are a few logistical, functional, and downright helpful things to consider that will ease the planning process. It’s your big celebration, and you want it to be everything you’ve imagined and more, and it will be if proper planning and consideration goes into it.