There are few things we love more than sharing our island insights, on-site adventures, and all the tips on planning and executing a trip to Curaçao we can think of! Our small, idyllic island is absolute paradise, and though some days we may want it all to ourselves, ultimately sharing is caring! Thank you for reading all about Curaçao and Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort throughout 2017, we can’t wait to see what will unfold in our blog in 2018!
Swish, squeak, thwack…. Ahhh the sweet, sweet sounds of summer. Wait, no, the sweet sounds of tennis. Summertime = tennis time, so either word fits, right?
As the days get longer and the sunshine gets warmer, it’s the perfect time to start working on your game. Dust off your racket and take a moment to learn five, quick, and useful tips to improve your tennis game.
In the mood to start planning your next trip or vacation? With spring and summer break happening soon, there’s no better time to consider where you might want to jet off too!
Keep in mind, there’s a difference between a trip and a vacation. Typically speaking, a trip is visiting somewhere with some sort of purpose, other than relaxing, i.e. visiting family, exploring a new destination, learning about a new culture, business, etc.
A vacation typically means one wishes to go someplace beautiful and warm, where total and complete relaxation awaits. A trip is going to Peru and visiting Machu Picchu. A vacation is jetting to the island of Curacao and relaxing at a luxurious resort. Both are fantastic options! It’s just a matter of choosing which one you desire.
Often times, vacationers-to-be think they’re going on vacation, but because of one mistake, end up having more of a trip. What mistake is that?
Not staying at a hotel or resort that is a vacation within itself.
Within the past decade Stand Up Paddling, aka SUP, has exploded in popularity, and for a good reason. It’s awesome. A relatively peaceful activity that allows the paddler to be out on the water soaking up the sun and getting a nice strong core and arms. It’s an all around blissful way to spend a few hours.
Like any great activity, SUPing is evolving, and now not only can you take SUP classes or rent the boards anywhere with warm weather and some sort of body of water, you can also take a SUP yoga class.
That’s right; we’re talking downward facing dog on a floating board on the water. Sure, if balance isn’t exactly your strong suit this may sound like a recipe for disaster, but trust us, it’s crazy fun and surprisingly tranquil.
If you’ve yet to experience the joy that is SUP yoga, read on for our quick list on exactly why you should give it a try!
Boats. Floats. Beats. Internationally famous DJs. Lots of bikinis.
There are parties, and then there is Fuikdag.
Hailed as one of the biggest and wildest parties you’ve never heard of, Fuikdag is Curaçao‘s annual boat and dance party to ring in the New Year.
There are no tickets, dress code or limitations of any kind… for the most part. What began as a three boat gathering has since transformed into a massive float party extending the length of just one day, once a year.
Picture yourself on a white sandy beach, light breeze blowing through your hair as you sip on a tropical cocktail.
Welcome to the Caribbean, where relaxation and picturesque scenery dominates the everyday itinerary for visitors.
Yet, many visitors crave a little more balance in their Caribbean getaways. Of course relaxing and enjoying the warm sea are top items on the vacation agenda, but how about mixing in some sports, or more adrenaline-pumping land activities?
Yes, that can be accomplished without a doubt. Not every Caribbean island is big enough to offer multiple landscapes but the southernly island of Curaçao is.
In fact, Curaçao is almost as well-known for it’s culture, multi-layered history and land adventures as it is for its coastal beauty.
Secluded on its own private section of the island lies Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, the ideal spot for land adventures on Curaçao.
Why would a resort be such an ideal spot for land exploration? Because Santa Barbara sits within a 2,000 acre plantation. A lot can be done with 2,000 acres and we’ve prepared a list of our top 3 favorite land activities for you:
When picturing the Caribbean, mountain biking certainly doesn’t come to mind first, but at Santa Barbara, anything is possible. Tear up the miles of trails conveniently located at the resort. What’s even better is that these trails aren’t exclusively for experienced mountain bikers. There are trails for every level and skill set, especially beginners. If you’ve never tried mountain biking then this could be an exciting time to try it out! You can’t beat those beautiful island views.
Tie Those Laces Tight – Hiking Adventures Await
Did we mention there are 2,000 acres to explore? For those craving a little foot action, Santa Barbara features an abundance of trails for you to enjoy. Take a leisurely pace or set a goal to see it all, either way you’ll be treated to jaw-droppingly beautiful coastal views. Definitely don’t forget your camera or selfie stick.
Sporting Island Style
There’s golfing, and then there’s golfing with views of the magnificent Caribbean sea. Designed by Pete Dye, the Old Quarry Golf Course at the resort has been voted one of the best in the Caribbean on multiple occasions. The course takes on the shape of the naturally contoured site and overlooks the Caribbean Sea and the sheltered bay known as Spanish Water. Additionally, Santa Barbara boasts the only Hydro-Grid clay tennis court in the Caribbean. Polish your A-game, play for the first time or take lessons. However you want to enjoy it, the Tafelberg Tennis Center is an awesome part of the overall vacation experience.
The water activities will always be there for your enjoyment, but we thought it might be nice to know that there’s plenty to entertain on the dry-side as well. Who knows – perhaps your favorite memories of your Curaçao getaway will be trying mountain biking for the first time, or learning a winning golf stroke which will make heads roll back home on the course. Whatever it is you desire to do, Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort will see to your every want and need!
Sparkling shades of turquoise, balmy temperatures year-round and a laid-back attitude combine to create the ideal water-getaway environment in the Caribbean.
For the vacationers craving a water locked paradise, the Caribbean island of Curaçao is ready to meet your getaway needs. Curaçao flies under the typical Caribbean radar due to its southernly position in the region. A mere 40 miles north of South America, Curaçao is a unique blend of cultures and landscapes.
By far and large, though, the most breathtaking landscape the island offers is its coastlines.
Water adventures abound on Curaçao. In fact, you may just have to take more than one trip to experience them all. One crucial detail to consider when planning a water-activity-based getaway to Curaçao, is when and where you’d like to relax. With so much energy exerted in the water, you’ll need time to rest now and again.
It’s entirely possible to have epic water adventures and epic relaxation – at Santa Barbara beach & Golf Resort.
A luxurious beachfront resort boasting 2,000 acres, Santa Barbara has everything you need to have your adventures and relaxation, too.
Without further ado, here are our top 3 favorite water activities at Santa Barbara:
The Adventure Unlike ANY Other – Klein Curacao
Seriously not an overstatement, a trip to Klein Curacao is totally unreal. Picture this – sailing out to sea headed towards a uninhabited island featuring pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. Imagine yourself swimming with sea turtles, exploring a deserted lighthouse and discovering an old shipwreck. We’re not joking when we say it’s an adventure. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your ship encounters rough seas on the voyage over! The best bit – this excursions leaves right from the resort so you can adventure right from home.
Nighttime Swim in The Protected Lagoon
There’s plenty of swimming to be had at the resort. There are a variety of beautiful swimming pools with unique features. Yet the one swimming experience that is unlike anything else, and totally unique to the resort, is the lagoon. The resort borders a crystal-clear and serene swimming lagoon protected from the turbulence of the open sea. This is a beautiful place to enjoy views of passing sailboats and yachts, or to peacefully float in under the Caribbean sun. Without a doubt, the coolest experience is to swim the lagoon at night where, with a little luck, you may get to witness the water light up with its splendid phosphorescence. There’s no better way to describe the experience than magical, and we hope you get a chance to see it for yourselves!
Explore The Underwater Kingdom
One activity Curacao is famous for worldwide is scuba diving. With an entire underwater world at your disposal, this is an epic opportunity experience not to be missed. Santa Barbara has its very own PADI certified dive center for your convenience. Schedule an intro to diving course or simply hire a guide and take a quick underwater tour. However you like to explore, the center will make it happen for you.
Sailing, diving and swimming – it’s safe to say you’ll sincerely appreciate that rum and coke as you watch the sunset and rest your happily worn-out body. Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is a top notch retreat for the water-junkie and an incredible place to relax your mind, body and soul!
Destination. One word that can mean so many different things.
What do you think of when you think the word destination?
Actually, when we think of a destination we think of our very own Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort.
And how is it that a resort can be a destination of its own?
Of course, Curacao is a destination in and of itself, but Santa Barbara is its very own destination and here are 9 Reasons why:
- You never need to leave – This is may be the top reason. For those who retreat to the Caribbean to get away from it all and truly relax, Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort literally has all of the necessary ingredients for that – luxury accommodations, private beach, fine dining, serene spa, dive shop, water sports, miles of trails and more!
- Authentic cuisine from a Local Chef – Incredibly talented Chef de Cuisine, Heinrich Hortencia, was born and raised locally on Curacao, and brings the destination’s inspiration to the cuisine at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, SHORE. Heinrich loves to experiment and blend classic international cuisine with local flavors and ingredients.
- Explore More than 2,000 Acres – You never have to leave the resort to have an adventure or go on an exploration. The resort sits within a 2,000 acre plantation with miles of trails to hike and bike. The expansive plantation features breathtaking rock formations, beautiful caves and caverns, historic sites, stunning views and a diverse variety of flora and fauna.
- Spa Treatments Based On Ancient Island Rituals – A visit to the Atabei Spa is not only relaxing, it’s a cultural activity as well, since many of the treatments and spa philosophies are based on the Arawak people, the original inhabitants of the island. Best part, Atabei is an organic spa, using primarily locally sourced ingredients in its treatments and therapies.
- We Have Plenty of Iguanas – Undoubtedly, the Iguana, or Yuana, is the reigning king of Curacao’s reptiles. Quite famous for once being a common culinary treat on the island, Iguanas are an island institution, and can be found all over the resort.
- Watersports, Diving and more – No need to leave the resort to get out on the water! We have our very own watersports and dive facility offering a wide variety of Curacao watersports including both kayak and stand-up paddleboarding rentals and tours. Snorkel equipment is also available for rent to explore Santa Barbara’s crystal-clear swimming lagoon. Want to dive, take an Explore Diving Course and explore Curacao’s world-renowned dive sites with our PADI Certifed dive operator.
- Relax On Our Private Beach – Enjoy the natural beauty of Curacao as you unwind in the shining warmth and glow of the Caribbean sun. Our pristine white-sand beach stretches 1,500 ft. Swim in the warm, glassy blue protected swimming lagoon, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or delicious lunch with beachside service from our restaurant, Splash.
- Stay Fit Easily, and With Options – Plenty of vacationers do not wish to take a vacation from physical exercise, which is why we offer plenty of options. The Tafelberg Tennis Center at the resort is one of the best facilities in the region and features the only Hydrogrid clay courts in the Caribbean. Additionally, the resort offers yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics classes each week! And, of course the resort features a state-of-the-art fitness center, open to guests 24-hours a day.
- One of the best golf courses in the Caribbean – It’s a game that never ceases to provide a challenge, and at Santa Barbara, it never ceases to provide breathtaking views. A very challenging course, Pete Dye’s, Old Quarry is rated one among the Best Courses in the Caribbean & Mexico. Whether you golf or just ride along in the cart, you’ll be amazed at every turn as the course meanders between the Caribbean Sea, Tafelberg Mountain and Spanish Water Bay.
To be honest, we could continue listing reasons why Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is a destination of its own, but we’ll stop there… for now.
Of course, we understand that you’ll most likely want to leave the resort from time to time to check out the attractions and culture of Curacao, which we highly encourage!
But, just know that we can and will meet all of your needs right here on our 2,000 acres of Caribbean paradise.
We’ve always got an exceptional package or two ready for you, you can view them all right here. We hope to see you soon!
There are nearly endless reasons visiting the Caribbean is a magnificent experience. Pristine beaches, sparkling blue waters and rum punch for days are a few that stand out.
Often overlooked, but equally spectacular, is the cuisine. Nothing beats ending a snorkeling adventure with a bliss inducing lunch. Or, treating your taste buds to their own indulgence after a relaxing spa treatment.
Few islands in the Caribbean are as diverse and rich in culture as Curaçao, one of the ABC islands in the Southern Caribbean, a mere 40 miles north of Venezuela.
Here at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, we are grateful to have Curacao born, European trained and immensely talented, Chef Heinrich Hortencia, as our Chef de Cuisine at Shore, our oceanfront fine-dining restaurant.
Chances are when you visit Curaçao, you’ll want to explore the culinary scene as thoroughly as possible, so we’ve asked Heinrich to let us in on some of his favorite dining establishments.
So, aside Santa Barbara’s wide variety of dining options, here are Chef Hortencia’s recommendations for delectable cuisine to enjoy throughout your trip. Enjoy!
1) Restaurant & Cafe Gouverneur de Rouville: Beautiful historic building, with awesome scenery of St. Anna Bay harbor and the Unesco World Heritage site – Capital Willemstad. They feature a diverse menu and offer excellent service. Heinrich’s wife suggests trying the Cuban style banana soup.
2) Zest Mediterranean at Jan Thiel: An incredible beach lounge vibe will really put you in the Caribbean mood. The chef has a very unique style and they have fantastic food.
3) Restaurant Komedor Krioyo at Landhuis Dokterstuin: Great, authentic local food. Very basic, but also very delicious!
4) Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant: This is an excellent luxury restaurant. Heinrich says this is, “his style of food.” Features very well thought-out food. Expensive, but well worth it.
5) Restaurant Kome: Just great food, and will make a great night out.
6) Landhouse Klein St. Martha: Absolutely enchanting view. Fantastic service. Uncomplicated and delicious food. All around excellent experience.
Hopefully you enjoy your experience at these restaurants just as much as Heinrich and his wife do!
For further suggestions and insight for your Curaçao trip don’t hesitate to reach out to the Santa Barbara team! We are more than happy to guide you through the ins and outs of our beautiful island!
What’s better than vacationing on an idyllic Caribbean island?
Having professional looking, insta-worthy sunset pics to show off your Caribbean vacation.
This day in age, if you have a phone, you have a more than capable camera. With technology always improving phone camera’s have come quite a long way and are capable of taking clear and beautiful pictures.
More surprising than the capabilities of phone cameras – what can be done to enhance the quality of a sunset pic with a few easy tips and tricks.
Having a rad sunset photo isn’t the only reason to vacation in the Caribbean, but having beautiful memories to share with loved ones sure is gratifying.
To help you along in your picture-perfect vacay, here are a few simple photography tips we hope you can utilize!
The Rule of Thirds is Key
Ever heard of the rule of thirds? This is a general photography principle that enhances almost any photo. Imagine your image as being divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. The important parts of your photo should be places along the lines and their intersections. Basically, you don’t want the focal point of your photo to be right in the center, rather off to the side, etc.
Some of the most striking sunset photos are so striking because of the foreground and the sunset. Maybe there’s a pretty beach landscape beneath the sunset, or perhaps a pier nearby. Try to add in some of the foreground to add beauty and depth to your photo.
Look for Objects Reflecting the Sunset Colors
The brilliance of a sunset penetrates every surface it touches, and this is a great opportunity for you to get a beautiful foreground, or even an entirely separate picture.
After Rain Sunsets Are the Best
If it happens to rain during your Caribbean vacay, plan on snapping some pics as soon as the clouds begin to clear for the most epic sunset photos!
After the sun sets, there is that lingering gorgeous multi-colored sky to look forward to. Wherever you are sit back, relax, and wait for round two – usually about 20-25 minutes after the sun has set.
Scope Out Your Location Ahead of Time
If you’re really feeling serious about scoring some stellar pics, then planning ahead is a great idea. As you explore the island keep in mind the places that will show off the sunset beautifully. If your phones’ weather app doesn’t tell you the time o the sunset, download an app that specializes in listing sunset times! Don’t forget – you want the sunset location to be facing west. Otherwise you may not actually get that sunset picture. Beaches and other locations facing east are best for sunrise photos instead.
Play Around With Unusual Angles
Get down low, find somewhere up high, play around with the angles! You may just be surprised at what you can achieve with a good squat.
Find Some Stability
Last but not least, try to keep the phone as stable as possible. Maybe prop the phone on a flat surface, or even consider getting a tripod for it. In low light especially, the camera on the phone slows the shutter speed to allow more light to come in, making it easier to get a blurry picture. If you just have your body to work with, hold the camera with both hands and let your upper arms rest against your torso to keep the camera still.
Now you can take impressive sunset photos anywhere in the world, but we are firm believers that the Caribbean is by far one of the best destinations. Within the Caribbean, we also happen to think Curaçao is among the best islands to visit. To further guide you in your future vacation planning, we recommend staying at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort when you do decide to visit Curaçao.
For any other suggestions, questions or inquiries, chat with our team at Santa Barbara and we’ll be sure to help guide you as best we can!