Above: A view of Table Mountain on Curacao.

Above: A view of Table Mountain on Curacao.

The ABC’s of the Caribbean

Carla Nelson of Maritime Travel writes of the tourist playgrounds Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao

  • Jan. 22, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Located in the Lesser Antilles and technically part of South America rather than the North American Caribbean, the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are affectionately known as the ABC islands.

Just north of Venezuela and in the western Caribbean, you will find these three islands that are part of the Netherlands but not part of the European Union.  Said to have been discovered by one of Christopher Columbus’ captains in 1499, these islands were first inhabited by the Spaniards.  In 1634, the Netherlands fought Spain for the islands and won.  When oil was discovered in Venezuela in the 20th century, the islands became oil refineries.

Fast forward to today, and these islands are playgrounds for tourists.  Popular year round because they are ‘hurricane safe’ — outside the hurricane belt in the Caribbean.

The largest island is Curacao.  The main city is Willemstad, which is also a cruise ship port.  You can take postcard photos here of the colourful townhouses, which are very similar to the architecture of Amsterdam.  Cas Abou Beach has the widest stretch of white sand.  There is a popular Underwater Park.  Snorkelling, fishing and sailing are available.  For evening, there are many casinos on the island.

The second largest, and most well known island is Aruba.  It is flat and has the driest climate, almost desert in places.  There is a large cruise port here in Oranjestad (Orange Town).  The best beaches are here too — Eagle Beach and Baby Beach.  Aruba is one of the honeymoon capitals of the world due to many luxury resorts on the island.  There is a popular dive site just a few hundred feet off the shore — a sunken German freighter from World War II — many species of tropical fish have made their home there.

The smallest, and least populated island in this chain is Bonaire (Good Air).  So small that there aren’t even any traffic lights in the city of Kralendijk or anywhere on the island.  Famous for the Bonaire Marine Park, it is a diving paradise.  The island is surrounded by reefs.  The trumpetfish is the ‘star’ here for snorkelers and divers.  You can also find flamingoes and 4 species of sea turtles on the island.

Needless to say, dining out is an amazing experience for seafood lovers!  Lobster, barracuda, grouper, shrimp, mahimahi, tuna — you name it, you can have it!  And of course, then you can wash it down with some of the finest Dutch beer!

If you are looking for a new sun destination experience this winter, consider the ABC islands.  They’re a little more difficult to get to, but well worth the trip.  For more information, contact Carla Nelson, Branch Manager, Maritime Travel, 250.489.4788.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read