Let’s face it, things change when kids arrive. Before kids, standing in line for a Dumbo ride at Disneyland may not have been your idea of vacation. But just because you have kids doesn’t mean you can’t have your own dream vacation, one with plenty of entertainment without an amusement park in sight!
Experiencing Carnival in the Caribbean has always been on my travel bucket list.
Think you can’t do Carnival with kids? While some countries, like Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago, are known for raucous and racy celebrations, the southern island of Curacao celebrates in a festive family-friendly atmosphere.
A former Dutch colony, Curacao (pronounced keer-ah-sow) is a self-governing island off the coast of Venezuela that remains part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. The pastel buildings look so picture-perfect, you’ll think you’re on on the movie set for a quaint Caribbean island. It’s clean, colorful and everyone seems friendly.
Like much of the Caribbean, it’s a wild mix of cultures. Over the years, it’s been ruled by the Spanish, French, British and Dutch. Today, the average islander speaks an incredible four languages— Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamentu, their own Creole mix. During Carnival, their rich history comes alive in a colorful spectacle, with different neighborhood groups and clubs (some with hundreds) marching in elaborate costumes, which can cost up to $1,000. The music, dancing and endless array of crazy costumes went on easily three hours, and that was just one of the parades during Carnival. Trust me, Curacao takes this party seriously!
We stayed at Acoya Hotel Suites and Villas, a great choice for a family vacation. It’s got a great multi-tiered pool with a waterfall, breakfast is included and the large villas have full kitchens, so you won’t have to be taking the kids out for meals throughout the trip. A hotel shuttle van takes guests to the beach, downtown Willemstad, and the market.
Carnival’s a great way for you and your family to soak up a bit of local Caribbean culture, religion, history and food while having a lot of fun doing it. If you want experience Carnival for yourself, contact the Curacao Tourist Board. They’ll help you figure out where and how to watch the parade, you might even be able to participate!