• Netherlands Antilles
    © iStockphoto.com / Sergey02
  • Netherlands Antilles
    © iStockphoto.com / Agustavop
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Netherlands Antilles

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Fifty kilometres from the Venezuelan coasts, the Netherlands Antilles consist of three islands, each of which is different: Aruba is the party island, replete with bars, cabarets, casinos and discotheques along its superb beaches of fine white sand. Bonaire, surrounded by its coral reef, attracts divers dazzled by its splendid seabeds, and Curaçao displays its colonial past. This archipelago languishing in the Caribbean sea continues to be protected from mass tourism: it is a pearl to be discovered as quickly as possible!

Our Editorial team's advice

Plan some time for an excursion to Venezuela. It would be a shame to be so close and not take advantage of the opportunity. The Netherlands Antilles are amongst the ideal places for becoming passionate about the sea depths and launching into diving. If this tempts you and you have the time, organise your departure a little! Think of elegant clothing for the casino.

pros

  • +The different activities on each of the islands.
  • +The crystalline waters.
  • +The sunniness.
  • +A small archipelago with a strong personality.

cons

  • -It is a long journey.
  • -The landscapes are sometimes harsh.
  • -The cultural aspect of the destination is almost inexistent
  • -The high cost of living there

Traditions

Superstitious beliefs abound. For example, if you surprise a housewife cleaning the yard of her house, it is not for cleanliness, but to chase away any crawling animals. When guests outstay their welcome, the inhabitants declare that all you need to do is to place a straw broom upside down along an exterior wall of the home for everyone to leave five minutes later. A red ribbon placed above a door of a home or office keeps the evil eye away.

Food

Seize the opportunity of your stay to taste the seafood. Fish is marinated or grilled. Fried, it is accompanied by funchi, a type of polenta. Mixed with beans and sugar, it becomes tutu. The inhabitants love stews made from goat, lamb, beef, chicken, conch, lobster and even iguana, for the most curious. They are served with rice, potatoes, or green beans.
Cucumber and cabbage are the favourite vegetables. Cactus is prepared in a soup. On the sweet side, coconut and peanuts dominate. Treat yourself to a cocktail based on the Curaçao liqueur. The island is also renowned for its restaurants that offer cuisine from all over the world. Similarly for Aruba and Bonaire.

Souvenirs

Duty-free watchmaker's shops, jeweller's shops, imitation jewellery shops, perfume and cosmetics shops, fashion, audiovisual, telephone and electronics shops... Most of the famous makes are represented in the duty-free shops. They open from 9.00am to 12.00pm or 1.00pm and from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, Monday to Saturday. You will also find paintings and sculptures from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, hammocks from South America and music from the Caribbean!