Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos consists of a long chain of islands that stretch from the southernmost tip of the Bahamas down to the edge of the Dominican Republic. Its largest and most populated landmass is picturesque Providenciales, but there are hundreds of sandy cays dotted across the sea that provide endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure.

Providenciales

Providenciales, or more commonly known as “Provo”, covers an area of 38 miles and is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos. It is here where most international flights arrive at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS). Surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, Provo has been ranked “Best Beach” by Conde’ Nast magazine and by the World Travel Awards for several years running. Found on the western end of the island chain, Provo offers all modern conveniences, including luxurious hotels, villas and condos, numerous restaurants, spas and shopping facilities, a championship caliber golf course, and full service grocery store. Although Provo is the most developed of the islands, it is still a destination for those who want to escape their busy schedules and relax.

What to do in Providenciales

Grace Bay which features the famous 12-mile Grace Bay beach is the location for most of the tourism infrastructure, the Princess Alexandra Marine Park, which is also the playground of “Jo Jo” the famous bottlenose dolphin. Visitors to the world’s first Conch Farm discover how to grow conch from tiny veligers to four-year-old adults. This is where most of the water sport activities take place from diving to deep sea fishing and everything in between.

Stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors (or waiting ship wreckers) can be found on the hilltop overlooking the now abandoned Marina Inn near Chalk Sound and Sapodilla Bay. If you like old ruins that are not too difficult to get to, visit 2 sites of plantation houses built by Loyalists, Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill. “The Hole” at Long Bay is a deep and wide Limestone chimney with a mysterious depth of salt water at the bottom.

 

Living Luxe on Parrot Cay

With the stamp of approval from stars such as Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Parrot Cay is the beach escape of your dreams. Parrot Cay is the beach escape of your dreams. Donna Karan also owns a home at the lush, 1,000-acre island resort Parrot Cay boasts the level of service and amenities that make for a “once in a lifetime” type of vacation, an easy 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales.

So what makes this heaven on earth so special? For starters, like most beaches in Turks, you’re promised powder-soft sands and calm, clear waters. The water here is ideal for long afternoons of snorkeling and diving, and yoga on the beach is an unbeatable experience for those who like to access their inner zen. The resort’s world-class Shambhala Retreat Spa takes a holistic approach to their services with Ayurvedic and aromatherapy body treatments. Post-spa, we recommend you stretch out on your private beachside daybed with a glass of rosé. Celebrities, they’re just like us!

 


Easter in the Caribbean

Spending Easter in the Caribbean is a warm and welcoming experience. As with most things in the Caribbean, local traditions put a unique tropical spin on the holiday’s religious and secular celebrations.

The Religious Roots
The dominant religion throughout the Caribbean is Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism. No matter where you go in the Caribbean, you are sure to find a lot of churches as many island residents are quite devout. As such, Easter celebrations in the Caribbean are quite established.

Easter Foods
Easter dinner is a wonderful part of Easter celebrations. Of course there is the tradition of no red meat eaten on Good Friday, and eating fish and vegetables becomes the rule. .
Easter bun and cheese:  A specially made spiced bun with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, filled with raisins, currents and dried fruit, eaten with cheese.

Kite Flying
Flying kites is a popular pastime year-round in the Caribbean. It is symbolic of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and His eventual ascension into Heaven. These events feature impressive creations, with massive kites emblazoned with creative designs. Typically, the Easter weekend falls on dry season, making for a holiday weekend filled with beautiful warm weather.  Winds are typically high during that time as well.

Folkloric parade
The Seú or Harvest Parade is the second largest parade of the island of Curacao, where the streets of Otrobanda are again transformed into a euphoric display of folklore and groups dance through the streets to celebrate the harvest. Locals dress up in the most amazing folkloric costumes. It is a big, colorful event with lots of music and folkloric groups. You will appreciate and enjoy music played on traditional instruments.

Breaking Eggs
Also in some parts of the Caribbean, breaking a fresh egg out in the sun at precisely midday and placing it in a container of holy water on Holy Thursday will form a pattern of coagulated egg white by Good Friday that can be used to predict the future. For example, a ship or anything resembling a boat means you will be travelling.

No Beach on Good Friday
While this Caribbean legend may not be too popular with tourists, the tradition on some islands holds that if you step into the ocean on Good Friday, you will turn into a fish. With the previously mentioned being extremely farfetched, others simply say it is bad luck to go to the beach. The concept arises from the thought that it is bad to be working on your tan on the day of the Crucifixion.

Regardless, on some islands, example the Bahamas, Easter weekend is traditionally ‘back to the beach’ time as the Atlantic waters have finally warmed up enough for everyone to go swimming. In truth, today, going to the beach is no longer bad luck!

These are the most popular traditional Easter traditions of the Caribbean.  With the gorgeous weather and Christian traditions conspiring to make it a time both solemn and fun-filled, you will be fortunate to spend Easter in the Caribbean. Go eat some Easter bun! Go to church! Fly a kite! This Easter, enjoy the Caribbean traditions and have a happy Easter or as we say on Curacao Bon Pasku di Resurekshon!


Must Try Curacao cuisine

To become familiar with a country is to dine on its local specialties. Curacao’s cuisine is quit diverse and food has become the way of the land since it is as diverse as the many ethnicities and languages of its people. From upscale restaurants to street food stalls, there is something to appease any gourmet; especially these five dishes, that have made a delicious statement throughout the island. Just about every taste of Curacao is a testament of its eventful past, with flavors so rich you’ll be saying “dushi” (local term for sweet) with every bite.

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Kadushi (Cactus Soup)
From Curacao’s lush hills to its coastal cliffs, cacti can be seen just about everywhere on the island thanks to its arid temperatures. Along with the island’s wildlife, people have also relied on the prickly plant for its natural resources, which can still be traced here even to this very day in dishes like kadushi, well-known as cactus soup.
Traditionally providing a source of energy, the spines are removed, and the cactus is skinned, and sliced in order to reach the meat that is located inside of the plant. Once the meat is boiled in a broth, traditionally “palu di lele” (kitchen utensils made from tree branches) are used to stir the soup. Although green in color and slimy in texture, eating kadushi is an ideal way to familiarize your taste buds to Curacao’s culture, especially at the Marsche Bieuw (The Old Market) in Willemstad.

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Guiambo (Okra Soup)
Another dish normally served at The Old Market is guiambo, commonly known as okra soup. Also slimy in nature, the okra is stewed to perfection and mixed with seafood to give it the ultimate taste. Like most soups, it is best consumed with a spoon, although the gooey texture of the dish typically makes it stick to the spoon, which makes it a bit of a challenge to eat.
Nevertheless, once you’ve sunken your teeth into this hearty meal, the gooeyness of guiambo is outweighed by the flavor of the seafood and the okra. And like many soups of the Caribbean, it is customarily eaten as an entrée instead of as an appetizer.

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Ayaka
Just in time for the holidays, ayaka is a Curacaoan specialty that makes an annual appearance during the season of Christmas. You’ll find it neatly concealed in a green leaf of either plantain or banana, and unwrapping is required in order to savor the golden cornmeal treat filled with a variety of stewed meats usually consisting of chicken, beef, or pork.
Ayaka can be found in restaurants and markets across the island, making the pursuit of unwrapping this dish just as exciting as opening a gift during the holidays; particularly because of the savory goodness that is cooked up inside.

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Red Snapper
It is quite hard to resist the temptation of fish in Curacao, especially since specialties like red snapper, which is deemed a national dish, can be found on almost every menu.
That’s why this local favorite is worth a try. In restaurants like Grill King in Willemstad, chefs are masters at whipping up the traditional treat with a side of French fries, plantains, or funchi to make the Curacaoan staple complete.

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Sult
Pig’s ear or feet for that matter may sound like a dish for the adventurous foodie, but you might be pleasantly surprised since many of Curacao’s natives can’t get enough of this beloved dish. Locally known as sult, it is thinly sliced and drenched in a vinegar-flavored liquid in order to absorb the onion and other spices incorporated into the recipe.
If you’re thinking about taking your palate on a wild culinary journey, hotels like the Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino have the right ingredients to make your appetite crave more of this unique spin on pork.

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Spending the Holiday season in Curaçao

Spending the holiday season in the caribbean is a whole other experience. It doesn’t snow it won’t get cold and Santa doesn’t climb down your chimney. nevertheless spending your holidays in the caribbean will be an experience worth while. A visit to the Caribbean is always a good thing, but a Caribbean Christmas is the best time of all. The most important thing a wanderluster in the caribbean holiday season needs to know, is what and how we celebrate.

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Christmas season officially starts in Curaçao when we hit mid- November, its all about the music, the spirit and gatherings. every other weekend you will find at the side of the street “Tambú” gatherings. “Tambú” is a traditional holiday season music that contain rather controversial lyrics sometimes stating how the year went by. Early December there’s the “Koop-avond” night where stores in the city stay open every Thursday till 9, where people can shop, gather and have a good time shopping while enjoying festive music and food.

St. Nicolas Day Dec 5 Or Sinterklaas
Children carefully set out their shoes on the eve, filled with grass for St. Nic`s horse. Those who have been good receive a gift, those who haven`t are afraid a “Zwarte Piet” will carry them back to Spain in a Sack. Local schools participate fully in the festivities look for jeeps full of Piets in black face driving around residential areas throughout the week. It may surprise you to see local businesses decorated with caricatures of black face Piet.

sinterklaas

Christmas eve Dec 24
Christmas eve is the time where families usually gather (allot of workers get half day off or stop working at 3), if they still havent decorated the christmas tree parents and children do so and follow along with a christmas eve dinner or party. its a time families reflect together and prepare for christmas day.

Christmas day Dec 25
Christmas day is a big celebration where the main focus is food. families wake up early in the morning and start preparing the christmas dinner. Around 9 families goes to church to thank god for the birth of our saviour. After this they proceed visiting family members in the neighbourhood to spread the blessings and remind them about christmas dinner. After christmas dinner they proceed opening gifts and spending time together.

Punda-X-Mas-Scene

New Year’s Day Jan 1
After the year ends with a big bang, the first day of the New Year is traditionally a time for family gatherings. (Stores are closed). For several days the streets are littered with the red paper wrappings of thousands of firecrackers.

Fuik Day Or Fuik Dag
Is a Curaçao’s yearly recurring boat party in Fuik Bay on the first Sunday of the year with boats, booze and DJ’s.
Since 2011 big DJ’s like Chuckie, Afrojack and others have played there, but who’s coming this year… On the first Sunday of the year (or the second if it’s bad timing) everything that floats comes to Fuik Bay for one big party on the water. Bring your inflatables and lots of booze because this is one big BYOB party on the water.

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Now that you have a feel of what to expect ask santa this year for the gift of a Caribbean Christmas. It’s easy to wrap, fits under any tree and comes with a lifetime of memories.