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Curacao Travel Info and Hotel Discounts Curacao Travel Info and Hotel Discounts

 

Netherlands Antilles Hotel Accommodations
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Hilton Curacao
John F Kennedy Boulevard - Willemstad,
 Netherlands Antilles
Set On Two Private Beaches On Historic Piscadera Bay, The Laid-back Ambiance Of The Caribbean Meets The Casual Elegance Of A Deluxe Resort At This Resort. With Wide-open Spaces, Hidden Nooks, And Tucked-away Places, This Resort Offers The Ideal Setting For Vacationers Looking To Relax And Be Pampered.

 
Hilton Curacao
Curacao Travel Info and Hotel Discounts

 
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The Sea Aquarium Resort
BAPOR KIBRA Z/N - Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
The Sea Aquarium Resort Is Romantically Set On A Private Island Surrounded By Dolphins, A White Sandy Beach And Adjacent To Curacao's World-famous Sea Aquarium, Where Guests Also Enjoy Complimentary Admission. The Resort Features Two Swimming Pools, A Separate Children's Pool, An Outdoor Jacuzzi And "Blue Oceans", A Waterfront Outdoor-dining Restaurant.

 The Sea Aquarium Resort Curacao

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  Curašao (pronounced [kura'sŃo]) is an island in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. The isle is the largest and most populous of the three so-called ABC islands (for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curašao) and belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curašao's capital is Willemstad.

Curašao has a land area of 444 square kilometres (171 mi▓). At the 2001 Netherlands Antilles census, the population was 130,627 inhabitants, which means a population density of 294 inhabitants per square kilometre. In 2004 the population was estimated at 133,644 inhabitants.

Geography
Curašao is renowned for its coral reefs which make it an excellent spot for scuba diving. The beaches on the south side contain many popular diving spots. An unusual feature of Curašao diving is that the sea floor drops off steeply within a few hundred feet of the shore, and the reef can easily be reached without a boat. This drop-off is locally known as the "blue edge." Strong currents and lack of beaches make the rocky northern coast dangerous for swimming and diving, but experienced divers sometimes dive there from boats when conditions permit. The southern coast is very different and offers remarkably calm waters. The coastline of Curašao features many bays and inlets, many of them suitable for mooring. Curašao lies outside of the hurricane belt and has a semi-arid savanna-like climate. Curašao flora is unlike the typical tropical island vegetation and is more akin to the Southwestern United States. Various forms of cactus, thorny shrubs and evergreens are prevalent. Curašao's highest point is the 375-metre (1,230-ft) Christoffelberg in the northwestern part of the island. This lies in the reserved wildlife park, Curašao Christoffelpark, and can be explored by car, bike or horse or on foot. Several trails have been laid out. Curašao has a lot of places where one can hike. There are Sali˝as, salt water lakes where flamingos fly out to rest and feed. South-east of the coast of Curašao lies the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curašao ('Little Curašao')

History
The building 'Groot Davelaar'The original inhabitants of Curašao were Arawak Amerindians. The first Europeans to sight the island were the members of a Spanish expedition under the leadership of Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. The Spaniards decimated the Arawak. The island was occupied by the Dutch in 1634. The Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad on the banks of an inlet called the 'Schottegat'. Curašao had been previous ignored by colonists because it lacked many things that colonists were interested in, such as gold deposits. However, the natural harbour of Willemstad proved quickly to be an ideal spot for trade. Commerce and shipping became Curašao's most important economic activities, and Curašao came to play a pivotal role in one of the most intricate international trade networks in history: the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch West India Company made Curašao a center for slave trade in 1662. Dutch merchants brough slaves from Africa to the trading area called Asiento. From there, slaves were sold and shipped to various destinations in South Americia and the Caribbean. At the height of the trade large numbers of slaves were traded here. Later both the English and the French briefly occupied the island, adding to the mix of languages spoken on the island. The Dutch abolished slavery in 1863. Curašao features colonial architecture that blends various Dutch and Spanish colonial styles. The wide range of other historic buildings in and around Willemstad earned the capital a place on UNESCO's world heritage list. Landhouses (former plantation estates) and West African style 'kas di pal'i maishi' (former slave dwellings) are scattered all over the island and some of them have been restored and can be visited.The end of slavery caused economic hardships, causing many Curašao people to emigrate to other islands, such as to Cuba to work in sugarcane plantations.

When in 1914 oil was discovered in the Maracaibo Basin town of Mene Grande, the fortunes of the island changed drastically. The Royal Dutch Shell and the Dutch Government had built an extensive oil refinery installation on the former site of the slave-trade market at Asiento and thereby built a large employment scheme that provided work for most of the local population and fueled a wave of immigration from the surrounding nations. Curašao was an ideal site for the refinery as it was away from the social and civil unrest in most of South America, but near enough to the Maracaibo Basin oil fields. It also had an excellent natural harbour that could accommodate large oil tankers. The company brought a degree of affluence to the island. Large housing was provided and Willemstad provided with an extensive infrastructure. However, discrepancies started to appear amongst the social groups of Curašao. The discontent and the antagonisms between Curašao social groups culminated in large scale rioting and protest on May 30th, 1969. The civil unrest fueled a social movement that resulted in the local Afro-Caribbean population attaining more influence over the political process (Anderson and Dynes 1975). The island also developed a tourist industry and low corporate taxes meant many companies set up holdings to avoid rigorous schemes elsewhere. In the mid 1980s Royal Shell sold the refinery for a symbolic amount to a local government consortium. Since then discussions have centered on changing the constitutional situation as well as finding new sources of income. The government consortium currently leases the refinery to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
 
  The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch: Nederlandse Antillen), previously known as the Netherlands West Indies, are part of the Lesser Antilles and consist of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea that form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (none of the other Antilles use this term in their name). The islands' economy is dependent mostly upon tourism and petroleum.

History
Main articles: History of the Netherlands Antilles,
Both the lewards(Alonso de Ojeda, 1499) and Windward (Christopher Columbus, 1493) island groups were discovered and initially settled by the Spanish. In the 17th century, the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company and were used as bases for slave trade. Only in 1863 was slavery abolished.

In 1954, the islands were promoted from colony to a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island of Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted a "status apart", and became a separate part of the kingdom. Some of the other islands have indicated that they wish to obtain the same status, but no agreements on this have yet been reached. Other options sometimes considered are independence or together becoming a province of the Netherlands. (see: Dutch colonial empire)

Future status
Beatrix
Queen of the NetherlandsIn 2004 a commission of the governments of the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands reported on a future status for the Netherlands Antilles. The commission advised to revise the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in order to dissolve the Netherlands Antilles. Two new countries inside the Kingdom of the Netherlands would be formed, Curašao and Sint Maarten. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius would become directly part of the Netherlands as Kingdom Islands. On November 28, 2005, an agreement was signed between the Dutch government and the governments of each island that would put into effect the commission's findings by July 2007. [1]

Islands
Main articles: Islands of the Netherlands Antilles,
The Netherland Antilles have no major administrative divisions, although each island has its own local government.

The two island groups of which the Netherlands Antilles consists are:

the "Leeward Islands" (Benedenwindse Eilanden) off the Venezuelan coast (with also Aruba nearby):
Bonaire, including an islet called Klein Bonaire ("Little Bonaire")
Curašao, including an islet called Klein Curašao ("Little Curašao")
the "Windward Islands" (Bovenwindse Eilanden) east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These are part of what are in English called the Leeward Islands, but in e.g. French, Spanish, German, Dutch and the English spoken locally these are considered part of the Windward Islands.
Saba
Sint Eustatius
Sint Maarten, the southern half of the island Saint Martin (the northern half, Saint-Martin, is French and part of the overseas department of Guadeloupe).
Background:
Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its northern portion is named Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe, and its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Curacao.
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 960 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)
water: 0 sq km
land: 960 sq km
Area - comparative:
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Climate:
tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Terrain:
generally hilly, volcanic interiors
Ethnic groups:
mixed black 85%, Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian
Religions:
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Seventh-Day Adventist
Languages:
Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) predominates, English widely spoken, Spanish
Currency:
Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Currency code:
ANG
Exchange rates:
Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - 1.790 (fixed rate since 1989)
Internet country code:
.an

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