We stayed 6 days/7 nights in Bram’s Ocean Resort condo, and can’t wait to go back! The Bapor Kibrá location is excellent—it’s in a quiet, gated, family-friendly community flanked by the Curacao Aquarium, similar condo complexes and resorts. The vibe is relaxed and you’ll enjoy the privacy and convenience this unit affords.
Jacobien is terrific. She met us at the condo, answered our questions, and was helpful resolving any issues. You will see her again on your final evening to sign off on your utilities usage.
The condo is a first-floor unit. There are no stairs, except off the back patio, leading to the pool and walkways. The rooms are good-sized and the unit is best for up to 2 couples. The bathrooms are well stocked with towels. The kitchen has dishes, cups, glasses, pans, towels, silverware, etc. (Americans: if you cook, be prepared to convert from metric.)
The garden patio is large and private, overlooks the pool, and has an ocean view. We ate most of our meals on there and relaxed on the chaise lounges, reading. The patio also has a round charcoal grill. The living room is comfortable, and the satellite TV carries one local Miami station and some US cable networks. The WiFi is strong and we had no issues with buffering. If you want to stream, check before you leave—Netflix is available in Curacao; Hulu is not.
The unit has some US outlets throughout, to include the kitchen, master bed/bath. We used our chargers without issue. The individual ACs cool the rooms quickly and you can turn the units off or raise the temperature when you are out to conserve energy.
The complex has a private pool, beach, and lagoon, which is a good place for first-time snorkelers to get a feel for the water and used to their gear. The beach is located on backside of the complex, about a 3-minute walk, and has lounge chairs.
From the condo, you can walk not only to the aquarium, but also to several activities, including Substation Curacao and the shops and restaurants on Mambo Beach.
Parking is available if you rent a car, which we strongly recommend. You will need it to go to the supermarket (10 min), Willemstad (10 min), and to many of Curacao’s beaches and natural attractions, which are located on the other side of the island (35-45 minutes). Taxis are very expensive, and you will regroup the cost of your rental vehicle in a few days. Download Maps.me before you depart on your trip. It’s very reliable and uses GPS, not data.
If you need supplies, we recommend Vreugdenhill supermarket. It carries many American brands, organics, and has a drugstore section. Bring your ID to show if you pay with a credit card. When you enter the store, pick up a box (to the left at the second entrance) for your groceries. Bags are not offered. When you check in, confirm with Jacobien that leftovers are fine. They will not be wasted.
Thank you Bram and Jacobien for a wonderful visit! We look forward to returning soon.
Want more info about Curacao? Below is a general review of our visit.
We stayed 6 days/7 nights in a gated vacation rental in Bapor Kibrá. We were steps from the Curacao Sea Aquarium, activities such as Substation Curacao, and the shops and restaurants on Mambo Beach. There are hotels and resorts on the Westpunt side of the island and in Willemstad, but they do not have access to the amenities as those in Bapor Kibrá. The Pietermaai district in Willemstad is up and coming with boutique hotels and fine dining, but at night you may feel limited to your hotel.
Activities: Do your activities in the morning. We left around 8:30 a.m. The beaches are less crowded. Not all chairs have an umbrella, and the sun is intense. We left by 2:00 p.m. During the afternoons, we lounged by the pool, reading, and escaped into to the AC.
Our Dolphin Academy/Dolphin Swim experience included admission to the aquarium. We arrived around 9:30 a.m. and spent an hour walking through the exhibits and seeing the dolphin and sea lion live exhibitions. The aquarium does a terrific job of teaching while keeping it fun. The Dolphin Swim is about 90 minutes and includes instruction by the trainers on how to interact with these aquatic mammals—what’s safe for you, what’s safe for them. The trainers speak several languages—mainly English, Dutch, and Spanish—and participants are divided into groups of no more than 6. The swim itself is about 30 minutes in one of the dolphin lagoons. While the trainer walks you through several tricks with the dolphins, the best part is swimming alongside and underwater with these gentle creatures. The trainers make sure everyone has equal time, is safe, and included.
We also went to Shete Boka National Park. We saw the famous blowhole, where the rock formations causes incoming waves to shoot in the air. There are other formations to see, the Natural Bridges and cave areas, too. Worth the trip. Wear hiking shoes. You will be on pebble trails and the surrounding terrain is sharp.
You can tour the historic downtown Willemstad area in a few hours. A picture with the colorful facades from the floating bridge is a great—and free--souvenir. Most of the shops are filled with tchotchkes for cruise ship passengers, good for t-shirts and magnets. There is one shop, The Goods, which curates items made in Curacao, to include ceramics, art, jewelry, and other sundries. I bought a colorful wallet/clutch.
Beaches: We visited five beaches, some free, some with fees: Playa Lagun, Playa Porto Mari, Playa Forti, and Playa Grande, and the Kokomo Beach Club. I used my water shoes at each. Free beaches on Curacao can be rocky. Know before you go—research beach fees and amenities. At free beaches, don’t leave your items unattended. At the fee-based beaches, we left our towels, snorkels, and smaller items on our chairs, but took our valuables with us when we went to the onsite restaurant.
Dining: Bapor Kibrá restaurants, to include those along Mambo Beach, are geared towards tourists, and are comparable to TGI Fridays or similar chains. Burgers, steaks, ribs, tacos, pizzas, fries. Many are overpriced. We trusted Yelp reviews one evening, and after spending $70USD on Italian, walked away very disappointed. The finer dining options are in Pietermaai. We ate at BijBlauw twice—it’s hard to decide which is better, the food or the view. Google “pietermaai restaurants curacao” for other options.
When dining, do not expect “snappy service”. You are on island time. Waiters do not hover. The beach restaurants we visited did not have a hostess. Seat yourself, and when you are ready, catch the server’s attention. Be ready with your drink order, if possible. If you want water as well, tell them. When you ask for the check, your server will return with a credit card machine. Tell them if you want to pay in USD or NAfl. Tax is included, but tips are not. If the service is good, round up to the next 0, e.g., if your bill is $64USD, leave $6USD for a total of $70USD.
Getting around: Rent a car. You will need it to go to the supermarket, Willemstad, and to many of Curacao’s beaches and natural attractions, which are on the far side of the island, and can be up to 45 minutes away. Taxis are very expensive, and you will regroup the cost of your rental vehicle in a few days. Download Maps.me before you depart on your trip. It’s very reliable and uses GPS, not data. Do not leave anything in your vehicle. Your items will disappear. Also, save some cash for gas. Not all stations take credit cards.
The roads to the beaches can be rough. If you can rent a small SUV, do. Otherwise, you may be stopping at one of the several tire repair shops that dot the major roads. We rented from Just Drive and had a good experience. Located near the airport, they have a shuttle.
We didn’t book any tours. We got the information we needed from TripAdvisor and liked the flexibility of going at our own pace. If you do book a tour, ask if the vehicle has AC. Not all do.
Other tips: Bring USD to pay for beach access, chairs, and other onsite amenities. In addition to 20s, bring 1s, 5s, and 10s, unless you want your change in Antillean guiders (NAfl). Also bring US quarters, which you can use to pay for parking in Willemstad. (Spots without numbers are free, but be prepared to walk.) When you use a credit card at a restaurant or store, you have the option of paying in USD. There is a duty free store next to baggage claim at the airport if you wish to buy alcohol; however, one bottle per person.
Pack a hat with a strap. If your hat isn’t secure, it will blow away. The sun is intense; you need coverage. I packed my Columbia Bora Bora Booney at the last minute, and am very glad I did. I used it every day.
If you need supplies, and are staying in Bapor Kibrá, we recommend Vreugdenhill supermarket. It carries many American brands, organics, and has a drugstore section. Bring your ID to show if you pay with a credit card. When you enter the store, pick up a box (to the left at the second entrance) for your groceries. Bags are not offered.
Excellent spot from which to explore the beaches - from Mambo Beach to the beaches at Westpunt - eat at 2 of the historical landhuizen, take in 2 slave museums, check out grocery stores of all shapes and sizes and visit the blowholes at Shete Boka. By the way, the snorkeling in the bay off the private beach was as good as anywhere else, with the added benefit of swimming next to the dolphin tanks and listening to their high pitched squeals under water. Definitely up for a repeat appearance.
The location is second to none! Your own private beach -safe for families- beautiful beach -well laid out condo -Xandra had everything organized for us -would definitely book again!
Thia is our third time at Mambo Beach area and we will always want this unit in the future.
Location is great. Well equipped and any issues were quickly resolved. Great communication.
Thanks Bram for a great stay.
Gary and Jiuliana
Ocean resort garden apt. had everything we wanted. Over looking beautiful water. Very short walk to beaches, multiple places to eat and Sea Aquarium. Stocked with all needed items (even coffee filters). Wonderful pool area and private beach. Lower level so no stairs. Weather perfect with highs 81-lows 79 and nice breeze everyday. Highly recommend.