As some background, I grew up in St. Croix, USVI and had an amazing childhood in paradise. I have travelled to a few Caribbean islands over the years, but tended to vacation in Mexico which I love as well. Due to recent troubles, even in Cancun, my husband and I are thinking of changing our vacation habits and explore other destinations. Because I now live on the coast of the Mississippi, I always want a tropical vacay. I was invited late last year on a site visit for meeting planners to Curacao (pronounced kyur uh sow) , which was appropo because I have a client interested in holding a meeting there. I brought the client along and immediately fell in love with this beautiful island. It is truly a best-kept secret. "Discovered by the Spanish, overtaken by the Dutch, ruled intermittently by the British and long coveted by the French, Curacao’s history is indeed a diverse one. The result is a Caribbean destination that defies description and recalls the quaint designs of Amsterdam" The Capital city of Willemstad is one of six UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Caribbean, joining the ranks of Old Havana, Old San Juan, and Colonial Santo Domingo. One of the most interesting historical sites we visited was the Synagogue Mikve Israel-Emanuel (Snoa). The congregation was founded in 1651, and the synagogue has been in continuous use since 1732. It’s the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Western hemisphere – and the synagogue is the oldest one in continuous use in all of the Americas. Fascinating! Sorry I didn't get a good picture. Although Dutch is the Curacao official language, and English and Spanish are also widely spoken, many residents speak Papiamentu — a "Creole mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Arawak Indian." Truly one of the loveliest languages I have ever heard and very easy to pick up. Bon dia/tardi/nochi (m/a/e) to all! We were also told that Curacao is a deep water island known for snorkeling and scuba diving. As such, there are not as many long stretches of beaches to lounge about. I decided to stay an extra day and a local guide drove me to the less populated side of the island where we visited some lovely bays and cultural sites. At one point we drove through a bit of a thunderstorm and actually saw a small tornado at the tip. Curacao is the southern most island For many years tourists in Curacao has consisted of Dutch nationals and other Europeans. They have recently started reaching out more to the United States to bring awareness as a destination. While it can be a bit expensive to get there depending on your US origin, it wasn't outrageously expensive in my opinion. The food was amazing! Shame on my memory for not remembering the name of it, but there was local dish made with chicken and covered in dome of Gouda that was out of this world. The Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino was our host and I can't say enough great things. The rooms were lovely, staff exceptional, and the food top notch. The Casino is small and right off the lobby. Majority of the rooms were ocean view. The hotel was built on a small pennisula with a manmade beach, saltwater infinity pool, and small chlorine pool. There is an small lounge outside that serves those relaxing about the area. The last picture is the view from my room. The hotel is built on top of an upscale shopping area and next door to the Rif Fort which has been turned into a quaint shopping and dining area. The shops have lovely creations from local artisans. It is also just a short walk across the hanging bridge to Willemstad. A wonderful experience all the way around and I can't wait to go back. Thanks for reading my story and Bon Dia!