Nieuwpoort, Curaçao

Photo: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels
Photo: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels

Shortly after sunrise, you lace your sneakers and set out for your morning run. It starts out like usual, on a paved path around low buildings. Except for a singing bird, hidden somewhere just out of sight, it’s quiet and peaceful. Beyond the buildings, you’re surrounded by low shrubs, tall cacti, and a bright green golf course. An incline leads to rocky ledges; you were told there are even caves nearby. While the view from the end of the trail is breathtaking.

The sparkling Caribbean Sea is on one side. Calm Spanish Water is on the other. A small marina sits in the well-protected bay. The first sailboat of the day is starting to bob across the water. While Tafelberg, the island’s highest point, stands in the background. If only all your runs brought you to a place this beautiful.

You’re at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, which sits on the edge of a 2,000-acre plantation on the southeast coast of Curaçao. The resort is home to the Old Quarry Golf Course, one of the best greens in the Caribbean. But you’re not here to play golf. This run will be the most active part of your day. After you return to the resort and take a quick shower, you’ll head to one of the white-sand beaches and do nothing but relax for the rest of the afternoon.

Photo: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels
Photo: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels

Curaçao, one of the ABC Islands, lies just 40 miles north of Venezuela. The dry island, which receives very little rain, was first inhabited by the Arawak people. The Spanish arrived at the end of the 15th century, but it’s the Dutch who really developed the island. They built plantations, salt mines, and Willemstad, the capital that is still full of beautiful pastel houses. The island, which remains part of the Netherlands, is now a popular year-round beach destination, since it sits outside of the hurricane belt.

So while much of the Caribbean is worrying about developing storms, you’re guaranteed blue skies, warm temperatures, and perfect beach days on Curaçao. En route to the quiet beach, you pass families eating breakfast at Medi Restaurant. People are starting to claim sun loungers with towels at the large pool. A volleyball net is being set up on Shaman Beach. Plus sea kayaks are being pulled onto the sand in front of the activity center. You keep walking until you reach Santa Barbara Beach.

Santa Barbara Beach is the type of beach about which you dream. The lagoon has soft white sand, well-spaced sun loungers, and perfectly positioned umbrellas. Calm, clear water laps against the shore. Its color saturates—with every shade of blue and green imaginable—as it meets the sea. While beach service ensures you’ll never have to leave your perfect spot. Now how long should you wait before ordering your first Santa Barbara Sunset cocktail?

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