Monday, 6 January 2020

Dive into Curacao Carnival - for a vacation you'll never forget!

Curacao Carnival is one of the largest and longest Carnival spectacles in the Caribbean
and one of the best times to visit this amazing island.

So if you’re looking for a unique, incredible and highly memorable Curacao dive vacation experience?


Check this one out.

Originally a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of “Carne Levale,” or giving up meat for Lent, Curacao continues the tradition now known as Carnival, with incredible masquerade parties and and huge, colourful, gigantic Parades ("marches").

Curacao Carnival is the Curacao's biggest party of the year and amazing to experience - and join in.

With fantastic parades, floats, costumes and characters, including Carnival "Royalty" elected during full-scale, island-wide beauty contests, impromptu street parties, dancin' and even more music than usual, it's a wonderful, incredible and unique opportunity to experience the passion of the islanders.

It’s HUGE.


And you're welcome.

You're welcome to join the tens of thousands of road-side spectators and be amazed by the impressive, energetic and amazing array of multi-colored floats and the lavish, intricate, hand-made costumes.

You're welcome to enjoy the music that plays such a huge part in daily Curacao life: "Tumba", which is, effectively, the “soundtrack” for Curacao Carnival.

And you're welcome to dance your flip-flops off to the complex rhythms of the live Tumba bands - or just watch, absorb and enjoy the whole massive, lavish and incredible Curacao Carnival experience.

Whether you're spectating or participating, it's just about impossible to prevent your feet from moving to the complex rhythms of the Carnival music. Originating in Africa and named after a 17th century Spanish dance, Tumba has evolved through influences including jazz, merengue and other Afro-Caribbean beats, to become Curacao's most popular dance and music style:

But participating in Curacao Carnival Parades doesn't come cheap.

Once Curacao Carnival season is officially "opened", islanders set about raising the necessary funds for their favourite Tumba bands to participate in the Grand Parade - by arranging parties!

While their favourite band plays at these "Jump Ups” (parties held outside, in, on and through the streets in mini-Parades of their own) and "Jump Ins" (parties held inside), friends, family and fans sell the band’s official t-shirts to the dancing crowds, to raise the funds.

If you happen upon any of these parties, you don’t need to ask: you are welcome. Make sure to buy a t-shirt or 3 now you know the cool reason behind them - and they make awesome souvenirs to illustrate your cool story of how and why you got them…

The Grand Parade (“Gran Marcha”) is the first of the two main Carnival Parades, on Sunday during the day.
The second is the Farewell March (“Marcha di Despedida"), the following Tuesday evening, with the floats adorned with sparkling lights.

The dramatic Carnival finale takes place at midnight when King Momo and all that he symbolizes is banished...

(Until Carnival 2020, that is.)

Both the 2 main Parades - and the various others in between, including the hugely popular Kids Parade - are the product of months of incredible amounts of work and preparation, featuring fantastical floats, lavish costumes and head-dresses, as well as traditional Carnival “characters”. 

The Carnival Queen is the most important Carnival character. Representing Mother Earth, she’s a symbol of fertility and peace, elected through a series of full-scale, island-wide beauty contests. 

The Carnival King (Momo) is a symbol of the exact opposite: infertility, sins and bad luck. Momo is a straw–filled dummy - which is fortunate, given that he’s center-stage at the dramatic and spectacular ritual that marks the official close of Carnival at the Farewell March…

The trick to getting a great viewing spot along the Carnival route for the Grand Parade is to get there early. Islanders set up their prime, road-side seating days, weeks and sometimes months in advance, to reserve their favourite spots.

But the best way to experience Curacao Carnival isn’t to sit and watch it pass by.

The best way to experience Curacao Carnival is to hang out in and on the streets, mingling and dancing with and like the locals (who forgot to reserve their favourite spots in time).

And if you are invited to join the Parade? Do it. It’s fun, safe, friendly – and the experience of a lifetime.

The Curacao Carnival route effectively splits the island in two. And with thousands of spectators as well as the floats and participants, it can be pretty tricky crossing the route to head West or East, as you can maybe imagine.

So if you're planning on diving Curacao during Carnival, you may want to prepare for random “delays” or “alternative routes” - and keep a cooler of cold beer and your phone handy.

And if you're diving with us at The Dive Bus, we plan our dive schedule around the Parade routes / days ... and carry cold beer just in case the plan doesn't quite go according to, erm, plan.

(If you’re going to be be here on a Dive Bus DIVE + DRIVE Package, ask to rent one of our coolers...🍺🍺😉.)

With all of the above, plus the Curacao kids and teens Carnival festivities running alongside, the Tumba Festival and awesome diving,
you may need another vacation to recover from your Curacao Carnival Dive experience.

Or an additional week. (Don't say we didn't warn you!)


#feelit #experiencecuracao #discovercuracao #curacaocarnival #divecuracao #scuba #tauchen  #curacaovacation  #dutchcaribbean #rightnowincuracao #followme #travel #wanderlust #carnival #party #thedivebus #divecuraca

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

10 GREAT Christmas gift ideas for your favourite scuba divers AND our oceans

If you're searching for fun, awesome, cool, ocean-friendly Christmas gift ideas for your favourite people?
This may help.

Because people don’t need to be divers to care of our oceans.
1. Pimp ‘em up and protect the ocean with Project AWARE

It's a fact universally acknowledged that it's simply not possible to have “too many” t-shirts. And, especially for guys, “too many” hats. (Or is that just Dive Bus Mark..?)

An international registered non-profit organization and a global movement for ocean protection, powered by a community of adventurers (that would be you), proceeds from Project AWARE apparel sales help fund their important activities around the world.

Project AWARE's ever-expanding range of cool, ocean-related apparel, printed with low-waste ink, on 100% organic, made in a wind-powered factory, make for awesome, impactful gifts all year-round, “connecting our passion for ocean adventure with marine conservation”.

2. Pimp ‘em up and protect the ocean with PADI Loves

Check out the latest "PADI Loves" range for more super cool, fun gifts that that give back by protecting what you love: the ocean.

Working closely with Project AWARE, according to PADI:
"'PADI LOVES' harnesses the enormous power each of us has to impact our Blue Planet. With every purchase we make, we’re voting for the world we want, directing entire industries toward sustainability.  
PADI loves these brands because they enable us to choose products that lessen our impact on the environment. They share our ocean ethos, creating eco-conscious products and developing sustainable practices we can all stand behind."

3. Help change the picture. 

If you, your dive buddies, friends and family really do have too many t-shirts and / or would like to give (or receive) a meaningful, impactful gift this Christmas, how about:
A non-profit organisation, Project AWARE spends 75% of donations on marine protection:
  • 32% Shark & Ray Conservation
  • 29% Marine Debris Solutions
  • 14% Ocean Protection
  • 25% Global Operations
4. Give the gift of diving -
and turn your family and friends into something useful 😉

Gift a PADI eLearning course or a Discover Scuba Dive at your favourite dive shop, and you'll have a dive buddy for life.

How useful is that!

Whether you choose a local dive shop or one in an awesome year-round dive destination like Curacao (just sayin' 😉) choose a 100% AWARE dive center wherever possible.

100% AWARE dive centers make a donation to Project AWARE for every every PADI dive course certification that they issue. So you'll enabling your chosen dive center to give your family and friends an incredible, unforgettable experience and to take care of our oceans.
5. Ditch single-use plastic gifts. For EVER.

With an estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic entering the ocean each year, avoiding single-use plastic especially over the festive period makes a massive, positive difference to our oceans.

Yup, we know it can be hard to change habits or 'default' / automatic purchase decisions, because we've done it ourselves. But this one is super easy, low cost and massively, instantly, impactful.

scuba tank water bottle

Gift a re-usable metal water bottle to your buddies to take on each and every (dive) vacation.

Sure, it may cost a little more in the first place, but re-usable metal water bottles last forever, save money and massively reduce single-use plastic bottle consumption.

(And they can pimp it with stickers from each dive center and dive destination they visit for a fun, unique, cool and practical alternative to single use plastic bottles. And to show off their dive adventure destinations, just a little...)

6. Gift meaningfully

Not only are these awesome Fair Tradewinds holiday favorites the coolest socks ever, they also protect sharks, plant trees, fight breast cancer, give water, protect dogs, provide relief kits and give people a reason to talk about your feet, while keeping them warm and stylish.

Click here for more Fair Tradewinds Christmas gifts that give back. Gift certificates also available if there are just too many cool things to choose from!)

7. Remove a pound of trash from our oceans and coastlines with these awesome bracelets

Support 4Ocean’s mission to clean our ocean and coastlines, one pound at a time, by gifting these cool and highly meaningful bracelets this Christmas.

With an estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic entering the ocean each year, each bracelet sold goes towards funding their massive clean up operations. It's a great way to "end the plastic pollution crisis together."
8. TONS of great, funky and fun stuff,
made from recycled marine debris!

Check out these amazing products made with recycled ocean plastics / marine debris - there's something for everyone, from sunglasses to skateboards, and plenty more:
9. Gifts that give back

Every product in the Fair Trade Winds online store is lovingly handmade by folks working hard to create a better world for their families and children.

Help make that happen - check out this year's Fair Trade Holiday Gift Guide more:

10. Zero Waste, Plastic Free Christmas Decorations & Gifts

Have some fun: make and gift your OWN zero-waste gifts and decorations for your friends and family this Christmas.

You might be pleasantly surprised by your own creativity!

 Ho, Ho, Ho and happy ocean-friendly Christmas gift shopping!

#curacaochristmas #caribbeanchristmas #christmasdivevacation #thedivebus #divecuracao #newyeardivevacation #divepackagecuracao #scubagifts #divegifts #giftsfordivers #learntodive #scuba #dive #duiken #tauchen #vacation #holiday #curacao #dutchcaribbean #caribbean #rightnowincuracao #padi #travel #paditravel #divecuracao #wanderlust #adventure #diveequipment #scubadivergiftideas #projectaware #sustainablegifts

Sunday, 10 November 2019

5 GREAT reasons to dive Curacao this Christmas and New Years

If you haven't decided where to spend your Christmas and / or New Years dive vacation yet? 


Here are a bunch of reasons why Curacao should be at the top of your list:

Reason #1: 
It'll be at least 85 degrees of sun, sun and more sun in Curacao. So you could be shoveling ice into your cocktail on the beach, instead of shoveling snow off of your driveway.
Reason #2:
At a balmy 80(ish) degrees, Curacao’s ocean temperature will be warmer than your air temperature back home.

Reason #3: 
Instead of freezing your butt off at home, you could be chilling out at one of Curacao's many, many beach-bars. 

After another day of fabulous shore diving. 

Before heading out for dinner in one of Curacao's many many awesome restaurants, like this one: 

Reason #4:
This year's Curacao Christmas festivities begin on 16 November with the arrival of "Sinterklaas" and his band of "Black Piets", by boat, in downtown Willemstad:

They’ll be making surprise appearances all around the island, entertaining and collecting / handing out bucket loads of candy and speculaas cookies, before setting sail again on 6 December.

More fun Curacao Christmas events and festivities not to miss include:
Reason #5:
For a New Years Eve (or "Old Year's Eve" as the Dutch call it) you'll never forget, spend it in Curacao. 
It's a spectacular, erm, spectacle, with the island's night sky exploding spectacularly. For hours and hours and hours.

Conveniently for divers and dive instructors who can't manage to stay awake until midnight, celebrations begin at 5pm on 31 December, coinciding with midnight in Holland and beer o’clock at The Dive Bus.

While we chill out with a cold beer or 2, Curacao home and business owners set off gigantic chains of “pagaras”, to banish evil spirits and clear the way for good one (and deafen bystanders). Like the annual Pietermaai pagara, the biggest on the island:

Made from red, biodegradable paper, the exploding pagaras sound like rapid machine gunfire: deafeningly loud. We can hear the Pietermaai pagara from the dive center, 2 miles away.

Then, as soon dusk begins to fall, hotels, bars and restaurants up, down, across and around the island unleash their incredible firework displays to the skies.

The intensity, frequency and grandeur of the fireworks increase as midnight draws closer and there's absolutely NO possibility of missing or sleeping though the New Year without serious pharmaceutical assistance. Even residents of Bonaire can see and hear Curacao’s fireworks, too.

You can be certain there'll be no bad spirits still hanging around in Curacao by 1 January. Only the pagaras’ red ‘petals’ lining the streets until they dissolve - and maybe a few bad heads...
Reason #6:

Because diving in Curacao OFFICIALLY rocks.
That's why Curacao made it to the top 10 in several categories in the Scuba Diving magazine's 2020 Reader Choice Awards
Both Curacao and The Dive Bus reached the final 25 in this year's DIVE Travel Awards  - for the 2nd year in a row!
If you're hoping or planning to be in Curacao for your Christmas and / or New Years dive vacation, book early! 

And if you're hoping or planning on diving with us at The Dive Bus - and especially on a DRIVE + DIVE Package - you might want to get in touch asap. Vehicle availability is always limited at this busy time of year and our opening hours / days change over the holidays... 

Here for info about flights to Curacao   
Not quite in the festive planning mood yet?
This fun blast-from-the-past may

Wherever you spend Christmas and New Years,
we hope it's your best EVER
and hope to see you soon!

#curacaochristmas #caribbeanchristmas #christmasdivevacation #thedivebus #divecuracao #divebuscuracao #@newyear #divevacation #rightnowincuracao #curacao #CHATA #PADI #driveanddive #seriouslyfundiving

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Curaçao Pride: time to dive AND party!

Dive into Curacao Pride 2019
for a tremendously fun party week in Paradise
that you won't forget!

Curacao Pride 2019 is the seventh edition of this amazing event and - if it's anything like previous Curacao Pride events - it's not to be missed. 

Catered to the LGBTQ community and their friends, everyone and anyone is welcome to dive into in the 5-day event, filled with tons of parties, celebrations, activities and FUN. 

Last year's Curaçao Pride was an overwhelming success. Thousands of visitors came specifically for the event, and a record number of people took part in the Curaçao Pride Walk and the Opening Concert - The Dive Bus Crew very happy to be among them.

One of the reasons for the success of Curacao Pride is the island's melting pot of nationalities, languages, religions, history, skin color, opinions, perceptions, currencies, you name it - that centuries have forged into the “Biba i laga Biba" mentality of the island's people:
“Live and let Live”
Friendly and tolerant, there's no history of gay violence towards LGBT locals or visitors - or even a "gayborhood". According to Gay Travel:
"Curaçao does not have a gayborhood as you would encounter in other major cities around the world. As part of the “Live and let Live” mentality there are plenty of places to go and activities to do that are LGBT welcoming.
You will find that quite a large number of the LGBT community are working in hospitality and they tend to make sure that you have a great time!
Not only that but Curaçao is a great vacation destination by all standards. Beaches, accommodations, activities, culturally speaking and much more."
It's for these reasons that the IGLTA and the Chairman of the Caribbean Travel Association (CTO) honored the Curaçao Tourism Board as a Destination Pioneer, putting Curacao on the map as a leading destination for LGBT travelers in the Caribbean. 

Because, in a nut shell:
  1. Curacao rocks.
  2. Curacao Pride is awesome.
  3. Everyone is welcome.
  4. Come on down.
  5. And the diving rocks. So if you want to fit in a dive or 2, just let us know 😎:
If you're a certified diver,
enjoy the best of
underwater Curacao, too...

Yet another great reason to vacation in Curacao.
You're going to love it - see you there!
 Hope to dive you in sunny Curacao during Curacao Pride - or whenever you like - soon! 
#rightnowincuracao #curacaopride #gaycuracao #pinkcuracao #thedivebus #divecuracao #curacao #gaytravel #divecuracao #learntodivecuracao #curacaopride