Categories
Caribbean Curaçao Travel

Are you in the MOOD?

With it’s Grand Opening right around the corner – this Saturday – it’s time to review one of Curaçao’s more exclusive beach experiences. Here is a sneak peek into what a day at Mood Beach is like.

First of all you will be amazed by its ambiance. With their Bohemian style they really ‘set the mood’ and it gives a Pinterest worthy vibe.

The beach itself gives you 2 choices. You have their bamboo roofed gazebos and premium beds. The premium beds itself lay like heaven, and you’ll get towels and service with it as well. The beach has not been overfilled with beds – as are most of the other beach bars on Mambo – which makes it a lot more exclusive and way more relaxing.

📸 by Niekartistiek

You can enter the ocean by stairs or by jumping right in of the dock. I also have to mention their showers. The water comes out of the palm trees (!) which gives it an unique experience.

Right next to the beach area there’s a wooden deck where you can sit on comfortable lounge chairs or sit at a table looking over the ocean.

📸 by Niekartistiek

Let’s talk about the food. THEIR FOOD. Oh my, it is so good. With all natural products you can taste its quality. I also like their quite unique menu: no basic or classic cocktails but homemade original ones & even the bites are with a twist. Think of Truffel Cheefsefritters or Tuna Bitterbals – a bitterbal is a Dutch delicacy normally stuffed with meat ragout – and so much more.

For lunch I had their Caribbean Mood which is a farmers bread sandwich with salmon, goat cheese and a mango – passion fruit chutney. Their menu provides a lot of seafood and the food itself is a bit more elegant & luxurious than what you can get at a regular beach bar.

📸 by Niekartistiek

Mood Beach really made it into my most favorite beach experiences here on Curaçao. With their fine expertise in food, original cocktails & just that little bit of extra it makes sure you’ll enjoy your more exclusive beach day at Mambo Beach.

Are you in the Mood? I sure as hell am.

 

Categories
Caribbean Curaçao Travel

Sea Turtle Hotspots

Curaçao is a natural hotspot for a lot of underwater creatures. It holds a true treasure for divers & snorkelers. One of my most amazing experiences here is swimming with sea turtles. They are just so extremely cool, and human friendly too. You can swim with them & they let you come really close. It gives such a calming & relaxed vibe..

Here are 3 Curaçao beaches where you have the best chances of spotting Sea Turtles:

Playa Grandi

All the way up to Westpunt you have Playa Grandi. This beach is also known as Playa Piscado, the small fishermen’s beach. It is not the most beautiful – or comfortable – beach to lay at, but it offers amazing opportunities under water.

Local fishermen are cleaning their freshly caught fish & throw away the parts they do not need. This alone is an interesting spectacle to watch, but wait until you put on your underwater goggles. Sea turtles really love the free snack and swim therefore most of the time around the dock!

Because of the location of the beach – upper point of the island – the water is a bit wilder. Here you have more waves what makes snorkeling a bit more difficult: water near the coast is could be unclear. Nevertheless still more than worth it.

Playa Grandi is where I’ve spotted the biggest sea turtles so far. Every time I’ve visited this beach I’ve seen turtles, so from my experiences 100% turtle spotting guaranteed. Go around noon to be sure to see a big group of turtles swimming around for their lunch break.

📸 by Niekartistiek

Playa Lagun

In comparison to Playa Grandi this beach wins it on its beachy vibes. Playa Lagun is a little gem hidden between two sides of rocky cliffs. While snorkeling you’ll see a lot of reef fish combined with healthy coral coverage and large sponges. This makes it the perfect place for bypassing sea turtles.

You have the best chance to see them here between 4 and 6 PM – that’s the time they swim into the bay to collect food.

This beach provides more than just a nice snorkeling area. Above the water – mainly on the rocks – you’ll see an extreme amount of iguana’s. If you go up to do a drink or bite at the local restaurant, don’t be surprised when one of these little dragons pays you a visit at your table.

Psst, let’s share some island beach secrets here: Life’s a beach: the Curaçao ‘Vitamin Sea’ guide

📸 by Niekartistiek

Klein Curaçao / Little Curaçao

This one is a bit farther away. I’ve been two times to this deserted island and loved both experiences. Snorkeling here I’ve spotted many, smaller sea turtles. Encountering them here gave it all such a great vibe; they were extremely gracious.

Of course traveling to another island just to see sea turtles is a bit more expensive. But I can tell you it is more than worth it.

Categories
Europe Events Hungary Lifestyle Travel

10 reasons why you must go to Sziget Festival

Sziget. A 7 day utopia for music & art lovers. One hell of a festival you can not miss. I could list a thousand reasons why this festival is amazing, but lets first start with these 10:

1. The Line – Up

Sziget is known for getting a lot of major artist on their stages. With 7 (!) days to fill, you’ll see a lifetime of favorite artists. I was lucky enough spot Blink 182, The 1975, Queens of the Stone Age, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bastille, Lily Allen, Bombay Bicycle Club, OutKast, The Kooks, Calvin Harris… and so many more! In 7 days there are a lot of artist you can enjoy. Every year they’re growing with an even better line-up.

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Outkast performing “Hey Ya”

The amazing thing about Sziget’s line-up is its variety. With so many different stages, they provide for everyone’s taste. From local Hungarian folklore music to Rock & Modern music. There was a Singer&Songwriter stage, Classical & Jazz Stage, Europe Stage, Blues/Irish Stage, African-Latin Stage, Worldstage & so on. You name it, they provided a stage for it.

My Sziget tip on this is to go wander around. Don’t mainly stay at the Main Stage but try to discover new artist at the other stages. So many talented artists!

2. Location

In the heart of Budapest,  in the Danube River, this festival is located on it’s own island. Jep, you’re on an whole festival island in the middle of one of Europe’s most interesting cities. This screams for opportunities.

Do take a Sziget city pass so you can discover the beauty of Budapest itself. Not only for it’s historical  architecture, but also for its monumental bathing houses. With the City pass you’ll get free entrance to at least one.

3. The Vibe

With Sziget Szitizens there is nothing but good and friendly vibes. With hundreds of thousands of people on this festival island, all coming together to have the best time of their lives.

It’s a week lasting festival, what might explain the more relaxing vibe. People really take their time to relax, to chill and I think – in comparison with shorter festivals – that’s the reason why the vibe is so much more relaxed. Everybody tries to experience the smaller bits that the festival has to offer.

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My friend Pia knowing exactly how to execute the relaxing part

4. The Food

Don’t be afraid you’ll starve at Sziget: they provide amazing food trucks. It’s like a whole food truck festival of it’s own and it is yummy. Whatever you want, Sziget has it. Rows of food trucks, tents, and stalls which are selling basically everything you can wish for and a lot of traditional Hungarian dishes as well. There are so many and such diverse food options.

Try some of the local trucks as well. One of my favorite discoveries was an oil baked kind of bread, with garlic butter and cheese. These things are to die for! You’ll never discover new things if you don’t explore the more ‘exotic’ foodtrucks 😉

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5. Art Festival

Sziget offers much more than music. There are so many extra art amenities at Sziget.. so many exciting things to do! I could list all of them but then this post would never end. Here are my favorites:

First you have the Art Zone – a huge grass area with different sculptures and booths. Also a lot things to do. There is sculpture making, body painting and stencil spray, yoga, many interesting art classes and things with strange names which make them so much more interesting to try!

The Before I die wall – This should be a common one. It’s basically a huge chalk wall with the words “Before I Die…” where you can write your dreams, hopes or anything you still wish to achieve. It’s always inspiring to read what others wish to accomplish, to read one’s ambitions & to laugh at the jokes some people make with it.

When writing about art at this festival, I can not leave Cirque de Sziget out. It’s an outdoor and indoor circus at Sziget, each with its own line-up of quirky and interesting acts. Mixed between acrobatics & comedy where people have been dressed in a funny way and a lot of participation from the audience.

The Ability Park – here you could experience what it is like to have disabilities. Drawing sayings literally – like it’s raining cat’s & dogs, drawing literally a sky that pours cats & dogs – doing obstacles blindfolded and a few other insanely creative ways to discover what it is like to live with disabilities.

The Luminarium was probably my favorite artistic place to be on the whole festival. It’s an enormous geometric installation where you can go inside. Basically it was a huge inflatable sculpture that uses natural light to create very calming mood as you wander through all the rooms inside.  Very beautiful & with lots of colors. It gives you the idea of walking on the inside of a big air balloon.  It’s the perfect place to wander around in thoughts as well. The fact that the whole attraction needed to be experienced barefoot helped a bit too. The Luminarium has traveled all around Europe as an art insulation that thousands of people have visited already.

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The Luminarium

6. Chill Zone

This is the one spot I discovered Chai Tea Latte, and now I’m hooked. This area had all sorts of colorful sheets draped around the top area. With pillows all laying spread over the floor this was a spot to go to when you wanted to relax & chill out.  Most Szitizens came here to take a nap or just mainly relax majorly while listening to the calming music.

This area also had a lineup of DJ’s spinning mostly deep house, and had bars and some places to get food.

Each night there was a sweet campfire at chill zone – beach side – with different artists playing around the fire. Wonderful and ultimate enjoyable.

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Chill Zone Chillings

7. International Friends

People who come to Sziget Festival are from all over the world. It is amazing how easily you make new friends and learn about all these different cultures! One of my favorite things about festivals is the coming together of so many nationalities through music. There are so many extraordinary people. With a varied crowd – no age limit – so young & old people could come and enjoy the festival.

The majority of the crowd lays probably between 18-40 year . There was a huge Dutch population, but people really came from everywhere.

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Even Santa was at the party

8. Theme Parties

Every night at 7PM there was a ‘special party’ at the main stage. It started off with a bubble party. They passed bubbles out to the whole crowd to blow. Next day there was a flag party, where they gave out thousands of Sziget flags and also encouraged people to bring their own. I still have my blue Sziget flag as a token of this amazing experience. There was a confetti party where everyone had confetti poppers, a color party where all different colors of color powder were passed out – what a mess that gave in combination with the rain and the mud, but worth it – , a maraca party with little maraca shakers in the whole crowd, and a glow stick and laser party.

These parties give a real unique twist to the Main Stage area, and a way for everyone to unite even more.

9. Ambiance

Sziget wouldn’t be a proper festival if it weren’t for it’s decorations. A lot has already been given away with the Art Zone & Chill Zone of course, but to be honest everywhere you looked you saw a piece of finishing touch. Or just some weird things totally out of place that for a crazy reason still worked out.

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Like colorful umbrellas in the sky

10. The Whole Experience

Go enjoy yourself on this Island of Freedom. One of the reasons Sziget has such a great experience is that it’s a completely self-contained festival. You can camp on the festival grounds, meaning you can spend the entire week at Sziget without leaving – Altho I still encourage you to visit Budapest at least once during your visit – . This really gives the venue a feeling of community.

Go explore new music of genres you might never heard of before! Try all the crazy art workshops! Go on full Szitizen mode and see how many stamps you can collect in you Sziget Passport – you can collect stamps with different activities – and become a fully resident of the Sziget Community. Enjoy all food stations & enjoy all of the possibilities the Festival has to offer.

Enjoy, Explore, Discover this wonderful Festival..

& Celebrate life!

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