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Virtual Postcards from Curaçao – Episode 5 – Santa Martha

Welcome to episode 5 where we are visiting the Santa Martha Plantation, located near the village of Soto.

The Santa Martha Plantation is large 480-hectare sugar cane and divi-divi plantation that dates back to the 1700’s. Landhuis Klein Santa Martha was once one of the top three producers of salt on the island, along with Landhuis Groot Santa Martha and Landhuis San Nicolas, thanks to the large salt pans and nearby Santa Martha Bay being the most productive on the island.

Santa Martha Bay is one of the most beautiful and scenic lookouts on Curacao. This lookout provides an incredible and breath-taking perspective of Christoffel National Park not to mention the unique western landscape of Curaçao.

While in the area, a visit to the plantation house Landhuis Groot Santa Martha is highly recommended as it is one of the few houses built in a U-shape and now serves as a care facility for people with physical and/or mental disabilities.

Groot Santa Martha awaits unique development

The area, previously known as Coral Cliff and Sunset Waters Hotel is being developed into an all-inclusive hotel that will have 200 to 300 rooms that will be managed under the leadership of hoteliers Avila Beach Hotel and LionsDive Beach Resort, and developers Van Alstede.

This development involves an investment of 100 million guilders and should eventually allow for the creation of 250 new jobs. Moreover, a second hotel will be added to the area later down the line. This is planned to result in a combined total of between 700 and 800 rooms, leading to 1000 to 1500 new jobs. The entire plan, spread over a period of 10 years, requires an investment of at least 250 million guilders. In addition to the hotel with all its facilities, a marina with water sports activities will be constructed in the large inland waterways of Santa Martha, as well as outdoor recreations, such as horseback riding and hiking trails.

Furthermore, this hotel will adhere to a ‘from farm to fork’ mindset, which means that much of the hotel’s food will be provided by local gardeners, farmers, and fishermen from Groot Santa Martha and the community of Soto. This “from farm to fork” concept serves to underline the “Green Travel” and sustainable tourism commitments of the management group.

“We see it as our obligation to go beyond the sustainability standards of the Curacao hospitality industry. We are implementing innovative and sustainable solutions, providing meaningful information for colleagues and guests to encourage and help protect, and safeguard, the environment while supporting our local community.” Says Robbin Vogels, General Manager, Avila Beach Hotel.

Robbin went on to say, “The reef at Santa Martha is one of the most beautiful fringing reef systems on Curacao. For us it is especially important not only to preserve the reef, but we also have an obligation to improve it. Therefore, we are committed to support Coral Restoration Curaçao and are enormously proud to have thriving coral nurseries installed at LionsDive Beach Resort and Avila Beach Hotel. In addition, we will also create the first nursery in Bandabou at Santa Martha to increase the coral density thereby allowing the biodiversity to flourish.”

There are several dive sites you can reach from Playa Santa Martha by shore such as Mako’s Mountain, The Airplane Wreck and Playa Hundu.

Mushroom ForestThe Blue Room and Duane’s Release are a few of the many dive sites nearby which can be reached by boat.

​Straight out from the breakwaters there was a marking buoy, which identified the remains of a small plane, hence the name Airplane Wreck. The remains are covered in growth and make for nice macro photos.

Episode 6 will release on April 29th, 2020 where will be diving into Westpunt and visiting with GO WEST Diving to explore some of the best shore and boat diving Curaçao has to offer. Subscribe to our mailing list below and to the Dive Curaçao YouTube Channel to be automatically notified.

Sincere Love from Curacao,

Bryan Horne, Dive Curacao

Tilo and Yvonne Kuhnast, Nature Pics Films

Videos produced and edited for Dive Curacao in cooperation with Nature Pics Films.  Photography courtesy of Avila Beach Hotel.

Santa Martha Bay Lookout

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