On our cruise over spring break, we visited four islands, with a variety of experiences. One of our favorites? The Curacao ostrich farm. This excursion (and cruise) we paid for ourselves.
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As much as I’ve traveled in the Caribbean, I’d never before visited Curacao. For that reason alone, we chose to book a Curacao cruise excursion. While Carnival offers plenty of options, many focused on a beach visit (not our style typically) or sightseeing (no interest to my kids). We quickly settled on an ostrich farm excursion simply for its uniqueness.
Yes, there is an ostrich farm in Curacao. Who knew? The ostrich farm opened for tourism only recently. It started as a commercial enterprise, but as time continued, the ownership realized the interest in tourism and grew that side of its business – my family loves that they did!
The Curacao ostrich farm isn’t near the cruise port. We boarded an air conditioned coach bus for a 45 minute plus bus ride to the farm. My 11 and 13 year old, who normally would have complained about the long ride, instead listened to the tour guide the entire trip to and from the ostrich farm. Our guide was fantastic. She kept the information coming with plenty of interesting tidbits related to the areas we passed and other history and information while driving through less dramatic portions. The guide made this a much better excursion than it would have been without her – the bus ride round trip lasts nearly as long as the remainder of the excursion.
Once at the Curacao ostrich farm, you board large open air jeeps with benches for seats. Our group split into three jeeps to avoid overcrowding. Regardless of your seat on the jeep, you have a chance to see it all, so there’s no need to scramble to get the “best” seat, something we appreciated. The jeep gives a slow tour of the farm and stops along the way to show the two kinds of ostriches on the farm, explain the difference between male and female ostriches, share information about the emus, and more.
Again, the tour guide helped make this unique experience even better. We learned more about ostriches than we expected, and the guide patiently answered every question those of us on the tour had. We found it fascinating to learn about the “fake eggs” used to lure the ostriches away so the farm workers can gather ostrich eggs and encourage ostriches to lay ore often. The tour guide also explained the ecosystem on the farm, which includes small roaming pigs who ensure the farm has no waste.
Any food the ostriches don’t eat, the pigs do. Leftover food from the restaurant, and the pigs take care of it. While wild pigs, they aren’t aggressive. The guide allowed some kids to try to pet them, but the fast pigs escaped human touch each time. They remained near us to gather all the fallen ostrich food, but had no interest in us outside that.
The tour includes a stop near the end to feed the ostriches, a highlight for my family. Each person who wishes to can hold the dinner dish for the ostriches to enjoy. Even my mom got in on the act and enjoyed this treat! Because ostriches are so aggressive as adults, guests feed babies who are four months and younger.
After everyone has a chance to feed from the dish, guests have the option to hand feed the ostriches. The guide carefully explains how to do this safely, just as he does with the dish feeding. He monitors guests they hold their hands flat with thumbs tucked in, and my kids loved this Curacao ostrich farm extra.
Once guests finish feeding the ostriches, you board the jeep again to return to the main base. There, you have a chance to stand on an actual ostrich egg. I managed to balance, and all guests can try. The egg can support up to 450 pounds (ostriches are heavy!) without breaking. The egg used for this demonstration is a real ostrich egg that didn’t hatch. You can pick it up to shake it and tell it’s real.
The remainder of the ostrich farm visit is self guided. Broken ostrich and emu egg shells lay on a fence for visitors to see the actual thickness of the egg. If only my fingernails were that tough! Though encouraged to do try, no guest was able to break the shell. We also saw the hatchery where eggs are kept warm and safe for the new hatchlings.
While waiting for our bus to depart, we had time to enjoy an ostrich burger, though if you wish to do so, make sure you order it before you depart for your tour on the jeep. Even so, my son’s burger wasn’t ready for us (they forgot?), and when he did finally get it, it didn’t include the salad and other extras the menu promised. Regardless, my son enjoyed it. I tried a bite to say I had, and it wasn’t my favorite. I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t need to eat it again. I found the texture a little dry and the taste somewhat gamey.
We also had time to wander the area while waiting for the last two jeeps to return. The Curacao ostrich farm includes a small playground for kids to enjoy and a tower to climb where you can see miles of the surrounding countryside. There is a small “museum” as well that includes few exhibits – enough to entertain for the few moments you wait. They also have a wandering peacock or two, which we saw during the tour, including wandering into and through the starting/ending point. Near the cafe, the Curacao ostrich farm also has a few tropical birds. Unlike another excursion we took, these birds were not stressed and appeared healthy and content. One insisted on grabbing my daughter’s hat repeatedly and removing it from her head whenever she stood near it.
Once we left the Curacao ostrich farm, our cruise excursion continued to Chichi’s Gallery, a working art gallery where local women (and a couple men) create dolls to represent the older sister who takes responsibility for the family and binds it together. The figures are painted and each is numbered to represent the artist who created it. We were able to see the process of creating the sculptures and a small bit of painting, though much is done at home to allow the women to care for their families.
This stop lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, and those not interested can remain on the air conditioned bus. We enjoyed seeing this tidbit of unique culture, and the gardens near the gallery include a small play area for kids, as well.
From Chichi’s Gallery, we returned to the port on the bus taking a slightly different route through the city to hear more about different areas and continue to learn about the history and culture of Curacao. Unlike many shore excursions where passengers nap on the way back, our bus remained attentive to the tour guide sharing her knowledge.
The tour lasted a little longer than the three hours promised, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This is a unique excursion unlike anything we’ve experienced before. The walking wasn’t too difficult, with even the jeep having easy steps up and down for those who struggle somewhat. It is not handicapped accessible, however, so those in wheelchairs cannot enjoy this shore excursion.
We found the cost fairly reasonable, as well, at $55.99 per adult (13 and up) and $44.99 (ages 4-12) – though prices may vary. The Curacao ostrich farm shore excursion left on time and remained organized throughout. It lasted long enough to enjoy without requiring that we purchase lunch anywhere. Though we had the option to purchase souvenirs, no one pushed us to buy anything, and the guides on the ostrich farm tour offered to take photos for us with our own cameras rather than selling photos at the end.
Have you been to the Curacao ostrich farm? Would you recommend it?
Check out more cruising tips with my Cruising 101 series. We’ve already chatted about why you should cruise and what do you before you board, so go check them out if you missed them. I’ll see you on board!
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