In a maddening (“maddening”) situation of “someone has to do it,” I spent half of January on the island of Curacao (Dutch Antilles, not Cuba, etc). Mister Freckle and I thought it was a nice half way meeting point between the US and the Netherlands, the amazing island itself came later into the decision.
Curacao is not a very big island; you can drive from the western tip to the middle (the capital, Willemstad) in about forty minutes. There is not much to be done either, no big amusement parks, broad, well-organized or need-a-day-to-get-through-’em malls.
What does it have? Tranquility, nature, sweet little beaches and all the simple but tasty food you can eat. Fall in line with the people’s mañana, mañana mind set and take your time to take it all in. Maybe from your personal hammock, on old plantation grounds, or on top of the Christoffel mountain, but there is absolutely no pressure. Have a batido (milkshake, but with vanilla ice instead of milk) instead; those big, stroppy drinks take forever to finish.
If you can’t imagine waking up late and filling your days with beach/ocean visits, the island has some options to get things moving. Hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, or diving. Weave your way through the tiny center of Willemstad, find the aquarium to spot some of the underwater riches you missed in the ocean or climb up to Fort Nassau.
In the end, clashing with (American) cruise tourists from the boat is almost as much as a shock as the one that usually awaits you when you come home from a holiday. You guys are in a hurry? To shop? And you’re looking for a fast food restaurant?
It’s a good thing you can easily avoid the touristing tourist. Get back to the “back land,” avoid the goats on the road, and do your best to not really do anything at all.