Sights of Willemstad, Curacao
There is plenty to see, do and experience on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Especially in the capital Willemstad. The historic districts of Otrabanda and Punda give you a glimpse back in time with old historic buildings as well as a glimpse into the future by refurbishing old fortresses such as the Rif Fort and transforming it into modern times. The wonderful, friendly atmosphere that you can only find in the Caribbean is always present here. Stroll along the Handelskade with its attractive terraces or cool off in the various museums and shopping centers. In short, everything is possible. Keep in mind that it is almost always tropical warm in Willemstad. You will therefore have to adapt your pace to the weather conditions. It is not for nothing that most city walks start in the early morning.
Willemstad ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
According to Shoefrantics.com, the Handelskade in the Punda district is the most famous and photographed spot of Curaçao or Kòrsou as it is called by the inhabitants. The beautifully colored facades built in a Dutch colonial atmosphere immediately bring you into a Caribbean atmosphere. The yellow colored Penha building has been named by many as the most beautiful building in the Punda district. The shopping area of the city begins behind the Handelskade. You have the most beautiful view of the colored facades from the restaurant De Gouverneur located across the street, where you can also have a delicious lunch or dinner.
#2. Queen Emma Bridge
The fact that this bridge over the St. Anna Bay is the only floating wooden bridge in the world makes it very special to say the least. This pontoon bridge, or affectionately known as the pontoon bridge by the inhabitants, floats on 16 pontoons. If a boat has to pass through Sint Annabaai, the engine is put into operation and everyone is taken to the other side by ferry.
#3. Floating Market
Around the corner from Handelskade in Waaigat on Sha Caprileskade you will find the floating market. Several boats on this quay bring the most delicious fruit and vegetables from Venezuela to Curaçao. Everything is neatly arranged by type and packed. Sometimes there is also fish for sale that is cleaned on site. The atmospheric and Caribbean colored sails ensure that the products are protected against the ever-present burning sun.
#4. Queen Juliana Bridge
Unmistakable is the very beautifully colored Queen Juliana Bridge, which towers perky high above the city. While driving over this bridge you have an amazing view over Willemstad. The fifty-five meter high bridge was built in 1974 to relieve the Queen Emma Bridge somewhat and thus give cruise ships the space to sail under it. However, today’s super large specimens have become too large.
In this oldest part of the city are several historic buildings and streets. Think of the Fort Amsterdam from around 1635 and the Post Museum. You can also go here for shopping. Shopping is mainly done around Handelskade, Herenstraat, Breedestraat, Madurostraat and Gomezplein. In this part of the city you will also find the Floating Market, the Round Market and the Maritime Museum.
#6. Ronde Markt
Those looking for affordable and authentic Curaçao dishes should definitely pay a visit to the Ronde Markt, also known as the New Market. The beautiful round building can be found further down the street from the floating market in the extension of the Sha Caprileskade and Ruyterkade. All kinds of snacks, dishes, vegetables, fruit, handicrafts and other trinkets are traded here.
Although this used to be labeled the most run-down part of Willemstad, you can now find the most luxurious and hip shops in the city here. For example, the nowadays fashionable Riffort from 1828, which was placed there to protect the city, is now a great place for shopping and eating. The refurbished and most beautiful part of this district can be found at Kura Hulanda. The buildings here have been given a fair second chance and shine at you. Of course there are parts elsewhere in Otrabanda where it is better to stay away as a tourist, especially in the evenings. Otrabanda is separated from the Punda district by the St. Anna Bay. The King Emma Bridge connects the two neighbourhoods.
#8. Riffort & Renaissance Mall
This part of Willemstad can be called the best and most luxurious shopping area of the city. The Riffort from 1828 previously served mainly to protect the city. Today, however, it has been converted to serve as a shopping center with a very tasteful and cozy courtyard. Various art galleries, eateries, clothing stores, bag stores and jewelery fill the spaces created perfectly. With a nice passage you automatically walk into another luxurious part. This is a shopping street belonging to the chic Renaissance Hotel. Here you will find very luxurious to very luxurious brands that you will not find elsewhere in Willemstad.
#9. Kura Hulanda Museum
The Dutch entrepreneur and philanthropist Jacob Gelt Dekker is the founder of the Kura Hulanda Resorts on Curaçao. Since he received permission from the government of the island in the 1990s to restore a number of buildings in Otrabanda, he has managed to create a very beautiful landmark. He also invested a lot of time in establishing this Kura Hulanda Museum in which you can learn more about the slavery era, how they lived and were transported at that time. The abolition of slavery is also clearly covered. There is also a sculpture garden, many archaeological objects are exhibited and of course there are some beautiful buildings to visit.
#10. Maritime Museum
This Maritime Museum is housed in a particularly beautiful yellow building at the Villa Maria in the Punda district. It tells the story of more than five hundred years of history of everything about, on and in the sea around Curaçao. Of course, the history of the island and the influence of the Dutch West India Company in this will also be discussed.