Colourful houses, a beautifully illuminated bridge at night – surreal around sunset! You really feel like being beamed to a different planet. If you cannot find peace here, you’ll find it nowhere.
Willemstad definitely has a lot to offer regarding sightseeing. It reminded us a bit of the Netherlands, which is not surprising. It is a former colony. A lot of parts of Willemstad belong to the UNESCO World Heritage. We recommend doing sightseeing while early in the morning or before sunset as it is way too hot.
Most natives in Curaçao live in and around Willemstad. Outside of the city, there’s not much going on and the infrstructure becomes worse, the more you get outside.
The caribbean city is destination of many cruise liners, which spit out tons of tourists. They let a lot of money here.
The bridge is the town’s landmark. You have to walk over it at least once. I felt a bit drunk when walking ovre the bridge. The swings of the bridge depend on the size of the ship that passes. And: When you’re walking over it, bring some time with you.
Or just pass it quickly. From time to time ships and boats are going to pass by and you have to sit maybe 45 minutes on that bridge. This happens to those who ignore the 5 minutes sirene before the gates to the bridge close.
The actual reasons, why we love this bridge: It’s illuminated by night and the sunset seen from Punda is amazing. And no matter which way you walk along the bridge, you always find yourself somewhere with colourful houses!
Otrobanda und Punda
Queen-Emma-Bridge connects those two parts of the city since 1886 and gives you the possibility to pass the Sint Annabaai by foot. This one connects the inland sea Schottegat with the open sea. Most sights are located in Punda.
As our hotel was in this part of Willemstad, we can totally confirm Otrobanda is NOT dangerous.
We think it’s a rumor, spread by some rich, always-worried-about-everything-people regarding black people with suspicion! This leads us to the first sight worth seeing in Willemstad and generally in Curaçao.
People of Curaçao
People in Curaçao are really nice folks and definitely one of the reasons to come here. Grab yourself a beer, sit down on the main square in Otrobanda and observe. Old people, young people, children – all very cheerful! I mean, people starting to dance in the middle of a square just have to be loved. We really met a lot of friendly and helpful people here. They were one of the things that made our trip!
Gouverneur de Rouville
This is one the most expensive restaurants Curaçao, yet affordable. Usually, we’re not eating in such expensive places, but this one caught our eye. The menu was making an offer, we couldn’t refuse.
You have to make a reservation or come very early to get a table with this view.
Local and international food making people from all over the world really happy. Jan ordered something with Stew while I had some kind of fish, but unfortunetaly I cannot remember the details.
There’s also a very good bar with cocktails for me and beer for Jan. This was also worth the investment.
So what’s important: It’s worth the prices and the food was delicious. We totally recommend eating here.
It was built in the 1820s and was used as a fortress to watch the gateway of the Capital city.
Within the historical stonewall you can enjoy drinks and food, buy useful and not so useful stuff (Riffort Village). Prices here are much higher than anywhere else on the island, as this place is totally made for the cruise ship tourists. Generally you pay double the usual price.
If you’re interested in that, all the high class stores are also here.
What you shouldn’t miss is the sunset seen from the wall.
On this side, there’s a little bit more to see. Well, of course I’m exagerating. For sightseeing, you can all walk it around in one morning or evening. Wouldn’t recommend the afternoon, as it is really hot. I think I’m repeating myself.
A street with colourful, colonial houses! Such a lovely place! The Penha, the beautiful yellow house on the left next to the brigde exists since 1708. And since the 19th century it’s famous for selling cosmetics and scents for men and women.
The street at the bridge leads you directly to the Old Town of Willemstad, where you can see more beautiful sights.
Everyone takes pictures here. Everyone. And me, too! You want to know, where this is: At the other end of the Old Town.
The Mikve-Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
The Jewish community of Curaçao is the oldest in North America. Sephardic Jews who escaped from the Iberian Peninsula to the Netherlands. From there, they emigrated to Curaçao in the middle of the 17th century.
What’s special to this synagogue is the sandy floor inside. We were goofying around with the caps, when a young guy aproximately our age came talking to us. He was asking where we werer from and why we were here. Well, for us it was obvious: The house of God with a sandy floor. Exhuse me, but as this isn’t reason enough.
We were talking for a while, he was telling about himself and what was up next in his community.
Just like said before, people in Curaçao are one of the main sights here.
The Jewish museum was also very interesting. Well, it was a museum!
A mustard yellow building built in colonial times. Today it’s a museum, but we didn’t see it.
Other things to know
Just like mentioned in the beginning: See the sunset from Punda and enjoy beautiful blue, well oiling drinks. And then walk over the bridge. This is something for the brave. Depending on your drunk level, this might become very dangerous.
You definitely have to buy some Blue Curaçao here. Even if you’re not drinking it, it looks so cute.
The Café Iguana along the Handelskade has some good drinks and food. Unlike other touristy places, this is far from being overpriced. We were surprised. Watching the sunset here was like a dream.
If you want, you can hire a boat and celebrate your bachelorette party here. Some people just know how to do it.
Some evil voices say, Willemstad is not beautiful because of the oil refineries. And they are really not beautiful. But they didn’t disturb us there. What would you do near the refineries anyway? People have to make an income. This usually happens with a job and the refineries offer jobs. And if there wasn’t something ugly, we would have thought we’re already dead and somewhere in paradise.
Just like mentioned before, we forgot to see the district Scharloo. Please don’t do this. We have to catch up on this the next time.