Punda, Willemstad and the
Emma Floating Footbridge, Curacao
Language and Currency
What is Curacao Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language of Curacao is Dutch, howver English and Spanish are spoken widely. The currency is the Netherlands Antillean Florin, but U.S. dollars and credit cards are accepted just about everywhere.
Your first look at Curacao across the small channel from the ship is just like looking at a scene somewhere in Amsterdam or any city in the Netherlands. Pastel colored buildings (complete with the hoist towers so common in the Netherlands) line the waterfront and it is hard to believe that you are actually in the deep southern Caribbean almost to South America.
Curacao is blessed with an 80 degree temperature year around with no real rainy period. Note: that Curacao is in the pattern of tropical storms during the late summer and fall periods that can adversly affect the weather.
The ship docks right across the channel from Curacao's main city, Willemstad. Willemstad is an easy walk from the ship across the floating foot bridge that swings open to let ships pass through..
The second you step off the floating foot bridge (built back in the 1880s) you are immersed in an international shopping experience. The floating market, where Venezuelan fisherman and vendors dock their boats selling everything under the sun is a great place to start. From there, downtown to the pedestrian shopping streets of Heerenstraat and Madurostraat in the Punda shopping area. This is the oldest section of town and is truly is an European shopping experience. Across the bridge is the Otrobanda shopping area (located on Breedestraat and Rodeweg Streets) offering even more fabulous shopping opportunities.
There are also several shopping malls close to town. The Curaçao Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Casino is attached to a mall featuring several boutiques offering exceptional quality items and the Bloempot shopping center, Salinja Galleries and Promenade Shopping Mall all offer more traditional items for sale.
Just about anything you want. First, china, lace work, pottery and everything you would expect to find in the Netherlands is available in the older downtown shopping areas. Designer wear, jewelry, gold, watches, perfumes, cosmetics, liquor and many other duty free items are available at duty free prices. The Curacao Free Zone also offers an incredible opportunity to purchase international goods at bargain prices. Finally, products of the deep southern Caribbean area available. Spices, regional clothing, souvenirs, beach attire, fruits and flowers, local liquors and much more. All in all, a shopper's paradise.
One of Curacao's Wonderful Beaches
Once you tire of Willemstad's excellent shopping and restaurants, the next most popular thing to do is to visit one of Curacao's more than 50 beaches. Curacao is blessed with excellent beaches with fine white sand and plenty of sunshine. However, with its Dutch heritage, you may find many of the local women (and European visitors alike) sun bathing topless. If you find it offensive, you might want to stay in town and enjoy the excellent shopping. You can arrange for a taxi to take you to a beach of your choice and then pick you up at a designated time. We have found that the beaches that charge for entrance are the best bet as they tend to be cleaner and also offer facilities such as restaurants, bars, swimming floats, rentals and so on.
The rocky northern coast of Curacao gets pounded by surf most of the year and it has created some interesting caves along the shoreline. The most interesting formation Boca Tabla, a large cave worth exploring. Hato Caves are found close to the Curacao airport and offers a one hour tour of the caves (including plenty of bats, stalactites, stalagmites and some petroglyphs)
Of course, there is the usual water activities of snorkeling (superb!) SCUBA diving (even better, considered world class by many) fishing and other water sorts.
Yes, I would say that wandering Punda's shopping district is a don't miss experience. It offers a blend of old Europe with a Caribbean and South American flavor. It is very unique and memorable.
There are several excellent restaurants and bars along the waterfront in the Punda district, but I cannot point to one as being more outstanding than the rest. How about you? Do you know of one?
87 users found this review helpful.
Took a cab ($14 for two) to a really cool aquarium ($15 admission). After we strolled over to a really nice beach by the aquarium ($3 for a chair). Took a cab back...read more
138 users found this review helpful.
Curacao is one of the Dutch ABC islands, the others being Aruba and Bonaire. On a previous cruise we stopped at Aruba and I determined it was not one of my favorite...read more
169 users found this review helpful.
This was our first time in Curacao and we were excited to go here. We weren’t disappointed. We arrived at the Mega Pier at 8 AM and the all aboard is at 4:30 AM....read more
188 users found this review helpful.
; Jacquelyn Hyde This was our second time in Curacao, and we returned to Kon-Tiki beach. There are actually 3 beaches all attached here – Kon-Tiki, Mambo, and...read more
122 users found this review helpful.
; Richard Our walk from the cruise terminal into Willemstad, Curaçao, took us across the famed Queen Emma pontoon bridge. The floating market offered varied...read more
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