Nowhere is the Dutch influence in the Antilles stronger than on Curacao. The island’s colonial past is preserved in the delightful architecture of downtown Willemstad and in country estates dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Pristine reefs promise spectacular diving while the more than 40 beaches gracing the shore are set against an unspoiled landscape of rolling hills and panoramic vistas. And, though Curacao’s colonial roots run deep, it has kept pace with the rest of the world to offer visitors modern pleasures.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, commonly called the ABCs, are the southern Caribbean anchors of the Dutch foothold in the New World. The whip-like Antilles chain sweeps out 2,400 miles from its handle in Cuba, and out into the Atlantic Ocean, curving back to lash at South America, its tip formed by the ABCs. The islands’ peoples are a gumbo of humanity, peppered with Dutch and Spanish, spiced with Indian and Venezuelan, with a dash of American and British added for taste.
At first glance, the three seem to fit into one convenient package: They share a common unofficial tongue, Papiamento, an economy founded on tourism and oil refining and, well outside the hurricane belt, a dryness that quickly evaporates the late morning rain. But to stick a common label on them is to do these islands a great injustice. Trade and multiculturalism gave birth to the three islands; ethnic diversity and pride keep them alive and energetic today.
Cut a map of Curacao in half at its narrowest point, and you’ll notice that this 38-mile-long crescent is almost perfectly symmetrical. But get a little closer and the uniformity fades to an asymmetrical balance – pastoral ruggedness in the north contrasting with the urban sprawl of Willemstad in the south.
The Curacaos Museum exhibits a permanent collection of antique furniture and a collection of well known local artists.
The Tele Museum exhibits the history of telecommunications on Curacao. from the first telephone, introduced in the 1880′, to late 20th century inventions such as fibre optic cables, computerization and teleconferencing. The Museum is owned by Setel. Setel is the telecommunication company of Curacao.
Jewish Museum & Synagogue
The Jewish Museum is the oldest in the West Hemisphere and still in continuous use, erected in 1732. The Museum exhibits an impressive collection of articles from Curacao’s Jewish community. Tel: 611363.
Fort church & Museum
The setting of this museum is Fort Amsterdam. The church itself is an example of the Dutch 18th century architecture. The museum displays an extensive collection of photographic reprints of old island maps and a selection of church artefacts. Open Monday thru Friday from 9 – 12 pm. and 2 – 5 pm.
Landhuis Knip is the location of the historic slave rebellion in 1795. The plantations dates from the late 17th century. There’s a permanent exhibition of small household artefacts and furniture. Sometimes special folkloric events are held there as well as cultural displays. Open weekdays 9 – 12 and 2 – 4, Sunday 10 – 5. Closed on Saturday. You can call for guided tours 640244.
National History Museum
This Museum is located in the Christoffel Park near West punt. You cab see ancient tools and archaeological remains from the past history of the island. Tel: 640363.
In 1952 this plantation house was completely restored. It’s open daily from 9.30 am – 12.30 pm and 3 pm – 6 pm. You can enjoy drinks and snacks while visiting. The plantation house exhibits old furniture and a glimpse of the living style back than. Every Sunday it’s open house with Indonesian and local cuisine. There are craft items for sale. On the last Sunday of the month you can enjoy local folkloric dance. Every Wednesday and Friday evening there’s dancing and live music on the terrace. Tel: 378344.
This museum has a permanent exhibition of the Jewish community. It’s also a library. The location is a plantation house with an intact slave bell at the front. Old pictures of the Jewish community can be viewed there. Open everyday from 9am – 12 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Landhuizen, or plantation houses, are marvels of history and architecture. Over forty remain on the island. Many, like Landhuis Knip are open for visitors. The outbuildings of Landhuis Savonet are now the Natural History Museum. Landhuis Brievengat exhibits antiques and crafts, and offers a bar, snacks and live music Wednesdays and Fridays and a folkloric show the last Sunday of each month. Landhuis Chobolobo is now the home of Curacao liqueur distillery and welcomes visitors. Landhuizen are easily found by car, or contact Tourism about bus tours.
Visit the Bolivar Museum where Simon Bolivar’s sisters lived while in exile. His liberation of South America from the Spanish is reflected in much of the exhibition. Also stop in to see the Jewish Synagogue and Museum dating from 1732. Stamp collectors will love the Postal Museum – the building, itself a true gem, houses interesting stamps from the 18th century.
Tour the Amstel Brewery – the beer’s excellent!
The capital of Curacao, Willemstad is located on the edge of spectacular Santa Anna Bay. Bridges help to connect the city with Otrobanda and Punda, other principal districts.
Handelskade – Historic waterfront street with many tourist shops and cafés. Originally developed by wealthy Dutch merchants.
Queen Juliana Bridge – Highest bridge in the Caribbean (193 ft) spans Santa Anna Bay.
Floating Market – Adjacent to Handelskade is a colourful collection schooners and sail boats from around the Caribbean with goods for sale in a floating farmers market.
Fort Amsterdam – Includes a huge waterfront fortress which was the original town centre in 17th and 18th centuries. Located inside is the Governor’s Palace and Dutch Reform Church, buildings that date back to 1635.
Horn of Plenty – Monument from the Royal Dutch Family donated to the people of the Antilles for their support during World War II.
Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue – Oldest active synagogue in the Western Hemisphere (founded 1651).
Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge – Pedestrian bridge connecting the districts of Punda and Otrobanda.
Otrobanda – This adjacent district includes the Riffort, trolley tours and the Curacao Museum.
Tour Christoffel National Park
4,500 acres of protected area including the majestic Mount Christoffel. This scenic tour is a must for everyone who visits the island. There is an abundance of orchids and divi-dive trees. Iguanas, birds, rabbits and the tiny Curacao deel inhabit the park. Nearby is Boca Tabla – gorgeous cove on the island’s rugged north coast.
Tour Curacao Seaquarium
Located at Bapor Kibra, this aquarium holds over 400 species and is one of the largest in the Caribbean. Get close to barracudas, moray eels, sharks, rays and coral without going diving. Includes special Animal Encounter exhibits.
Curacao Underwater Park – Located offshore from the Seaquarium.
Man-made Seaquarium Beach which is commonly known as Mambo Beach located in east of central Willemstad. A beautiful beach with cheap charges $3 for any kind of beach-chair rental, cloth changing facilities, and bathroom or showers.
Blauwbaai located in Northwest of Willemstad, is the one of largest island’s and popular beach. fee as same as Seaquarium Beach
Playa Santa Cruz is a popular beach which has multiple-use, mainly local beach where you get lots of beach fun like a water taxi- to secluded deep diving , snorkelling spots which is only accessible by boat.
Playa Lagoon which is a real Family beach – hides within a narrow cove with boasts tranquil. The shallow water is excellent for swimming.
Knip Bay , Playa Abao, or Playa Grandi, West punt , Klein Curacao (Small Curacao) or Castaway Beach
are also popular beach of Curacao
Boolchand’s, the largest outlet for photographic and electronic goods, makes one-stop duty-free shopping a pleasure. They have a wide selection of quality cameras, a complete line of audio and video equipment, as well as jewellery, watches and sunglasses. (Punda Map)
The collection of well-known, popular apparel at Benetton is imported directly from Italy. You’ll find a selection of unique stripes, prints and colours in flattering, fashionable styles.
La Casa Amarilla, or “The Yellow House”, has been famous for quality and service since 1887. All the first-class beauty products of the world are available at this fine store. Pamper yourself with well-known perfumes such as Poison, Opium and Nina Ricci, or European cosmetics such as Dior, Guerlain and Stendhal.