Yes! It’s finally here! My dear Husband (also known as Clueless Dad: https://uknownothingdad.wordpress.com/ ) was promising me this article for a year, but now he finally wrote it and we can all enjoy it 🙂 Grab some cola and popcorn, maybe also some sunglasses, as we take you to Willemstad for a nice walk!
As promised in one of the the previous posts, we are going to start sharing some impressions about the beautiful island of Curacao and things to do there.
Starting with Willemstad.
Willemstad looks like a nice, small, quiet city, with a caribbean vibe and bright coloured houses. It is divided in three neigorhoods: Scharloo, Otrobanda and Punda, connected to each other by bridges. Otrobanda and Punda being the most popular.
Coming from Piscadera region, we decided to let the GPS led us into the city so, although our map would have us start the tour in Otrobanda, we ended up starting it from Punda. We entered the city through Koningin Julianabrug – a high bridge (56,4m) that gives you a nice view over the bay and all the ships around. We left the car in a big parking on Abraham M. Chumaceiro Blvd and started our walking tour from there.
Going along the canal we first ended up in the Old Market, a place full of commerciants trying to sell you everything from souvenirs to homemade siroups.
Going further away, we encountered the Floating Market a place where you can buy fresh fish and sea fruit directly from the fisherman’s boat! Apparently the place looked way different, crowded with boats coming from Venezuela, full of fruits and vegetables as well but since March last year, because of closing the border with Venezuela, the 100 year old Market was canceled, allowing only local fisherman’s boats. Or at least that’s what I’ve read in an article 😉
Continuing our walk to see the Queen Emma Wooden Bridge we ended up on Handelskade, a street with a lot of places to eat, restaurants, terraces where you can also enjoy a nice view over the Wooden Bridge. This is also the street with the most colorful houses. Most of the photos you see on internet comes from there. The floating bridge connects Punda and Otrobanda and it’s completely made of wood. It also opens to allow passage for vessels. We got lucky while waiting for our food and witnessed the process of opening it. No sophisticated technology there! Only one motorboat pulling one side of the bridge until it was completely opened, with people still walking on it, and probably enjoying the ride as well
Entering Otrobanda it seemed like we left the touristical zone behind, in Punda, and now we were meddling among locals. We did discover a nice small basilica on Breedestraat 31 : Basilica Santa Ana, wich dates from the 18th century.
Also to be mentioned on Breedestraat is Hi-Tech Fashion, as the name suggests, a clothing shop. Nothing fancy there, quite cheap and simple to be honest but the friendliness of the people is worth mentioning. We got a discount for apparently ‚being such a nice couple’ and my wife received a small free souvenir. The lady suggested to hop on a public bus in Otrobanda (or wherever else) and do the full tour of the city for a very cheap price. We didn’t have time for that at that time but it was surely a good idea.
The restaurants are generally quite modest, with old facilities and simple decorations. Actually, in Willemstad everything seems simple, old and outdated but it does give an authentic feeling, showing the reality of the locals whom are not rich and don’t live in luxurious residences, like tourists. As for prices, a normal lunch in Willemstad is goin to cost you around 40$ for two people – drinks included.
If you’re not a little princess that has to have everything perfectly arranged and spotless clean, then you are going to appreciate the local life. They make it up with friendliness and big smiles.
Tip for salsa lovers: book a table at Hemingway on Sunday night. They have live salsa music! You are going to find yourself in a picturesque location, on the beach dancing to Los Compadres’ great music. The place is full so you’d want to book a table on time. Location: Mambo beach just next to Dolphin Academy. You can access the restaurant through the Lions Dive Resort. Parking is just in front of the resort, it costs 5 guilders and you can stay as much as you want.
I hope you enjoyed this article. The next one is going to be about our favourite beaches on the island.