Willemstad Travel Guide

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Its attractions include the Western Hemisphere's oldest synagogue, just a stroll down Columbusstraat to Mikvé Israel-Emanuel, and the 120-year-old Queen Emma Bridge, which swings open every time boats pass to and from Santa Anna Bay.

At night, the bridge's twinkling lights glow on the water. But wander from Willemstad to discover craggy cliffs, long strips of sandy beaches and crystal, azure waters that teem with life. No wonder Curaçao is a popular Caribbean destination for cruise ships, divers and those who just want to chill out.
From port, Willemstad looks like Amsterdam redone in pastels -- light blues, greens, yellows and pinks.


Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Santa Ana Bay cuts the city in two -the touristy, shopping area, the Punda, on one side, and the quieter Otrobanda, a series of narrow winding streets that are fun to explore, on the other.

Punda's Floating Market brims fresh fish, spices, fruits and vegetable and bustles with vendors who have made the trip across from Venezuela. Otrabanda's Kurá Hulanda Museum sits on an 18th-century courtyard, a former slave market. The old mansion is now a museum that chronicles the horrors of transatlantic slave trade.

• Christoffel National Park
• Curaçao Sea Aquarium
• Fort Amsterdam
• Hato Caves
• Old Market
• Scharloo
• Mikvé Israel Synagogue

Tourist information

Curaçao Tourist Bureau
Pietermaai 19, Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao
Tel: +599 434 8200.
Website: www.curacao.com

Shopping introduction

Curaçao is a duty-free port (it's best to shop and compare first), and artwork, handicrafts and Dutch classics such as Delft pottery, embroidered linen, clogs and cheese are plentiful. Most shops are within about a six-block area in Willemstad's Punda neighbourhood.


Outdoors or indoors, pricey gourmet, cheap eats, Dutch specialities or Creole, take your choice. Lunch at the Old Market and the cheesy island speciality, keshi yena, are not to be missed.

When to go

Anytime. Temperatures average 30°C (80°F) year round with cooling trade winds. The rainy season is between October and February and the island lies beneath the hurricane belt.

Nearest destination


Transfer distance

1.5km (0.9 miles).

Transfer time


Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.