Have you ever dreamed of visiting the enchanting island or cruise port of Curaçao? I had the opportunity to explore this stunning destination during a Southern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines.
My husband, Eddie, and I ventured off independently and skipped the organized ship excursions. We wanted to discover the hidden gems and capture some fantastic photos on this small Dutch Caribbean island.
Curaçao’s History and Fun Facts
Curaçao is the largest of the ABC islands, home to around 150,000 residents. The crystal-clear blue waters, which remain a warm 30 degrees Celsius all year round, are breathtaking. While the primary language is Papiamento, most residents also speak Spanish, Dutch, and English, making it easy to communicate with the friendly locals.
Upon docking our Carnival Vista cruise ship at the Mega Pier, we couldn’t contain our excitement to explore the beauty we had already glimpsed from our cabin balcony. We strolled through the nearby shopping complex, but our main destination was the capital city of Willemstad.
As we wandered the streets of Willemstad, we snapped countless pictures, indulged in some local souvenir shopping, and soaked up the glorious sunshine. Little did we know that we were about to stumble upon a true marvel of engineering – the famous Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, also known as the swinging bridge.
Just as we crossed the bridge, the gates came down, and the bridge started moving. We were utterly surprised, as we had no idea it was a floating bridge. We glided across the river on this unique structure with a handful of other amazed tourists. The experience took about 45 minutes, giving way to a passing boat, and was truly unforgettable.
Curaçao: Pretty as a Picture
Willemstad is divided into two areas – Punda and Otrobanda. Punda is where you’ll find the vibrant colored houses, while Otrobanda is where most locals reside. The picturesque row of brightly painted houses along the waterfront, known as Handelskade, is a sight to behold. This charming area is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trust me, it’s a photographer’s paradise.
Take advantage of the Floating Market, where small fishing boats dock and sell an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. And let’s not forget about the iconic Blue Curaçao, a liqueur made from the laraha (Curaçao orange) fruit. Free tours are available at the Blue Curaçao Factory (Landhuis Chobolobo), where samples are a given at the end.
Pro Tip: My favorite drink that has Blue Curaçao is the Blue Hawaii.
Of course, we had to take a break and indulge in local cuisine. We enjoyed chips & salsa, nachos, and other traditional dishes like Pastechi cheese, conch, Kabritu (goat stew), curry chicken, rice, and Ayaka (meat pies wrapped in banana leaves). And if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be in heaven with the day’s fresh catch.
Another Day, Another Port
Our visit to the cruise port of Curaçao was an absolute dream come true. We savored every moment and created memories that will last a lifetime. So, what Caribbean islands are on your travel bucket list? Curaçao should be at the top!
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