(UPDATED JULY 2022) I’d always wanted to visit the picture-perfect island of Curaçao to complete my visiting the A-B-C (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) islands. I realized that wish on a Southern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines with my husband, Eddie. We decided to skip organized ship excursions and explore the island of Curaçao our own. See what cool photo opportunities we found in this small Dutch Caribbean island.
Curaçao’s History and Fun Facts
Curaçao is the largest of the ABC islands and has around 150,000 residents. The gorgeous blue waters remain ecially 30 degrees Celsius all year-round. The primary language is Papiamento, the local language, but most residents also speak Spanish, Dutch, and English. It’s capital city, Willemstad, is where the cruisers visit.
Our Carnival Cruise ship docked at the Mega Pier, though smaller ships use the Mathey Wharf, located in the harbor. We couldn’t wait to get off the ship and see the beauty of Curaçao that we’d already enjoyed from our balcony upon arrival. Eddie and I exited the ship and walked through the large shopping complex in close proximity to the pier.
Exploring the Main Town: Willemstad
For hours, we wandered around the streets of Willemstad taking pictures, browsing local souvenirs shops, and enjoying the sunshine. Eddie and I found ourselves starting across a gorgeous pedestrian bridge (Queen Emma Bridge) that I’d seen a million times in photos of Curaçao, when all of a sudden, gates came down, whistles or bells were blaring, and we were moving.
We had no clue that this bridge was a floating one, but here we were, along with about a dozen other tourists, no doubt, gliding across the river on a moving bridge. The whole process took about 45 minutes, which was to allow a boat to pass through. Once that was done, us and the other confused passengers quickly exited the bridge on the other side, downtown, I presume.
The Queen Emma Bridge separates the two areas of Willemstad: Punda and Otrobanda. Otrobanda is where most of the residents live and Punda is where the colored houses are.
Curaçao: Pretty as a Picture
In front of us stood the colorful row of brightly painted houses, and it was even better in person! The Colonial Dutch architecture of Willemstad, Curaçao is a sight for sore eyes. Handelskade, the beautiful waterfront strip, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, something very important in my travels. You can find restaurants museums, and shopping in this area.
The houses line the St. Anna Bay and truly look as if they were plucked right out of Amsterdam’s canal district. This is where you will take your quintessential Curaçao photo. Make sure to check out the Floating Market, filled with small fishing boats that dock on the canal and sell local fruits and vegetables.
While in the Caribbean, of course a drink should be in your hand, right? Tropical drinks never tasted better than here in Willemstad where Blue Curaçao (made from laraha) is made. Free tours are available at the Blue Curaçao Factory (Landhuis Chobolobo), where samples are a given at the end. My favorite drink that has Blue Curaçao is the Blue Hawaii.
Eddie and I took a break and had a snack of chips & salsa plus some nachos at a local restaurant. Other local foods to check out in Curaçao include Pastechi cheese, conch, Kabritu (goat stew), curry chicken, rice, Ayaka (meat pies in banana leaves), and fresh fish.
Another Day, Another Port
Our visit to the cruise port of Curaçao proved to be a spectacular day and we really enjoyed every minute of it. What Caribbean islands are on your travel bucket list?
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