The last and the best port that we visited on our cruise to South Caribbean Islands was Curaçao! It is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, north of the Venezuelan coast. The brightly hued island of Curaçao, is part of the ABC chain of islands, which also includes Aruba and Bonaire. We reached the island at 8 am in the morning and had around 8 hours to roam around. Our plan for the day required us to travel to the west most point of the island, so the first thing that we did here was to rent a scooter! Yes – a two wheeler, moped that Nariiii loves to drive! 🙂
Almost all Curacao beaches are scattered along the sheltered and calm southwestern coast, where the waters are calm and crystal clear. And the most popular among them all is the Knip Beach – Playa Kenepa Grandi. It was a 40 mins drive to the beach from the cruise terminal but totally worth it!! It was one of the most beautiful beaches that we had visited on our trip! It started raining as soon as we reached there – swimming in the rain is sooo much fun and I loved it! It’s a great beach for all levels of swimmers and also has some amazing reefs. We were able to do some snorkeling much closer to the shore as well!
After spending a couple of hours at the beach, we decided to head back to Willemstad, where our cruise ship was docked. Willemstad, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with waterfront shops and cafes. It distinctly has a Dutch feel in the centuries-old buildings that line the waterfront in all those fantastic colors!
The city is split into two districts —Punda and Ortrabanda, one on each side of a narrow but deep channel, traversable by a landmark floating pedestrian bridge Queen Emma Bridge. We drove to Punda and then returned our scooter to get on with a walking tour of this district. The first stop of our tour was the Floating market where vendors sell fresh produce, fish, and local goods directly from their boats. A very unique thing to see! Strolling around we reached the main commercial area, Handelskade, which is lined with colorful buildings including the most photographed building in Curacao, the Penha building. The vibrant yellow colored building definitely steals the show!
We missed visiting the Curacao Liqueur Factory, since it was closed that day – but it’s on almost every list of must-do things in Curaçao that I’ve read! Maybe for a future visit?! We walked across the famous Queen Emma Bridge to reach our cruise terminal – taking in every minute of this colorful and gorgeous island!
Legend says that an early governor suffered from migraines and mandated the pastel-colored houses, now a trademark of the Southern Caribbean island, because white paint aggravated his condition. Whatever be the reason, there’s something wonderful about approaching by cruise ship and spotting buildings in shades like cotton-candy pink and deep, ocean-blue!