The sunny and festive city of Willemstad in Curacao surely has something to offer for every member of your family. For those that love to be under the sun, the island is lined up with several gorgeous beaches with smooth white sand and exhilarating water and outdoor activities. Everyone will also surely fall in love with the quaint and charming antique buildings and the unique Dutch colonial architecture around the city. You will surely enjoy spending your day in the city. Get to know more about what the city as to offer as you know more of the best things to do in Willemstad, Curacao.
1. Explore the Hato Caves
Hato Caves is a popular tourist destination in Curaçao. History and archaeology buffs are in for a treat as the cave has borne witness to more than a thousand years of human habitation as the Amerindian Arawaks and Caiquetio Indians inhabited the caves once. It was later used as a safe haven for runaway slaves.
The cave’s paintings, stalagmites, and stalactites hold a story that the tour guides will be more than happy to share with you. So, why not drop by and experience a piece of Curaçao’s history?
Address: Franklin D. Rooseveltweg, Willemstad, Curaçao
Website: Hato Caves
Opening hours: 9am - 3pm (daily)
Price: 7-9 USD
Curacao is known for its very rich Jewish heritage and culture. Get to know more about the history of the island nation’s Jewish community by joining this half-day tour in the city of Willemstad. Included in this tour is a visit to some of the most important Jewish sites in the city such as Beth Haim Jewish Cemetery and Mikveh Israel Emanuel synagogue. You also get to explore Scharloo, an ancient Jewish district, and the plantation houses of Chobolobo and Rooi Catootje. See amazing views of the city as your tour progresses.
Duration: 3 hours
3. Explore the Abandoned Pietermaai Mansions
The neighborhood of Pietermaai is one of the most important places in Willemstad. During the rise of the slave trade and piracy in the island, the area was developed for the wealthy merchants, bankers, and the captains of the ships of the Dutch West India Company. Aside from the amazing mansions that line up the boulevard, the area was also known for its theaters and fine restaurants. However, when the slave trade was abolished in 1863 and upon the discovery of oil in Northern Willemstad, these colonial mansions were abandoned and neglected. But today, with the rise of tourism in Curacao, these mansions were renovated to be posh hotels, restaurants, and diving centers. Still, some of them remain dilapidated and are now covered with murals that depict the history of the island nation.
Abandoned Pietermaai Mansions
Address: Pietermaai Neighbourhood, Willemstad, Curaçao
4. Have fun under the sun at Mambo Beach
Also known as Seaquarium Beach, Mambo Beach is surely a must-visit place if you came to Willemstad for some water fun under the sun. It is a manmade beach located just a few miles away from the heart of the city. The beach is famous for its powdery white sand, crystal clear blue waters, sand volleyball court, and several bars that serve the best piña coladas. At night, the beach becomes even livelier with the bright lights coming from the shops, restaurants, and bars that line up the boardwalk.
Address: Mambo Beach Boulevard, Bapor Kibrá, Willemstad, Curaçao
Website: Mambo Beach
5. Cross the Queen Emma Bridge
Constructed in 1888 and named after a Dutch royal, the Queen Emma Bridge is a floating bridge that allows people to cross between the districts of Punda and Otrobanda in Willemstad. It is being kept afloat by 16 pontoon boats and is able to swing open laterally so ships can enter and exit St. Anna Bay. People love to dine out or have a cup of coffee around the bridge while seeing boats sailing through the bridge’s opening. In case you need to get to the other side of the bridge while it is open, fret not as water taxis will bring you to the other side absolutely free.
Queen Emma Bridge
Address: Kon. Emmabrug, Willemstad, Curaçao
Get to explore the whole city of Willemstad by joining this very interactive walking tour. See the vibrant and amazing Dutch architecture while falling in love with its charming and quaint colonial vibe and colorful pastel-painted buildings. Visit Fort Amsterdam and traverse Main Street as you get past a floating market that sells the freshest produce in the city. This tour is especially perfect for those visiting the city for the first time.
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
7. See amazing marine wildlife at Curaçao Sea Aquarium
Take your kids on a whole day of fun with sea animals at Curacao Sea Aquarium. Situated on the oceanfront with teeming coral reefs and marine wildlife, it is regarded as one of the most unique aquariums in the world as it is able to supply seawater continuously, thanks to its open water system. See different animals live in action as you participate in different activities such as feeding flamingos and lobsters, watching dolphins and sea lions doing tricks, and experience snorkeling.
Curaçao Sea Aquarium
Address: Z/N Bapor Kibrá, Willemstad, Curaçao
Website: Curaçao Sea Aquarium
Opening hours: Thu - Mon: 8am - 5pm (closed on Tue & Wed)
Kira Hulanda Museum, located in the Willemstad harbor, features the history and the impact of the slave trade that happened within the Atlantic. The museum tells the story of the Africans that were sold and relocated to the New World. There’s a large collection of artifacts coming from Mainland Africa and the influence of the Africans and the slave trade on the Curacaoans and other parts of the Caribbean even to the present day.
Duration: 1 day
9. Taste the best Caribbean dishes at Tabooshh!
If you want to have a taste of the best and the most authentic Caribbean dishes while in Curacao, then Tabooshh! is the best place to go. They serve Caribbean food with a twist that came from recipes that have been passed from generations. When you are in Tabooshh, make sure to try their white sangria, coconut shrimp, lobster and shrimp quesadillas, key lime pie, chicken tenders, and green rum cake with ice cream.
Address: 405-1, Caracasbaaiweg, Willemstad, Curaçao
Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 5pm - 10:30pm (closed on Wed)
10. Wander around Huize Batavia
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Huize Batavia is one of the most popular landmarks in the district of Otrobanda in Willemstad. Built in 1747, Huize Batavia only opens its doors for everyone for just a few weeks every year. It is the only monument in Curacao that allows people to enter and explore. Feel free to walk around and explore the house and the garden to appreciate the old-time atmosphere even better. They also serve their famous high tea, high beer, and high wine right at their garden at an additional charge.
Address: 36 Pater Euwensweg, Willemstad, Curaçao
Website: Huize Batavia
Drinking enthusiasts have probably heard of Blue Curacao. Know how this amazing drink is being produced as you visit and have a tour of Curacao Liqueur Distillery. A guide will be with you explaining the drink’s history, how it is used to make tropical cocktails around the world, and the distilling process itself. You also get to try samples of Blue Curacao, including the senior liqueurs that have been produced using the same method since the late 1800s.
Duration: 1 hour
Tugboat and Reef Snorkel Tour in Curacao offers an enjoyable four-hour tour through the island’s coast. Experience the amazing sea life as the tour takes you to two snorkeling sites. You’ll be swimming above thriving coral reefs that each exhibit a beautiful ecosystem. You will also be visiting a centuries-old fort that was used to deter pirate raids in the area.
Both history buffs and animal lovers will leave this tour with a smile as they swim amongst the fishes and learn about the colorful past of this part of the Caribbean.
Duration: 4 hours
Have fun and explore Willemstad
The sunny Willemstad in Curacao is indeed a great place to consider for you and your family’s next summer vacation. Enjoy your time in the city by making sure you do all these great things to do in Willemstad, Curacao.
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