Willemstad: A Lively City

The city center is full of interesting monuments. Fort Amsterdam and the Queen Emma Bridge are two of the many of the historical sites that make up the Curacao capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can visit museums like the Curacao Museum, wander along the waterfront, and eat local food at the market place for great prices. Willemstad is divided into 4 main districts named Punda, Otrobanda, Scharloo and Pietermaai. They all have their unique charm and are full of impressive colonial buildings that are well maintained. There are different routes trough the streets and corridors that you van explore on foot. Be sure to include Riffort Mall, the streets behind Bario Hotel, Kura Hullanda square, Nieuwstraat, Scharlooweg and a walk trough Punda Shopping Center. These area's are all connected via streets, pathways and bridges.

Punda and surrounding area

We from Curalink advice to take two days exploring the neighborhoods by foot. The best time of day would be around 4pm when the sub is lower and the temperatures starts cooling off. Then later in the day you can also experience the sunset and part of the nightlife in the neighborhoods. You can choose to park at the Waaigat parking, a big parking place near all districts. Then walk trough Pietermaai District, where you have a lot of shops, motels, eateries and some galleries. The nieuwstraat is the most popular straat in this area and runs trough the center of Pietermaai.

Next you could walk trough the Scharloo neighborhood (Scharlooweg) witch also is full of nicely restored impressive colonial buildings. At the end of the road there is an interesting part called Scharloo Abou. This area is known for its murals and artworks. In this area the Maritim Museum is also located, the most modern museum on the island. You can then cross the small bridge "Leonard Smith" bridge over to Punda. Punda is an experience on its own. The early settlers started in this part building forts and houses in the 16th century. Take a walk along the well known Handelskade and the Floating Bridge called "The Queen Emma Brug". A visit to the Marche place and Marche Beu is also worthwhile. At these locations they serve local food for great prices.

A walk trough Otrobanda

The next time you visit Willemstad you would like the wander trough the other side of Anna Bay "Otrobanda" that literally means "the other side". Because space was becoming more scarce in the Punda area houses were being build in this part of the island in the old days. People would move back and fort via small rowing boats in the harbor. This part became just as buzzy as the Punda side in the years. We would suggest a walk trough Kura Hulanda Village that was totally restyled in 2022. In this part there's the Kura Hulanda Museum and a large square where you can dine. The Breedestraat is one of Curacao's most popular shopping streets where locals find the best deals on shoes and clothing. Connected to the Brionplein, a big square in front of the floating bridge you'll find Rifford Village. A shopping center build in an old Fort. Behind the fort lays the Riffort Resort with a cinema, Starbugs, a casino, restaurants and shops that sell popular brands.

Exploring the pathways by foot

If you walk up the maintain along the shoreline from brionlein you'll pass De Gouvereur Restaurant and Bario Restaurant & Hotel. A great picturesque neighborhood you'll find behind the Bario Hotel. During different projects this part of Otrobanda has undergone a transition to an upgraded safe living place with different small parks, mural paintings, boutiques and artworks. What makes the walk trough these areas so special is the old colonial tropical colored styling of the well maintained mansions. Worth mentioning is also the new Mangrove Park next to Corendon Hotel that opened in November 2022. This park that you can walk trough is made of piers that run trough an inland water full of mangrove trees.

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