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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do


The legacy of early Dutch settlers is immediately apparent as you sail into the harbor of Willemstad. Much photographed, the Dutch colonial buildings lining the port resemble a pastel colored Amsterdam. By contrast, the interior of the island is desert-like with cacti and aloe plants dominating the landscape.


Cross the Queen Emma “floating” pontoon bridge or catch a nearby ferry from the cruise ship pier to Willemstad proper. Interesting sights within walking distance are Fort Amsterdam, now the Governor’s Palace, and the Floating Market, where schooners tie up alongside the canal to sell tropical fruits and vegetable as well as local handicrafts.

Taxis are readily available at the pier and drivers will readily take you anywhere. Thriving in the Christoffel National Park are rare orchids, cactus, and wild goats, deer, and numerous species of birds. Hiking trails lead to the summit of St. Christoffelberg. It’s advised to start out early before the day is too hot. Adjacent to the park is a turtle sanctuary.

Hato Caves offers a fascinating underground waterfall and domed “cathedral” as well as displays of ancient Indian petroglyphs. Professional guided tours are available on the hour.

The Curaçao Seaquarium displays more than 400 species of marine life in a cluster of buildings that house four dozen aquariums.


Willemstad is a shopper’s heaven with about 200 stores clustered in a 5-block area called the Punda. Just a short stroll from the ferry landing or the bridge, some favorite finds are Dutch Delftware pottery, fine linens, and local rums and liqueurs, especially the distinctive blue Curaçao liqueur. It’s even possible to buy a pair of wooden shoes.


The Seaquarium is the site of the only full-facility, palm shaded, white sand beach on Curaçao. Its only drawback is that there is a small admission charge to use the beach. All other beaches are open to the public. One the western shore, Daaibooi is free but has no changing facilities. Blauwbaai, the largest and most popular beach, has changing facilities and showers.

Related Article... Curaçao, A Day in Port

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