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A distinctive, sun-drenched Caribbean township with a rich colonial Dutch heritage, Willemstad features one of the finest city centres in the Caribbean islands. The port itself rests on the island of Curacao, near to Venezuela, and enjoys a year round tropical savannah climate with very low humidity, as well as refreshing breezes tempering the heat of its bright sunshine. Historic districts mesh together in the bustle of Old Town, where the sun beats down on art deco architecture. The waterfronts are crowded with buildings of every description, all of which are painted in bright pastel shades, from aqua marine to bright pink. Although it has existed as part of a Dutch colony for most of its existence-even its building styles are based on those in the Netherlands-the entire island upon which Willemstad rests has its own unique patois and culture.
The oldest running museum in Curacao is housed in a beautifully ornate 1853 plantation house, displaying fantastic exhibits entwined with local culture. The collections on display are as varied as paintings, drawings, etchings, statues, antique furniture, glassworks and textiles. There are numerous highlights of the extensive exhibits that will delight those looking for a unique museum experience. In the West-Indies section visitors have the privilege of looking at a map of the Caribbean created completely from multi-hued plate glass by artist W. Bogtman. The piece was designed especially for the New York Exhibition in 1939, only to end up on display in the museums' bountiful collection. There is also a gallery of paintings from national and international artists including Enrique Olario, Luigi Pinedo, Han van Meegeren and Charley Toorop. As well as the artistic beauty on offer, head to the Museum's garden where you'll find a verdant green lawn, several statues, and a music pavilion to indulge in.
The most well preserved of the eight forts on the island, Fort Amsterdam has had a huge role in the island's military history as recently as World War II. Located in Punda, the most historic and picturesque district of the capital city, the fort is adorned with elegant green awnings, and a bright yellow décor outlined by pure white outlines upon its facia. The sprawling interior courtyard is home to the Governor's palace, the Fort church and the Council of Ministers. The coral stone and lime mortar of its pillars and walls are a sight to behold in the midday sunshine, and experienced tour guides are on hand to guide through the exceptional military, cultural and architectural history of one of the oldest buildings on the island.
A spending spree in Willemstad is not complete without a visit to the magnificent Floating Market. A dozen Portuguese vendors dock their wooden boats at the waterfront in Punda to sell delectable fruit and fish. A trip to this cultural gem is worth it regardless of whether you are stocking up on seafood or not. For beautiful swimwear with excellent service, head to Emilia Boutique, at Hancha Snoa 11 in Punda.
One of the best restaurants on the island is the Gouverneur de Rouville, a renovated monument at the harbour entrance that has a fantastic view over the Handelskade International menu with local specialities such as crayfish thrown in. The service is excellent, and a table at the terrace will guarantee that you can wine and dine with a fantastic view as your backdrop.
Up to 71 FREE shore excursions.
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Up to 169 FREE shore excursions
Up to 58 FREE shore excursions
Up to 87 FREE shore excursions
Up to 55 FREE shore excursions
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Up to 76 FREE shore excursions
NEW! Complimentary shore excursions
NEW! Complimentary shore excursions
Up to 79 FREE shore excursions
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Up to 69 FREE shore excursions
Up to 66 FREE shore excursions
BLACK FRIDAY SALE | EXCLUSIVE OFFER! EXCLUSIVE $400 FREE to spend on-board per couple | Up to 93 FREE shore excursions
EXCLUSIVE OFFER! EXCLUSIVE $200 FREE to spend on-board per couple | NEW! Complimentary shore excursions
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