Welcome to the Curaçao cruise port guide. Curaçao has about 150.000 inhabitants. Its capital is Willemstad and this is also where your cruise ship is going to dock. Willemstad is a city split in two. Punda is where you find the famous Dutch Warf and markets (see picture). The other half of the city is Otrabanda, meaning “other side”. This is where most cruise ships will dock. The mega pier is at historical Rif Fort. This and many other forts, plantation houses and old warehouses show the vibrant history of Curaçao as a Dutch colony, slave trade centre and oil refinery. Curaçao is a cultural treasure If you take a look at its holidays for example you will notice it inherited the Dutch, Jewish, Venezuelan and local holidays. That is the beauty of Curaçao. As an inhabitant you celebrate holidays of many different cultures, because you tolerate them, but mainly because you always want a reason to celebrate. The island lies about 60 km off the coast of Venezuela. It is about 70 by 12 km. Its landscape is dry and the vegetation matches the climate. While the island might not have the most beautiful forests or scenery, it does have 28 beaches of which some are even in the world’s top 10. Find out underneath which ones they are in the cruise port guide for Curaçao.
Each morning the Venezuelans gear up their small boats to make the journey over to Curacao where they dock in the historical centre to sell any kind of fruit and vegetables.
When the Dutch West-Indian Compagnie took over the island a fort needed to be build to offer protection to the Dutch. At the entrance of the St. Anna baai, just across the water from the dock you can still see this Fort guarding the entrance to the capitol. Nowadays the parliaments hold house in this building. Feel free to stroll around explore the fort by foot.
Nautical charts, ship models and navigation equipment tell the 500 years of maritime history of Curacao.
On the island you will find many plantation houses. At the Chobolobo plantation house you will find the production of the local liquor of the island: Blue Curacao. It is being produced in the copper boiler from 1896. There is a small exhibition at the plantation house and you will also be able to taste it!
On the north coast of Curacao you can find caves, natural bridges and Boca Pistol. It is a small inlet in the caves. The waves hit is about few seconds. When the waves clash into the tiny inlet it sounds like the shot of gun and the water can splash up to 20 meters / 60 feet into the air.
This is the Curacao mega pier were cruise ships can dock while in port. This is just one of the dock available. Read the full Curacao cruise port guide to view all the options. However, if only 1 ship is in port, you are most likely going to dock here at the Mega Cruise Terminal.
This is the oldest still in use Jewish synagogue in the New World. It was build in the 1730’s by Pieter Roggenburg. The outside might not be very appealing, but wait until you see the inside.
Hundreds of species of fish can be found in the aquarium of Sea aquarium. Anything you can find in the waters around Curacao is what you will find here as well like crabs, sponges and corals. The big attractions however are the dolphins that are here. Join them for a show or go for a swim with your new buddies.
Blue Bay is one of the nicest beaches on the island. Enjoy lots of different facilities here. Hang on out the beach, go snorkelling or golfing. Find this resort at about 20 minute drive from the dock.
If you are docked at the Mega Pier (main pier in Curacao) you will have Rif Fort at your door step. Together with Fort Amsterdam on the other side of the bay it was build in the 1820’s to defend the city. Rif Fort has now been transformed into a pleasant recreation area where you will find high end shops, souvenir shops and lots of bars and restaurants.
Near the airport of Curacao is where you will find the Hato Caves. It is cave system where you will find the most unusual rock formations. Go on a guided tour to go from room to room and to experience what life in a cave must have been like back in the days.
Curacao has a dark history of slavery. Kura Hulanda is a hotel and museum near the city centre that will show you a chapter of the african slave trade and Curacao and the centre of slave trade for the ABC islands.
The UNESCO world heritage site of Willemstad is the old colonial boulevard. This must be the most recognisable sight of Curacao. A row of colourful, restored waterfront warehouses resemble the canal houses of Amsterdam. This is proof of the colonial era when the Dutch would rule this part of the world.
The biggest mountain of the island is called Christoffel mountain. It is 375 meter high. In the park you will find several museums, plantation houses, 3 driving routes and 8 hiking routes. You can explore the park in many ways. Go for a drive to the rugged coastline to see the waves splashing into the rock, visit the museum that tell the story about slavery or hike all the way to the top of the mountain.
On the island you will find wild flamingos. Find them at Sint Willibrordus on the salt flats. From the dock it is about 45 minute drive.
The ostrich farm is one of the most famous in the area. At the visitors centre you will find a restaurants and cafes and this is also where the guided tours leave from. On the tour you are going to befriend a ostrich or two. Stand on the eggs, feed the ostrich and if you want: ride the ostrich. Find the Ostrich farm at about 30 minute drive from the cruise dock.
Curacao Ostrich Farm
The most unusual site which will catch your eye as soon as you dock in Curacao is the pontoon bridge. This is a floating pedestrian bridge from 1888 connection the two parts of the city centre. The bridge blocks the entree to one of the biggest natural harbours in the world. The bridge will swing open every now and then allowing ships to sail in. When the pontoon bridge opens make sure not to be on it or you’ll be stuck. If the bridge is open free ferries will go up and down to service the pedestrians.
The Penha building is the most photographed building in Curacao. It was build in 1708 in Curaçao Baroque architecture with Dutch influences. It still stands proud on the “Handelskade”. Nowadays if it home to a large department store.