What to do and see in Willemstad, Curacao: The Best Places and Tips

October 1, 2017 Velvet Champine

The lively capital of Curacao is a welcoming, upbeat destination with two distinct historic districts divided by the lovely St. Anna Bay. Punda, site of neat, narrow streets, is crammed with shops and museums. Otrobanda, or "The Other Side," is a maze of twisting residential streets, contrasting with the organized grid across the bay. Willemstad's colorful colonial architecture has won it UNESCO Heritage site designations. Diving and swimming with dolphins are popular activities in the bay.
Restaurants in Willemstad

1. Kenepa Beach

Kenepa Beach, Willemstad, Curacao 56114447370288
Excellent
68%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Kenepa Beach

Inlet on the less-developed western side of the island.

Reviewed By patty r

Great park, secluded, rented the nicer chairs for $10 the others were $5. Water was beautiful. Laid back atmosphere. Food and drink were limited, we wished we would have brought a cooler, definitely would go back though.

2. Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge

Willemstad, Curacao
Excellent
59%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge

Swings wide many times daily to allow access to one of the busiest ports in the world. It also separates the two halves of the city.

Reviewed By OneAddictedTraveler - Lake Elmo, Minnesota

Built in 1888, this bridge crosses the opening to the primary harbor and lets pedestrians cross from Untrabanda to Punda. It swings open like a door to allow ships to enter the harbor.
Beware, if you don't exit the bridge promptly at the warning horn you will have a ride but will be trapped until it opens again - it could be an hour or more.
If the bridge is open for an extended period, a free ferry is available as a substitute.

3. Dolphin Academy Curacao

Bapor Kibra z/n, Willemstad AN5999, Curacao
Excellent
66%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Dolphin Academy Curacao

Dolphin Academy offers fun and educational intimate experiences, like a Dolphin Encounter, a Dolphin Swim, a Dolphin Snorkel with Coastal Bottlenose Dolphins in a natural saltwater lagoon and the open sea. Different programs and courses available for all ages.

Reviewed By sapringle322 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

We went as part of an award program and thought it would be cheesy but far from it. The staff is professional and knowledgeable and the dolphins sweet and fun. Actually being in the water with them and interacting was a cool experience. We were able to shake their fins, wave together and get a kiss. The did swim with you and were good sports with us humans. Great activity for groups or families.

4. Shete Boka National Park

Boka Tabla, Willemstad, Curacao +599 9 864 0444
Excellent
58%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Shete Boka National Park

Reviewed By kloos5 - Fleming Island, Florida

I recommend this stop because one can take excellent pictures of the water rushing into the cave!!! I still hear other people commenting how awesome these photos are. A tip, go inside the cave and wait until the water hits he rocks just outside the cave. You will get wet but it's oh so worth it!!!

Willemstad, Curacao
Excellent
55%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 728 reviews

Handelskade

Harborfront street lined with brightly painted 18th century buildings that today, house boutiques, art galleries and sidewalk cafes.

Reviewed By Halkidis - Naantali, Finland

These colourful, restored buildings in Handelskade area are in almost every postcard in Curacao. Our Cruise Ship went past these and Queen Emma Bridge(that swings open), so we had some great photos up from our balcony. If you are docking in more popular Mega Pier, then have a little walk here. Lot to see and do in one mile radius, so worth of visit

6. Playa Kenepa Chiki

Between the Villages of Westpunt and Lagun, Willemstad, Curacao
Excellent
56%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 452 reviews

Playa Kenepa Chiki

Reviewed By AKAshon - Oakville, Canada

We came here on a Monday afternoon on Christmas Day after visiting the nearby Kenepa Grandi. It was smaller and less crowded than Kenepa Grandi. It was not as beautiful also. It’s important to note that there isn’t any facilities for changing or any washrooms on this beach. I prefer Kenepa Grandi more though.

7. Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

Willemstad, Curacao +599 9 461 1067
Excellent
64%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 526 reviews

Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

The Western Hemisphere's oldest Synagogue in continuous use was founded in 1651 by 12 families from Amsterdam.

Reviewed By Vivienne Vroli... V - Oranjestad, Aruba

Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest Synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere.
According to history Jewish families from Amsterdam founded the congregation in 1651, while the current building was consecrated in 1732 on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
My personal favorite ♥️ is the interior which has splendid chandeliers, mahogany furnishings and a floor of white sand. I was constantly tempted to take my shoes off ‍♀️.
There are 3 reasons for the sand floor. The first one is that the Synagogue is modeled after the encampment, which their forefathers established in the Sinai desert during the 40 years of wandering from Egypt to the Promised Land. The other 2 reasons you can read in the brochure that is handed out once you purchase your entrance ticket which costs USD. 10,= .
Across the courtyard of the Synagogue you will find the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum. It displays objects of the culture, practices and history. Too bad you're not allowed to take pictures in the Museum, since they had some interesting stuff.
In the Museum patio there are several replicas of tombstones to be seen. These are considered works of art .
I had a pleasant time at the Synagogue and found it to be very instructive.
The Synagogue is located in Punda and it's open weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

8. Punda

Willemstad, Curacao 59994618244
Excellent
44%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

Punda

Home to most of the shops and tourist activities in Willemstad.

Reviewed By Amy F - Godfrey, Canada

We walked here quite a bit on our stay. Walked around to see different areas and food. There was a small bakery on the corner of one of the streets that had amazing buns.

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