This morning we arrived at the port of Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, at around 7.30 a.m. Curacao, like Aruba and Bonaire, is one of the so-called ABC Islands,with Curacao being the largest of these. The island is located about 65 km off the north coast of Venezuela and thus belongs geographically to South America.
Table of contents
The AIDA Port Info of Curacao
location: Mathey Warf
Lying time: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
All on board: 9.30pm
Port info of AIDA: Download
The capital Willemstad
Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and has about 125,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in the Dutch region of the Caribbean. The town is located on the south-western shore of the island of Curacao and has a natural harbour called Schottegat, which is shielded from the sea by the Sint Annabaai.
The Queen Emma Pedestrian Bridge
Since we were to dock at the Mathey Warf, the AIDA had to enter St. Anna Bay. The Queen Emma Pedestrian Bridge, which has been connecting the two districts of Punda and Otrabanda since 1886, is simply driven to the side to allow ships to enter the harbour.
The colourful houses of the Handelskade
Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and has about 125,000 inhabitants. The island was discovered by the Spanish in 1499 and Willemstad was conquered by the Dutch in 1634. From the bridge you have a beautiful view of the colourful cottages of the Handelskade in the District of Punda, which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, including the city centre.
The floating market
A few meters further around the corner (Sha Caprileskade street) you can already discover the first boats of the floating market. In the early morning, numerous fishing boats with their fresh goods come from Venezuela. The traders then sell them directly from the boats, especially fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. In a round market hall, which is located at the end of the floating market, souvenirs, souvenirs and clothing are sold.
The alleys of the Punda district
From the floating market you can continue strolling through the colourful streets of the city centre in Punda. Here you will find many small shops, restaurants, the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and Fort Amsterdam. In Wilhelminapark you can also find the large “Curacao” lettering.
Our rental car for Curacao
After exploring Willemstad on foot, we wanted to see more of the island. For this purpose, we had already booked a rental car with billiger-mietwagen.de in advance. We had to pick it up at the other port terminal of the city, the Megapier. Since another Royal Caribbean ship had just docked at the megapier, we had some difficulty getting access to the port area, as we could only identify ourselves with the AIDA boarding passes (which of course do not apply here). But a security employee then kindly led us to the small AVIS house, which was somewhat hidden. Here we got our rental car.
The flamingos in Sint Willibrordus in Jan Kok Bay
Our first port of call was the small village of Sint Willibrordus, which is located on Jan Kok Bay. East of the village and opposite the country house Jan Kok there is a natural salt lake (Salina Sint Marie), where you can see pink flamingos with a little luck. We have actually seen some from the shore in the distance. Unfortunately, you don’t get really close, which of course also serves the protection of the animals. A local explained to us that the flamingos in the shore area can’t find the food they need.
The Curacao Sea Aquarium
After our diving with dolphins we moved back to the diving school of Ocean Encounters and paid a visit to the Curacao Sea Aquarium. The price of the prize was already included in our Dolphin Dive tickets.
Unfortunately the aquariumwas sad to look at ; some of them were far too old, sometimes very dirty and far too small basins for the animals. The only highlight were the flamingos, which stood in a relatively open enclosure in the middle of the aquarium and which could be observed up close. You can also go into the enclosure yourself at certain times and have a photo taken together with the flamingos. Of course you could buy the photo. The sight of us being there just before the closure of the area was already closed, for example, the outdoor area with the shark pool. At the end of the day there is still a dolphin show in the aquarium in one of the outdoor pools, which was very nice. Outside the aquarium we saw a large iguana warming up in the evening sun.
The white sandy beach of Kenepa Grandil
Although it was already 5 p.m., we still had some time until we left at 10 p.m. to drive towards the order of the island. First we drove over the Queen Juliana Bridge, from which you had a great view of the aidA below and on the other hand you could have a look at the oil refinery. Refining activities are one of Curacao’s most important sources of income after tourism. In 1916, Shell built one of the largest oil refineries in the world in the center of Curacao, where crude oil has since been processed from Venezuela and then exported to the United States and various countries in South America. Today, the refinery is operated by a Venezuelan oil company whose lease expires in 2019. Many environmental organizations have been fighting for years for the plant to be closed after that.
Originally we wanted to go again very high to the north of the island, where the Watamula Hole is located. This is a waterhole from which – depending on the surf – sea spray splashes in a high fountain. We have seen this natural spectacle several times in other corners of the world and it is always beautiful to look at. Since here in the Caribbean the sun always sets relatively early (between 5.30 pm and 6 pm), we have unfortunately not made it until then. On the white sandy beach Kenepa Grandi we watched the sunset and then drove straight back towards AIDA.
The City of Willemstad at night
Until the “All on Board” at 9.30 pm we had some time to look at Willemstad again at night. Ideally, we were able to drop off our car at another AVIS branch (EM-Hotel) in the Otrabanda district, which is within walking distance of the AIDA pier.
Starbucks Global Icon Island Mus of CuracaoWe are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series
Curacao has a Starbucks and also a cup of 🙂
All travelogues from our AIDA Cruise (Caribbean Sea)If you read the list of islands that AIDA is heading for on the route Caribbean Islands, you might think it was a dream for a moment: Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua. To reach eleven islands in 14 days is already a house number. But that was also the reason for us to choose this route. A cruise is predestined to get to know the Caribbean with its thousands of dream islands in a relaxed way. Here you can find all travel reports of our 14-day Caribbean cruise with AIDAdiva.
Day 01 Dominican Republic: Punta Cana – Short stopover before our cruise
Day 02 Dominican Republic: AIDAdiva – Our 14-Day Cruise in the Caribbean Sea
Day 03 Day at Sea
Day 04 Aruba: ABC Islands – Diving at the Renaissance Plane Wreck
Day 04 Aruba: Oranjestad – Tourist Attractions & Things to Do by your own
Day 05 Curaçao: Curacao – Island Tour, Attractions & the best Photo spots
Day 05 Curaçao: Ocean Encounters Curacao – Diving with Dolphins
Day 06 Bonaire: ABC Islands – Diving in Bonaire National Marine Park
Day 06 Bonaire: Kralendijk – Travel Guide & Things to Do
Day 07 Day at Sea
Day 08 Grenada: Diving on the wreck of the cargo ship Veronica L.
Day 08 Grenada: Molinere Bay – Diving at the Underwater Sculpture Park
Day 08 Grenada: Saint George’s – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots
Day 09 St. Vincent: Kingstown & Hiking La Soufriére Volcano
Day 10 Barbados: Wreck diving in Carlisle Bay Marine Park
Day 10 Barbados: Snorkeling with turtles in Carlisle Bay
Day 11 St. Lucia: Diving in the Caribbean with Scuba Steve’s Diving
Day 12 Dominica: Dolphins, Whale-Watching & the capital Roseau
Day 13 Guadeloupe: An island tour & the town of Pointe-a-Pietre
Day 14 Antigua: St. John’s, Nelson’s Dockyard & Fort Berkeley
Day 15 Day at Sea
Day 16 Dominican Republic: Punta Cana – Relax one day on the Beach