In the vicinity of Hato, not far from the airport, impressive stalactite caves can be visited. The huge labyrinth of caves features stalactites, cave paintings, and underground streams and waterfalls . The Seaquarium, which is open daily, offers a fascinating insight into the underwater world: you can marvel at 400 species of fish and feed sharks, giant turtles and rays. In Cas Cora, a former plantation, there is a zoo and a botanical garden. Outside of Willemstad lies the University of the Netherlands Antilles. A little further away is the Landhuis Papaya, the Ceru Grandi(an old three story plantation house) and Boca San Pedro Beach . Boca Tabla is a fascinating underwater cave on the north coast. The quaint fishing village of Westpoint is close by. The St. Christoffel National Park, a nature reserve, occupies almost the entire northwestern part of the island around the mountain of the same name.
The caves with rock paintings by the Arawak Indians are particularly impressive. There are 500 different plant species and 150 bird species to discover in the national park, including hummingbirds, iguanas and the shy Curaçao deer. The ruins of the Zorgvliet – plantationand the still privately owned Savonet Plantation with the 18th Century Savonet Museum are at the foothills of the mountain.
Willemstad, the capital, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and impresses with its interesting architecture. Colorful Dutch-style gabled houses stand alongside cunucu (African huts made of mud and wattle), thatched cottages and elegant cottages owned by wealthy plantation owners. Willemstad is also one of the most attractive shopping paradises in the Caribbean. In the historic city center, a statue commemorates the famous freedom fighter Mañuel Carel Piar and a memorial to the soldiers who died in World War II.
The Dutch royal family donated another statue for their support during WWII. The mustard yellowFort Amsterdam is now the seat of government of the Netherlands Antilles and stands in the historical center of Willemstad, whose fortifications were of strategic importance between 1648-1861 . The fort’s church, which is still preserved today, was also a storehouse for food during sieges and can be visited. A cannonball is still stuck in the southwestern wall of the church. Also nearby is a Dutch colonial building, now the governor ‘s residence . The Curaçao Museum is housed in a historic building dating back to 1853 and displays old furniture, paintings, maps, as well as Native American artifacts. The Queen Emma pontoon bridge and the Queen Juliana Bridge, which spans the harbor at a height of 490 m, are also among the landmarks of »Little Holland«. The port has a Floating Market where you can see colorful barges laden with fruit and vegetables . Nearby is the modern market building where the bustling market takes place on Saturdays from 6am. If you walk across the Wilhelmina Bridge, you come to the Scharloo district, whose buildings date back to the 18th century. The Maritime Museum is very close by , which sheds light on the importance of navigation for the island through the centuries. The Mikvé Israel Emmanuel Synagogue is the oldest Jewish place of worship in the Western Hemisphere and is as interesting as the Beth Haïm Jewish Cemetery. The museum there has a large collection of historically interesting works of art. The Kurá Hulanda Museum is located near the old shipyard, on the site of a former slave market. It documents the history of the African residents of Curaçao who worked as slaves on the plantations during the colonial period and has the best collection of African objects in the entire Caribbean.
On Curaçao there are numerous good restaurants in every price range. Typical Dutch dishes, seafood and various types of cheese as well as Creole specialties (Criollo) are usually on the menu. International cuisine with Italian, French and other specialties is also offered. Behind the post office in Willemstad is the Marché Bieu, the old market hall. There are several food stalls here where you can eat fresh, grilled fish and other island specialties at particularly reasonable prices. In the numerous street cafés (Toko’s) you can get hearty snacks and soft drinks.
Parilla de marisco (appetizing grilled seafood platter) Stobá with moro (stew with rice and beans) Suppa de iguana (iguana soup) Kabritu stoba (stewed goat meat) Guiambo (slimy okra soup) Kadushi (cactus soup)
Hotel bills include 5% tax and 12% service. Hotel porters, bar staff and waiters expect a 10% tip.
The drinking water is considered to be one of the best in the world. As everywhere in the Caribbean, alcoholic mixed drinks and cocktails are often refined with a strong dash of rum. The liqueur Curaçao is made from the dried peel of bitter oranges (Laraha) and various spices and is available in red, orange, green and blue colors as well as in clear form. There are also mixtures with coffee, chocolate and rum. The Curaçao liqueur distillery can be visited (Internet: www.curacaoliqueur.com). The popular Amstel beer is no longer brewed on Curaçao, but imported from the Netherlands.
Minimum age for consumption of alcoholic beverages
In Curaçao you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.