11 Super Fun Things To Do in Willemstad, Curacao

Last updated on May 18, 2024

Visiting Curacao? You cannot miss visiting the country’s capital city! There are so many fun things to do in Willemstad, Curacao and it would be a shame to not experience it.

Willemstad makes you feel as if they have transported a country from Europe right into the heart of the Caribbean.

 There are four districts in Willemstad which are: Otrobanda, Punda, Scharloo & Pietermaai and while this sounds like it’s a lot of ground to cover, it really is a close knit city that is really easy to explore on foot.

If you are visiting from the Curacao cruise port for the day, I would recommend a solid half or full day to really get a feel for it. We booked a tour with Island Routes via our hotel and we were really happy with it

What is the best time to visit Curacao?

If you are visiting Curacao, the best time to visit is during the months of December through April which is considered their dry season.

During these months the island receives little rainfall and lots of sun! We visited during the end of April and did get some cloud coverage each day but it was honeslty really nice as it was SO hot!

The island of Curacao is also known for being a bit windy but again- we really loved this since it was so warm.

Are there any beaches in Willemstad?

While some of the best beaches in Curacao are a bit further from Willemstad, there are a ton of beaches close by and easy to get to from the Curacao cruise port if you are visiting from a cruise!

One of the easiest spots to reach is Marichi Pier. It’s only about 15 minutes walking distance from downtown Punda and is a beautiful retreat from the city. The water is so bright and we found it was only filled with locals. It’s definitely a secret gem of a spot! You need to walk past a little parking lot to get to the actual pier

Another great option is Mambo Beach which is only about 5 KM away by car!

Where to stay in Curacao?

If you are visiting Curacao, there is one place to stay and that is at Sandals Royal Curacao. The place is an absolute dream with one of the best infinity pools in all of the Caribbean. It is all inclusive property and features over 10 restaurants, nightly entertainment and some of the most stunning room options.

You can read my Sandals Royal Curacao review for more in depth information of what to expect!

Here are the tools and sites I use to book all of my travel itineraries:


#1- Go on the Queen Emma Bridge

The Queen Emma Bridge aka the floating bridge is one that connects the town of Punda and Otrabanda. The word “Otrabanda” quite literally means “the other side” and visiting both sides gives you a true feel of Willemstad, Curacao.

The bridge offers beautiful vantage points of the colourful buildings and it’s a great photo op!

When a boat needs to pass by, the bridge will close but don’t worry it’s only 10 minutes max for most boats and they give you plenty of time to get off. If you desperately need to get across, they also have water taxis to get across!

TIP: I recommend going earlier in the morning or at night! It’s definitely more quieter than during peak day times when some of the cruise ships are docked.

#2 Visit the Rif Fort

Rif Fort in located on the opposite side of Punda is a historcial fort that has been converted into a main shopping and restaurant hub.

Part of Willemstad’s UNESCO World heritage site, the fort has been around since the 1800’s when it was built! It feels like stepping back in time entering the complex but then you are welcomed into a modern world of trendy spots to dine at, places to shop or even options for you to explore the fort itself.

Full Review Sandals Curacao: Review, Photos + Tips

They have multiple spots that still pay homage to when it was a military facility with small staircases that lead up to the top of it and little alleyways made for taking cover. If you are looking for things to do in Willemstad, this has to be on your list!

If you are visiting from one of the Curacao cruise ports, this is a convenient stop!

#3- Go to a Chi Chi Girl Shop

Chichi dolls are a popular art sculpture that has become something that Curacao is known for now! It reflects the country’s importance of family and honors specifically the power of the older sister in the family who was always referred to as “chi chi”.

The older sister is known as the “2nd” mother in a lot of Caribbean families and the doll represents her warm- heartedness

I am a Chichi myself and my oldest is also a Chichi so I knew I had to visit one of the famous Chichi dolls in Willemstad!

Artist Serna Janet Israel creates one of a kind Chichi dolls and has one of the most popular shops in Punda (which is in a very small and cute spot in town!). Serena is legendary in the country and trademarked the “Chichi” doll. The dolls are always painted in bright colours and feature a curvy figure which represents her feminine strength!

Looking for some other getaways in the Caribbean?

#4- The colourful steps in Otrobanda

 The steps in Otrobanda are another great photo op in town!

It is a true reflection of the restoration of so many spaces in Willemstad and this one is particularly neat because of the artists intension in creating this. The idea behind it is that with each step you become happier and you reach your destination in the end.

I love this and really love the steps itself!

#5- Enjoy the “World’s Best Mojito”

Nothing screams the Caribbean more to me than a delicious cocktail in the heat and since rum is one of the more popular liquors on the island, Mojito’s are an excellent choice here!

This little hole in the wall is a colourful, cute and heart warming spot right in Punda. The staff and owners were SO nice ( they gave us little bracelets for our daughters at home just because) and the mojitos were OUT OF THIS WORLD! Good thing our ride was coming to get us otherwise I wouldn’t have left haha

The place is literally called “The World’s Best Mojito” and with over 1000 reviews and 4.7 stars, I would say there was a good reason why they went with this name

#6- Go Mural Hunting things to do in Willemstad for Art Lovers!

Otrobanda is one of the oldest and now coolest areas in Willemstad! Here you can find local artists who have done an amazing job at adding a funky play to some of the classic and colonial walls around the city. The streets in the area have become a kaleidoscope of colours and more and more art murals are being done each year. It’s almost become something that Curacao and Willemstad is becoming known for!

I am a sucker for murals and love “mural hunting” when visiting a new place. It not only makes for a great photo op but I love looking up the artists after which always gives more insight into the city.

You can find the murals in the Scharloo neighborhood. I would recommend starting near the Art Skalo parking lot to see some of the key murals close by!

#7-Visit the Curacao and Dushi Sign

Things to do in Willemstad

Did you even visit Willemstad if you didn’t take a photo in front of the Curacao and Dushi sign?

‘”Dushi” is a Papiamentu word that can have a variety of meanings but the most commonly used meaning is “Sweetheart” or “Cutie!”. You can use it to describe someone or even refer to a food dish that you like!

They are located in the middle of the Punta district and you cannot miss it!

#8- Eat Gelato

Some dutch delicacies include some very good desserts and home made gelato is one of them! This place called Cielo Gelato is very unassuming down a little alleyway and was recommended to us by a few locals

Full Review Sandals Curacao: Review, Photos + Tips

My dad’s biggest travel advice is always “find what the locals love and eat there too!” so we did just that!

Cielo is the perfect place to beat the heat and their gelato selection is ALL homemade and hand crafted. They have some sorbet options ( that are free of dairy and are more refreshing) and then some delicious creamy flavours!

#9- Visit the Floating Market

There are several markets to discover in Willemstad and most of them are located in Punda!

One of the coolest ones is the ‘Floating Market” which is essentially made up of boats that come from Venezuela to sell fish, meat and fruits and veggies. They come in almost every morning starting as early as 7AM!

While we didn’t buy any food ( we were staying at an all inclusive hotel), it is still so neat to explore and get a feel of the culture. We did buy a little hand crafted doll for our daughters and truly enjoyed our chat with the local who made them. She was a beautiful soul and made me fall in love with Curacao a little more.

Make sure to bring cash if you plan to buy anything! There are ATMS around Punda but it’s nice to have cash on hand

#10- Take a Tuk Tuk Ride

While Willemstad is one of the most walkable cities, you can boot around town by getting in a little Tuktok! You can find them in and around down and have the driver take you to a specific place or you can pay them an agreed upon amount to drive you through town for a certain amount of time.

It’s a great way to see a few things if you are short on time ( or if it’s super hot!!)

This TOUR is amazing as it’s a 2 hour rental with a driver so you can do and see what you want. It has crazy good reviews!

#11- Do a Rum Tasting

Things to do in Willemstad

If there is a word that basically goes hand and hand with the Caribbean, it is rum! And there is nothing better than tasting the local rum.

In Curacao they produce Anna Bay Rum. The building in Willemstand that houses it has such a cool history ( it used to be a place where sailor would gather back in the 1700’s for rum after a day on the waters!) and was converted into the rum distillery decades ago.

They offer free samples or you can pick up some of the many different rum flavours and bottles they have! They also have some educational pieces within where you can learn about the different rum stages and history of the company.

Curacao Tips: What to know before visiting!

  • Curacao is pronounced “CURE-AH-SOW”. It’s a tricky one and I totally had to google this before coming
  • Before coming to Curacao you need to download a digital immigration form to fill out before hand. This will safe you time and inconveniences before landing or arriving via Cruise port!
  • Curacao is home to the world famous Blue Curacao liquor. There are lots of drinks at restaurants that feature it and I mean “When in Rome” right? While it’s sweet, it is delicious and so refreshing on a hot day!
  • While visiting the city of Willemstad is a must, I definitely encourage you to get out on the water and see Curacao from a boat! There are so many remote beaches that can only be accessed by water! There are over 38 beaches on the island
  • I would bring a European Adaptor! While our hotel had a few outlets that worked for us, it’s country modeled after the Netherlands so you can expect to find that influencer in many areas- electricity included!
  • The people are so incredibly friendly and I never once felt unsafe

I hope you found this breakdown of all the things to do in Willemstad, Curacao helpful! It truly felt like a mix of the Netherlands, Colombia AND the Caribbean all wrapped into one pretty package.

I feel like it’s still an underrated place to discover and I would recommend checking it out before it becomes one of the hottest destinations!

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