Willemstad

Travel Guide
Willemstad showing swimming, rugged coastline and a sandy beach

The capital of the Caribbean Island of Curaçao, Willemstad has a multicultural feel, natural beauty, colorful buildings and a deep sense of history.

The range of attractions in Willemstad is as varied as the colors of the houses lining the streets in this harbor city. Learn about its Dutch history, seen in much of the architecture, hike through pristine wilderness or wander through lively markets.

Start your visit to Willemstad in Punda, the original part of the city. Here, you’ll find a blend of multicolored colonial buildings and modern shops. Punda is also home to Fort Amsterdam, one of eight surviving forts in Curaçao. Opposite the fort is Penha House. It was built in the 1700s and is a prime example of a Dutch-styled merchant house. Continue along Columbusstraat to the western hemisphere’s oldest synagogue, Mikve-Israel Emanuel.

Willemstad is split into two main districts by the Santa Ana Bay. Punda is to the east and Otrobanda (“other side”) is to the west. The pedestrian-only Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge connects the two sides. When the bridge is open, jump on a ferry and cross the bay to get a view of the city from the water.

In Otrobanda, wander along narrow, twisting lanes, including the main commercial street, Breedestraat. Learn about the African and slave trade history of the island at Kura Hulanda Museum. Spend an afternoon at Riffort Village. At this former fort, you’ll find outdoor cafés, boutique shops and galleries.

Beyond Willemstad’s historical center you can enjoy the area’s natural park and beaches. Blue Bay Beach has a playground, restaurant and bar, umbrellas and loungers. Get a close-up view of the area’s marine life at the Curacao Sea Aquarium on the oceanfront.

Willemstad’s cuisine draws from the flavors of over 50 cultures. Go to Marsche Bieuw (Old Market) to sample cheap local dishes, including yuana, which is stewed iguana. At the Floating Market, merchants from Venezuela sell fresh fish and spices, fruits and vegetables.

Taxis and rental car is the best way to get around Willemstad. There is a public bus service but it’s not frequent.

Where to stay in Willemstad

Avila Beach Hotel
Avila Beach Hotel
4 out of 5
Penstraat 130, Willemstad
The price is $174 per night from Oct 13 to Oct 13
Located in Pietermaai District, this beachfront resort is in the historical district and within 1 mi (2 km) of Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and Handelskade. ...
4.3/5Excellent! (815 reviews)
"Avila Beach Hotel is very beautiful. The private beaches are incredibly nice and the breakfast they serve is good, The Pen restaurant is really good as well. The staff are friendly and want to make your stay really nice."

Reviewed on Sep 3, 2021

Avila Beach Hotel
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
4.5 out of 5
John F Kennedy Boulevard, Piscadera Bay, Willemstad
The price is $199 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 24
Nestled on the beach, this Piscadera resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Leeward Antilles, Curacao Museum, and Sambil Curacao. Renaissance Shopping Mall and Rif ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (123 reviews)
"Everything! I have stayed at many a hotels and I was so pleased with how clean everything was, the staff were so nice, especially Brian who greets when you arrive. Brian really took care of all our travel needs and made several suggestions as to what to do and where to go! I don’t think there is ..."

Reviewed on Sep 16, 2021

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino
Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino
4.5 out of 5
John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Willemstad
The price is $314 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Located in Piscadera, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Leeward Antilles, Sambil Curacao, and Curacao Museum. Renaissance Shopping Mall and Rif Fort ...
3.8/5Good! (52 reviews)
"Staff was friendly and attentive. Resort was always clean they were always cleaning. Ocean view suite was nice great views. Room service was easy and food was decent. The Italian was wonderful but for some reason was closed sat I was disappointed but we ate there twice it was the best food on the ..."

Reviewed on Sep 14, 2021

Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Curacao Suites Hotel
Curacao Suites Hotel
2.5 out of 5
Langestraat 13, Willemstad
The price is $86 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 24
Located in the heart of Willemstad, this vacation home is steps from Leeward Antilles and Museum Kura Hulanda. Queen Emma Bridge (The Swinging Old Lady) and ...
4/5Very Good! (246 reviews)
"Great location and rooftop patio!!!!"

Reviewed on Jun 16, 2021

Curacao Suites Hotel
Piscadera Harbour Village
Piscadera Harbour Village
3 out of 5
Piscadera Bay, Willemstad
Offering direct access to the beach, this Piscadera condo building is within 3 mi (5 km) of Leeward Antilles, Sambil Curacao, and Curacao Museum. Renaissance ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (106 reviews)
"I loved the ocean vieuw and the pool! The property had only 220 volt, so we locals couldn’t use anything we had because locals use 110 volt.. so that was disturbing!"

Reviewed on Jul 2, 2021

Piscadera Harbour Village
Piscadera Seaview Apartments
Piscadera Seaview Apartments
3 out of 5
Piscaderaweg 51 nst, Willemstad
Situated by the sea, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Leeward Antilles and Curacao Museum. Renaissance Shopping Mall and Sambil Curacao are also within ...
3.7/5Good! (91 reviews)
Excellent communication :)
"Staff was amazing went way over expectations to help us. Great covid measures, check-in no in person contact necessary. Communication was great they went above and beyond to find a solution for us. Thanks for everything"

Reviewed on May 30, 2021

Piscadera Seaview Apartments
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Willemstad

If you’ll be staying around Punda, the historic center of Willemstad and its busiest tourist area, then getting around on foot is your best option; it’s reasonably compact and the streets are pedestrian-only. For trips further afield, jump in a shared taxi, or consider renting a car to get around. It’s easy to rent a bicycle, too, but you should take care as the roads on Curaçao can be dangerous. Browse Willemstad rental cars.

Best time to visit

Whatever time of year you visit Willemstad, you’ll find nice warm weather, with temperatures in the high 80s F (around 30 C). There is a wet season, from October to December, but you’ll rarely see prolonged rains, and the island becomes very lush and green during this period. February and March are the best months for weather: the hills are still green, but there’s little rain and it’s nice and sunny.

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