It was really hot and sunny in Willemstad, Curacao today.
Colorful Willemstad is a bright shining star in the Caribbean Sea.
Between the natural beauty of the island and the colonial treasures of its historic capital, Curaçao is perhaps one of the richest Caribbean destinations. Even the first Dutch settlers realized early on they had hit the jackpot. The saltwater ponds became a major source of income as the world got hooked on salt.
Meanwhile, merchant ports from every nation came to find shelter in the natural deep-water harbor of bustling Willemstad. And while fortunes were being made off of the salt and slave trade, the real wealth came later, with the discovery of oil in 1920. That’s when people from all over the world flooded the island, the largest of the Netherlands Antilles.
Nowadays, Willemstad is known for its oil refinery, cultural diversity, and gorgeous Dutch colonial architecture. A stroll through this World Heritage Site is an absolute must. Another memorable experience is the famous “floating market”. Outside of town, the old plantation estates with as many dive sites, caves and beaches as this one.
We took a taxi from the cruise ship pier to the city and walked around to see a couple of markets. The first was an indoor market where lots of people were selling fish, vegetables, shampoo, soaps, coffee, clothes, souvenirs, etc. A lot of the items were (believe it or not) the exact same items that I can buy at the supermarket where I live. They even sold Santo Domingo coffee and Dominican Mama Juana!
The second market was the Floating Market outside. It was mostly made up of fruit & vegetable vendors all lined up along the sidewalk of the street and with the harbor behind them. They had boats lined up in the back (I guess where they store and transport their products) and the vendors were all (?) Venezuelans. The produce looked good (although a lot was wrapped in plastic bags) and the market was incredibly colorful and nice to walk through. There were also a couple of fish vendors at the end of the market and souvenir vendors here and there.
Anders had found a good looking French restaurant called The Wine Cellar which had received nice reviews on Trip Advisor. So we started walking around to find it…and it was a long walk in the heat and the sun. When we finally arrived, we were absolutely sweaty and in much need of cooling off. But the food, service and ambiance of the restaurant was definitely worth the walk! It was nothing short of amazing.
I had the Caribbean red snapper filet with vegetables and mango-chili salsa – amazing! For dessert I had the cheese plate with toasted bread, pecan nuts, honey and red grapes – also amazing!
We’d ordered a bottle of Chablis, but the restaurant hadn’t gotten it from their supplier so the owner/manager of the restaurant offered us the Premier Cru instead and at no extra charge even though that bottle was about twice as expensive.
Oh wow! Can you say SERVICE?
We ended the day with a quick half hour visit to the Slave Museum, Kura Hulanda. We only had half an hour since we only got there 30 minutes before closing time. But it was enough time to visit the most interesting part of the museum and just browse through the rest. Definitely worth the visit.