Curacao: Willemstad

by jenjenk on September 21, 2011


Queen Wilhemina Bridge

Curacao, part of the ABC islands [Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao], is a semi-autonomous island in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, having gained its constituency status in 2010. Curacao is located snugly between Aruba and Bonaire. The official language spoken is Dutch, although most local children are taught to speak Papiamentu in the home. The building have a very Dutch influence in its architecture, while the colors are decidedly Caribbean.

The colors of the city delighted me.  I was told that back in the day, the Governor had mandated that all buildings must be painted in anything other than white because the stark bright buildings gave him a migraine. Ironically, it was later discovered that he was also the only major paint distributor to the island. I don’t know if the story was true but I thought it was hilarious and colorful enough to accept it as fact.


St Anna's Church, Otrabanda, "the other side" in Papiamentu

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Curacao in May.  I had a few hours to walk around town, picking up on the vibrant local color, food, and people. I started off on the Otrabanda side of Willemstad, literally means, “The Other Side” in the local language of Papiamentu.  During my walk, I found this pathway leading up to St Anna’s Church.  The stunning colors caught my eye.

I made my way over to Punda using the Queen Wilhemina Bridge.  I was lucky enough to come across this random wall in an alley way. I wasn’t sure where it lead to or what the purpose was – which is probably why I was so charmed by it! Art for the sake of art.

IMG_1601curacao.jpgUnfortunately, the sea air causes the paint to degrade and you have to repaint every year.  After painting my teeny tiny home, I vowed never to paint again.  I would have serious problems if I lived in Curacao. Apparently, this alleyway hasn’t had the love & attention it needed.


Fort Amsterdam

There’s so many charming pockets surrounded by poverty.  This little park was surrounded by half torn down buildings and uneven pavements.


Wilhemina Park

The river on the Punda side is lined with touristy restaurants and shops, none of which were very appealing to me…even if they had been open on a Sunday.

IMG_1620curacao.jpgI had thought to share my photos of the produce market on the river, the Floating Market, where the Venezuelans sailed up to Curacao to sell their fresh fruits and vegetables during the week; and of the Old Market, Plasa Bieu, where I had the most delectable goat stew; and of a Dinah Veeris herb garden where she makes soaps, teas, and herbal remedies [and where, it turns out, that I somehow purchased a love potion]; but darned if I didn’t DELETE all the photos on the entire card.  I suffered a little death the day I discovered my blunder.  I still tear up a bit when I think about it.

That of course leaves it up to you, dear reader, to go forth and visit this magical and beautiful Island.  They will welcome you with open arms!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Federico September 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

As you say, fantastic colors! Sorry about loosing the pics, I know how that feels…


Cathy Sweeney September 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Your photos really do make Curacao look magical. I love the vibrant colors and especially your pic of the alley off of Breedestraat. It’s so unusual and beautiful. You’ve convinced me that I should visit Curacao sometime!


Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista September 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I too love all the colors and that alley with the amazing art work is a treasure. Beautiful!


robin September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm

A real peek at something totally new to me – thanks!


ben - adventureswithben September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

What do you use to edit your photos? I loved the colors and how sharp everything was.


jenjenk September 22, 2011 at 12:37 am

thanks, everyone!

I did bump up the saturation with either Photoshop or Lightroom or a combination of both. I didn’t have to do much! It was pretty stunning on its own!


inka September 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

How very nice to visit this island not all that many people go to. One day I’Ll certainly be one of them, even more so after having read your delightful post. And you still have great pictures, so don’t cry.


Laurel September 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

Love the colors, I’ve always wanted to visited Curacao, but more for the diving as besides the diving, I haven’t heard much about it until now.


Sophie September 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I was in Curacao almost 20 years ago and remember it as a very vivid and colourful place. Lovely photos.


Stephanie - The Travel Chica September 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I knew nothing about this place before. So pretty and colorful!


Meliha September 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Great pictures!
(Btw, what do you use to watermark them…I’m kinda diggin the unobtrusive watermark in the corner….)



Ashley September 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Not say anything new but…LOVE the colors 😉


Raymond @ Man On The Lam September 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Awesome pics! Such vivid colours!


Christina (Jandal Road) September 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Wow, how stunning! So colourful. And how awesome are these sunflowers? I think we need some more of that and the colour spectrum here in London.


nod 'n' smile September 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Beautiful photos! I love Curacao and had a wonderful time there a couple of years ago. I’m amazed it’s still pretty under the radar- I remember I got a lot of blank stares when I told people I was going.


Technosyncratic Travel Blog September 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I had no idea Aruba or Curacao were part of the Netherlands! Whoops… =/ Lovely photos, though. =)


Lisa October 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Great photos! I love the Fort Amsterdam shot, and the sunflower alley! Great find. I visited Aruba last yr and always wished I could see Curacao.


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