WillemstadCuracao

Image for Willemstad showing a house, a city and heritage architecture

Visit Willemstad

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

Pietermaai District, Willemstad, Curacao

Pietermaai District

4/5Very Good!(2 area reviews)

Travellers come to Pietermaai District for its seaside views, and you can see top attractions like Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and Jewish Cultural Historical Museum while you're in town.

Pietermaai District
Piscadera, Willemstad, Curacao

Piscadera

5/5Exceptional!(1 area review)

Piscadera might not have many top sights, but Blue Bay and Blue Bay Golf Course are two attractions nearby that you can check out.

Piscadera
Nieuw Nederland, Willemstad, Curacao

Nieuw Nederland

While there might not be top attractions in Nieuw Nederland, you can explore the larger area and discover places like Mambo Beach and Curacao Sea Aquarium.

Nieuw Nederland

Top hotels in Willemstad

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort
4.5 out of 5
Santa Barbara Plantation, Porta Blancu Nieuwpoort, Willemstad
Rs14,209
per night
Feb 1 - Feb 2

Located in Willemstad, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course and within 9 mi (15 km) of Curaloe Aloe Vera Plantation, Curacao Ostrich Farm and Jan ...

4.4/5Excellent! (881 reviews)

"Extremely clean and amazing service! Everyone is there to serve you and always has a smile on their face which is amazing. Rooms are clean and comfortable. The balcony is beautiful and the view - even resort view is ocean view."…"

Reviewed on 27 Jan 2020

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
4 out of 5
John F Kennedy Boulevard, Piscadera Bay, Willemstad
Rs15,693
per night
Feb 2 - Feb 3

Located in Piscadera, this beachfront resort is connected to the convention centre and within 3 mi (5 km) of Leeward Antilles, Sambil Curacao and Curacao Museum. ...

4.2/5Excellent! (985 reviews)

"The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The beach was clean beautiful. The hotel looked very newly renavated."…"

Reviewed on 18 Jan 2020

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
Floris Suite Hotel - Spa & Beach Club - Adults Only
Floris Suite Hotel - Spa & Beach Club - Adults Only
4 out of 5
Piscadera Bay, Willemstad
Rs8,140
per night
Feb 11 - Feb 12

Nestled on the beach, this Piscadera resort is within 2 mi (3 km) of Leeward Antilles, Sambil Curacao and Curacao Museum. Renaissance Shopping Mall and Rif Fort ...

3.9/5Very Good! (1,164 reviews)

"Th staff were friendly all around. Every day we were greeted & felt welcomed. Awesome bartenders. A lot of greenery on the property though so make sure you have a can of OFF spray, it’s an absolute necessity. Mosquitoes are everywhere, including in the rooms. Also, nothing is really in walking distance ..."…"

Reviewed on 13 Dec 2019

Floris Suite Hotel - Spa & Beach Club - Adults Only

Popular things to do in Willemstad

Mambo Beach
Image for Mambo Beach

Mambo Beach

3.5/5(6 reviews)

Nothing says holiday like spending a lazy day at Mambo Beach, a popular beach in Willemstad. Make time for the shops and snorkelling spots in this romantic area.

Curacao Sea Aquarium
Image for Curacao Sea Aquarium

Curacao Sea Aquarium

3/5(1 review)

Take the family to visit the sea creatures you'll find at Curacao Sea Aquarium, and find out why this is a popular attraction in Willemstad. Stroll along the beautiful beaches or visit the casinos in this romantic area.

Rif Fort
Image for Rif Fort

Rif Fort

4/5(2 reviews)

During your trip to Otrobanda, you can do some window-shopping at Rif Fort. Wander through the beautiful beaches and seaside in this romantic area.

Reviews of Willemstad

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
3
5 - Excellent 37.5%
4 - Good
3
4 - Good 37.5%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 25%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Nov 17, 2019

Fine for a few nights nothing wonderful expensive and would not return

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 17, 2019

Have been coming here for many years. A lovely town with a diverse range of things to do and see.Love it.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jun 5, 2019

Curacao was lovely - once we moved to a proper hotel.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 20, 2019

Loved visiting Willemstad; Punda Waterfront is worth seeing both during the day and evening when the City lights come. Plenty of wonderful beaches nearby too from Mambo beach to Piscadera Bay.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Willemstad

City versus country in Curacao
Image for City versus country in Curacao

City versus country in Curacao

Balancing city culture and country calm

Conquering the Caribbean in hurricane season
Image for Conquering the Caribbean in hurricane season

Conquering the Caribbean in hurricane season

Island life outside the eye of the storm

Beyond the beach in Curacao
Image for Beyond the beach in Curacao

Beyond the beach in Curacao

Things to do in Willemstad, Curacao's capital city