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JANUARY 22, 2024

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We visit three markets, cross a floating bridge and see a fantasy garden during the Zuiderdam's port call on the 2024 World Cruise



curacao-from-ship.jpg View of Willemstad from our Verandah. You can see the “Welcome to Curaçao” at the lower left and the promenade leading to the commercial district with some touristy shops.

This was our first visit to Willemstad, and we planned to take a food tour, but nothing was available for today.  We decided, instead, to visit one of the local food stalls in the Old Market and then walk about 1.5 miles back to the ship.

The Zuiderdam arrived around 8 am, and we relaxed in our cabin until noon when we headed ashore.  We always start our shore adventures at the furthest point from the ship and work our way back to the ship. This way, we will have less distance to cover as the day goes on in case things take longer than expected.

curacao-sign.jpg Local women in period costumes posed for pictures by the Welcome to Curaçao sign at the end of the Mega Wharf. curacao-map.jpg This is our walking route recorded on my Garmin GPS as we walked back to the ship from the Old Market in Punda.  Part of the route shown was in the taxi from the ship.


Taxis were readily available at the end of the pier.  I downloaded an APP called CLICK CURAÇAO, which is similar to Uber.  I didn’t use it, but it helped me estimate what a taxi fare should cost.


taxi-driver.jpg Erwin was our taxi driver

The app quoted USD 28 for a taxi from the Cruise Pier to the Old Market in Punda, so when the driver quoted me $20, I accepted immediately.  Erwin was our driver and dropped us outside the Old Market (Plasa Bieu) in 15 minutes.  Most people eating here were locals, with a few tourists scattered around.

old-market.jpg Entrance to the Old Market “Plasa Bieu”

Inside the old market were about 15 independently operated food stalls.  The menus were posted in front.  We randomly selected “Mom’s Kitchen”.

inside-old-market.jpg Inside the Old Market moms-kitchen.jpg Mom’s Kitchen menu-board.jpg Mom’s Kitchen menu board

Our server, Shury, was all smiles and very friendly.  I asked her for the house specialty, and she recommended the beef stew, which arrived hot and steaming in about 10 minutes.  We were here about 40 minutes before finishing up and moving on.  There are clean restrooms available.

waitress.jpg Shury was very friendly. beef-stew.jpg Mom’s Kitchen Beef Stew eating-lunch.jpg Enjoying Mom’s Kitchen beef stew


A short walk away is a large round building called “The New Market.”  The New Market catered to tourists and had a variety of souvenirs and similar products.  They also sold a variety of household items for residents.  We spent about 15 minutes here before continuing.

outside-market.jpg The New Market market-shops.jpg Inside the New Market


The floating market is actually on the quay wall, but the vendors arrive on boats and set up, and I guess that’s where the name came from.  A wide variety of fresh produce is available in addition to clothing, souvenirs, and touristy items.

floating-market.jpg Some of the Floating Market Vendors vendor-1.jpg The shops sold touristy stuff plus fresh produce coconut_.jpg I sampled this fresh coconut – opened on the spot.

After leaving the Floating Market, we headed to the center of Punda, the area across Queen Emmas Bridge from the ship.


We were delayed about 15 minutes when a violent rain squall passed overhead. We were able to find shelter and stay dry.

There is an art walk in Punda, which would be a fun way to spend a few hours.  We didn’t discover the details until after we left, but you can find more information HERE when you plan your day.

birds.jpg “Barika Hel” (Bananaquit) by Omar Sling are local birds known for being cheerful and working together as a team Jardin-de-Fantasia.jpg FANTASY GARDEN – another sculpture on the Art Walk – or “Jardin de Fantasia.” Inspired by a love for Curacao nature, it was made by famous local artist Nena Sanches and sculptor Esteban Ferrales. street.jpg Typical Punda street

In the center of Punda, there are a couple of touristy signs in Wilhelmina Park – one saying CURAÇAO and the other saying DUSHI (meaning sweet, nice, or good).


wilhelmina.jpg This “Dushi” sign is in Wilhelmina Park (That’s a statue of her on the left).  The building in the back that looks like a church is the Curaçao’s Attorney General’s Office Building

Nearby was the Parliament of Curaçao, which I thought may have been a library – but I soon learned otherwise.  There wasn’t much to see in the lobby, but the receptionist was very friendly.

parliment.jpg Curaçao Parliament’s entrance chichi.jpg Judy with a ChiChi doll sculpture.  On Curaçao, the older sister of the family used to be called ‘Chichi’.  The Curaçao Chichi® doll represents that older sister who is a strong, proud, voluptuous Caribbean woman.


The Queen Emma Bridge, constructed in 1888, is a floating pontoon bridge that crosses St Anna Bay, connecting the Punda and Otrobanda districts of Willemstad.  The bridge is hinged and is opened using diesel engines, turning propellors mounted perpendicular, which lets it rotate parallel to shore in a few minutes.  Later in the afternoon, the bridge was opened to let the “Ambience” Cruise ship from Ambassador Cruise Lines, moored at Mathey Wharf, head out to sea.

Queen-Emma-Bridge.jpg Queen Emma Bridge govenors-mansion.jpg The Governor’s Palace as seen from the Queen Emma Bridge

We crossed St Anna Bay and took an ice cream break at a Baskin Robbins just off Brión Square.


We browsed through a few of the touristy shops in the Renaissance mall.  There are also some high-end shops here as well.  A Starbucks is nearby.
There is a nice saltwater infinity pool for the exclusive use of the Renaissance Hotel guests (rooms about $400 a day).  We could take a peak using the stairs in the back of the “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” bar on the waterfront near the Zuiderdam.

renasiaince-hotel-beach.jpg You can see this saltwater pool on Google Maps, but not from the street.  It is part of the Renaissance Hotel Complex. curacao-sign-3.jpg Our final photo before heading back to the Zuiderdam


We have only scratched the surface of the many wonderful opportunities in Curaçao, and this would be a nice place to visit during a more extended land vacation.

Edited by The-Inside-Cabin
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