Caribbean Cruise – Curacao!

January 31, 2015 at 10:27 am Leave a comment

Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad, Curacao

On January 6th we pulled into the slim passage of the Sint Annabaii channel.  This is one of the most interesting towns I’ve ever been to.  At every turn we saw something new and different.

The first thing we noticed was the colorful painted Dutch architecture that lined the waterfront.  Legend has it that the 19th century Governor-General suffered from migraine headaches that he attributed to the harsh reflection of the sun on the white buildings of Willemstad.  Thus a decree was issued to paint the structures any color other than white.

Colorful waterfront of Willemstad

Colorful waterfront of Willemstad

In order to cross the channel to get to the downtown district, we walked across the Queen Emma Bridge, also known as the “Swinging Old Lady”.  The bridge is built on pontoons and swings to the left to allow boats to come and go into the bay.  We were walking across when it closed to let a boat through.  So cool!!!

Susie on the Queen Emma pontoon bridge

Susie on the Queen Emma pontoon bridge

We walked along the waterfront and down to the Floating Market.  A mini boat fleet comes from Venezuela each day and sells fresh fish and fruit to the locals.

Floating Market

Floating Market fruit stands along the road

Boats from Venezuela that supply fish and produce to the market

Boats from Venezuela that supply fish and produce to the market moored in the back of the stands

After walking through the lots of shops and local markets of Willemstad, we stopped at an open air café along the waterfront to have a cool drink and watch the pontoon bridge swing open and shut letting the boats through.

Iguana Café along the waterfront

Iguana Café along the waterfront

Cheers!

Cheers!

Next we decided to see more of the island so we hopped into the back of a truck to take a tour.  Now let me tell you this is a high tech truck tour if I’ve ever seen one :-)!  What fun!

Susie boarded and ready for the Casper Tour ride!

Susie boarded and ready for the Casper Tour ride!

Tour guide was really informative about the island (although his mike didn't work most of the time) :-)

Tour guide was really informative about the island (although his mike didn’t work most of the time) 🙂

We saw a lot of the beautiful brightly colored houses and buildings along the way. DSC02119DSC02121

Beautiful archetecture

Beautiful architecture

We also passed a refinery during the tour.  The guide told us that the oil is brought in from Venezuela, refined and shipped back to Venezuela.  Gas here is about $5 a gallon so it seems they don’t get a break on the prices.

We stopped at the Curaçao Liqueur Factory at Landhuis Chobolobo where the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur is made.  To differentiate it from other brands of Curacao liqueur that are not original, “the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur” is the only liqueur that is made of the peels of the “Laraha” (the bitter orange native to Curaçao). It’s produced in 5 different colors; the original clear liqueur, the famous Blue and Green, and Red and Orange as well. And there are also the special tastes: Coffee, Chocolate and Rum Raisin. The small distillery is more than 115 years old.

The original Curacao Liqueur distillery

The original Curacao Liqueur distillery

Curacao Liqueur still made by hand according to an ancient recipe

Curacao Liqueur still made by hand according to an ancient recipe

After sampling some of the delicious liqueurs, and buying a couple of bottles to take home, we went on our way.  We stopped at a vista point where we could look down onto the bay.

Windy viewpoint of Willemstad

Windy viewpoint of Willemstad

And then stopped by the beautiful Cabana Beach where we saw lots of sea life as well as crabs and lizards along the rocks.

Cabana Beach

Cabana Beach

Clear water at Cabana Beach.  We watched an eel scamper off with his lunch

Clear water at Cabana Beach. We watched an eel scamper off with his lunch

Crab on the rock next to the water

Crab on the rock next to the water

All too soon it was time to return to the ship and say good-bye to this unique little town of Willemstad.

Leaving Sint Annabaii channel.  Notice the pontoon walk bridge fully opened in the foreground.

Leaving Sint Annabaii channel. Notice the pontoon walk bridge fully opened in the foreground.

Our last glimpse of Willemstad with the fortress wall overlooking the entrance to Willemstad

Our last glimpse of Willemstad with the fortress wall overlooking the entrance to Willemstad

Next stop – Panama!

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