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Curaçao

Curaçao Cruise Port

If Nothing Else, Shop and Dine on Waterfront Street of Handelskade
Handelskade Willemstad
Handelskade waterfront; © Curacao Tourism Board
The Curaçao cruise port of Willemstad offers something special in the way of shopping and dining -- the harborfront street of Handelskade.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a favorite subject for photographers both in the daytime and at night when the street is brightly lit. it also fronts Punda, the city of Willemstad's main commercial district.

In addition to shopping, cruise visitors will find numerous nearby beaches -- mostly accessible via taxi -- as well as other attractions such as the Hato Caves, Curaçao Sea Aquarium and Curaçao's well-known diving and snorkeling spots.

Fast Facts


  • Handelskade is famous for its picturesque waterfront.
  • The harbor duty-free zone is the largest in the Caribbean.
  • Most of the 17 beaches are located along the same coastline as Willemstad

Shopping


The harbor duty free zone is a fenced area of 57 acres and the largest in the Caribbean. It is patronized by retailers from throughout the region, who come to stock up on goods from all over the world.

It’s a distribution center for clothing textile, shoes, perfumes, pharmaceutical products, and many other wholesale or retail sale goods with attractive duty free prices.

Most of the companies in the zone distribute products from the United States, Europe, and Asia to the Caribbean and Latin America. There is also tax-free shopping at the free zone.

Goods purchased in the zone must be shipped directly to your home or transferred to your ship or flight. You can pick them up when you arrive home.

The city's commercial center, Punda, has numerous shops offering everything from clothing to jewelry and souvenirs. Many little shops sell electronics, souvenirs, and cheaper clothing.

Opening hours may vary, but most shops are open from Monday till Saturday from 8.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.. At official holidays all shops and banks are closed.

Many shops in the center of Willemstad are open on Sundays if a big cruise ship has docked at the harbor.

Willemstad Curacao shopping
Willemstad floating market; © Curaçao Tourism Board
Most shops accept U.S. dollars and international credit cards, and in some shops you can also pay with your regular bank card.

Prices are fixed and most of the time it’s not possible to return or change purchased goods.

Renaissance Mall & Rif Fort has 50 stores with world and local brands. Goods include fashion, accessories, fragrances, jewelry and souvenirs. The mall also has 15 restaurants and bars.

It is located downtown in the Renaissance Curaçao Resort next to the pontoon bridge in Otrobanda. Free parking is on site.

Attractions


Other than Handelskade and Willemstad itself, the island has its fair share of beaches and other attractions including 65 individual scuba diving spots.

Many of the beaches have excellent snorkeling opportunities, especially along the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park, which lies 12 miles along the southern coast. Views include shipwrecks, expanses of hard and soft coral, and massive numbers of fish.

Curaçao Sea Aquarium is located on the oceanfront at Bapor Kibra. Visitors can snorkel or dive with stingray, turtles, fish and sharks among the 400 species at the facility.

Visitors can interact in the water with dolphins at the Dolphin Academy in Willemstad.

The Hato cave covers 4,900 square meters and has limestone formations, pools, waterfalls and a Madonna statue.

Getting Around


Nearly a dozen car rental agencies are available on the island. Most are concentrated at the airport, but Budget has four locations in resorts near Willemstad. Most agencies offer pick up and drop off.

The island has two kinds of public transportation -- large yellow or blue buses, which are called Konvooi and go for a longer distance, and on most urban routes there are collective cars or vans, similar to taxis. They have BUS on their registration plates.

The major bus terminals are located outside the postal office at the Waaigat in Punda and next to the underpass in Otrobanda.

The large buses cover 12 routes departing from the Punda terminal and nine routes departing from Otrobanda. The routes reach most areas of the island.

Most city buses go once every hour and every two hours a bus goes westwards, less frequent on Sundays.

Other Tips


  • Taxi drivers are usually tipped with 10 percent of the fare.
  • Restaurants usually add 10%.
  • Dutch is the official language, but English and Spanish are widely spoken.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

May 03, 2018

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