Crossing the Queen Emma Bridge into Willemstad, Curaçao


The Caribbean island of Curaçao has a remote private island located just off it’s shores. The Klein Curaçao island is a remote island located on the south east shores of Curaçao. A day trip to the island offers your own opportunity to be cast away for a day in an environment that’s completely surrounded by shipwrecks, emerald blue waters and abandoned lighthouses. Follow us along our day on the island to see what is there to be explored.

This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Curaçao in the Southern Caribbean. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: City Visit – Crossing the Queen Emma Bridge into Willemstad, Curaçao

During our time in Curaçao, we made some time to visit the capital city of Willemstad. Willemstad was located a short distance away from our hotel.

While it could be accessed by taxi from many resorts, we typically elected to self drive. In doing so, we avoided any taxi fare negotiations from any taxi mafia that may have been operating in this tourist destination.

Getting to Willemsted, Curaçao:

We typically left our hotel located at the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort and drove down towards the city. It was less than a short ten minute drive. We typically found car parking near the Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort.

The Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort anchored a very touristed resort complex that also featured a reception facility for cruise ship passengers. While I had debated spending a night or two at this property over the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, I was really happy that we spent all our time at the Curaçao Marriot Beach Resort. By comparison, the Renaissance Wind Creek Curaçao Resort looked a little casino oriented and wholly forgettable with a platform pool and artificial beach overlooking an un-swimmable harbour ocean.

The mall adjacent to the Renaissance Wind Creek Curaçao Resort offered a Starbucks Coffee shop (where we purchased Curaçao branded travel mugs), a casino and a multiplex of cinemas; all items that were not really Caribbean in nature.

We passed through the Rif Fort Area over towards the Queen Emma Bridge.

Crossing the Queen Emma Bridge:

We crossed over the Queen Emma Bridge, which was a floating pedestrian bridge that spanned the Williemstad harbour channel. The bridge had a nice wide wooden feel to it and it was a a great way to access Willemstad.

There were views up the channel to the vehicle bridge that rose over the harbour. It had enough height to it in order to allow the passage of cruise ships underneath it.

Walking the Streets of Colonial Willemstad:

After crossing the Queen Emma Bridge, we found ourselves in Colonial Willemstad. The buildings consisted of Dutch Colonial styled houses that reminded me of a colorful version of Amsterdam. The city has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site of substantial cultural influence.

Along with the historic cannons, we located the usual lock display of all the travellers whom had come to Curaçao to get locked together in the form of marriage.

Immediately after getting off the Queen Emma Bridge, we found ourselves near the Fort Church in Williemstad. The fort was part of one of the initial defences of Curaçao. It now houses some city administration buildings.

We eventually wandered the narrow streets of Willemstad, Curaçao. We found some interesting narrow streets that had some appeal to them but were perhaps missing a little personality to them. The streets contained many cruise ship visitor amenities: Duty Free Stores, Currency Exchanges and Souvenir Stores.

Despite this, if you looked hard enough, there were some charming places to Willemstad. There were leafy courtyards, statutes and charming outdoor statute terraces. Almost striking by contrast, was how deserted the city was in the late afternoon when no cruise ship was in town.

Occasionally, there were also engaging murals along the alleyways of Curaçao. They would all tell a story of a city that was almost deserted when there was no cruise ship in port or visiting.


Willemstad After Dark:

The city of Willemstad changed its stripes after dark. It sprung alive with dining spots, eclectic taverns and foodie spots springing open after dark.

We found ourselves at Mundo Bizarro, a Cuban Jazz restaurant and lounge that spilled out onto the street. There were no need for reservations here, the place was pretty packed throughout our visit.

We were able to get a cocktail on the pandemic ally safe outdoor patio while we enjoyed the evening. MrsWT73 had a small tumble down the erratically designed stairs but with a pack of ice the next morning, she would be able to continue on the trip without crutches or a trip to the local hospital.

Williemstad after dark had a much different and jovial atmosphere. It brought out many people whom were avoiding the heat of the day, allowing for some pleasant walking throughout the area.

The city really came alive in the evening, and was much more popular than during our afternoon walks through the city.

After a pleasant evening and a walk back over the Queen Emma Bridge, we returned back to the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort for a pleasant sleep.

My Thoughts on our time in Willemstad, Curaçao:

Cruise Ship port cities can sometime be over touristed and commercial. However, our time in Willemstad by afternoon and after dark presented an engaging city with restaurants, lounges and bars worth exploring. I was happy to have seen the area on a visit basis and didn’t feel the pressing need to spend a lot of time in the city by staying in the area at a nearby hotel.

If you have visited Willemstad, did you find it an engaging port city visit ?

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