Willemstad, the Capital City of Curacao should definitely be on your list of Top Caribbean Cities to Explore. What does the capital of Curaçao have in common with New York City ? Broadway, for one thing. Here it’s called Breedestraat, but the origin is the same. Over 300 years ago, settlers from the Netherlands arrived on the island, about the same time they sailed through the Verazzano Narrows to Manhattan, bringing with them original red-tile roofs, first used on the trade ships as ballast and later incorporated into the architecture of the island’s Capital – Willemstad.
The city is cut in two by Santa Anna Bay. On one side is the Punda, an area crammed with boutique and bargain shops, tasty restaurants, monuments, and markets. On the other side is Otrobanda, with lots of narrow, winding streets full of private homes notable for their picturesque gables and Dutch-influenced designs. In recent years the ongoing regeneration of Otrobanda has been apparent, marked by a surge in development of new hotels, restaurants, and shops; the rebirth, concentrated near the waterfront, was spearheaded by the creation of the elaborate Kura Hulanda complex.
There are three ways to cross the bay: by car over the soaring Juliana Bridge; by foot over the Queen Emma pontoon bridge; or by free ferry, which runs when the pontoon bridge is swung open for passing ships. All of Curacao’s major hotels outside town offer free shuttle service to town once or twice daily including the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort and the Sunscape Curacao Resort. Shuttles coming from the Otrobanda side leave you at Riffort. From here it’s a short walk north to the foot of the pontoon bridge. Shuttles coming from the Punda side leave you near the main entrance to Fort Amsterdam .