Curaçao's capital, Willemstad, is divided into two towns by the bay of Santa Ana, belonging to the Caribbean Sea. It was named Santa Ana because Christopher Columbus arrived here on July 26, 1499, which is the celebration of the Feast of Santa Ana. The bay forms a channel separating the districts of [poi = 89754] Punda [/ poi] and [poi = 89758] Otrabanda [/ poi]. There are two bridges to cross from one side to the other: the first being a concrete traffic bridge, and the other a pedestrian swing bridge known as [b] Queen Emma bridge [/ b], famous for being the only floating wooden swing bridge in the world. This bridge has a length of 168 meters and was built in 1888. It's mobile to allow the passage of ships through the canal. There is a free shuttle service to move from Punda to Otrabanda and vice versa. The bay was once defended by 9 forts, six of which have been preserved, like [poi = 89740] Waterfort [/ poi] and [poi = 89714] Fort Amsterdam [/ poi] in Punda, and [poi = 89737] Rif Fort [ / poi] in Otrabanda.
Hello! In my experience, everything was great and what I liked most was the bridge, the fun, helpful people, the beaches, and the nightclubs. I would like to live there one day! The food is also delicious and cheap. All in all, there aren't enough good words to describe Curacao!
Rif Fort is another one of the forts that were built to protect the Bay of Santa Ana, as well as the access by sea to the capital of the island. It is located in the district of Otrabanda, opposite Fort Amsterdam, and was built in 1828 with bricks made of coral stone. Nowadays it is a shopping and entertainment center where you can find an assortment of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and the Netherlands. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is mainly divided into two districts, Punda and Otrabanda. While Punda is a grid of parallel and perpendicular streets, Otrabanda is made up of labyrinthine alleys. The neighborhood is working class and the free colored population of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was defended by the Rif Fort, but now it is a shopping and entertainment center. In this area there are several hotels and casinos.
Maho Beach is located on the west side of St. Maarten on the Dutch side of the island and about 15 kilometers from Philipsburg, the capital. The best way to get there is to take a taxi (costs about 15-18 USD), but bear in mind that despite the short distance, it can take over an hour due to the traffic jams on the road along the Simpson Bay Lagoon. There´s usually airport traffic because the Princesa Airport Juliana is located right across from the beach in Maho. The beach itself is not particularly attractive. It´s small and the sandy area is narrow and quite uneven and it almost touches the road. But the sand is very fine and very white, and the blue and warm waters of the Caribbean Sea are of course nice. This beach still gets a large influx of visitors every day so it´s surrounded by bars (such as Sunset Beach Bar), shops, the Maho Promenade and resorts. The airport runway is just 5 meters away from the beach so it´s a real show watching the planes passing a few feet above your head.
This is not for the faint of heart ... The major attraction of Maho Beach is to see the planes landing. It's really amazing, because the runway for Princess Juliana Airport is next to the beach and just 5 meters away (what separates one narrow road). The planes come and go flying down the beach at only about 10 feet above it and over your head!!. The noise is deafening, and the shock of seeing a giant Boeing 747 that comes right at you at full speed is incredible. (There are also smaller planes landing, planes, etc, traffic is non-stop).
The capital of the Dutch Antilles and the island of Curacao, Willemstad, is divided into three sub-districts: Punda, [poi = 89758] Otrabanda [/ poi] and Klooster and Pietermaai. The first two are the most touristy, and the third is a residential area with lots of mansions. Willemstad was declared a [b] World Heritage Site[/ b] by UNESCO. In Punda, you'll find the main stores, all tax-free, and the [poi = 89710] Floating Market [/ poi] specializing in fruits and vegetables. The local buildings are two and three story houses all painted in very bright and striking colors, and arranged in a grid. The Punda district is located on the banks of the [poi = 116625] Bay of Santa Ana [/ poi], and so it has two strong defensive structures: [poi = 89740] Waterfort [/ poi] (now a dining and entertainment zone) and [poi = 89714] Fort Amsterdam [/ poi], seat Dutch Antilles' government.
The city of Philipsburg sits along Bay Great Bay, which is about 3 km long. It lies between the peninsulas of Fort Amsterdam (west) and Point Blanch (east), so it is very sheltered and the water is very calm. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea. Along the bay lies a magnificent beach of white sand where you can practice water sports, and Promenade packed with bars and restaurants. It also has a small jetty (Captain Hodge Wharf), where is the stop of the Water Taxi .
Take a stroll down the pier and Santa Ana bay. In the district of Punda Curaçao's capital, we find this quaint and colourful market. It is called floating because, even though the stalls are on the mainland, along the promenade, the goods are stored in small fishing boats that are moored to the dock at the back. The vendors are usually venezuelans who come to the island to sell their fresh produce. All kinds of vegetables and exotic fruit can be found on this market.
In Willemstad you can still see six of the nine forts that were built to protect the capital of the island from maritime attacks in the bay of Santa Ana. This was built in 1634 in order to defend the outer section of the Punda district.
It is virtually suspended over the coast, following its shapeless alignment through small towers, which are currently occupied by shops, restaurants and pubs. It is one of the best areas for nightlife. As a curiosity, I wanted to note that this fort served as a refuge for troops during World War II.
Wathey Square is the central square of Philipsburg, which connects the main street called Front Street with Captain Hodge Pier and Great Bay Beach. It is a pedestrian square, with two rows of sturdy palm trees in the center under the benches, and is surrounded by duty free shops. At the corner of Front Street there is a tourist information office, as well as the Palace of Justice (Court House). It is also an easy place to grab a taxi.
This is one of 3 tourist information offices in Philipsburg. It is in the mall Harbour Point Village in John Craane Cruise Terminal of Dr. AC Wathey Puerto. Here you can get a map of the island and get informed about the main points of interest. The other 2 tourist offices in the city are at the airport and in the square of Wathey Square (center of town).
This museum is in the [poi = 89754] Punda district [/ poi] just behind [poi = 89714] Fort Amsterdam [/ poi], one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is managed by the Curacao telecommunications company and the museum is dedicated to development of telecommunications. The first phone from 1880 is in the phone, as is more current media such as fiber optics or videoconferences. Admission is free and is open from Monday to Friday 9-12 and 13-17h. Don't miss out on this great museum! You'll be glad you went.
This small square is directly opposite the Tourist Market and New Testament Baptist Church. In the heart of the square is a fountain (which was without water) constructed of stone and decorated with the figure of a seagull. It lies at the end of Gevangenis Straat, in the north of the city. At the side are the police station, post office and City Hall.
Although it may seem unbelievable, this airport is one of the main attractions on the island because it's close to the Caribbean Sea and Maho Beach, where hundreds of tourists come daily to see the landings (the planes fly almost right over head!). It is a real show. Princess Juliana Airport is south of Saint Maarten, about 15 Km from Philipsburg (the capital of the Dutch side). It was built in 1942 as a military airstrip but the following year became a civil airport, and has since been extended twice. And no wonder because I've never seen an airport with so much traffic! (It is the third largest in the Caribbean). The international code is SXM and it the major airlines are (Air France, Air Canada, American Airlines, Avianca ...) with destinations to different parts of the Caribbean, France, Holland, and major cities in the United States and South America . It has a modern passenger terminal, restaurants, and a mall with duty free shops.