Curaçao Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Grand Farewell Parade of Carnival

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

I don’t know where these guys get the energy from. Just two days after completing the Grand Parade, an alcohol- and Tumba-fueled procession which lasts over nine hours, they’re back out on the streets dancing and partying for Carnival’s Grand Farewell Parade. I was nearly unable to endure it, myself, and that was as a spectator!

Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao

If you’ve already seen the Grand Parade, the Grand Farewell Parade doesn’t hold a lot of surprises in store. It’s the same route, the same music, and the same groups marching in the same order. The differences are that it’s night, and that most of the participants have embellished their already-extravagant outfits with colorful lights. As the marchers shimmy down the street to beat of the drum, their sequined costumes shimmer underneath the glare of powerful lamps.

The parade begins at 5pm in the neighborhood of Santa Maria, but doesn’t reach Otrobanda until 10:30 at night. We went out to watch the parade at around 11pm. By this point, most of the guys and girls in the parade must have been ready to collapse, and although they did their best to hide it, the energy level wasn’t quite as high as it had been during the first parade. But they’d been marching for about eighteen total hours within two days! The fact that they could even stand was amazing.

Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao

Throughout Carnival, the figure of King Momo has been front and center. A larger-than-life papier-mâché figure, King Momo “presides” over the festivities, allowing his subjects to drink, dance and have a good time. He represents mischievousness and debauchery… but while it’s good to cut loose occasionally, you shouldn’t indulge such desires all of the time. So at the end of the Farewell Parade, King Momo is burnt, and the fireworks which were packed inside his body are sent shooting into the air.

We loved the Carnival celebrations; it’s not every day you get to see such a luminous display of joy. If nothing else, this festival has reminded me how cathartic it is to get wild, every once in awhile. But now that King Momo was dead, it was time to return to life as normal. Thanks for the party, Curaçao! It was fun while it lasted.

Caribbean Carnival Costumes

Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
Carnival Farewell Parade Curacao
, , , , , , , ,
February 11, 2016 at 4:02 pm Comments (0)

The Coastal Walk from Otrobanda to Piscadera

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A popular walking path connects the neighborhood of Otrobanda to Piscadera, up the coast to the north. We regularly drive by this path, and always see people walking their dogs or jogging on it. So we decided to join them on an otherwise lazy Saturday afternoon, for a much-needed spot of exercise.

Willemstad Piscadera Walk

We started walking from our house in Otrobanda, but the real “beginning” of this path is just past Holiday Beach. For awhile, every time we saw this hotel-casino complex, Jürgen would say, “There’s Denise,” or “Why is Denise here?” I let it go at first, because it was cute, but eventually I had to correct his pronunciation. “That’s Denny’s.” But he was right — what is Denny’s doing here? It seems strange.

In order to make a nice loop, we walked toward Piscadera on the main boulevard. This wasn’t as pleasant as the coastal path, because of the heavy traffic and the oppressive stench of sewage. Just past Holiday Beach, there’s a small mangrove forest, which seems to be fertilized straight from the toilets of Otrobanda.

We sped past the poop-munching mangroves as swiftly as possible and proceeded on to Piscadera, where the path turned back south and toward the coast. Away from traffic, this is where our walk started to be enjoyable. The long, sandy beach here, Playa Parasasa, appears to be a secret tip hidden in plain sight; it’s in a perfect position for sunset and popular with locals. We made a mental note to return one evening for swimming.

Willemstad Piscadera Walk

As we walked south, we came upon Aqualectra’s decommissioned Mundu Nobo desalination plant, which opened back in 1948, and looks its age. Despite a low average rainfall and almost no fresh groundwater to speak of, Curaçao is renowned for the excellent quality of its tap water. A number of plants around the island distill salt water straight from the ocean, making it safe (and delicious) to drink. Along with Aruba, Curaçao was home to the world’s first commercial desalination plants.

Across from the plant, ranged along the waterfront, are a number of rickety fisherman shacks. This is a lively area, with men and women outside working on their nets and boats, or cleaning fish which has just been brought in from the sea. In a couple weeks, we would be returning to this spot for both scuba diving, and lunch at an incredible seafood joint.

The path ends up at a small park dedicated to the black struggle for freedom, with a large sculpture of hands breaking the chains which had bound them. We were fatigued, and didn’t spend much time in the park. This had been a long, but entertaining walk; I would recommend starting from Holiday Beach, and perhaps just doing the coastal section; you’re not missing much by skipping the boulevard.

Locations on our Map: Holiday Beach | Playa Parasasa | Mundu Nobo Desalination Plant
Our Route on Wikiloc

Travel Health Insurance

Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
Willemstad Piscadera Walk
, , , , , ,
February 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm Comments (0)

Curaçao Carnival’s Grand Parade

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Events related to Curaçao’s Carnival, such as the Tumba and the Horse Parade, had been taking place throughout the months of January and February. And they were all leading up to the Grand Parade: a long procession of music, costumes, drinking and dancing, and a celebration of pure joy.

Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"

The parade gets started at 10am, and doesn’t end until well after the sun has gone down. Luckily, spectators are under no obligation to show up on time. It begins in the northern neighborhood of Santa Maria in the morning hours, but doesn’t reach the heart of Otrobanda until around 5pm. And by then, after seven consecutive hours of partying, the guys and girls marching in the parade are in great spirits.

We showed up on Breedestraat at around 4:30pm, just before the first groups arrived. The harlequin costumes and make-up worn by the participants are wildly colorful, and every group decides upon a different theme: casinos, boats, and India were some of this year’s. Most of the groups march with two big trucks; one to carry the DJ or tumba-playing band, the other to carry liquor.

Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"

Imagine a military procession, with rigid rows and columns of stern-faced men and women marching in perfect synchronization. Carnival’s parade is exactly the opposite of that. There is no order here, no discipline. These crazy harlequins are having the best time imaginable, drinking, shaking their butts, posing for pictures, and running over into the crowd to greet friends. And it’s impossible to watch without being infected by the Carnival fever. Multiple times, I caught myself unconsciously dancing to the Tumba beats … I might have even tried shaking my booty.

We followed the parade all the way to Brionsplein, where we grabbed seats under a statue and had almost as much fun watching the spectators as the parade itself. Carnival is an island-wide party, and we didn’t see an unhappy face the whole evening. Of course, there might be plenty of unhappy faces the next morning, when all of Curaçao wakes up with one massive hangover. But we could worry about that tomorrow… for now, let’s dance!

Caribbean Carnival Costumes

Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
Grand Carnival Parade "Gran Marcha"
, , , , , , , ,
February 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm Comments (0)

The Horse Parade in Otrobanda

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

After the Tumba Festival comes to a close, the next event on Curaçao’s crowded Carnival calendar is the Horse Parade, which takes place along Breedestraat in Otrobanda. Is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, than watching harlequin-costumed men and women ride horses? Well, of course there is… but this will do in a pinch.

Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016

The Horse Parade invites groups representing ranches all across the island to gather in the capital, and march along Breedestraat, which is part of the regular parade route during Carnival. The participants put on silly, colorful costumes, and also dress their horses up. And of course, since this is an event in Curaçao, you can expect there to be loud music and plenty of drinking.

This is a small-scale parade, with no more than a dozen participating groups, and it passes by in the blink of an eye. Perhaps it’s best thought of as an entertaining hors-d’oeurve to the main course of Carnival. Unless you’re really into horses, it’d be hard to recommend cancelling other Sunday plans just to see this parade, but if you already happen to be in Otrobanda, it’s worth checking out.

The fun gets started around 3pm. A good place to stand is near the Netto Bar on Breedestraat, from where you’ll be able to see the entire procession, and buy yourself a drink while you wait.

Location on our Map: Netto Bar

Book Your Curacao Hotel Here

Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
Carnival Horse Parade Curacao 2016
, , , , , ,
January 27, 2016 at 12:21 am Comments (0)

Otrobanda – Willemstad’s Other Side

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

In the early 19th century, the neighborhood of Punda was becoming more and more crowded, and the city was forced to expand. Many residents looked to the other side of the Saint Anna Bay, to a district which would become known as Otrobanda: literally the “other side.” Today, Otrobanda is arguably the most vibrant residential area in Willemstad, and considered by many to be the cultural heart of Curaçao.

Otrobanda Curacao

We think Otrobanda is the best place to live in Willemstad, although we might be biased, considering that it was the location of our temporary 91-day home. Still, it’s hard to imagine that any other neighborhood would have been better. Punda is great for sightseeing and shopping, but not too many people actually live there. And Pietermaai might be fun for a night out, but you don’t really get a feeling for local culture. Otrobanda, on the other hand, is a place where Curaçaoans live, work and party, where the streets are almost always crowded, and music is blasting from bars and restaurants at all hours of the day.

Otrobanda Curacao

And the architecture is beautiful. Mostly built between 1840 and 1870, Otrobanda’s multi-colored houses are a little newer than those in Punda, but a little older than those in Pietermaai. The best way to see them is by following the walking tour recommended by Ser’i Otrobanda, a foundation dedicated to restoring and beautifying the neighborhood. This walk leads from the bay, past the renovated buildings now claimed by the Kura Hulanda Lodge, around the neoclassical mansions of streets like Hoogstraat, and down small alleys that seemingly haven’t changed in centuries.

Otrobanda Curacao

The tour ends with a stroll along Breedestraat, which is the closest thing Willemstad has to a main street. Packed with shops, bars and restaurants, this street is always hopping. Breedestraat ends at a large plaza called Brionplein that borders St. Anna Bay. With multiple kiosks selling snacks and beer, a playground, benches and frequent free evening concerts, this is a favorite place for Curaçaoans to congregate.

Although it’s not officially a part of the program, you should continue the walking tour of Otrobanda by going down the narrow streets on the western side of Breedestraat. These are quiet blocks with more humble houses, not the grand architecture found on Hoogstraat, and you’ll get a better sense for how Curaçaoans live. Almost every house keeps its doors open for the draft, and whoever’s sitting inside will often shout out a “bon dia” as you pass.

Flights To Curacao

Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
Otrobanda Curacao
, , , , , ,
January 20, 2016 at 9:44 pm Comments (0)

The Kura Hulanda Museum

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Found in the heart of Otrobanda, the Kura Hulanda is both a resort and an anthropological museum. Fifteen buildings house hundreds of cultural artifacts, with a focus on Africa and the Atlantic slave trade. It’s an impressive collection… especially when you learn that it’s privately owned by a single man.

Kura Hulanda Museum

The museum takes visitors on a journey from the earliest days of man, with exhibits on evolution and the lands of Abraham, through the horrors of slavery, and into the present day and modern African culture. There are archaeological artifacts from the Middle East, paintings and prints from the days of colonialism, bizarre wooden death masks from the Dogon Culture, and much more.

Kura Hulanda Museum

We spent most of our time in the rooms dedicated to the slave trade, reading harrowing tales of the transatlantic journey suffered by the people who had been kidnapped from countries like Benin and Ghana. The basement of one building has been transformed to resemble the hold of a slaving ship, where hundreds of men and women were packed in and chained up. It’s sickening to learn how the sick would simply be tossed overboard, or how they were given almost no nourishment or water for the three-month journey, or how families were torn apart. Ah, humanity… what the hell is wrong with us?

Kura Hulanda Museum

There’s a lot to see in this museum, and nearly all of it is worthwhile. I could have spent an hour in the room dedicated to great African kingdoms of the past, such as the ancient Ghana Empire and the powerful Mali with their great center of learning at Timbuktu. There are further halls dedicated to the bronze art of Benin, the former Dutch colony of Suriname and the rise of Islam across Africa.

After finishing up at the museum, we checked out the rest of the Kura Hulanda Lodge, which is a large and evidently expensive tourist resort, and we came away conflicted. This lodge occupies an entire block of Otrobanda, giving its guests a central, authentically Curaçaoan place to spend their holidays. The old, residential buildings are beautiful, and it’s great that they’ve been renovated and given new purpose; looking at photos, it’s shocking how they had been left to deteriorate.

Kura Hulanda Museum

But these streets had been an once important part of Otrobanda, parallel to the main thoroughfare of Breedestraat, and a stone’s throw from the harbor. This had been a neighborhood where everyday folks lived and worked. Yes, it’s been renovated, but now it’s closed off to local traffic; an entire section of the most important zone in Otrobanda privately-owned and dedicated to tourism. We’d feel a lot better about the project, if the restored buildings had been sold back to regular folks. But I don’t suppose there would have been a lot of money in that.

Regardless of our feelings toward the lodge, we were impressed by the museum. It’s an astounding collection which manages to toe the line between entertaining and educational, and is worth the time and effort of visiting.

Location on our Map
Kura Hulanda Museum – Website

21 USD Car Rentals For Curacao Can Be Found Here

Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
Kura Hulanda Museum
, , , , , ,
January 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm Comments (0)

The Queen Emma Bridge

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Two bridges connect Punda to Otrobanda. For cars, there’s the towering Queen Juliana Bridge, which reaches a height of 56 meters above the Saint Anna Bay, and is the tallest in the Caribbean. And for pedestrians, there’s the Queen Emma Bridge, which rises zero meters over the water. The Queen Emma, you see, is a floating bridge.

Queen Emma Bridge Curacao

On first learning about Willemstad’s floating bridge, my first thought was, “Well, that makes sense. There’s no reason to force traffic up and over the water. I wonder why more bridges don’t simply float?” I needed a few seconds to remember that things usually have to pass under a bridge, as well. With the huge oil refinery in Willemstad’s harbor, a lot of big ships need to get past the Queen Emma — and none of them are submarines.

Queen Emma Bridge Curacao

So, whenever a ship needs in or out, the bridge must open. But this one doesn’t raise and lower — it just moves to the side. The Queen Emma rests atop of a set of pontoons. The final pontoon, connecting the bridge to the Punda side, has a motor and a driver. And when a ship arrives, the entire bridge opens on a hinge, just like a door. For small ships, the bridge only needs to open a crack, but for larger vessels like oil tankers, it will swing all the way over to the Otrobanda side.

It’s a strange sensation to be on the bridge as it opens. First, the operator will close the gates on either side, and anyone still on the bridge has to wait. Usually, it’s just a couple minutes, but occasionally it takes fifteen to twenty. In the meantime, anyone who isn’t stuck on the bridge can cross between Otrobanda and Punda using a free ferry.

And even when the bridge isn’t opening, it’s never stationary. As you might expect, a floating bridge undulates with the water and, on a choppy day, everyone walking across appears to be totally drunk. And if you are totally drunk, well, good luck. At night, on our way home from Pietermaai’s bars, we saw a few stumblers nearly fall into the water.

The Queen Emma was built in 1888, but renovated in 2006. It’s really unique and, at first, the idea of a hinged bridge is amusing. However, it becomes less amusing, the longer you live in Willemstad. We used it almost every day and I’d estimate that 30-40% of the time we wanted to cross to Punda, we had to wait. It didn’t take long for the novelty to wear off, and for us to join the locals in sighing with frustration, when the bell started to ring.

Location on our Map

Follow us via Snapchat!

Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Bridge Curacao
, , , , , , , , ,
December 19, 2015 at 9:45 pm Comments (0)
The Grand Farewell Parade of Carnival I don't know where these guys get the energy from. Just two days after completing the Grand Parade, an alcohol- and Tumba-fueled procession which lasts over nine hours, they're back out on the streets dancing and partying for Carnival's Grand Farewell Parade. I was nearly unable to endure it, myself, and that was as a spectator!
For 91 Days