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Fine Dining at Fort Nassau

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Of all Curaçao’s former Dutch fortresses, our favorite was destined to be Fort Nassau. Fort Amsterdam might have the most fascinating history and Fort Beekenburg the coolest atmosphere… but Fort Nassau has the food nailed down. And food beats history or atmosphere every time.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, when the Dutch were busy extending their tendrils across the globe, a number of forts named Nassau were established to protect their new properties. You could find a Fort Nassau in the Bahamas, New York, New Jersey, Indonesia, Senegal, Ghana and Guyana, all of them named for the House of Orange-Nassau, an influential Dutch dynasty. In 1797, Curaçao got its own Fort Nassau, on the point where the Saint Anna Bay empties into the Schottegat Harbor.

Fort Nassau was taken over for a brief period by the British, but never came under serious attack, so it’s been able to remain in marvelous condition. In 1959, a restaurant was established in the old fortress, and ever since, Fort Nassau has been Curaçao’s most celebrated place to eat. For Jürgen’s birthday dinner, it was the only real choice.

Set high on a hill, the views from Fort Nassau are incredible, especially at night with the lights (and flames) of the Isla Oil Refinery off toward the north, and Punda laid out to the south. Almost anywhere you sit inside the restaurant, you’re guaranteed an excellent panoramic view.

However, you might have trouble taking your eyes off your plates, because the food in Fort Nassau is mouth-watering. The dinner menu includes an appetizer, a main course and dessert. And while it’s not cheap, neither is it overly expensive, considering the quality of the dishes and the generous portions. We both took the steak, and were left very satisfied.

If you only have time and money for one fine dining experience in Curaçao, rest assured that Fort Nassau makes a great choice. Often, these “most famous” restaurants don’t live up to the hype, but Fort Nassau was as good as we had hoped, with top-notch views, food, and service.

Location on our Map

Curacao Car Rental

La Isla Refinery Curacao
Fort Nassau Curacao
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February 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm Comments (0)

A Tour of the Schottegat Harbor

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Curaçao’s fortunes have long been tied to the Schottegat, the remarkable natural harbor around which Willemstad was built. It’s the largest harbor in the Caribbean and, behind Rotterdam, the second-largest in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. And it’s allowed the island to become a great center of trade. Since 1915, the Schottegat has been home to Curaçao’s Isla Oil Refinery. We took the ferry tour of the harbor offered by the Maritime Museum.

Harbor Tour Curacao

After our boat set sail from Saint Anna Bay and entered into the harbor, the first thing I noticed was the its sheer size. From east to west, it’s about four kilometers long, and seen from the water, it’s a lot bigger than we had realized. The shipping barges which loom so massively as they pass through the Saint Anna look relatively small when anchored in the Schottegat.

This is a side of Willemstad which most people don’t get to see, as the harbor is used entirely for commerce and military purposes. There’s no water-skiing on the Schottegat, and definitely no swimming. Thanks in large part to the refinery, the water is seriously contaminated and recreation is strictly forbidden.

Our ferry boat went in a counter-clockwise circle around the harbor, first passing Fort Nassau, an old fort which has been converted into an upscale restaurant. We went by Curaçao Scrap, where the island’s metal refuse is compacted before being packed onto barges for recycling in other countries. And we saw the headquarters of the Dutch Navy. Curaçao might now be autonomous, but it still depends upon Holland for its defense. Which is good, since the world is terrified of Holland’s awesome military might.

My favorite part of the tour came when we sidled up next to a large dry dock, where a barge was currently stationed. The dry dock is a complicated piece of technology, whose need I’d never even considered. How else are you going to paint or repair a giant barge? You can’t just drag it onto land! It reminded me that there are entire industries about which I know nothing. We watched the crew paint their ship, and were told that this is something they’re required to do around the clock, since the boat is losing money every hour that it isn’t sailing.

This harbor tour leaves every Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm from the Maritime Museum. Tickets can be bought for just the boat trip itself, or in combination with entry to the museum. Unless you can get a gig working on one of the barges which are stationed here, this is probably the best way to see the Schottegat.

Location of the Maritime Museum on our Map
Maritime Museum – Website

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January 21, 2016 at 2:44 pm Comments (0)
Fine Dining at Fort Nassau Of all Curaçao's former Dutch fortresses, our favorite was destined to be Fort Nassau. Fort Amsterdam might have the most fascinating history and Fort Beekenburg the coolest atmosphere... but Fort Nassau has the food nailed down. And food beats history or atmosphere every time.
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