Willemstad is a separate constituent country and a part of the Kingdom of Netherlands. It is an island residing in the southern Caribbean Sea and is also known as the capital of Curacao. The city was founded in the 1500s by the Spanish people and was named as Santa Ana. Later in the 17th century, the Dutch traders renamed the city as Willemstad because of its natural harbour. Previously the city was the capital of Netherlands Antilles before its dissolution in the year 2010. The city has approximately 150,000 inhabitants. The city is actually divided into four quarters: First is the Punda and the second is Otrobanda; both of these are disjoined by the Sint Anna Bay. The third one is the Sacharloo and the fourth one is the Pietermaai Smal quarter which is on the Waaigat harbour. UNESCO declared the city as a World Heritage Site as a result of its glorious architecture and harbour entries.
The capital city is filled with casinos and this is the main attraction among tourists. Other than the casinos, the colonial architecture of Willemstad is very charming as it is designed in Dutch style and thus grabs much tourist attraction. The entire city is pastel coloured and is also known for its red roof houses. Some work of Archaeological research is also established there. Tourists who want to visit this place can travel through flights. The only major airport in Willemstad is the Hato International Airport. The national airline of Curaccao- Insel Air serves this airport. The two main quarters- Otrobanda and Punda are connected through Queen Emma Bridge and this bridge is used by cars and busses to enter the city. Another bridge Queen Wilhelmina Bridge is also nearby but is not under the proper condition to use.
The main tourist attraction in Willemstad is the Saint Anna Bay. The Saint Anna Bay is the heart of the capital. The Bay is deep enough to allow cruise ships to run between towns. There are two bridges that span the bay. One is Queen Juliana Bridge which is modern and is about 50 m high i.e. 164 ft. The bridge is also accompanied with a 4 lane modern highway. The highway is large enough to permit the largest mega-cruise ships to sail under it. Another bridge is the Queen Emma Bridge which is pedestrian only bridge. This bridge opens after every half-hour and allows the ships to pass through it. The Queen Emma Bridge is a beautiful pontoon bridge.
The Brionplein square is dominated by the famous statue of Pedro Luis Brion. The statue is actually situated on the edge of the pontoon bridge at the Otrobanda quarter. The statue is of Brion who was born in the year 1782 in Curacao. He was best known as a war hero and was recognised as the favourite son of the island. He was a soldier and an admiral under the leadership of Simon Bolivar. He showed his bravery in the fight of independence of Colombia and Venezuela also. This statue of Pedro Luis Brion symbolises the strength and courage of a soldier.
An unusual and very famous museum at Klipstraat is Museum Kura Hulanda. The museum is one of the largest in the Caribbean. The museum is situated between some 19th century buildings and is dedicated to Jacob Gelt Dekker. It is being said that the museum symbolizes the passion of this man. During his young age only he collected many historic, prehistoric and some cultural artefacts which are from the Africa, Americans and Middle East. One of his collections is an interior reconstruction of a slave ship which has tasted the fossils, fertility dolls, stone sculptures and Ivory Coast. The whole tour of this museum is guided and you will find it slow in the beginning but will quickly become an interesting one. Tourists have to pay some entrance fee also.
For bird lovers, the next attraction is the best one. Christoffel National Park, which is located in Savonet is the biggest park in that area, features the orchids, cacti, bromeliads and also the Dutch Leewards’ highest point. There are many different bird species as well as animals that are very rare to be found in an area like that. Curacao deer, donkeys, iguanas, wild goats and many other species of birds live in the arid countryside. Another park which is very famous is the Saint Christoffelberg. This park is open for all on weekends as well as weekdays but people have to pay some entrance charges to visit the garden. The park is very much decorated with beautiful flowers, trees and some old plantation. There is a museum also which is recently renovated and has some great artifacts on display. The view of the spectacular landscape is no doubt stunning. The place is very much picturesque; so you will find many people clicking white and black photographs.
People who literally want to explore the marine life should visit Curacao Seaquarium which displays around 400 different species of marine invertebrates along with unique sea lions, sharks, turtles and dolphins. This large place displays the biggest aquarium ever in Curacao. To have a larger than life experience one should take a step ahead on this aquarium. Apart from the above famous places there are many other interesting and beautiful places to visit. In short, Willemstad has many things in store for everyone!!