Dutch heritage and colonial style typify Willemstad, Curacao's most popular tourist destination. While it once stood as the Netherlands Antilles before its dissolution, today, travelers come from around the world to enjoy the history, the culture, and yes, the shopping. As tourism continues to grow, so too do the transportation options that are available here.
Just 20 miles outside of Willemstad's city center is Curacao's international airport: Hato International Airport. In truth, there are fewer flights that travel to this airport than other countries in the region, but recent renovation have allowed for more expansion, and new flights are being added all the time. Find out which airlines fly to Willemstad by reading our guide to Air Travel.
As Willemstad is home to several marinas it is a great destination for pleasure sailors coming in from international waters. An even more popular way to get out on the water is to sign up for an excursion or even charter a boat when you arrive on the island in order to visit neighboring countries including Bonaire and St. Maarten. Find out more about sailing to Curacao here.
There are two cruise terminals located on Curacao, and both are within easy reach of Willemstad. They are the Curacao Mega Pier, which can easily accommodate mega cruise ships, and the Caracas Bay Cruise Terminal which was made in order to dock smaller ships. Whichever port your ship docks at, you'll be able head over to do some exploring, and many cruise lines will even host excursions to the historic part of town or to the main shopping area. Many of the best known cruise lines regularly make stops on Curacao, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.
Most visitors will pick up their rental car at the airport, but there are a few local agencies throughout town that will allow you to skip that step if you prefer to do so. Expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $75(USD) a day, though you may be able to save up to 30 percent if you visit during the off-season. For a complete listing of local rental agencies as well as tips on driving, click here.
In Willemstad, taxi rates are regulated by the government. This means no meters and no haggling is necessary. What you will find is that these fares are priced for four passengers, and there will be an additional fee for extra bodies, extra luggage, and travel after 11:00 p.m. Still, the service is easy to come by and reliable, so many people choose to make it their transportation option of choice during a vacation here. Learn more here.
There are two bus stations in Willemsta: one in Otrabanda across the street from Rif Fort and one in Punda across from the Circle Market. From Otrabanda you'll find stops at the airport, in Piscadera, and in Westpunt, while the Punda station offers rides to Mambo, Salina, and Zelandia. There are two types of bus. The Konvoois is the main bus system that serves the island's urban areas, and the mini buses which are actually vans, that operate on a smaller scale.
Willemstad has a ferry that travels all throughout the day to Otrabanda. It was created to encourage shopping among tourists, but you certainly are not required to spend your days deal-hunting in order to utilize the service. The ferry is free and offers continued trips all day long. Get more information here.
When it comes to transportation options, Willemstad has some of the best on Curacao. If you're planning a visit to this town, you can rest assured you'll be able to make the arrangements that best suit your needs and desired.
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