Narrow alleys and weird houses 
The Christoffel National Park  
The threatening Fort Beekenburg

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Conquering the ancient citadel

Curaçao knows how to satisfy every passenger travelling on board an MSC cruise ship. During your holiday on Curaçao, you can explore the Hato Caves, full of stalactites and stalagmites and incisions over 1500 years old, or decide to go on an excursion to Christoffel National Park, where you will see the local flora and fauna, typical of the Caribbean Sea.

For those wishing to admire underwater life, there is the Seaquarium, where you can also make friends with sea lions. Lovers of shopping will find Punda, at the tip of Willemstad, an ideal destination. This part of the city is a historic commercial centre. Its shops and storehouses span all the way to the coast. Here, the houses and workshops form narrow alleys, which today are only open to pedestrian traffic. Between one purchase and another, you may come across scenes of rare intensity, perfect for being immortalized with a photograph.

A short distance away, the most important of the eight fortresses of Curaçao, Fort Amsterdam, protects this part of Willemstad. It was built in 1635 to defend the entrance into the port and given its name when Curaçao was under the administration of the Dutch West India Company. To this day, a cannon ball fired by the troops of Captain Bligh can be seen embedded in the southwestern portion of the wall, confirming the fortresses active military past. Today, the fort is the seat of the governor, and houses a protestant church and a museum.

To remain on the same theme, a visit to Fort Beekenburg, constructed in 1703 in Caracas Bay to defend the interior of the bay and the “Spanish waters” is recommended. In spite of being actively used in the 19th century to defend against the French, the British and the pirates, this fort is one of the best-preserved forts in the Caribbean

Must see place in Willemstad

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    Salt lakes and luxuriant cactuses
    Salt lakes and luxuriant cactuses

    One should not miss the opportunity to visit the most singular of the Caribbean islands: Curaçao, with its cactus plants and evergreens outlining landscapes reminiscent of African savannas, and its salt lakes where flamingos come to rest.

    The underwater environment is similar to that of the other islands in the Caribbean Sea and there is also an interesting coral reef. One can visit the project for the protection and artificial enhancement of the reef in front of the beach of Porto Marie. Like on the other so-called ABC” islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) the language spoken here is papiamento. Listening to this fascinating creole language, which is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch plus idioms of African and Arawake origin, is an experience in itself. A cruise to Curaçao means entering a world that mixes colonial, Spanish and Dutch flavours.

    The many historical buildings in Willemstad have led to UNESCO including the town amongst the world heritage sites under its protection: it is the place outside Holland with the greatest concentration of Dutch architecture of the 19th century. Interesting tours will take you to the various colonial mansions and to the so-called kas di pal’i maishi, the old dwellings for the slaves which are reminiscent of West African villages.