Willemstad, Curaçao Photo by Jorge Brazil via Flickr Creative Commons

Willemstad is known for its duty-free shopping in downtown Curaçao. The 57-acre Duty Free Zone at the harbor is said to be the biggest of its kind in the Caribbean. You can buy fine European goods including jewelry, watches, and fabrics, at the stores here, but you will need to have them delivered to your ship, plane, or indeed mailed directly home. Shops are usually closed on Sundays.

No sales tax and low duty keep prices down elsewhere in Curaçao, but the island is not especially known for its bargains. It is, however, pleasant to wander around the friendly souvenirs and crafts shops in Willemstad, and there are several markets. The main one is the Floating Market in Punda (eastern side), just around the corner from the multicolored houses. Although mainly visited for fresh produce, there are also some knick-knack stalls, plus it’s an experience to see the boats. You can barter, but don’t expect rock bottom prices.

Popular buys in Curaçao include: Dutch Delft china, jewelry, watches, linens, leather goods, Italian silks, French perfumes, Curaçao liqueur and Gouda cheese wheels. You can also pick up quintessential Dutch souvenirs, like clogs (the traditional Dutch wooden shoes), woodcarvings, and lacework.


Many of the hotels that preside over the beaches in Curaçao are spa resorts. Breezes Resort Spa & Casino is one of the most popular, positioned as it is on Kontiki Beach. Santai Spa at the Lions Dive & Beach Resort is also good and offers massages right on the beach, as well as luxurious treatments in-house. These spas are both in Willemstad, while farther south at the Barbara Beach Hyatt Regency Golf Resort is Atabei Spa, which takes its inspiration from the Arawak people.

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