Curaçao, a hidden gem in the Caribbean, welcomes cruise ship passengers with its melting pot mix of culture, beautiful landscapes, and a warm embrace that extends from its azure waters to the heart of the colorful capital city, Willemstad.
The Curaçao Cruise Port is a facility in the southern Caribbean. It serves as a major port of call for cruise ships in the region. The port is strategically located in the capital Willemstad and is known for its deep natural harbor, making it an attractive destination for cruise lines.
The Curaçao Cruise Port offers modern facilities and services to accommodate cruise ships of various sizes. The port area is equipped with amenities such as a shopping center, restaurants, and entertainment options to cater to the needs and preferences of cruise passengers.
#1 TOP PICK
Curaçao Shore Excursion
- Flamingo spotting
- Hato Caves
- Kokomo Beach
Beaches, sights, and landmarks are easily accessible from the Curaçao Cruise Port. You can book a shore excursion, get a taxi, or rent a car to get around the island. Downtown Willemstad is within walking distance from the various piers.
Navigate your Curaçao Cruise Port journey with this guide. Explore Willemstad, nearby beaches, and restaurants. Learn about transportation, top shore excursions, and all you need for an unforgettable visit.
General information about the Curaçao Cruise Port
The island, boasting a unique blend of Dutch influence and Caribbean warmth, provides a perfect setting for an unforgettable cruise experience.
The Curaçao Cruise Port, strategically located on the island, serves as the gateway to an array of adventures, from exploring historical sites to relaxing on pristine beaches.
The Curaçao Cruise Port of Willemstad is conveniently located in the heart of the city center. From the pier you walk straight into the hustle and bustle of Curaçao daily life.
Various sights, such as the iconic Handelskade, the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge and the colorful mural art, are within walking distance from the ships, and you will find a wide selection of restaurants, shops, street vendors, and markets along the way.
Where do the Cruise Ships Dock?
Cruise passengers can plan their onshore activities efficiently, whether it be exploring the nearby attractions, embarking on shore excursions, or simply enjoying the local culture, by knowing where the cruise ships dock.
There are currently 4 piers where cruise ships and smaller vessels dock:
- Mega Pier
- Megapier 2
- Mathey Wharf
- Motet Wharf
When planning your visit to Curaçao, it is advisable to determine which pier your cruise ship will dock at. This information proves convenient when creating your itinerary or booking a shore excursion.
All of the piers are located in downtown Willemstad, close to a wide array of facilities and amenities.
For more information about the various piers, check our extensive blog: Where Do The Cruise Ships Dock in Curacao?
The Curaçao Cruise Port Schedule
Taking a look at the Curaçao Cruise Port Schedule is a smart step in preparing your visit to Curaçao, serving as your guide throughout your exploration of our dushi island.
This schedule provides a comprehensive overview of ship arrivals and departures, allowing you to plan your time effectively.
Included in the schedule are specifics about the types of ships that embark the port of Willemstad. You’ll find information on the different vessels, from expansive cruise liners to charming boutique ships and opulent luxury vessels.
Another crucial aspect highlighted in the schedule is the frequency of arrivals and departures. This information can vary from day to day, influencing your itinerary and overall experience.
To learn more, read our informative blog about the Curaçao Cruise Port Schedule
Exploring Willemstad: The Port of Curaçao
Willemstad is a walkable port. This means that you walk straight into the hustle and bustle of the capital city when embarking the ship. The districts of Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai en Scharloo are just 5-15 minute walk from the Mega Pier Cruise Terminal.
Upon your arrival in Willemstad, the breathtaking architecture immediately captures your attention. The city boasts a variety of vividly colored buildings that are guaranteed to leave an impression.
Whether it’s the colorful murals of Otrobanda or the charming pastel houses of Punda, each street in Willemstad unfolds as a delightful surprise.
Punda, characterized by its vividly colored buildings, features the iconic Handelskade waterfront, showcasing a fusion of Dutch, Caribbean, and Spanish architectural influences.
The area offers a vibrant atmosphere with Curaçao markets, local boutiques, and charming cafes along narrow streets, providing a diverse range of items from fashion to (locally crafted) souvenirs.
Amidst shopping, one can enjoy a meal at the numerous outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Make sure to stop at the Wilhelminaplein, where you can take a photo at the colorful Curaçao sign.
When exploring Otrobanda, You’ll be immediately struck by the captivating blend of art and local culture that permeates the entire neighborhood.
Over the last years, numerous colonial-style structures have been restored and painted with vibrant depictions of typical Curaçao scenes on their facades. We love to explore them whenever we walk through the neighbourhood and it’s in my opinion a must when strolling around Willemstad.
Wandering through the streets of Otrobanda immerses you in the sights, sounds, and scents of daily life in Curaçao. The enticing smell of freshly-baked pastechi wafts from local batido trucks, complemented by the lively chatter of locals that fills the air.
Whether observing a spirited game of dominoes or perusing hand-painted souvenirs at the Brionplein, the neighborhood offers a rich tapestry of authentic Curaçao experiences.
When exploring Curaçao ashore or below the surface, you’ll be exposed to a carnival of colors. Pietermaai is the lively neighboorhood where a painter could fill its pallet with the most vibrant hues and create a true masterpiece.
Pietermaai beckons with its assortment of boutique hotels, bars, and restaurants, ensuring there’s always an authentic place to relax just around the corner.
The true magic of Pietermaai reveals itself at night when the neighborhood pulsates with the enchanting blend of music and laughter. Explore the Nieuwestraat and its surrounding streets and alleys. You’ll be in for a treat!
In Scharloo, you’ll notice cool buildings with a mix of architectural styles, like Art Deco, Baroque, Dutch Colonial, all with a touch of Caribbean vibes. Walking around feels like being in a lively exposition.
Scharloo has some awesome paintings on walls that you might have seen in travel magazines. One famous mural is called ‘Three o’clock romance’ by Francis Sling, found at Van Raderstraat and Bitterstraat corner.
When walking from Punda to Scharloo, you will cross the bridge Princess Amalia Bridge. It’s an old-Dutch drawbridge that connects the two neighboorhoods. It’s a hidden gem for photography enthusiasts.
Want to learn more about Willemstad and the things to do in town?
Beaches close to the Curaçao Cruise Port
Curacao’s beaches are different because they’re not long stretches. Instead, you’ll find lots of small coves and hidden beaches among pretty cliffs. There are more than 40 beaches, and all of them are within a 45-minute drive from the Cruise Port.
Convenience is key, especially for those with limited time to spend on the island. We will highlight a couple of popular beaches that are conveniently located near the cruise port, allowing passengers to easily access the sun, sand, and sea without extensive travel.
For a more extensive overview of popular beaches for cruisers, you can use the following guide as your compas to browse through the various options:
Mambo Beach, situated on the eastern coast of Curaçao, is a lively shore destination featuring numerous beach clubs, restaurants, and a vibrant shopping boulevard. It is only a 15-minute drive from the Curaçao Cruise Port.
Additionally, several hotels and resorts dot the sandy shoreline, enhancing the appeal of Mambo Beach as a favored spot among cruise ship passengers due to its diverse amenities.
Mambo Beach is recognized for its family-oriented atmosphere, offering something enjoyable for every member of the family. Alongside different recreation options, visitors can explore the nearby Sea Aquarium and Dolphin Academy.
These attractions provide insights into the marine life of Curaçao and offer the exciting opportunity to swim with dolphins.
For more information, we refer to our comprehensive guide about Mambo Beach.
Blue Bay Beach
Yet another well known beach in the proximity of the Curaçao Cruise Port is Blue Bay Beach. Just a 15-minute drive from the pier, you will find a precious sandy beach with lots of amenities on the grounds of the gated community of the same name.
Featuring soft, creamy sand, gentle waves, and the soothing warmth of the Caribbean sun, this beach is an ideal spot for relaxation, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the laid-back tropical atmosphere.
There are several amenities one can enjoy when visiting, such as comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas, convenient changing rooms, and refreshing showers.
For those seeking adventure, visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear to venture out and explore the lively coral reefs in the bay.
Read our extensive blog about Blue Bay Beach for more in-depth information.
Similar to the majority of beaches in Curaçao, Cas Abao is nestled in a cove, framed by imposing rock formations that create the illusion of being marooned on a deserted island.
Cas Abao provides various amenities to ensure a comfortable day by the shore. The beach offers secure parking, showers, restrooms, and the option to rent a locker for safeguarding your valuables.
Moreover, the beach is equipped with a restaurant and beach bar, a beachside massage hut, and a dive shop for added convenience.
Cas Abao is a wonderful place for snorkeling. Especially around the cliff edges you will encounter a pletoria of sea life. The best thing? It’s only a 30-minute drive from the Curaçao Cruise Port!
For extensive information i refer to our blog about Cas Abao Beach.
Playa Grandi/Playa Piskado
Playa Grandi, also known as Playa Piskado, is not a pretty beach, but it is famous amongst cruise passengers for one special activity: Swimming with sea turtles.
The bay is home to a dozen of sea turtles, making it an experience of a lifetime to swim alongside these incredible creatures in crystal clear water.
The beach is a favorite spot for local fishermen to clean their catch, often providing leftover food to the turtles. This practice makes this beach a particularly attractive location for turtles, drawing more of them compared to any other place in Curaçao.
As you swim, you may find that the turtles come remarkably close at times. You will be able to swim alongside them, but do not touch or interfere with them.
Read all about Playa Grandi and the turtle population in our comprehensive blog:
If you’ve done any research about the island before your cruise vacation, chances are you’ve encountered numerous photos showcasing the bay of Grote Knip.
When articles feature Curaçao, this is likely the image they use to represent its beaches, making a visit to Grote Knip an integral part of the ultimate Curaçao experience.
The primary reason to explore this beach is its iconic status, but also because this beach is even more beautiful then any image could show.
Let’s be honest—the view is breathtaking. The water displays a vibrant turquoise blue, and the sand feels as soft as you would expect from a pristine Caribbean beach.
Read more about it in our Grote Knip Guide.
Restaurants Close to the Curaçao Cruise Port
Curaçao’s culinary scene is a blend of flavors influenced by its diverse history. This section delves into the local cuisine, showcasing restaurants and culinary highlights that you can visit within a 15-minute walk from the cruise ship.
We will share a few options for local restaurants, upscale restaurants and dining with a view, all from our personal experience and recommendation. For a complete overview of dining options, read our blog:
Curaçao’s local restaurants offer a diverse range of flavors reflecting the island’s cultural mix. You can find cozy restaurants, family-run spots, bustling market stalls, and everything inbetween.
Fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients dominate the straightforward yet rich menu options. Dining in local places provides an authentic taste of Curaçao’s culinary identity, making it a memorable experience for those looking to explore the island’s varied and delicious food scene.
Here are a couple of restaurants that serve local (krioyo) dishes in the vicinity of the cruise port
- Plasa Bieu (lunch)
- Pleincafé Wilhelmina (Dutch style, a few Krioyo dishes)
There are a couple of upscale dining options to check out during your cruise stop in Curaçao. These places offer a mix of local and international dishes, making it a tasty adventure for your taste buds.
You can enjoy fresh seafood with a Caribbean twist and take in stunning ocean views or simply enjoy a cool indoor ambiance.
If you’re looking for a romantic evening or a special celebration, these restaurants are our personal recommendations that will add a touch of class to your visit:
- The Wine Cellar
- Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant
Dining with a view
Curaçao is the best place to enjoy a breathtaking view while savoring delightful cuisine paired with a fine glass of wine- or a Blue Curaçao cocktail! When we go out to diner, we mostly opt for a restaurant with a view and it is certainly something I would recommend when visiting the island during a cruise.
Selecting the ideal spot is made easy against the backdrop of the island’s most stunning beaches, but city view or waterfront are also options to discover.
Near the Curaçao cruise port there are several restaurants that offer an idyllic dining experience.
We’ve selected three of our favs that are often overlooked by the crowd:
- De Gouverneur (Handelskade view)
- Fort Nassau (city overview)
- Perla del Mar (waterfront)
Tours and Shore Excursions
Shore excursions in Curaçao promise an immersive experience that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, and thrilling activities, making it an unforgettable stop for cruisers.
Curaçao is an island where you can find a broad spectrum of tours and activities. Believe me when i tell you that there is something for everyone’s likes.
Snorkel Shore Excursions
Snorkeling in Curaçao is a popular activity during your cruise visit, presenting a unique opportunity to intimately connect with the diverse array of marine life of the Caribbean.
Snorkeling excursions will guide you across the entire island, visiting several beaches and coves. Some of our preferred trips include visits to The Blue Room, Tugboat Beach, Playa Lagun, and the turtle-populated Playa Piskado.
Read everything about the different snorkel opportunities in our blog:
Historical and Cultural Tours
Curaçao stands as a destination that indulges travelers with its sun-drenched beaches, pristine waters, and lively culture. However, beyond its scenic facade lies a compelling history that has played a crucial role in shaping the island’s unique identity.
When joining a historical tour in Curaçao you will get to know the island’s rich culture and past, immersing curious adventurers in pivotal moments, must-see sights, and forgotten narratives that have profoundly influenced this Caribbean country.
Curious about the options for historical- and cultural tours? Read our guide:
Curaçao Private Tours
Booking a private tour is a great way to discover Curaçao. From exploring nature and history to trying local food, enjoying the beach, snorkeling, and finding beautiful scenery.
A combination of the mentioned options is possible since you are the one creating the itinerary.
Private tours are a great option if you want to discover Curaçao at your own pace, where a knowledgeable guide offers a personal approach.
Opting for a private tour in Curaçao, particularly for cruise visitors, offers a fantastic means to thoroughly immerse yourself in the island’s diverse experiences within a select time frame.
For the best private tours, read our blog:
Beach Hopping Tours
From our personal point of view, this type of shore excursion provides an excellent chance to discover Curaçaos’ beautiful coastline during your one-day-stay one the island.
Curaçao has 38 beaches and each one of them has its own special features. You can swim with Sea Turtles at Playa Piskado, Snorkel at Playa Lagun or perhaps the white sandy paradise beach of Grote Knip is something for you.
Beach hopping tours will take you to several beaches during the trip. During your full- or halfday shore excursion, you will approximately visit 2-4 beaches. Pick up and drop of at the Curaçao Cruise Port is included.
Want to find the perfect beach hopping tour for you? Read all about:
The Curaçao Cruise Port offers modern facilities and services to accommodate cruise ships of various sizes.
The port area is equipped with amenities such as shopping areas, restaurants, and photo-worthy tourist attractions to cater to the needs and preferences of cruise passengers.
the Curaçao Cruise Port is the gateway to a Caribbean adventure that offers plenty of variation. With its strategic location and four piers, it offers easy access to Willemstad’s vibrant streets and iconic landmarks.
The downtown neighborhoods of Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai, and Scharloo are within walking distance from the pier.
The Curaçao Cruise Port provides convenient access to a variety of beautiful beaches, from lively Mambo Beach to the famous Grote Knip.
The culinary scene near the port is diverse, offering everything from authentic Krioyo dishes to international fusion with stunning views at restaurants like De Gouverneur and Fort Nassau.
There’s a wide variety of shore excursions available with departure from the Curaçao Cruise Port.
We hope this guide has informed you well and provided you with the necessary information about the Curaçao Cruise Port. We wish you a wonderful visit to our island.