Definingly known for it’s year-round brilliant weather and marvelous beaches, the Caribbean isn’t often touted as a region rich in history and culture. Just like every region on Earth that’s played host to one or more cultures over the course of time, the Caribbean islands have their fair share of history too. True, many islands in the region are petite and have little to offer other than picturesque beaches, but many of the larger islands have a healthy supply of cultural activities and history to take in.
Forty four miles north of the Venezuelan coast lies the idyllic island of Curaçao. Well-known for its blue liqueur, pristine beaches, and generally breathtaking landscape, Curaçao also has one of the largest selection of museums and cultural institutions in the entire Caribbean. Roughly 171 square miles in total, Curaçao is so much more than a simple island paradise.
Not only can Curaçao easily please those looking for some much needed R&R, but history buffs rejoice as they discover the historical treasures strewn across the island.
Here’s a quick and useful little guide briefly detailing where you should visit on the island and why.
Where All the Action Happened
Every town has it’s marquee attraction, and the Historic Area of Willemstad is Curaçao’s. Right around 1634 the Dutch established a trading settlement at a fine natural harbour on the island. The town developed over the following centuries, and now consists of several distinct historical districts whose architecture reflects European urban-planning concepts from the Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese colonial towns with which Willemstad engaged in trade. These days Willemstad is a UNESCO world-heritage sight, and is easily recognizable by the towns bright colors.
Get a Taste of How Life Used to Be
The oldest neighborhood on the entire island is called Punda, and it now offers a museum that chronicles what life was like, and how it’s changed over the years. All the oldest houses, buildings, and places of worship are located in Punda, so it’s well worth a trip to get a blast from the past.
Peek Inside the Many Cultures and Lives on Curaçao
Visitors shouldn’t miss Curaçao’s newest and most unique museum – the Savonet Museum. Located at the heart of Christoffelpark, the largest nature reserve on the island, this museum has been established in the former plantation house, “landhuis,” of the Savonet Plantation. Visitors get a peek into the lives of the former inhabitants of the area, from the very first Arawak Indians 4000 years ago, up to modern times.
When the Face of the World Was Forever Changed
One event that happened so long ago, has influenced the Caribbean in the most defining way possible. Kura Hulanda museum tackles the subject of the forced relocation of Africans from Africa to the Americas and Caribbean by the Europeans from the 17th to 19th centuries. This museum impressively exhibits the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in its totality, from capture in Africa through the Middle Passage and then relocation in the New World.
The above selections are some of our island favorites, but for the true history buffs and those with more time, there’s a great amount more where those came from, and you can view a full list here. Whatever reasons have brought you to Curaçao, it’ll be well worth your visit to squeeze in a visit or two to one of our phenomenal museums. Each museum and historical site helps put the events, cultures, and architecture of the island in a historical and global perspective.
The friendly and helpful team at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort will be more than happy to help you decide where you’d like to visit, and provide recommendations. With its private beaches, unlimited water activities, and luxurious rooms, Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is unmatched in elegance and comfort. We hope to see you on our island soon!