Southern Caribbean Cruising — ABC Islands; Curaçao


When you step off the ship in Curaçao and head out on foot to the capital city Willemstad, one of the first places you’ll encounter on the “C” of the ABC Islands is Rif Fort, which is part of the Renaissance Mall. That might sound dull, but it’s rather neat to see this modernization of a 19th century fort constructed to curb attacks by pirates.

Rif Fort/Renaissance Mall — Protecting Willemstad from Jack Sparrow

Alas, our favorite stop at Rif Fort no longer exists. It was a little restaurant that served an incredible Toblerone mousse that came in three mounds — dark, milk, and white chocolate. But now it’s gone. There are plenty of remaining dining venues here, but we did not partake since our cherished Toblerone mousse was no more.

Rif Fort restaurant

Inside Rif Fort you’ll find lots of other shops ranging from touristy to pricey. It’s just a fun place to explore, but especially at the end of the day when you’ve tired yourself out touring Willemstad.

So Ursula and I rushed through Rif Fort to set foot across Sint (Saint) Anna Bay on the marvelous Queen Emma Bridge, a pedestrian pontoon bridge that is hinged to swing open from the east side of the bay.

Looking east to the Willemstad waterfront from the Queen Emma pedestrian pontoon bridge

Once you’re on the Queen Emma Bridge, glance back for a nice view of Rif Fort:

Rif Fort

Rif Fort looks quaint compared to its counterpart on the east side of Sint Anna Bay. The picture you see below is a portion of the much larger Fort Amsterdam built in 1634 by the Dutch West India Company. This massive fort served as headquarters for the company. Today it is the seat of both the government and governor.

The fortified walls of Fort Amsterdam

But we’re about to exit the bridge and head into Willemstad proper. Here’s a sampling of what to expect from this World Heritage site both this week and next:

Willemstad Waterfront
The narrow, charming streets of Willemstad

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

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