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What to buy: Punda's Breedestraat and Otrobanda's Breedestraat are main shopping thoroughfares, likely to be crowded with tourists and cruise ship passengers almost any time of the day.
The road is partially blocked off for pedestrian traffic. The shopping is not duty-free, but is "duty-relaxed", meaning the shopkeepers pay low duty. And since there is no sales tax on Curacao, you should be able to get some fairly good deals. You'll also find an array of shops on the Punda side, particularly at the Waterfort Arches on the harborfront. Many town shops also have branches in hotels around the island.
On Breedestraat on the Punda side, try Boolchand's for cameras and electronic equipment, Little Holland for fine cigars, Eccolet for designer shoes for men and women, and Little Switzerland for watches, china, leather goods, and jewelry. One of the more intriguing stores is J.L. Penha and Sons, in a large, circa 1700 building. This store is a large department store, with jewelry, perfumes, electronic equipment, and more.
Curacao Creations on Schrijnwerkerstraat (off Breedestraat) in Otrobanda, is a good place to find handicrafts fashioned by Curacaons. On hand are pottery, leather goods, glasswork, jewelry, woven baskets, and art. Arawak Craft Products is on the cruise ship wharf near the terminal in Otrobanda, a good stop for local crafts and souvenirs, including its specialty, ceramics. You can watch artisans at work here. Also for local crafts, try the Public Market in Punda, near the Queen Wilhelmina draw bridge. Remember that the Public Market closes at 2 p.m.
Gallery '86 on Trompstraat in Punda, is one of the town's better art galleries. You'll find contemporary work from Curacao and from around the world, including oils, sculpture, and photography.
Written Jan 13, 2004
Two of Punda's main shopping streets are Heerenstraat and Madurostraat, both of which are wide pedestrian malls closed to vehicle traffic. The main shopping street in Otrobanda is Breedestraat/Roodeweg, which is always bustling with shoppers. Upscale boutiques can also be found at the Waterfort Arches (an arcade built into the arches of an old waterfront fort) and in the Salina area.
You will often see little sidewalk souvenir booths set up with local crafts and knickknacks.
Bargaining is not common on Curacao -- except at the Floating Market and the nearby vegetable market. Price tags are mostly in Antillean guilders, but in town they might be in U.S. dollars, too. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, and prices will be happily recalculated.
Written Jan 12, 2004
So, if you're looking for gifts or souvenirs to take home, check out the vendors that set up where the cruise ships dock. There is a good variety of things to buy, and the prices are really good.
What to buy: There are some wood carvings which are nice. They also see lots of tropical looking "statues" of parrots, fish, etc painted in lots of pastels. Locally made jewelrey is great if you like that look - beads, some hemp, silver, etc. There's quite a bit of variety.
Written Jul 12, 2003
What to buy: Though not able to explore all of Willemstadt, one can easily find sidewalk vendors and many shops carrying an array of the standard souvenir - ware. The prices for common tourist items such as beach towels, bags, and beachware can be only a few dollars US. For example, if you need an extra bag for all those souvenirs, you're likely to be able to find one here for $3 - $5. Curacao is also the place to pick up that special "Curacao" liqueur or Ponche Kuba.
My best find was some handpainted boxes featuring parrots, birds, etc., for $4 to $5 dollars from a lady on the sidewalk.
What to pay: A few dollars US can go a long way.
Written Jun 12, 2003
Be at the floating market early in the morning for the best choice of fresh fish.
Fishermen with their days catch of grouper, yellow tail, snapper, and other Caribbean fish, are here.
It goes fast !
Written Jun 13, 2005
1 Review and 520 Opinions just perfect!!!! service and Quality!!!!!!!!