One marvelous & uniquely-flavored souvenir to bring home from Curacao is a bottle of authentic "Curacao" Liqueur. It comes in several flavors including rum raisin, chocolate, coffee, and the unique "Blue."
Curacao liqueur (which is a particular liqueur and does not refer to ALL liqueurs originating in Curacao), has an interesting history. The Spanish brought Valencia orange plants to the island to cultivate, but due to the different climate, the plants failed to thrive in Curacao. What normally would have been a very juicy orange when grown in Spain, became a very bitter fruit when it was grown in Curacao where it was then called a "Lahara" orange. It was many years before it was discovered that the peels of the Lahara orange "contained aromatic oils" which could be used to make a delicious liqueur! It was the "Senior" family which, after experimenting with adding exotic spices, devised what is known today as "authentic" Curacao liqueur, the only maker recognized as such by importing countries.
We tried several samples when we stopped during a tour at a larged docked sailing ship which had been turned into a bar and shop. I really don't have the taste buds for liquor or liqueurs, but one sample I liked was something I thought was called "Ponch Cuba" (sp??).
What to pay: About $10 to $20 I think for a good size bottle!
If you're looking for fresh fruits, vegetables or fish, this is the place to shop. Merchands from nearby Venezuela come to Curacao and sell their goods right from their boats.
Opening times: 5am-6.30pm from Monday to Friday and 5am to 1pm on Sundays.
What to buy: Vegetables, fruits, fish...
What to pay: it's cheap
What to buy:
I knew this nice liqueur long before I found out about an island called Curacao.
After the Spaniards conquered the island they brought orange trees with them to cultivate. Soon they found out that the climate in Curacao was much too dry: the oranges just stayed green. Somehow they had the great idea to make liqueur from the peel...
The blue colour is artifical of course, but it looks great in cocktails :).
You can visit the distillery and try some samples!
What to pay: about 10 US$/per bottle
There is no shortage of places to shop in Curacao. There is one shop after the other.
Plus several shopping centers.
Our favorite place to shop was at the shops in Riffort Village.
Curaçao's Rif Fort was built back in the 17th century to deter visitors, but its purpose today is precisely the opposite.
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.
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.
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.
INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE! THAT IS ALL I CAN SAY.
This beautiful high-end clothing and swimwear shop has the best clothing and swimwear! The best European designs and styles, the best american designs, right in the heart of the Caribbean. The prices are great too.. dont miss it !!
I give it a 10 out of 10.
Check it out !!! Emilia Boutique
What to buy: swimwear, italian brands, jeans..
de todo un poco ( a little of everything)
What to pay: great prices too-- believe it or not
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.
Otrabanda, meaing 'other side' is literally located on the other side of the harbor. Even though some of the main cruise liners dock near the riffort village there are plenty of shops that offer some local flavour.
Worth a visit is Kura Hulanda. A renovated area made by Dutch businessman and filantropist Jacob Gelt Dekker. There are shops, restaurants and a five-star hotel as well as a museum and usually some exhibitions.
What to buy: Many shops have local music and woodcraft.
What to pay: In the more touristic shops around the Brionplein the prices are also higher but the local shops can be found on the Breedestraat.
Be careful if you buy merchandise in the main tourist area of Willemstad. We were sold a bad telephone at this store and the merchant later refused to take it back. The businesses that sell to tourists know that most of the people who buy things will be gone the next day and won't be back. So they can screw their customers and get away with it.
This shop probably tries least to impress the tourists. It has a bit of a Cuban department store flavor to it in terms of display. However, only here was I able to find flip flops in my size (12) after visiting countless other stores. One of the ancient sales ladies even dug thru endless boxes on my behalf until she proudly unearthed what I was looking for.They also have towels at fair prices. Judging from a little internet research, this shop is one of the older ones founded by one of the early Jewish families that helped create a once-vibrant community.
What to buy: Flip flops and towels
What to pay: $10 to $15
Senior is the only home-grown maker of Curacao liquor. I visited their historic factory with Peter Trips. What was more interesting to see was their line of 'Alcolado Glacial' products. For over 75 years, this so-called " air conditioning in a bottle" has refreshed many a sweaty brow as well as kept the mosquitoes away. I only wish I had a picture of our guide spraying liberal amounts of this green mystery substance over a few unsuspecting Dutch tourists on the tour!
What to buy: The classic bottles and there's even soap.
What to pay: $15
Incredible, Incredible, Incredible!
I found the best mix of high-end women's clothing and swimwear here for great prices! This store has the best of the best, the best of Europe, the best of America, right in the heart of this beautiful caribbean island!!!
Check it out, you will be VERY pleasantly Surprised !!! :) :)
my review... 10/10
What to buy: Swimwear, italian clothing, everything!!
What to pay: great prices!
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 !