Queen Emma Bridge, Curaçao
Built in 1888, and named after Queen Emma (1890–1898), this bridge connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts.
Points of interest—16 floating pontoon boats support the “Pontoon Bridge.” Also known as the “Swinging Old Lady,” it swings open using two powerful ship motors, allowing ships to access the port. From 1901 to 1934, people had to pay a toll to cross the bridge—with the exception of pedestrians going barefoot. When the bridge is open to let ships from the harbour pass, pedestrians are transported free of charge by the ponchi, a small ferry.
The bridge has recently been restored to its glory. All asphalt was taken off and replaced by originial wooden boards, the pontoons were repaired or replaced and at night the "swinging old lady" now swings in living color with her new lights.
It was fun when we were in the middle of the bridge and the alarm started warning the it was opening. In fact it turns counterclockwise pivoting on the Otrobanda side and separating from the Punda side. Interesting bridge, illuminated by color neon lights during the night. By the way, if you stay at the Marriott or Hilton, it is easier to park or take a cab to Otrobanda and cross the bridge by foot to Punda.
Wander - take in the atmosphere. The "city" of Willemstad is beautiful, but there's not much to DO. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Walk over the floating bridge. Watch it open to let boats come into the harbor. Try to time it so you can see a cruise ship come in - it doesn't seem like a cruise ship can FIT - but they do! Enjoy the cafes, the many languages, the people.
There's not a lot of excitement on the Island, but there's a lot of excitement in the water. If you love scuba diving or snorkelling, this is a fantastic place for you.
...try a walk from Otrobanda trough Punda to Scharloo, using our famous bridges!
Willemstad is well known for its three bridges: the old Emma pontoonbridge (built by the U.S. consul L.B. Smith in 1888), still swinging open to let ships pass through. The Juliana bridge (1974), the highest in te region (by the way: Queen Emma was Queen Juliana's grandmother). And the Queen Wilhelminabrug (you guessed right: she's Juliana's mom), dating from 1928, which now has been replaced with a new version. The new bridge enables access to the Waaigat laguna, so it can be developed into a small boats and yacht harbor.
For more beautiful pictures click on
curaçao architecture or curaçao monuments
Named after Queen Juliana (1948–1980). After almost a decade of construction, the bridge officially opened on Queen’s Day, (April 30) 1974.
185 feet above the sea level of St. Anna Bay. Queen Juliana weighs 3,400 tons and has four traffic lanes. The view is breathtaking, and includes the entire panorama of Punda, Otrobanda, and the Schottegat.
The main tourist stand at the Emma Bridge (Punda side) connected me with Peter Trips. He is a sturdy Dutchman, nearly 30 years on Curacao, and offers several day and half day excursions. I took the "Island Trip" which gave me a very good overview of key areas of the island, in, around and out of Willemstad. There were many Dutch people on this tour so Peter spoke in Dutch and, thanksfully, fluent English. The only negative is that his van is of a certain age and the suspension a bit shaky.
I especially enjoyed the visit to the Lodge Kura Hulunda which is a gorgeous resort hotel on the far Northwestern coast. **Please note that if you stay at the Kura Hulunda in downtown Willemsted that there is a convenient hotel shuttle between it and its sister property** Although a lovely setting, be prepared for a longish wait for service at its restaurant as it took 3 requests for ice tea!
Another highlite was the Grote Knip, one of the most beautiful public beaches anywhere. The only downside is you may have to change out of your swim suit under a towel since convenience facilities are minimal at best.
Overall, well worth the $50 plus lunch cost for an excellent introduction to the island.
The capital of the island is a capital dissapointment.
I guess the main reason why all my friends and I were so dissappointed by it relies on the fact that when we took the bus from the airport to the resort, we passed by a huge bridge that oversees the town from about a 200 meters high, and from that distance the town seemed so beautiful and pictoresque that our original low-standard expectations of a town in a island as small as Curacao got artificially inflated.
The town is full of either too-cheap-too-bad-quality stores or either too-expensive-too-unnecessary stores.
It is extremely hot and you don't have a chance to go for a swim as you can in your resort.
There very few places where you can have a decent meal, and the place is kind of dirty.
You can find great deals if you want to by Dutch cheese, but that doesn't make for the rest.
I would say, "stay in your resort and order another Margarita".