Things to do in Curacao: visit the Willemstad Terrace Cafes
One of the pleasures of a Curacao vacation is a flexible schedule allowing time to sit, relax and enjoy the many things to do.
In addition to relaxing under a palm tree, by a pool, or on a beach, another opportunity to sit is in downtown Willemstad, at a shaded terrace cafe along the water of St Anna Bay.
For those less familiar with Curaçao, St Anna Bay is a deep channel separating two parts of Willemstad and is the entrance to the inland Schottegat harbor. On the east side of St Anna Bay is Handelskade, the vibrant waterfront strip which acts like a front door to Punda, the oldest district of Curaçao. Since its beginnings in the 1700’s, Punda has been the primary shopping district of Curaçao. The colorful historic buildings along Handelskade create a unique backdrop for two terrace restaurants.
In addition to the backdrop of the iconic, colorful buildings, the terrace cafés offer a view to the south of the 167 meter long Queen Emma pontoon bridge (1888), while to the north is the soaring, modern, Queen Juliana Bridge (1974). The bridges, historic buildings and waterfront combine to provide an exceptional setting for the alfresco Iguana Café and its neighbor, the Vienna Café.
Regardless of which café you choose, your shaded vantage point only two meters from the water’s edge, allows you to relax with a cool drink or a meal, while watching freighters, tugs boats, yachts and small cruise ships move up and down the bay. Behind you is the light traffic on Handelskade which separates the cafés from the buildings.
Your two dining options offer a similar atmosphere and menu. The Iguana Café is likely the better known of the cafés; possibly because of its unique name and colorful paintings of iguanas. An advantage of the Iguana Café is that hot afternoons are cooled with a misting system. On Saturday evenings the café features live music.
The advantage of the Vienna Café is that it offers slightly longer hours allowing you to enjoy the evening lights of St Anna Bay. Regardless of which café you choose, you will enjoy excellent Curaçao hospitality and food.
Part of the atmosphere is the strutting pigeons searching for dropped morsels. Though you may be tempted to offer a bite of your meal, guests are asked not to encourage the pigeons.
Whether you choose the Vienna Café or the Iguana Café, remember that you have come for the relaxing, friendly, outdoor environment, not fast food. Drink in the pleasure of vacationing without time restraints. Enjoy.