Free Things To Do in Curacao
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Spanning the St. Anna Bay, the Queen Emma, or also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," is a floating pedestrian bridge that connects Willemstad's two halves, Punda and Otrobanda. Built in 1888, the Queen Emma Bridge is supported by 16 pontoon boats and swings open laterally to allow ships to enter and leave the bay.
Recent travelers enjoyed having a meal or a coffee while marveling at boats sailing through the open arm of the bridge, especially when it's lit up at night. And don't worry if you get caught on the wrong side when the bridge swings open – water taxis will get you back across the bay at no charge. Plus, the proximity to the cruise ship dock makes it an easy landmark to cross off your must-see list.
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On the Punda side of Willemstad is Handelskade, that picturesque stretch of pier you've seen on every Curaçao postcard. Colonial Dutch buildings painted in brilliant pinks, blues and yellows line the waters of St. Anna Bay. Grab a seat and a daiquiri at one of Handelskade's outdoor cafes and watch the Queen Emma Bridge swing open to let ships into the harbor or pop in to one of the shops along the water.
If you wake up early enough, you can get your hands on fresh fish and produce at the daily floating market at Handelskade's northern point. Or, you can walk across the bridge at night to see Handelskade's illuminated façades and reflections glinting on the bay. Regardless of what time you visit, you're going to want to snap a picture or two. Past visitors recommended crossing the bridge for the best photo angles.
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Tucked between gray cliffs near the northwestern town of Lagun sits the small but peaceful Playa Lagun. Located in a narrow cove, the calm waters at Playa Lagun are perfect for snorkelers of any skill level, and there are facilities to rent snorkel and scuba gear. Recent travelers lauded the beach for its crystal clear waters and beautiful coral reef, with many saying they spotted colorful fish, schools of squid, sea turtles and more while snorkeling. For the best chance at spotting turtles, visit in the morning.
It may not have the amenities of some of Curaçao's more popular beaches like Playa PortoMari or Blauwbaai, but this peaceful little cove has plenty of shade and is great for families who want a quiet swim. Plus, unlike many other beaches on the island, admission to Playa Lagun is free. Just make sure to wear water shoes or socks. Like most beaches in Curaçao, the terrain above and below the shore can be rough. Although there isn't much in the way of amenities, you can rent a chair for a small fee and you can also enjoy some refreshment at bar that overlooks the cove. The beach is located just south of the town of Lagun, about 25 miles northwest of Willemstad.
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