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Curacao – Island of the Fortresses

Posted by E.G.D. on January 28, 2013

Today’s Featured Writer is Grace Bailey.

The Caribbean is one of the most attractive places on the planet for a beach vacation. The region consists of many vary-sized islands, each one unique and nice to visit. What makes the land interesting is the rich historical heritage.  The places of interest can not be seen anywhere else.

The Caribbean island of Curacao is amazing and truly unique.  Though it is far away from the European continent, it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Handelskade, Willemstad, Curacao (photo by Rodry 1 at Wikimedia Commons)

Handelskade, Willemstad, Curacao (photo by Rodry 1 at Wikimedia Commons)

When a person decides to take a trip to this island, he can anticipate the many old and interesting fortresses he will find when he arrives. The general purpose of these forts was once to protect the island from all sides, though today they are no longer in use except as tourist attractions.  Eight of the forts have survived, in whole or part, into the modern day. Here are the five I found most interesting:

The first fort on the island was made in the 17th century. Though the Dutch of the time were mighty, they never felt safe on the island. Their enemies were surrounding them from all sides. Other countries with colonial ambitions, like England and France, were a real threat.  Venezuela and other local neighbors were hardly more friendly.  So, Fort Water was built in 1634. Unfortunately, visitors today will not be able to see the original structure. For many reasons it was replaced back in 1827, and in the modern day, the complex has been re-purposed.  It has many stores, medical service and even stables. It is actually the perfect place for lunch near the sea! From this fort-turned-mall, a visitor can take in an amazing view and remember its history, as well as shop and eat.

The next guard of the island was made just one year after the first fort. This was Fort Amsterdam. Named after the capital of the Netherlands, this fort protected the eastern part of the island.  This is actually the most notable and important of all the forts to visit on the island. That is why it is included in a UNESCO Heritage site (the Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour). Today the building hosts government offices and one not-to-be-missed museum.

Fort Beekenburg was made in the beginning of the 18th century and guarded the inner bay in the area. It is named after the person who made the defense plans for the city. The stories say that the fort was several times captured by pirates in the past. Today it is situated next to some of the best beaches in the area. Visitors can combine an afternoon of water sports at the beach with a visit to the complex.

Curacao's Caribbean Sea (photo from Shutter Stock)

Curacao’s Caribbean Sea (photo from Shutter Stock)

Fort Nassau is the one that has closest maintained its “original look.” It was once dedicated to protecting St. Anna Bay. Besides functioning as a fort, it was responsible for regulating the opening and closing the Pontoon Bridge. It now houses a restaurant.

Rif Fort was the last one made in the 19th century. It is today a shopping center with many restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

When you’ve finished fort hopping, there are more than 38 beaches to explore!  The official Curacao Travel Guide website recommends a list of 15 of them, and they all look spectacular and inviting.

About the Author: Grace is a passionate writer who enjoys sharing her traveling adventures. Visit her at


Coming soon: The Best Beaches of Curacao!


2 Responses to “Curacao – Island of the Fortresses”

  1. petit4chocolatier said

    Gorgeous 🙂

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