Introduction • Famous for its fine liqueur made from the sweetened peel of bitter oranges and for its sunny climate and secluded beaches, Curaçao has a rich and diverse history. • The people claim descent from over 50 different ethnic backgrounds, and the native language, Papiamentu, is a creole mixture of Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, African, and some Arawak Indian.
With an average rainfall of less than 22 inches a year, the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunny all the time. • There are 38 different beaches to choose from.
Location • The largest and most populous of the Netherlands Antilles, located in between Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao lies some 35 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela and 800 miles north of the equator. • The island is 38 miles long and varies between 2 and 8 miles in width.
Size • The population numbers more than 170,000, most of whom are of African or mixed African and European descent. • In all, more than 50 different ethnic backgrounds are represented here, and the people are very proud of the island's international flavor.
Willemstad • It is the administrative capital of the Netherlands Antilles. It lies on the southern coast overlooking the St. Anna Bay, and it is fabled for its Dutch colonial architecture: the many gabled houses in beautiful pastel colors. • Legend has it that one of the early Dutch governors outlawed white for painting buildings since the glare from the sun was giving him headaches, and ever since, the tradition has continued.
Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge • The largest floating pedestrian bridge in the world, it was built in 1888 by the American consul Leonard Burlington Smith. He made a sizable profit on the tolls he charged across it. • For humanitarian reasons, those too poor to afford shoes were allowed to cross at no charge.
At 700 feet in length, it was regarded as a remarkable feat of engineering. • The bridge floats between the two shopping districts of Punda and Otrobanda, swinging open up to thirty times a day to let in ships to St. Anna Bay.