Boats at the floating market in Punda, Willemstad, Curacao, Netherland Antilles
Terrance Klassen / age fotostock
Near the pontoon bridge in Handelskade in Willemstad, wooden boats from Venezuela dock alongside the canal, and vendors here sell just-caught fish and tropical fruits and vegetables (plantains, citrus, papayas, avocados) directly from the quay under the shade of tents. Mornings are the best time to visit, for the finest selection of produce, the cooler temperatures before the midday sun shines, and the pleasant ambience of the hours before the crowds arrive.
Lose yourself in the Fading, but Fabulous Floating Market
Curacao’s Floating Market is one of those wonderful Caribbean misnomers in that the market itself doesn’t really float at all. (Well, most of it anyway.) As you can see, the stalls brimming with produce are all quite safely ensconced on terra firma along the Sha. Caprileskade on the Punda side of Willemstad.
Buy fresh fruits at Willemstad’s floating market
Located along the water in the trendy Punda district, every morning starting at 6:30 AM boats from Venezuela arrive full of fruits, vegetables and even fish to sell at the bustling floating market. Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, a visit to this colorful market is a fun way to pass some time; the merchants are arranged in a well-honed pattern along the water and the fruits are at once gorgeous to behold and mysterious in their origins.
Eat Your Floating Fruits
Flying into Curaçao, I did not realize how close this Netherlands Antilles island was to South America - so close, than when I left the country, I could see the coastline of Venezuela before we banked north toward Miami. At the Floating Market in Willemstad I discovered that I could literally taste Venezuela and Columbia. Fresh fruits and vegetables come in over water on the Caribbean and are part of what makes the boats and market so colorful in Curaçao. This island country, where most residents speak three to four languages, has fantastic international flair. With a stable economy and educated population, Curaçao still depends on neighborly imports and the tourists that other countries provide and boasts of Dutch colonial architecture to add another unique aspect to the island that cannot be found on many other places in the Caribbean.
Willemstad’s Floating Market
Colorful wooden boats arrive from Venezuela each morning to set up stalls that sell tropical fruits like pineapples and bananas as well as vegetables, and fresh fish. They congregate along Sha Caprileskade, just around the bend from the waterfront where the Queen Emma Bridge connects with Willemstad’s Punda district. To stroll along the floating market, which opens in the early hours of the morning and runs until midday, is a veritable feast for the senses. Ask the vendors for their recommendations and you may discover a new favorite.