The center of Willemstad is already bloated with colors. There’s no mistake about that, just think of the Handelskade that you’ve probably all seen on pictures. When I was in Curaçao, I signed up for an organized guided tour along the most beautiful murals in Willemstad! Spoiler alert: it’s not only the famous pastel-colored colonial Dutch buildings along the Handelskade in Willemstad that’s colorful!
The center of Willemstad has a lot of interesting architecture, but with some of the buildings being abandoned there was a risk that some areas simply were looking rough from a tourist point of view. Especially Scharloo, that was once home to Jewish merchants, became a bit neglected.
Some houses are being confiscated, some are still owned by families who are not having the budget to renovate the place at the moment, while others are simply abandoned altogether.
Street art in Curaçao
While some houses are still being squatted, it’s going in the right direction and the community is making something really beautiful out of it. There’s even a huge mural art piece to celebrate a famous squatter that’s washing cars for over 30 years in Willemstad. Gentrification done right! Willemstad is even recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site now.
Street Art Skalo
The Street Art Skalo initiative is perhaps the main contributor in making the area flourish again. Artists brighten up the neighborhood by showing what they can do on a wall and are using a mural as their canvas of expression, but also local self-employed entrepreneurs market themselves extensively with painted ads on their façades.
My absolutely favorite art piece is the mural ‘Three O’Clock Romance’ by Francis Sling, on the corner of Bitterstraat and Van Raderstraat. This particularly bright mural is becoming quite Insta-hot at the moment!
Time for snack?
Honorable mention is bagel place Beyglz, which is perfect to take a break from all that walking and taking pictures. After the guided tour I stopped by this cozy little place for a burger. Actually that’s not entirely correct: there’s no bun, but the meat and salad go into a proper bagel instead! They also have healthy juices and delicious coffee.
Looking for more free activities to do in Curaçao? Continue reading here or have a look at my blog post about the best water activities the island has to offer!