Bright and brilliant colours coat the waterfront buildings of Willemstad, gleaming attractively below the generous Caribbean sun. The capital of the Carribean island Curacao, Willemstad is famous for its technicolour UNESCO World Heritage Site city centre, and a narrow channel connects the sea with the Schottegat harbour, which expands inland like a blooming flower. Settled by the Dutch in the 1630s, they brought colourful architecture, lavish red-roofed mansions, and gorgeous European-style waterfront buildings to this beautiful Caribbean island.
Watching over the entrance to this luxurious port is Rif Fort - a 19th-century fortress, which looms above the Sint Anna Bay channel. From here, wind your way to the Queen Emma Bridge - a pontoon bridge known as the Swinging Old Lady, which was built in 1888 to connect Otrobanda and Punda. Enjoy the wonderful views of Willemstad's lavish, pastel-coloured Punda waterfront set before you. Visit the small boats that pull up side by side to sell juicy fruits and vegetables, in a floating market on the waters below. At sunset, the gingerbread stretch bathes in lights, glowing evocatively as the last of the evening's light ebbs away.
Wander Willemstad to discover the lemon-shaded Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, said to be the oldest synagogue in the Americas, see the historic liqueur distillery or head for Queen Wilhelmina Park - where the letters 'DUSHI' are spelt out in a standing sign. You'll hear this word a lot - the island's favourite way of describing the little things that make life worth living. The beaches of Curacao are certainly 'dushi', with tempting sandy curves on practically every corner. Snorkel in the turquoise waves, among dashing fish life and sleek sea turtles.