Archive for » May, 2014 «

How to survive tight flight connections

I used to let the airlines schedule my connecting flights. I’d simply call United Airlines or KLM, or even Jordanian Airways and tell them my location; If I wanted to go to London or to Amsterdam, they’d process my request in their system and mail me the tickets.

Well let me tell you, what a bad idea that was: Connecting for Amsterdam was a nightmare! Departing from Baltimore at 7:00pm for a flight leaving from New York at 8:30pm, was a little tight! Of course the Eagle Jet was delayed! Of course I missed my main flight! And of course, I didn’t get my luggage!

Coming back from Amsterdam was even more interesting: Because I was bumped from the in-bound flight, I was canceled from the return-flight list! The story continues……

After several connecting flight horror stories, I decided to take the matter into my own hands! Never again! Was I to let an airline or travel agent, even near my flight arrangements again!

Nowadays, I make sure that most of my flights are direct. I will even drive to a different city, so that I can get one! If I can’t, then I go on-line and do all the connecting myself!

For a start, I will never give myself a half an hour to an hour window, between connecting flights! I will do everything within my power, to make sure that I have at least two hours available. I will never tempt fate by cutting my connection time. Murphy’s law, will always see to it that something goes wrong!

Secondly, I always make sure that if I have a connecting flight; No matter where I am going; I pack the bare basics, into my carry-on suit-case! Even if I have to do laundry or buy another pair of pants, elsewhere! I will not give my suit-case to the airline, for check in; Unless, it is a direct flight!

Carry-on bags can be quite sizable. However, it is best to go to the airline web-site, as they will give carry-on specifics with clear detail. In case of any confusion at all, it would be wise to call the airline within a day or two from departure.

Thirdly; E-Tickets are great! They often act as E-Boarding passes as well! They can save a lot of time and you can be in and out of lines and terminals, without all of the peeling and printing, that takes fifteen minutes or so.

Where domestic flights are concerned; Not only do I try and get a direct flight, but if there is not one available, I will pay a little more and travel at a later or earlier time.

Some airlines will tell you on their web-site, whether or not you will have to change planes: If it says, for instance, 1-Stop, that means that you stay on the plane for a while, as it picks up additional passengers.

Since the 911 fiasco; Security will slow you down considerably. Do not carry-on a knife or any other sharp object, unless you want it confiscated. You could even run the risk of missing your flight altogether, as the interrogation process can take several hours!

Anyway! Speedy tickets, traveling light, smart bookings and being cautious about security, will definitely contribute to getting you through the gates on time! The rest is up to the Almighty, the weather and the mechanical condition of the aircraft that you entrust your life to!

Holiday Destinations by Flight Duration

If like me you’re one of those people who love going on holidays, but cannot abide the whole flying experience, then this feature will be your new best friend.
Location, hotel, weather, nightlife – these are all major factors that we consider when planning a holiday. Although often overlooked, your flights play a hugely important role in your whole holiday experience as well. A bad flight or a flight that’s too long can be the difference between a fantastic holiday and an ok holiday.

ExclusiveLondon.co.uk has complied a list of holiday destinations by flight duration to help you choose the perfect holiday. If you don’t like lengthy flights, you may think you are just limited to holidays in France or Germany, but there are many destinations featured below that may be closer than you think. Flight durations are based on flights leaving from London, UK.

1 to 2 hours

Austria (Tryol, Salzburg)
Belgium (Brussels)
Denmark (Copenhagen)
France, North to Mid (Paris, Lyon)
Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg)
Ireland (Dublin)
Netherlands, The (Amsterdam)
Scotland (Edinburgh)
Spain, North (Bilbao)
Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, Zurich)

2 to 3 hours

Romania (Bucharest)
Hungary (Budapest)
Finland (Helsinki)
Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca)
Italy, North (Milan, Venice)
Latvia (Riga)
Lithuania (Vilnius)
Costa del Sol (Marbella)
Poland (Krakow, Warsaw)
Portugal (Lisbon)
Czech Republic (Prague)
Iceland (Reykjavik)
Netherlands, The (Rotterdam)
Bulgaria (Sofia)
Spain, Mid to West (Barcelona, Madrid)
Sweden (Stockholm)
Tunisia (Tunis)
Austria (Vienna)

3 to 4 hours

Bulgaria (Sofia)
Greece, North to West (Halkidiki, Preveza)
Greece, South (Kalamata, Athens)
Greek Islands, North to West (Corfu, Kefalonia, Skiathos, Zante)
Gibraltar (South of Spain)
Turkey (Istanbul, Anakra)
Madeira (Island South of Portugal)
Malta (Valletta, Birkirkara)
Morocco (Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat)
France, South (Marseille, Montpellier, Nice)
Norway (Oslo)
Portugal (Porto Islands)
Italy, Mid to South (Rome, Naples, Sicily)
Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg)
Spain, South (Seville)

4 to 5 hours

Azores Islands, The (inc. 2 hour flight from Lisbon, Portugal)
Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife)
Greek Islands, East to South (Mytilene, Cyprus, Mykonos, Kos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes)
Egypt (Cairo, Luxor)
Jordan (Amman)
Syria (Damascus)
Turkey (Izmir, Bodrum)

5 to 6 hours

Israel (Eilat)
Africa, West (Nigeria)

6 to 7 hours

Africa, West (Gambia, Ghana, Senegal)
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
Oman (Muscat)
United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

7 to 8 hours

Antigua (St John’s)
Barbados (Bridgetown)
Bermuda (Hamilton)
USA, East (New York, Boston)
Canada, East (Montreal)
St Lucia (Castries)
Trinidad (Port of Spain)

8 to 9 hours

India, North (New Delhi)
India, West (Mumbai, Goa)
Pakistan (Karachi)

9 to 10 hours

Aruba (Oranjestad)
Bahamas (Nassau)
Bangladesh (Dhaka)
Botswana (Gaborone)
Cuba (Havana)
Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
Jamaica (Montego Bay)
Kenya (Nairobi)
St Kitts (Basseterre)
Tobago
Zimbabwe (Harare)

10 to 11 hours

Canada, South (Ottawa, Toronto)
USA, South East (Atlanta, Miami)
USA, West (California, San Francisco)
USA, North to West (Montana, Seattle)
USA, South (New Orleans)
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo)
Argentina (Buenos Aires)
Cayman Islands (George Town)
Hong Kong
Grenada (St George’s)
Mexico (Mexico City)
Namibia (Windhoek)
Chile (Santiago)
South Africa (Cape Town)
Sri Lanka (Colombo)
Tanzania (Dodoma)
Zambia (Lusaka)

11 to 12 hours

Australia (Sydney)
Thailand (Bangkok)
Hawaii (Honolulu)
Japan (Tokyo)
Mauritius (Port Louis)
South Korea (Seoul)
Singapore
Venezuela (Caracas)

12+ hours

Fiji (Suva)
USA, West (Las Vegas)
Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
USA (Montana)

This article was written by Maryse Mignott, for ExclusiveLondon.co.uk. Balance your work and social life by taking part in the London entertainment scene. For the hottest London events, restaurants, clubs, fashion boutiques and much more, visit www.exclusivelondon.co.uk

Top Attractions And Holiday Accommodation In Amsterdam

Boasting more than 4.2 million international visitors per year. In 2007, they had the second highest European hotel accommodation room occupation rate.

Tourists can pick and choose from 350 Hotels, seventeen of which are five star hotel accommodations. 18 000 holiday rental rooms and almost 45 000 holiday accommodation beds are provided. Amsterdam also has five camping sights and many holiday apartments.

Once your holiday accommodation has been booked, look at some of the fabulous attractions Valencia has to offer. Amsterdam attracts tourists as it has a reputation as a highly liberal city. It has a relaxed charm that is highlighted by narrow fronted and elegant merchant’s houses and beautiful; and it has a reputation of great museums.

The Van Gogh Museum hosts some 550 sketches and two hundred paintings depicting all the moods of Van Gogh. These are combined with Van Gogh hundreds of letters, as well as selected works by his contemporaries and friends, form the core of the museum’s collection.

Oude Kerk is a very old church with tiny houses along to its sides. It is a welcome calm haven at the very centre of the frenetic and vibrant Red Light District. Sailors used these buildings to regain their bearings, and the Gothic-renaissance style bell tower was a favorite of theirs.

Begijnhof is a charming garden surrounded by old houses and a medieval church. The church is located in the centre of the lawns, while number 34 is famous for being the oldest house in Amsterdam. Entrance on Spui is carved on a sign, and entry is free. A vaulted passageway will lead you to Begijnhof. Old ladies now take the place of the devout celibate Bguine nuns that used to be in charge.

The classical Koninklijk Paleis building was built as the town hall. Its fine structure and sculptures were meant to glorify Amsterdam the city and its government.

The Red Light District of Amsterdam is a major tourist attraction. It is also known as Walletjes, and is the best-known red-light district in the city. It consists of an alley network containing a great number of small rooms rented by mostly females who offer their special services from behind a glass window or door, which is usually decorated with red lights. The area has an overall adult entertainment feel with peep shows, sex shops, sex theatres, a sex museum as well as a cannabis museum, and many coffee shops offering various smoking products.

The Rijksmuseum is the biggest museum in the country, and more than a 1 000 000 people visit it each year. The museum is a famous Amsterdam landmark and contains an unequalled collection of Dutch art. Another art museum not to be missed is the Stedelijk Museum, which houses the civic collection of modern art. Expect to see great works by masters such as Monet, Picasso, Matisse, and Cezane.

The popular Anne Frank House is in the centre of Amsterdam. This is Anne Franks original hiding place where she penned her famous World War II experience diary.

Planning a vacation: Top ten cities you should visit – Part 1

I’ve been to many cities but there are so many more I’d like to go and see, but based on where I’ve been my top ten would be:

1.) New York – An amazing, interesting and vibrant place! I’ve been there twice and would happily go back many times. There was a real buzz about it and there is so much to see and do. A great mix of people too!

2.) Cape Town – I spent 2 weeks in South Africa and I thought Cape Town was a fantastic place. When you see Table Mountain for the first time it really takes your breath away! I took a trip over the Robben Island where Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned and it is an experience I will never forget.

3.) Hong Kong – I was lucky enough to grow up there and it is a very special place to me. The view from the top of the peak is phenomenal and the skyline view from the harbour is fantastic. The people in Hong Kong and wonderful and the shopping is brilliant!

4.) Bangkok – I’ve been to Bangkok several times and it’s definitely a firm favourite with me. The shopping is superb and the Thai food is mind blowing! If you go there don’t eat at hotels or expensive restaurants – the food at the street cafes or food courts is the best by far! The night market is full of great bargains and the Elvis impersonator shows are wonderful fun.

5.) Phnom Penh – I went to Cambodia about 12 years ago and it was one of the most humbling experiences. The people were so helpful and friendly and even though a lot of them had nothing they were the happiest people I have ever met! The countryside is stunning too and it was a privilege to see it.

6.) Amsterdam – As a city this place has everything. It’s very easy to get around on foot or the excellent tram system. There’s a wonderful mixture of culture, history, art and of course the other things that Amsterdam is famous for! I spent 4 days there and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The canals are a wonderful sight and there is such a mix of bars and restaurants that there is definitely something for everyone.

7.) Valence D’Agen – Not sure if this qualifies as a city, more of a small country town in the South West of France. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the summers and it’s a lovely town that just has a lovely feel to it. The pace of life suits me to a tee and is so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the rat race. The wine is cheap, the food is amazing – plenty fresh vegetables, fruit and meat and the weekly market is not to be missed.

8.) Edinburgh – I have to put this is as I live here! Edinburgh is a great city though – very easy to get around, history by the bucket full and plenty to see and do. There’s something almost magical about it. If you haven’t already been to Edinburgh then I promise you a warm welcome awaits you.

9.) Dublin – What a super place! The bars are fantastic, the restaurants are fantastic, it is easy to navigate and the Guinness is sensational! I’m not a Guinness drinker normally but in Dublin it was so good it is all I drank. (Alcohol wise I mean, I did drink water etc.. too!) The Irish are a marvellous nation with a great sense of humour and the best hospitality.

10.) Last but not least Mobasa in Kenya. I was only about 5 when I went here but I have great memories of it. I remember going on safari and seeing so many beautiful animals in the wild. I think I’ll definitely need to go back to give a more up to date account on this one!

Hotels Amsterdam Comfort At Your Fingertips

Talking about culture in Amsterdam is talking about museums. The city has more than fifty museum of all kind. One of the most important is Rembrandt Museum. In fact, this museum was the Rembrandts house where he lived from 1639 to 1658. The building was opened as a museum in commemoration to the great artist in 1911. However, much of his works can be seen also in Rijksmuseum.

It is preferable to visit cultural places in the morning because during these hours the public affluence is less. Dont forget this recommendation. If you have another question, you should go to Hotels Amsterdam where the professional staff will help you. Ask for a good promotion.

A good option to enjoy of the environment is visit the Vondelpark. Its the largest park in Amsterdam and definitely the most popular park in the Netherlands. Vondelpark welcomes about 10 million visitors every year and it is located south of Leidseplein and near of the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. Everybody enjoy Vondelpark, both Dutch as tourists. Dont miss the opportunity of visit it, there, youll feel very comfortable like in Hotels Amsterdam.

If you are hungry, there are many options to enjoy typical Amsterdam food. Usually, Amsterdam cuisine is fusion with foreign cuisine like Chinese and Indonesian food. If you consider that restaurants prices are expensive, you also can eat in Hotels Amsterdam because some rooms include meals.

In Amsterdam as all European city, soccer is the sport with more fans. A competitive championship attracts a large number of followers. The Teams more popular in the Netherlands are Ajax and PSV Eindhoven. Ajax is the team of Amsterdam and one of the most recognized in the entire world. There is a museum in the Ajaxs stadium where you can see the rich history of this soccer club and a complete biography of Johan Cruyff, the best soccer player in the Hollands history.

The easiest way to book a flight

So you think you know how to book a flight? What is the first thing to do – check out the prices, search for your favourite airline?

Then answer is book your travel insurance.

I work for a major tour operator as a problem solver and believe me when I say there are untold problems caused by people who have booked their flights and then some calamity has befallen them – the result of which is they have lost all the money they have paid for their flight and/or holiday accommodation.

Everyone is looking for cheap flights these days and hardly anyone thinks about insurance for that unexpected cancellation or sickness. With competitive prices from a multitude of companies – you will have no problem picking up cheap insurance deals.

Of course we can all find cheap flights, however airlines have very strict policies on what is termed a cancellation and what is not – so it is always best to check out their policies in details. Below are a few tips to ensure that your booking will be hassle free and you will actually enjoy your holiday, even if things go wrong.

When you enter a website to book a flight, ensure your details are entered correctly, check and recheck before you hit that ‘book now’ button – a name error on a booking can cost you anything from 50.00pp to full cancellation on your booking, depending on the airline involved.

The cheapest way to find a flight is to get on a particular airline’s website – other websites which are run by travel agents and tour operators will have commission added on to their prices. Having said that, some tour operators have special contract prices with the airlines when they book passengers on a package which involves accommodation or carhire as well as flights – it may be to your advantage to ask for these package prices – do be aware though that if you go to the high street travel agents – they also are on commisssion and will probably be booking you through a tour operator – so you need to shop around to fine the best deals.

Check all your flight details before you book them – some flights may look direct, but when you click on the information – they are flying via another city and may be held up there – usually for refuelling purposes – for a couple of hours. Also you may think that a ‘direct’ flight is just that, direct from A to B. Not so, a ‘non stop’ flight is direct from A to B a ‘direct’ flight means that it will go directly from A to B but may well travel through its ‘hub’ city on the way and probably touchdown their as well.

A ‘hub’ city is one where the airline has its HQ more or less – for example, KLM has the hub city of Amsterdam, British Airways has London as its hub city.

Last but not least – always check the small print – in your insurance details and on your flights before you book. Some websites insist that you ‘click on the button to accept that you have read the booking conditions’ – some people click on it and do not read one detail.

Woe betide you, this is the most important part of your booking and should be throughly perused before you ‘accept’ anything. We all know it is a pain to do so – but take your time when making the booking and you will not end up stuck at the airport for the next three days

on standby – because you made an error or you did not read the small print.

Start Route Planning With the Internet and Find Cheap Flights!

Are you interested in finding cheap flights? Are you tired of all those airline companies trying to sell you the most expensive tickets possible? Well, now you can find cheap flights online and all without wasting too much time or effort. It just seems that comparing discounted airfare tickets has never been easier. You can gather all the data about the destination you plan on reaching, browsing through the detailed list of airlines and airports, choosing flight options and even your hotel.

Some might even say that looking for cheap flights online can be compared to an actual hunt. The process involves a thorough comparison and you must always resort to those websites that present clearly-written information. Using the Internet to compare prices for airline tickets has gained immense popularity amongst Internet users, especially when it comes to those that are looking for last minute tickets and which have of course an affordable price.

Low cost airlines present their offers through the Internet knowing very well the levels of popularity this technology has reached and try to entice their clients with advantageous price tickets. Cheap flights are provided by diverse airlines such as Easy Jet, Sky Europe and My Air, including varied European destinations and not only. There are also regular companies presenting offers for cheap flights, making sure that they cater to every demand and preference of their customers.

The reasons why anyone would use the Internet to search for cheap flights are more than obvious. The flexibility and the ease of use represent just two of the many advantages offered, that if we don’t considered the truly great discounts provided by specialized companies in the field. Traveling to another country seems to be a pretty exciting experience, so why not travel in style and in comfort at the same time? Use yourself the Internet and these search engines; you are guaranteed to find cheap flights for the destination you are interested in and compare prices from different airlines.

And if we are going to talk about cheap flights and ideal European destinations, then how about discussing a little bit about the capital of the Netherlands? Amsterdam is an important cultural, educational and economical centre being annually visited by millions of people. Some reach this destination for business purposes as this city is also significant for the stock exchange. Businessmen are interested in finding flights Amsterdam that can fit both in their budget and get them there as fast as possible. This is why they have also started to use the Internet technology to search for flights Amsterdam and other relevant destinations.

Amsterdam is not only being regarded with great favor because of the stock exchange and the incredible business opportunities it provides. It represents a main attraction for millions of tourists each year, all looking to observe the nonconformist lifestyle of the local people, taste the delicious cuisine and visit some of the most famous art galleries in the world. A large percent of them rely on the Internet to search for flights Amsterdam and find the most affordable airline tickets. They can also resort to these search engines to arrange for car rental services and find attractive accommodations.

After you carefully observe the detailed map presenting to all the air traffic to and from Amsterdam, you can select the departure airport and start your hunt for cheap flights Amsterdam. Document yourself on which airline presents the best offers and also inquire about other important details, related to the airports, airline and the country of your destination. Make sure that you have travel insurance and also that you will not be required to pay any additional fees for your airline ticket. It may seem easy to book an airplane ticket online but it requires attention and careful planning. This is the only way to be sure you have found cheap flights and that you will benefit from affordable flying options.

The Right Place To Stay In Amsterdam

However, you will be surprised to know that Amsterdam is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and boasts one of the most exciting nightlives.

If you happen to find yourself in Amsterdam then the best thing you can do for yourself is to find accommodation as close to the city centre as humanly possible. This is where you will see the best of the city. The problem, however, is that the city is so vast that wherever you stay you will be missing out on something somewhere else in the city. That is the beauty of a city like Amsterdam.

Some of the most popular accommodation places in Amsterdam are the backpackers and small holiday apartments. This is due to the fact that most of the tourists are younger and are therefore traveling on smaller budgets, or more accurately are those who wish to spend their money on having a good time on not on a bed to sleep in at night.

Although this may seem wise, there is no substitute for good night’s sleep if you have been out the whole day and still wish to party. Amsterdam has all the world class accommodation one would come to expect from a world class city. It has all the top hotels in the world as well as a wide variety of self-catering and holiday rental apartments. By being at the centre of Europe, Amsterdam offers more than most other cities.

There is plenty to do in Amsterdam during the day. You can do the typical touristy things like take trips down the canal at dinnertime to see the sunset. This is one of the most beautiful things to do in Amsterdam. There are also so many museums and flower parks to choose from that the choice of what to do during the day will not be an easy one.

It is at night, however, that Amsterdam comes alive and when you see people from all walks of life emerging from the cracks ready for another big night on the town. These are the people who generally stay in the backpackers and lower budget accommodation. So if you want to be a part of this side to Amsterdam then there is no better place to stay than in the backpackers. This is where you will meet some of the most interesting people with different stories. Although most of these people will be students, you will also find older travelers who want to know what it is like to feel young again.

Amsterdam is one of the most underrated cities in the world. If you have not already been there then you should get onto a travel site right now and book your accommodation. It is not as pricey as you may expect, especially with so much budget accommodation available.

Book Cheap Flights

Why don’t you book cheap flights to your destination? It looks unrealistic but if you can, then why you don’t? You can get cheapest rates for flights and the prices that suits to your budget too. Most of the airlines company increasing their charges day by day. Be smart. The Internet or Web is your best friend when it comes to smart travel. Booking your tickets in advance helps you gain a great advantage instead of a last minute booking. You can book your cheap flights from UK to any destination in Europe, some of them are as follows: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Prague, Venice, Rome, and Paris and overseas with fast and easy way. Further, your search begins for the reliable online booking website for flights. Look for the site which provides you an affordable price on flights. A little research over the net can make your trips under your budget. There are lots of deals available, which offers low cost airfare to the different destinations in Europe. Always book in advance to avail best offers for your next short city breaks vacations in Europe or Overseas. Booking in advance can save your money while looking for a budget or low cost flights. Make sure that you have all costs in mind when booking your flights as there may be hidden costs. While searching over the internet, you can compare some top websites to each other in terms of their pricing and services. If you are booking flights online such as My Amsterdam, you will be able to compare the best available prices with a number of different offers to discover which is affordable. Avoid weekend days to travel abroad, as these are the busiest days of the week, tried to go in a middle of the week for easier and budget airfare.

Exploring Curacao’s Historic Capital – Willemstad

As one of the most exciting cities in the Caribbean, Willemstad – Curacao’s charming colonial capital – allows visitors to experience everything from historic architecture and museums to world-class dining and shopping. Willemstad is divided by a central canal into two districts, Punda and Otrabanda. Generally speaking, Punda is of greater interest to travelers as the most interesting historic sites and shopping areas rest on this side of the capital. For instance, if you want to see the pastel-colored colonial homes that Curacao is famous for, the Punda section is certainly the best place to spend your time. On the other hand, Otrabanda – meaning “other side” – is known as the contemporary half of the city and home to some exciting new developments. Regardless of where you spend your time in Willemstad, you will find plenty of sites and activities capable of exciting any traveler.

One of the best ways to explore Curacao’s capital is by trolley. Each day these open-sided cars embark on a 75-minute tour of the city, passing by all of the most fascinating historical sites. Groups meet at Fort Amsterdam within sight of the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, one of the island’s most significant technological advancements. After touring the Willemstad by trolley car, tourists can walk across this pedestrian bridge that connects the Punda and Otrabanda sections of the city. As the walkway rests atop the city’s busiest canal, the bridge was equipped with a diesel engine and designed to swing open several times a day, allowing cruise ships and commercial fleets to enter the bustling harbor.

As Willemstad is a city rooted in rich colonial history and cultural traditions, local museums offer some of the island’s most captivating sites. One of the most interesting collections can be found at the Museum Kura Hulanda, one of the largest museums in the Caribbean. Showcasing the life’s work of Dr. Jacob Gelt Dekker, the restored colonial warehouses of Kura Hulanda are full of African artifacts and oddities. As African culture has played an important role in the postcolonial development of the Caribbean, several exhibits are devoted to this historical relationship. The most impressive example of this history is a full-scale reproduction of a colonial slave ship, modeled directly after a vessel that sailed from Ivory Coast to the Caribbean and the Americas. Located in Otrabanda, this fascinating museum is open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm and offers a unique, informative experience for the whole family.

Another good site to learn about the history of Curacao and the Caribbean is the Maritime Museum. Located in the picturesque neighborhood of Scharloo, the Maritime Museum details the history of the island from the arrival of the first inhabitants around 600 B.C. to the present. With the assistance of 40 permanent exhibits, visitors are able to chronologically trace the economic and cultural development of Curacao. Alongside the antiques, artifacts and historical maps, guests can also view a number of video presentations featuring oral histories offered by some of the island’s most colorful personalities.

Near the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, you can find the charming Curacao Museum. Housed in a 19th century military hospital that was painstakingly restored in the mid-20th century, this small museum is now home to historic paintings, sculptures and furniture crafted over several hundred years by local and Dutch artisans. The outdoor pavilion is also a popular destination as many performances featuring local and traveling musicians take place throughout the year.

This bustling neighborhood near Fort Amsterdam and the pontoon bridge also marks the entrance to the city’s best shopping district. As you walk through the Punda district and approach the harbor, you will uncover one of the most exciting stretches of shopping at the Waterfront Aches. This special ¼-mile strip is hard to miss as it is marked by historic 30 foot-tall stone arches and cobblestone walkways. Beneath the arches, you will find numerous specialty boutiques and restaurants, with options for every taste and budget. This waterfront district also offers great evening activities, as many businesses remain open late and the narrow streets are elegantly illuminated each night.

Near the central waterfront shopping area, you can also visit one of Curacao’s great shopping traditions. Each day, small boats line the city’s central canal and sell their products directly from their vessels at the Floating Market. As many of the boats arrive from Venezuela, Columbia and other Caribbean islands, the vendors not only offer the freshest produce and seafood imaginable, but also sell art, handicrafts and other unique products from throughout the region. The Floating Market typically opens at 6 am each day and new boats arrive throughout the afternoon, guaranteeing shoppers a distinctive experience whenever they visit.

When you visit Curacao, make sure to spend some time in the island’s captivating colonial capital. Regardless of what areas in Willemstad you visit, your family will be treated to sites and activities that are historic, cosmopolitan and always exciting.