Colonial relics, maps, and Antillean art come together at the Museum Kura Hulanda, with a world-class collection of African artifacts. This well-regarded anthropological museum focuses on the cultures that have contributed to Curacao’s makeup over the centuries, including African slaves, West African empires, and pre-Columbian traders.
The Museum Kura Hulanda is located on the site of a former slave yard and merchant’s home, and is part of a 15-building hotel property. Inside the museum, 18th-century artifacts and scale models tell the history of the transatlantic slave trade and Curacao’s role in it, including a replica of a slave ship, in addition to exhibits explaining the cultural influences on the island. Guided and audio-guided tours and a self-guided map are available. The museum shop has a collection of maps, postcards, CDs, and African art for sale.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Because the Museum Kura Hulanda displays some graphic and unsettling imagery, it may not be suitable for small children.
- The museum typically takes about 2–3 hours to explore.
- You can call ahead and make an appointment to tour the museum with a guide.
How to Get There
Overlooking St. Anna Bay in the center of Willemstad’s historic colonial quarter, Otrobanda, the Museum Kura Hulanda is located in the same complex as the Hotel Kura Hulanda Village and Spa. It’s about an 11-minute walk from the cruise ship terminal. Taxis are available but can be pricey, especially for longer rides, and public buses run infrequently. Renting a car is recommended if you plan to explore on your own. Some hotels offer shuttle service around the island.
When to Get There
If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Curacao is during its off-peak season, from May to November. That’s when you’ll typically snag the cheapest airfare and hotel rates. But keep in mind that some businesses such as restaurants may cut back on opening hours during this period.
Located on the Punda side of Willemstad, Handelskade is a famous, postcard-worthy stretch of colorful Dutch colonial buildings painted in vibrant pinks, blues, and yellows along the pier of St. Anna Bay. Grab a coffee, sit, and enjoy the waterfront views overlooking the Queen Emma Bridge.