Cruising to Curacao is sure to be filled with memorable experiences and adventures. This Dutch Caribbean Island located near the coast of Venezuela features historic settlements, rugged landscapes and plenty of fun in the sun. On top of all that, it features one of the best shopping experiences in the Caribbean. There are plenty of unique souvenirs to be found in Curacao, whether you’re hoping to pick up a gift for a friend or a keepsake for yourself. The capital city of Willemstad is filled with shopping centers and many small boutique shops throughout the island’s main areas. You’ll have no problem fitting in some shopping between lounging on the beach or a kayak adventure.
If this is your first time vacationing in Curacao, you may be interested in learning what to buy and which local products you can find for yourself or loved ones. Here are 8 great things to buy in Curacao, all made right on the island.
1. Gift Packs of Orange Liqueur
Curacao is famous for its orange-flavored liqueur by the same name. There are many orange-flavored liqueurs out there, but only the ones made in Curacao use the peels of the Laraha orange, which is unique to the island of Curacao. You’ll have your choice of a large bottle, or you could also buy a gift pack. A gift pack set of small bottles is easy to take home and is great for sharing or gifting. You might even opt for the very well known “blue” version of this liqueur – despite its color, it carries the same bittersweet orange flavoring.
2. Chichi Doll
The colorful, hand-painted chichi doll is a popular symbol of Curacao. The ceramic figures are hand-sculpted and come in different sizes, usually with colorful dresses and curvy bodies. Not only do they make a fun, whimsical gift, but chichi dolls carry a deep meaning. Chichi means “the oldest sister” in the Dutch Antillean language of Papiamento, and has come to symbolize older women who are admired in the community. The chichi is also known for strengthening the everlasting family bond. Thus, it’s a great gift not only for your sister or the family matriarch, but for other family members or close friends too!
3. Tropical-Inspired Handcrafts
Beyond the chichi doll, there are many other tropical-inspired handcrafts to serve as a reminder of your great beach trip to Curacao. You’ll find brightly hand-painted crafts in the form of geckos, iguanas and fish, bottles painted with beach scenes, as well as lots of other ceramic items. You’ll marvel at the resourcefulness of local artists when you find art carved from dried and polished calabash gourds.
4. Aloe Vera Products
The tropical aloe vera plant has great healing powers: it’s good for the skin, packed with vitamins and is naturally cooling, making it a popular after-sun remedy. Aloe vera is a common ingredient in lotions ointments and shower products, and can also be eaten! Aloe is grown on plantations on the island, so when you shop in Curacao you can be sure it came from the area. Many people know the medicinal benefits of aloe and love using it as a part of a healthy skin routine, so it makes a great gift or souvenir from your cruise to Curacao.
5. Dutch Cheese
Given its history as a Dutch trading post, the island is famous for its hefty wheels of delicious Gouda and Edam cheeses. Sometimes weighing up to 2 kg, a wheel of Dutch cheese is a substantial gift that you can surely split up.
6. Colorful Paintings by Local Artists
Curacao is home to a thriving art community. Get to know the many talented Curacao artisans, which include photographers, painters and more. Many have their own shops where they sell colorful paintings depicting beach scenes or other life typical to Curacao. Sometimes painted on wood, canvas or shells, a colorful painting for your wall at home would make a great reminder of your cruise vacation.
7. Dutch Delft Blue Souvenirs
Another aspect of Curacao’s unique history comes to life in the wide variety of Dutch Delft Blue souvenirs. Delft Blue is a typical Dutch style pottery painted in classic blue and white. The handcrafts are executed with great detail and make a fantastic piece for the living room or dining room decor. Find an item that says “Curacao” or a traditional windmill, tulip or Dutch shoes. Some vendors will even customize a piece for you!
We know you’ll want to bring that island feeling home with you, so why not do it with an easygoing piece of jewelry for your collection? In keeping with the island’s artistic traditions, you can find a wide variety of handmade jewelry in Curacao. Shell jewelry, leather jewelry and colorful hand-woven string bracelets are common. For an authentic gift, be sure to ask if the item was made locally on the island.
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.