Get to know beautiful Curacao.
To retain its young population, Curacao has instituted a law that requires people to retire at 65. This year, our wonderful guide has reached that number and the government will not renew her license to drive people. We know, though, that the knowledge she has is irreplaceable. Therefore, we have contracted with her to do this tour using a taxi. Since she won't be driving she'll be able to direct all of her attention to you.
Your Jewish tour takes you into an amazing past. The first Jew who set foot on the island was Samuel Cohen, an interpreter, pilot, and guide to Johan van Walbeeck, the Dutch naval commander who took Curacao from the Spanish in 1634. In 1651, a group of 12 families arrived under the guidance of Joao d'Yllan and settled in the "Jewish Quarter."
Your tour will include this area, which is now in the center of the oil refinery because the famous Beth Haim cemetery is still there. You will also travel to a Jewish countryhouse and the Maduro Library before moving into the residential area for the present Jews on the island and you can explore an Ashkenaz synagogue. Another section of the city will offer an array of 17th century baroque Dutch architecture, homes once occupied by prominent Jewish families. The highlight of this tour is the most beautiful Mikve Israel Synagogue, built in 1732. This Synagogue and its ancient ritual objects bear witness to the long and peaceful history of the Jewish people in Curacao. Your tour will also include the Jewish Historical Museum with its exquisite ceremonial silver, many of it in the typical filigree style. The last stop will be the already mentioned Beth Haim cemetery, the oldest Sephardic cemetery of the Western hemisphere. The inscriptions on the marble tombstones are of historical importance; they offer information about the countries and towns that the Jews from Curacao traded with. You'll hear about the Touro family that emigrated from Curacao to North America with a group in 1693. (The famous Touro Synagogue at Newport, Rhode Island was named after one of them). This is an exceptional tour. It just took one of these stops to give me goosebumps!
- The price of this tour includes transportation in an air-conditioned van, services of a local guide, entrance fees, and bottled water.
- There is only one terrific guide on the island who is knowledgeable about Jewish history. Please book this tour as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
- This tour is not available on Saturdays, Sundays or any major holidays (both Jewish and non secular).
Days offered: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday