Wherever we go, we’re all looking for the hidden gems. The places that have seen minimal traces of tourism. Where the culture is still authentic, the hospitality still charming, and where not every building is perfectly painted to meet touristic standards. If you walk just a few miles past the popular sights in Punda than you’ll find Skaló. An up-and-coming neighborhood in Willemstad Curaçao, that over the years was slightly forgotten but is slowly getting the spotlight it deserves.
The capital Curaçao, Willemstad, is known for it’s bright and vibrant aesthetic homes painted in all colors of the rainbow. The facades are gracefully embellished with little details that make the architecture highly artistic. In this aspect, Skaló is no different than its more popular neighbors, Punda and Pietermaai. Wandering through Skaló you’ll encounter the evolvement of the culture through the years. On first sight, you’ll see the majestic homes of the wealthy merchants while walking deeper into the neighborhood you’ll be able to see the more modest homes of the working class after the slave abolishment.
In true Caribbean fashion, both types of homes have a tropical allure with colors splashing from every side. In between some of the newly renovated homes, renovated to their historic state, there are also the abandoned homes with cracks on the walls and the paint washed away. It’s these building that will make you imagine how life behind those doors was.
The History of Skaló
The neighborhood was at first intended to be farmland that the Dutch West India Company gave to Dutch farmers. Farming proved to be a difficult task on the island and especially this land wasn’t yielding any success. Soon the land was transferred to wealthy Jewish immigrants—mostly merchants—that started building their homes there.
The historic city centrum of Punda and Otrobanda was an important hub for trade, and many Jewish families were in the business of trade. So, it’s no surprise that families decided to establish themselves close to their place of business.
An Urban Neighborhood
As with many up-and-coming neighborhoods, this area of Willemstad in Curaçao has become a hub for trendy new cafés and stores. It also houses some of the most beautiful and artistic murals of Curaçao, hiding in the small alleys of this neighborhood. A walk through Skaló leads to one surprise after each other.