Curaçao’s romantic plantation estates

Long ago, Curaçao was home to as many as 100 plantations that grew sugar cane, aloe and indigo. The centrepiece of each plantation was the estate: a spacious mansion that housed the plantation owner, the family and the house slaves. The house was usually set on a beautiful location such as a hilltop, with sweeping views of the plantation and the other buildings. Approximately half of these estates still stand and dozens have been beautifully restored and renovated. Today many of these mansions operate as a museum, restaurant or boutique hotel.

Romance
Estate Jan Kok from 1840

Estate Jan Kok from 1840

Art gallery at Estate Jan Kok

Plantation owner Jan Kok was notorious for the cruel treatment of his slaves and his evil spirit still seems to haunt the estate. Perhaps his watchful presence was the reason why the 1840 estate was remarkably well preserved; even the old slave bell is still in place. The patio offers a lovely view over the former plantation and the saltpans of Sint Marie. Today, pink flamingos have taken the place of the downtrodden slaves. The country estate also houses local artist Nena Sanchez who has a gallery here.

Estate Knip, a turning point in island history

Estate Knip, a turning point in island history

History sweeps through Estate Knip

Curaçao’s most important historic estate lies near the island’s two most beautiful beaches, Grote en Kleine Knip. The estate is famous for the major slave revolt that started here in 1795. Rebel leader Tula, who was publicly executed after the uprising, is still a beloved hero of the people on Curaçao. In 2013, a movie came out about the tragedy entitled: ‘Tula: The Revolt’. Estate Knip is now a museum.

Modern Caribbean food at Westpunt

Modern Caribbean food at Westpunt

Modern Creole cuisine in Estate Misjé

Estate Misjé was built in 1896 after slavery had been abolished and plantation owners were less wealthy. Compared to some of the other very opulent estates, the charming ochre-coloured Misjé looks more like a slave home. There are tables on the porch and in the garden; inside chef Graciela shows off her culinary talents. Without using any recipes but with a passion for cooking, Graciela prepares Caribbean food with a modern twist, such as fish curry, shrimp in garlic pesto or oxtail stew.

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