Jewish Heritage Of Curacao

Day Trip, Group Tour
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Curacao has a fascinating Jewish history and the oldest Synagogue in the Americas. Join an experienced guide, who will explain in detail about the Jewish community on the island and visit historical places.

Jewish Heritage of Curacao

Curacao holds the dubious distinction of being the major slave port in the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was a hub from which more than a half million enslaved Africans were sold on the docks and shipped to plantations in North and South America. Curacao also played a pivotal role in another major movement of people from one part of the world to another, one that offered opportunity rather than oppression.

In 1651, Curacao's Jewish Congregation was founded by twelve Sephardic families who came to the island seeking the freedom to practice their faith, as well as pursue economic possibilities. The Sephardic Jews fled Portugal with the entrance of the Inquisition, and by coincidence, the Low Countries - now The Netherlands and Belgium - had around that same time won their 80-Years War against Spain and Catholicism, by defeating the Spanish Armada. Being liberated from the Catholic kings subsequently allowed them to open their borders to non-Catholics. They assured the Jews that they would respect their desire for freedom of worship, which had been forbidden by the Catholic kings. The Jews that settled in the Low Countries, primarily in Amsterdam, were then sought out when the Dutch West Indies Company recruited colonists to settle on Curacao, many of the Sephardim followed the Dutch flag as this guaranteed them religious freedom.

Today in Curacao there are two Jewish congregations: the Sephardim, who practice reconstruction Judaism, and the Ashkenazim, who practice modern orthodox or traditional Judaism.

Your first stop is the Beth Haim Jewish cemetery, consecrated in 1659, it is the oldest Caucasian cemetery on the island and in the Western Hemisphere. The site is also a Curacao National Monument.

Then you will visit another historic site also created as a peaceful sanctuary, the Rooi Catootje plantation house. It dates to about 1820 and was originally known as "Rust en Vrede," which translates as "Rest and Peace." The house has been the property of the Maduro family since 1853, when S.E.L. Maduro brought it as a gift to his wife Rebecca Curiel from her parent's estate. The house has now been preserved as a museum.

Continue to the 17th-century plantation house Chobolobo, owned by a Jewish family, where Curacao liquor is produced. Tour the house and learn more about the family name and history. Before leaving take the opportunity to enjoy samples of this famous local product.

The final part of your excursion will end with a drive through the old Jewish neighborhood of Scharloo. Make a stop at a synagogue for an up-close look at religious life in Curacao. The Jewish faith has been practiced here without interruption since 1732 and one congregation itself is even older, having been established in 1651. The very fear of persecution is what drove many of Curacao's earliest Jewish residents to relocate to the island in the first place. They were rightfully more than a little guarded about their beliefs, even upon founding their congregation and building their synagogues nearly a century later.

About Shore Excursions Group
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ABOUT US
Shore Excursions Group was created with one goal in mind: to provide exceptional travel experiences to cruise passengers in the ports they visit around the world. To accomplish this, we have compiled an exceptional array of tours delivered by local experts with decades of experience serving travelers and delivering excellent tours. Our owners and management team are comprised of seasoned travel industry executives who leverage their considerable experience to deliver memories of a lifetime.

We are experts in providing exceptional shore excursions. We understand that in today's fast paced world, vacations have become an increasingly important way to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and experience new and interesting places. With this in mind, we provide the highest quality tours by performing extensive research, and detailed reviews. While other companies also offer excursions, we strongly believe our expertise and approach set us apart. The large cruise lines sell shore excursions - typically in very large groups visiting high traffic sites. We focus on smaller groups visiting more interesting and authentic locations using more personalized local operators. While the cruise lines are experts in delivering cruises, we are experts in delivering shore excursions.

Our Approach
We believe quality service is not only highly valued by customers, but ultimately leads to better experiences and higher satisfaction. Unlike the cruise lines and other tour companies that rely almost entirely on websites, we encourage customers to call us. We want to invest our time answering your questions, providing input, and selecting the excursions that best meet your needs.

Our Tours
Our goal is to provide customers a wide array of exciting, appealing, and enriching tours. For those customers who prefer to travel in smaller groups with more personalized service, we offer a wide variety of small group tours around the world. These tours generally range in size from 2-12 people compared to larger tours which can number up to 50 people. While exploring the destinations and ports on this website, feel free to search for these "Small Group Tours". For those customers interested in private tours, we offer many outstanding excursions that allow you to travel with your party alone and, in many cases, to fully customize your tour. Search for "Private Tours" if you are interested in this experience. Our "Scenic" tours provide up close and personal access to some of the most spectacular natural environments on Earth from majestic glaciers in Alaska to spectacular reefs in the Caribbean. Our "Cultural" tours allow customers to experience local customs, entertainment and culinary delights ranging from tribal dances in Alaska to an outstanding local meal in Santorini, Greece. Our "Active" tours offer a multitude of exciting and adventurous ways to experience our destinations. Our customers can kayak the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, hike to a spectacular waterfall in Hawaii, or bicycle through quaint villages in France. Our "City" tours allow travelers to see the highlights of great cities around the world with unique insights provided by our expert tour guides.

Our People
In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the leading tour guides and tour providers around the globe. We hold our people to very high standards which we measure by our comprehensive Quality Control process and, most importantly, by our customer feedback, which we will actively seek from each of our customers.

Our Owners
Shore Excursions Group is owned by seasoned travel executives possessing extensive experience across many sectors within the travel industry.

Bradford J. Miller
Mr. Miller is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Abercrombie & Kent, the World's leading luxury travel company. In that role, Mr. Miller was responsible for contributing to Abercrombie & Kent's international growth through the development and acquisition of tour products and travel experiences around the world with a specific focus on cruising and land based experiences. Prior to joining Abercrombie & Kent, Mr. Miller held a variety of executive positions with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises for more than a decade. These positions included Vice President of Guest Sales & Service, Vice President of Brand Development, and Vice President of Onboard Revenue (which included shore excursions). Mr. Miller also led Celebrity Expeditions, a collection of outstanding and unique tours around the World.

Michael Bonner
Mr. Bonner has over a decade of experience working in the cruise industry in a variety of roles for both Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Viking River Cruises. Most recently, Mr. Bonner was the Chief Operating Officer for The Scholar Ship, a Royal Caribbean program aimed at providing college students onboard educational programs in conjunction with enriching shore excursions around the world. Mr. Bonner also helped co-manage Viking River Cruises U.S. Operations, and he ran the corporate, strategic, and deployment planning functions at Royal Caribbean. While at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was responsible for forming Royal Celebrity Tours, Royal Caribbean's land-based tour operation in Alaska, which takes cruise passengers on multiple day tours through the interior of Alaska either before or after their cruises. Prior to working at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was a consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton.
Starting At
$115.00 USD
Per Person
 
Tour Type
Group
 
Group Size
Standard
 
Activity Type(s)
Cultural, Scenic
 
Tour Duration
3 Hours
 
Activity Level
Easy
 
Tour Leaves From
Cruise Ship Pier
 
Food/Beverage Provided
Water is included.
 
Special Instructions
We recommend wearing comfortable, seasonal clothing and walking shoes. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen is also recommended.
 
Restrictions
Guests must be able to step in and out of the vehicle.

Location