The Rif area is situated on the southern side of Curaçao, near downtown Willemstad. It represents a unique area in Curaçao, ripe for innovation and development. And this is exactly what is taking place; at the moment there is a project ongoing to clean and develop the Rif area and make it safe, hospitable, green and attractive for locals and tourists alike with an improved infrastructure and space for recreation.
And with the remodelling and construction of major hotels in the area such as the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, Corendon and the Courtyard Marriott, and not to mention the newly constructed Curaçao Medical Center, this project could not have come at a more opportune moment in the area’s history.
So what prompted this project?
For years now the area around the Rif mangroves has been a breeding ground for a discomforting amount of mosquitoes and contaminated substances that are damaging for one’s health. Compounding these problems is the fact that waste water often ends up in the waters of the mangroves.
In addition to this, the sewage system is currently not optimally configured to handle the added influx of all of the new buildings in the area. Furthermore, when taking the connection between the cruise terminals and downtown Willemstad into consideration, it must be stated that there isn’t a viable pathway connecting these terminals and the Otrobanda area at the moment. And this is where a revitalized Rif area comes into play as it is situated between these two locations. A functional flow of tourists between all sections of Willemstad means more business for the downtown area.
Phase 1 of the project: Government-funded ventures
The first phase of this project has been initiated. This phase entails work activities to improve the sewage system and minimize the presence of wastewater in the area, construction of a roadway to better connect the northern and southern parts of the Otrobanda and Rif areas, and two sub-phases in cleaning and revitalization activities in the Mangrove Park. This portion of the phase is being financed by the Curaçaoan government.
The Mangrove Park is being converted into an ecological park. This consists of cleaning up and dredging the Mangrove Park and subsequently putting the necessary installations in place to build routes in the waters of the park where canoes can sail, and promenades where people can walk. And by extension the entire Rif area will be infused with walking promenades and comfortable benches in addition to the roadways, making it more accessible for pedestrians as well as cars.
Phase 1 of the project: Privately funded ventures
The first phase of the development project also includes undertakings that are being financed by private investors and these comprise the construction and renovation of the hotels in the area. Construction on the Courtyard Marriott is still in its initial stages while construction on the Corendon and the renovation of the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino have been ongoing for some months now.
In the near future, this project will also include the development of the area around the two cruise terminals and creating a more optimal interconnection between the terminals. It will also involve the development of the Rif stadium and the Benny Leito public swimming pool. And aside from these endeavours there will also be a major development taking place in the near future, namely the utility company Aqualectra’s move from the area.