{{ message }}

Curaçao

{{ message }}

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino - dream vacation

John F Kennedy Boulevard,Piscadera Bay, Willemstad

Sunscape Curacao Resort & Spa
Sunscape Curacao Resort & Spa - dream vacation

Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, 8, Willemstad

Plaza Hotel Curacao
Plaza Hotel Curacao - dream vacation

Plaza Piar z/n, Willemstad

Avila Hotel - Curacao
Avila Hotel - Curacao - dream vacation

130 Penstraat, P.O. Box 791, Willemstad

Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort Curacao
Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort Curacao - dream vacation

Santa Barbara Plantation, Porta Blancu, Willemstad

Curaçao is an island in the Caribbean, among the group known as the ABC Islands alongside Aruba and Bonaire. This trio is located near Venezuela, and are considered to be outside the Caribbean's so-called "hurricane zone." This means that vacations to the island are rarely disrupted by such tropical storms.

Cities

  • Willemstad

Understand

One of the most notable things about the island is its unique culture:

  • The architecture is distinctively Dutch but with the houses painted in beautiful pastel shades. Visitors often see it as a colorful, tropical version of Amsterdam.
  • The lifestyle is very laid back with lots of people just working enough to get by.
  • The local language is a creole called Papiamentu (see "Talk" below)

Talk

The native language, Papiamentu, is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish (90%) and Dutch and English (10%), but with a very basic grammar and a limited vocabulary. It is exclusively spoken on Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire (where it is spelled Papiamento). Official spelling has existed for only a few years, though due to its limitations Dutch is used in schools and governmental affairs. One term often encountered is "dushi". "Dushi" is a generic term to describe everything good. It can be translated as "nice" (view), "beautiful", "sexy" (person), "delicious" (food), "honored" (guest). Another important word is "danki", which means "thank you" ("dushi danki" is thus "thank you very much").

Most people from the island also speak Dutch, English, and Spanish.

Get in

Those who want to travel by air can enter at Curaçao's airport, Hato International Airport (IATA: CUR), located in Plaza Margareth Abraham, not far from the capital of Willemstad. It services most international and regional carriers. To contact the airport by phone, call +599 9 888-0101.

Upon immigration at the airport an ED-card must be filled out and presented to the customs agent. This is now possible to do online http://www.curacao.com/en/directory/plan/getting-curacao/#!online-ed-card in which case one only needs to present a passport. It must be done at least 48 hours prior to departure. You can usually skip the immigration line if you do this.

Note that immigration can take a very, very long time (easily 2 hours), especially when multiple planes arrive at the same time. It is recommended that you fill the aforementioned online form instead. Handicapped people can wait for their turn in a seating area at the far end of the immigration hall (usually hidden by the 10 or so lines of people queuing up).

Cruise ships arrive at Curaçao Mega Pier or the Curaçao Cruise Terminal. From these ports it's just a short walk to many of the island's popular tourist destinations. Travelers can also enjoy nearby shopping at duty-free stores. Larger ships will arrive at the Mega Pier, and smaller ships will dock at the Cruise Terminal.

Sailors can enter at ports in Willemstad and has various marinas at which seafaring travelers can dock their ships.

There are no ferry services to other islands or to Venezuela.

Get around

By car

Cars can be rented for about USD45 per day, from a variety of hirers at the Hato Airport and across the island. Driving in Willemstad is pretty similar to most Caribbean locations, with aggressive drivers, loosely enforced traffic laws and driving on the right side. Signs will be in Dutch using a European style. If you are involved in an accident, local laws prohibit moving your car. You'll need to dial 199 for road service. Do watch out for road hazards, such as donkeys, goats, and iguanas. If you stay outside of Willemstad, renting a car might be a good option as the taxi fares can be quite expensive and public transport is not very reliable.

By taxi

If public transit isn't your style, and you don't want to rent your own car, taxis are another popular and easy-to-find option. They, too, are marked, and their plates read "TX." Some taxi drivers will even be your tour guide for the day, if you ask. But remember to agree on a fee before heading out.

By bus

There are two types of buses on the island, BUS. and Konvoi. The easiest way to ride is to go to one of the two bus stations in Willemstad. These include Otrobanda Station, located across the street from the Rif Fort (see Willemstad) and Punda Station, at the post office, across from the Circle Market. For the most part, the Punda bus station serves stops along the Eastern side of the ring, and to the East including Salina, Zelandia, Mambo, while the Otrobanda station serves destinations West of the Bay, to include the Airport, Piscadera and even Westpunt. The destinations do not typically overlap, so a 10-15 minute walk between stations may be necessary for cross island trips.

  • Konvoi are large metro-style buses which run infrequently between major points in the city. Prices and routes are set at about 2 NAf.
  • BUS., on the other hand, are 9-12 passenger vans which look a lot like a taxi. You can spot a BUS. by a cardboard cutout in the front windshield listing a number of its stops, instead of the yellow Taxi sign in the windshield or on the roof.

Unlike taxis, the BUS. prices are not negotiable (1-3 NAf), but the route is. A common practice with bus drivers is to negotiate how close the driver can take you to your destination. Be sure to ask the bus driver if the bus stops near your destination before entering. You can pay the driver while the BUS. is en route, or before exiting the bus. You can board a bus anywhere on the island by waiting at one of the ubiquitous yellow 'Bushalte' signs and waiving at a coming BUS. or Konvoi. Taxi drivers will also try to lure you in. So make sure to look at the sign in the window or a license plate (that says BUS.) to avoid paying high taxi fares. The bus schedule varies, from about 6AM-8PM for most stops, and until 11PM or even midnight (and sometimes later) to Salina and Mambo. If you are ever lost during daylight hours, just find a yellow bushalte sign, and the bus should take you to either Punda or Otrobanda.

By ferry

Ferries are a great way for shoppers to get to and from some of the island's main shopping areas.

See

  • Willemstad waterfront; a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Westpunt: The westernmost point of the island has restaurants and beautiful small beaches abound.
  • Nordpunt: The northernmost point of the island, much rougher sea than at Westpunt but beautiful nature (not recommended for swimming!).
  • Watamulu, the "lungs of the island": Between Nordpunt and Westpunt hollow rocks and corals spit out water with every wave. An impressive sight and a must see when in the area. Note that one either needs a car or has to hike from Westpunt.

Do

  • diving and snorkeling: The clear waters and maritime life make it an ideal diving destination. Divers are, after cruise ship tourists, the largest group of tourists. Plenty of dive schools offer courses and certifications.
  • Christoffel National Park, ? +5999 864-0363. West Point. A national park that is run by the by the Carmabi Foundation. Christoffel National Park is home to Boca Grandi, Indian caves where you can see paintings left by the Arawak Indians and Mount Christoffel. (At 1292 feet high, Mount Christoffel is the highest point in Curaçao.)
  • Shete Boka National Park, ? +5999 864-0444. West Point. A national park also run by the by the Carmabi Foundation, Shete Boka is home to the "7 boca's" including Boca Tabla and Boca Pistol (also known as "The Shooting Pistol") In season, some of the boca's serve as sea turtle breeding grounds.
  • Curaçao Sea Aquarium, ? +5999 461-6666. Bapor Kibra Z/N. Home of the Dolphin Academy. This is one of the most popular attractions in Curaçao. If you wish to do a Dolphin activity book as early as possible! $entry price (depends on activity you choose BUT paying for an activity (such as something at the Dolphin Academy) gets you entry to all of the Aquarium.
  • Hato Caves, ? +5999 868-0379. F.D. Rooseveltweg Z/N. Open 7 days a week, with tours 2 times a day. Coral and limestone caves that was carved out below the sea and born when the sea level dropped. There are beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as water pools and a waterfall. The cave is also home to a colony long nose fruit bats. (Because of the colony, photography is limited and not allowed in certain chambers.)
  • Snorkeling and Diving at Curaçao's Marine Park. The complete southwestern side of Curaçao is one large coral reef and marine park. In the north you can dive at the Banda Abou National Park, in the center at the Central Curaçao Underwater Park and in the south at the Curacau Underwater Park. Curaçao offers plenty of dive sites, from easy shore dives, pristine coral bay dives to sheer drop-offs especially in the southeast.
  • Curaçao Ostrich & Game Farm, ? +5999 747-2777. Santa Catharina. The Curaçao Ostrich Farm is one of the biggest Ostrich farms outside Africa. The tour takes you around the ostrich pens and incubator. Meat from this farm is shipped to Aruba (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.)

Beaches

Curaçao's public beaches are concentrated on the southern coast, especially the western side. Find these from Rif St. Marie up to Westpunt.

Lots of land on the eastern coast is privately owned and access is prohibited; exploration of these areas is not encouraged as private security services patrol most of the area and are known not to take intrusions lightly.

  • Playa Kalki, also known as Alice in Wonderland, is located at the far west end of the island past the town of Westpunt. Kura Hulanda Lodge has a restaurant at the beach and Ocean Encounters West which is a full service dive shop. For a small fee, you have use of a dive locker for storage of personal items while diving/snorkeling and use of fresh water showers and equipment cleaning area.
  • Playa Grote Kenapa, also known as Big Knip is a large sand beach west of the town of Lagun.
  • Playa Kleine Kenapa, also known as Little Knip is another beach past the town of Lagun. It is a nice secluded beach with plenty of shade trees if you desire to stay out of the direct sun. The bar/restaurant on this site operates on a sporadic schedule, so visit prepared.
  • Playa Jeremi is a small secluded beach slightly north of Lagun. There are no facilities here.
  • Playa Lagun, is a secluded bay towards the western end of the island in the town of Lagun. It is a small sandy beach on a rectangular shaped bay with tall cliffs on each side. The waters adjacent to the cliffs is excellent place for snorkeling. Both sides of the bay along the cliffs are teaming with a wide variety of marine life and corals. The left side of the bay has a greater variety of underwater structure for a better experience. The beach has the Discover Diving Curaçao dive shop which also has a small restaurant.
  • Playa Porto Mari is a large beach with a full service restaurant, and a complete dive shop including fresh water showers and restrooms operated by Porto Mari Sports
  • Cas Abao is a beach on a plantation. It is a long stretched sandy beach with lots of facilities including huts, beach chairs, restaurant, fresh water showers and bathrooms.[1]
  • Daaibooi Baai is near Habitat in Rif st. Marie. Limited facilities. Huts, restrooms, grill area. Beautiful protected cove with calm waters. Avg depth: 20m
  • Hook's Hut. Is located on the Piscadera Bay. The location is a short drive a few miles west of downtown Willemstad near The Marriott and Hilton hotels. It has many beach amenities including showers/bathrooms, Hook's dive center and an excellent full service restaurant.
  • Habitat Beach is located in Rif St. Marie on the SW coast. It is Curaçao's Newest beach and has a full service Dive Operator, DiveVersity, Habitat Dive Hotel, Oceans Restaurant, and in the gated community of Coral Estate.
  • Kontiki Beach is about a ten minute drive east from downtown Willemstad near Breezes hotel. Kontiki is a full service beach offering watersports, shops, beachbar and a restaurant. It is also serviced by Ocean Encounters dive center. Can get very crowded.
  • Mambo Beach. Is next door to Kontiki beach and is the place where locals and tourists alike visit for the nightlife partying here.
  • Seaquarium Beach
  • Jan Thiel Beach
  • Caracasbaai
  • Barbara Beach Private beach and future home to the Hyatt Hotel.

Buy

Money

The Netherlands Antilles guilder or florin, denoted by the symbol "ƒ" or "NAf" is the official currency, but the euro and U.S. dollar are readily accepted.

Automatic teller machines are widely available throughout the island, and many machines will dispense guilders and the U.S. dollar. Currency can generally be exchanged at local hotels, casinos and places of business. The exchange rate is generally pegged at about 1.77 NAf to the USD and stable. It is unlikely for tourists to be taken advantage when changing currency, but it is best to be aware of the current rates prior to arrival.

Shopping

There are a plethora of random shops and markets around Willemstad offering clothing, souvenirs, crafts, and other goods. These include a commonly-termed "duty free enclave" in the downtown area. Offerings emphasize European goods, to include jewelry, timepieces/watches and linens, plus the usual collection of souvenir shops. Perhaps not noted for great bargains, you may find items at decent prices you'll see nowhere else in the Caribbean.

A water front market lies on the near north side of the main shopping area. It's packed with fresh foods and flowers, best seen or shopped in the mornings.

On Sundays, however, most businesses except restaurants in the city are closed.

Eat

Local cuisine in Curaçao is a mixture of European, West-Indian and East Asian (particularly Indonesian) flavours. Dutch influences are found in the use of cheeses, bread and seafood, which are also important in Curaçaoan food. Indonesian cuisine, a migrant from Suriname, another of the Netherlands' former colonies, can be found on the island, and explains the widespread availability of Sate and Peanut sauce along with the islands more Caribbean fare. Also, Chinese "snacks" can be found all over the island serving cheap Chinese food. They cater mostly to locals, but most serve good food.

If you are not staying close to the city center, buying groceries on one of the local supermarkets (Centrum supermarket, for example) might be cheaper than eating out.

Restaurants

Snacks

Curaçao is littered with 'Snacks,' small bar restaurants which serve Chinese Food. These are typically inexpensive, double as convenience stores and bars, and are typically open later than most other restaurants which cater to local (rather than European) patrons.

Budget

  • Plasa Bieu, located in Punda, about 300 meters ENE of the floating bridge in Punda, is the favorite lunch spot of most, if not all, of the island's local-born population working in Punda. Open M-F, 10AM-3PM, the Plasa Bieu has about five restaurants within it, serving Chinese, Jamaican and Krioyo (local) food. Try the Cabritu Stoba (stewed goat) at Grasia di Dios, for an excellent example of the island's local cuisine, at one of the only restaurants in Punda which offer it. 8-14 NAf
  • Downtown Cafe at the Hotel Estoril Breedestraat 179 (O), located 200 west of the Arti Supermarket, on the Otrobanda Side's main shopping strip (the Breedestrat/Roodeweg) Open seven days per week 7A-8P, 'el Estoril,' as the locals calls it, packs its seven or so tables full from about 10AM-4PM, with Venezuelan, Colombian and Dominican expats. The Estoril serves a mix of local and Latin dishes, all served in a more typically Latin style. Order at the bar and sit down when a seat becomes available. You'll be expected to share a table if your party cannot fill it. 8-20 NAf.
  • Seaside Terrace is located next to Breezes Hotel and close to Lions Dive Hotel and Mambo Beach near the end of Penstraat. Seaside Terrace has a limited menu, but serves delicious fresh fish (red snapper, dradu, tuna, etc.) and, if available, very well prepared lobster against very fair prices. The owner "Amigo" is very friendly and makes you feel at home right away.

Mid-Range

  • On y va picnic sells picnic baskets to take to the beach. Order your favorite basket one day in advance and pick it up along the way to the beach, or they will deliver it. Located on the way to the beaches on the west side of the island. 26-45 NAF
  • Gouverneur de Rouville is a popular restaurant in Willemstad that serves a variety of continental European dishes in a wonderful atmosphere. Located Just north of the floating bridge on the Otrobanda Side, 25-45NAf.
  • Oceans Restaurant is located at Habitat Dive Resort in Rif. St. Marie on the SW coast. Serves a wide variety of international and regional cuisine. Overlooks the Caribbean Sea in an open air casual decor. Has full service bar. 15-35 Naf
  • Wilhelmina Plein Cafe is located 200 meters east of the Floating Bridge in Punda; this cafe is a favorite among the island's many Dutch interns and businessmen. Wilhelmina Plein Cafe offers exclusively outside seating along a major pedestrian thoroughfare, with good food and one of the island's better beer selections. 18-28 NAF
  • Vincent's Cafe Copa Cabana is a relatively hidden cafe just east of the Iguana Lounge's Main bar along the water on the Punda side of the bay. Skip the overpriced and mediocre waterfront restaurants on the Punda side and go to Vincent's for great sandwiches and a number of good daily special entrees. Vincent's is an outdoor cafe under the shade of a number of trees and the two buildings between which it is sandwiched, which also create a very pleasant breeze. 8-20NAf. M-S Lunch - 6:30PM.
  • Old Dutch Cafe Located on the Pietermaaiweg 500m east of the Bay on the Punda Side, the Old Dutch Cafe serves inexpensive Dutch cuisine with a kitchen that stays open late into the night. 15-28 NAf. Closed Sundays.
  • Kontiki Beach Club is a seaside restaurant offering good food in an idyllic location right on the beach. It is a little outside of the city, but it is well worth the short drive.
  • La Granja is a Peruvian influenced chain restaurant with a very local feel, serving great Latin cuisine, including excellent whole chicken, Lomo Saltado, and other great dishes. Sta Rosaweg 15-25 NAf. Open 7 days.
  • Il Forno is a popular Italian/pizza restaurant with two locations, (Caracasbaai location and Doormanweg location) serving European (though not Italian) style pizzas with fresh and delicious ingredients. 15-30 NAf.
  • Kasbanini located in the Rif Fort, 100m south of the floating bridge on the Otrobanda Side, is probably the best of the Rif Fort's five or so mid-level restaurants. Offering typical seafood and chops with a bit of local flair. 30-40 NAf. 7 days/week, lunch and dinner.
  • La Pergola located in the Old Fort on the southwest side of Punda, is likely the island's best Italian restaurant. Offering good pasta dishes as well as a few innovative 'secondi', La Pergola's quaint waterfront view completes an excellent dining experience. 25-40 NAf.
  • Ay Caramba is an American restaurant offering excellent American pub-grub with Tex Mex offerings. Located just below the Governeur Restaurant.
  • Golden Star is located on the Dr. W.P. Maalweg, on the way to Salinja. It serves local creole food and drinks, and is a good value for the amount of food you get. Prices vary from 15-25 NAf for a main course with sides.

Splurge

  • Bistro le Clochard, located in the Rif Fort, offers outstanding French Cuisine with a beautiful waterfront view. Open daily. ANG50-80
  • Sculpture Garden Restaurant located in the Kura Hulanda Hotel one block West of the Governeur Restaurant. Excellent international cuisine with some very innovative specials

.

Drink

Tap water, which comes from a large seawater desalination distillation plant, is excellent tasting and perfectly safe for consumption.

Alcohol

Popular alcoholic drinks include:

Amstel Bright beer, which used to be locally brewed by Antillaanse Brouwerij, a subsidy of Heineken International. It is a pale style lager, usually served with a wedge of lime.

Polar Beer, which is brewed in neighbouring Venezuela. It is a 5% abv lager beer.

Brion beer is the offical local beer, though it is brewed on Barbados.

Curaçao is famous for the alcoholic beverage of the same name, Blue Curaçao, Orange Curaçao, Green Curaçao and White Curacao. It is made from bitter oranges grown on the island and, except for the white one, food coloring. It is mostly used in cocktails, though, rarely drunken on itself.

Sleep

  • Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino. Has excellent restaurants such as the Portofino Restaurant and the Seabreeze Bar and Grill, which specialize in local dishes and fresh seafood.
  • Flamingo Villa, St. Willibrordus, e-mail: info@Flamingo-Villa.com. Luxury villa that sleeps 12 people with a private pool and overlooks the magnificent Caribbean Sea.
  • Pietermaai Smal Apartments, Pietermaai Smal 51 (20 meters away from the Caribbean sea), ? +5999 465 0478. In a 200 years old renovated country house surrounded with an stylish swimming pool, you will find boutique hotel style apartments. Apartments with a distinctive design.
  • Seaside Curaçao, St. Willibrordus, Banda Abou. 10+ private villas to choose from. New beach-bar and restaurant, private pools... sleeps 4-10 in a pure countryside setting with friendly security.
  • Westhill Bungalows, Westpunt (west from Willemstad). A place for a short or extended stay. Just up from Playa Forti and a short drive from other great beaches, each of the 2 bedroom bungalows are well equipped and all have kitchens. Nice grounds, pool and wonderful owners. 100.

Stay safe

Safety is not a big issue on Curaçao. The locals are friendly, welcoming, and willing to give assistance. After all, a major part of their island's income comes from tourists. Just take normal precautions for a tropical island and use common sense.

Car break-ins are a reoccurring problem so that some car rental agencies even prohibit parking rental cars at some specific places. In general it is a good idea to never ever leave valuables in a car.

Cope

Embassies

  • United States, J.B. Gorsiraweg 1, ? +599 9-461-3066, e-mail: infocuracao@state.gov ACSCuracao@state.gov; infocuracao@state.gov. MULTIPLE-EMAIL

Go next

Leaving Curaçao will require you to pay an exit tax not included in your flight ticket with most airlines. As of 2016, it's USD39 for international flights (Visa and MasterCard accepted), USD10 to USD20 for flights to Aruba and Bonaire and USD5 for connections (in cash only). See the airport's website for the most up-to-date information.

  • Aruba ( A few minutes away by air)
  • Bonaire (A paradise for divers)
  • Guyana (A former British colony in South America, known for its pristine jungle and impressive waterfalls)
  • Saint Martin (A former member of the Netherlands Antilles, with many gourmet, shopping and beach options)
  • Suriname (A former Dutch colony in South America, culturally linked to the Dutch Caribbean)
  • Venezuela

Note that the main carrier, Insel Air, is notorious for its delays (easily a few hours even for the short flights to Aruba or Bonaire). Furthermore their check-in counters close 1h before scheduled departure, not 1h before actual departure. This is only relevant for flights that are booked out, since they give no-show tickets to passengers on the waiting list and for delayed flights in the evening since you might face deserted counters with no chance to check in at all.

Also note that airport security in the departure area stops working after the last scheduled departure - no matter whether some flights are delayed by hours. If you have not cleared security by then there is no way to board your plane. Thus, even for heavily delayed flights, checking in and then heading out to a beach or into town is not a viable option.

Curacao Dive Map & Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card

Franko Maps Ltd.

Perfect for divers, snorkelers and nature lovers! Side One is a mini-map of Curacao with 70 dive sites named and located. Side Two is a fish identification guide with nearly 100 species illustrated. This convenient, waterproof reference is made of hard, laminated plastic with hole for lanyard. 5.5" x 8.5"

Curacao For 91 Days

Michael Powell

Mike and Jürgen gave themselves three months to explore the small Caribbean island of Curaçao, and came away with some unforgettable memories and photographs. This book is a collection of their anecdotes and adventures from the island, as they tried to live like locals. 91 days was enough time to explore this small country thoroughly; Mike and Jürgen checked out almost every beach, visited the colonial Landhuizen and ventured out on a few hikes. Packed with helpful advice, restaurant tips, insights into the culture, and beautiful full-color photography, this book is a must for anyone planning a trip to Curaçao!

Curacao : Road Map with Street Indexes, Diving Sites, Biking Trails, and Hiking Trails

Kasprowski Publisher

Curacao at 1:55,000 on an indexed and GPS compatible map from the Caribbean-based cartographer Rafal Kasprowski highlighting numerous diving sites and various places of interest, with street plans of four locations plus on the reverse a more detailed enlargement of the  Willemstad urban area. Topography is shown by altitude colouring with spot heights; the Christoffel National Parks is clearly marked. Road network indicates main roads and shows secondary roads and local tracks or footpaths. Recommended biking and hiking trails are highlighted. Symbols show various facilities and places of interest including beaches and snorkelling sites, flamingo areas, scenic views, etc. Along the coast numerous diving sites are marked. The map has latitude and longitude lines at 2 intervals. The index lists road/street names. Map legend is in English. On the reverse is an indexed enlargement showing in greater detail at 1:18,500 the Willemstad urban area, including access to the island's international airport. Also provided are indexed street plans of Barber, Grote Berg and Tera Kora (all at 1:6,000), as well as central Willemstad at 1:8,000; plus the island Klein Curacao at 1 : 55,000.

Curacao: Curacao Tour Guide cultural historical

infocusbooks

Curaçao, a Dutch colonial heritage. A stroll through the impressive city or an island tour. Surprised and taken. More than one hundred and forty locations such as the capital, points of interest, plantation houses and country mansions are described. A cultural historical journey with pictures and brief fascinating stories about past and present. The thrill of being inspired by another culture.

The Beach Book, Curacao edition

Bret Sigillo

The Beach Book, Curaçao edition is the definitive guidebook to ALL of Curaçao's 60 beaches. •Discover all the Curaçao beaches •Easy-to-read maps showing the quickest and most reliable way to get to your favorite beaches •Detailed east / west directions, travel times, distances, and GPS coordinates •Real and accurate observations about the beaches and the best roads to get there •The important details everybody needs to know about each beach

Travel Adventures Curacao

Lynne Sullivan

We travel to grow – our Adventure Guides show you how. Experience the places you visit more directly, freshly, intensely than you would otherwise – sometimes best done on foot, in a canoe, or through cultural adventures like art courses, cooking classes, learning the language, meeting the people, joining in the festivals and celebrations. This can make your trip life-changing, unforgettable. All of the detailed information you need is here about the hotels, restaurants, shopping, sightseeing. But we also lead you to new discoveries, turning corners you haven't turned before, helping you to interact with the world in new ways. That's what makes our Travel Adventure Guides unique. The author is fascinated with these islands and her passion comes across in the text, which is lively, revealing and a pleasure to read. Detailed town and regional maps make planning day-trips or city tours easy. Adventures covered range from town sightseeing tours and nature watching to sea kayaking and mountain climbing excursions. Travelers looking for a more relaxed vacation may want to sign up for dance lessons and take part in the local Carnaval or join a local cycling club and tackle some of the most scenic areas - these cultural adventures will introduce you to the people and afford you a truly unique travel experience. This guide focuses on Curaçao primarily and is based on material found in our larger book, Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao Travel Adventures. Curaçao is the C of the ABC islands, which stretch along the north coast of Venezuela, tucked into a hurricane-protected pocket of the Caribbean Sea. Along with sister islands Aruba and Bonaire, it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; citizens claim Dutch nationality and carry European Union passports. Until recently, the ABCs were part of the six-island group known as the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba became an autonomous country in 1986; Curacao and the Dutch half of St. Martin (Sint Maarten) gained the same status in 2010. With the core of the Netherlands Antilles dissolved, the remaining islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) became "special municipalities" of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The ABCs share a Dutch heritage that unites them culturally, but each island is in a different stage of development, and each has a distinct character. Curaçao is the largest and most economically developed of the three islands. The beaches are lovely, and the vast countryside is covered in a mix of desert and tropical flora. Much of the island’s colorful architecture is authentically restored and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Top sites include the core of Willemstad, the historic capital city, and restored mansions in the suburban communities of Scharloo, Pietermaai, and Curaçaoan. Each region of Curaçao offers a different type of landscape to explore. Christoffel Park sprawls over the hilly western end, which rises to 1,230-foot/375-meter Mt. Christoffel, the highest point on the island. The eastern end levels out to an austere plain with few roads and little to interest tourists. On the north coast, you will find stunning limestone cliffs and the impressive Hato Caves. The south coast is lined with infinite beaches and bays. Active vacationers enjoy a wide choice of daytime activities including boating, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Nightlife centers on great food and good music.

Frommer's Portable Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao

Christina Paulette Col?n

>Traveling to and around Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao; is as easy as A, B, C, with guidance from our expert author, who holds a PhD in ecology and an M.A. in environmental conservation, shows you how to travel "green" and enjoy your vacation in an eco-friendly way. Heading down under to the “Diver's Paradise” of Bonaire Making the most of Carnival in Curaçao

Curacao Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card 4" x 6"

Franko Maps Ltd.

A colorful guide that will help you identify more than 100 species of fish and other denizens of the waters surrounding Curacao. Great for snorkelers, divers and nature lovers! This handy, waterproof reference is made of hard, laminated plastic. 4" X 6" with hole for lanyard.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime occurs. Maintain vigilance as there have been reported cases of violent assault. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid unpopulated areas or unpatrolled beaches after dark. Check with local authorities to determine which beaches are safe.

Road travel

Major roads are in good condition, but road signs are rare. Wandering animals are a hazard. Driving is on the right side of the road, and turning right on red lights is prohibited.

Public transportation

All taxi drivers carry a badge and labels inside their taxi to identify themselves. Taxis have meters with fixed rates for each journey. There are taxi stands at the airport, in Punda and Otrobanda, and outside major hotels.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Emergency services

For emergency assistance, dial 444444 for police, 112 for ambulance and medical assistance, and 114 for the fire department.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is generally good. Medical centres offer several classes of service. Patients are accommodated according to the level of their insurance coverage.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Always carry identification documents with you as police are entitled to request them at any time.

The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited, unless fitted with a hands-free device, and is punishable by a fine.

An International Driving Permit is recommended, although foreign driver’s licences are recognized.

It is strictly prohibited to export pieces of coral or seashells.

You are allowed to purchase a maximum of $600 worth of duty-free merchandise based on the retail value.

If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in Curaçao, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and in Curaçao before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizens may be subject to national obligations such as taxes. Those affected should inquire at an embassy or consulate of the Netherlands regarding their status. Dual citizenship may also limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Rentals

Purchase insurance when renting motorboats, jet skis and vehicles. Ensure that you obtain detailed information, in writing, regarding personal liability.

Money

The currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder (ANG). U.S. dollars, traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars, and credit cards are widely accepted. You may convert foreign currency at all major banks and numerous exchange facilities. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available throughout the country.

Climate

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.