Willemstad - Curaçao
Willemstad - Curaçao

Willemstad

A view of the iconic Handelskade Waterfront of Willemstad as seen from the Queen Emma Bridge.
Photo by Cole Marshall

CURAÇAO

Carribean

Curaçao Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Willemstad

Location:

Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean Sea, 55 km off the coast of Venezuela

Currency:

Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG)

Area:

444 sq km

Population:

151,885 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 80%, Dutch (official) 8.8%, Spanish 5.6%, English (official) 3.1%, other 2.3%, unspecified 0.3% (2011 est.)

Religion:

Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal 6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC-4

Tel Code:

+599

Weather

Climate

The climate in Curaçao is tropical, with temperatures averaging around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (27-32 degrees Celsius) year-round. The island receives relatively little rainfall, with the drier season running from January to September, and the rainy season from October to December.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Curaçao depends on your personal preferences and what you want to do while you are on the island. If you want to avoid the crowds and take advantage of lower hotel rates, the best time to visit is during the low season, which runs from May to November. If you prefer warmer weather and are interested in water activities, the best time to visit is during the high season, which runs from December to April.

Hurricane Season

It is important to note that the island is located in the hurricane belt and the island is most vulnerable during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. If you decide to visit Curaçao during this time, it is important to keep an eye on the weather forecast and to make sure that your travel insurance covers you in case of a storm.

Transportation

Taxis

Taxis are a convenient and popular transportation option in Curaçao. They are readily available at the airport, major hotels, and popular tourist areas, and are a good choice for getting around the island if you don't want to rent a car. Taxis in Curaçao are metered, and the cost of a taxi ride will depend on the distance traveled.

Car Rental

Renting a car is a good option if you plan to explore the island on your own and want more flexibility. There are several car rental agencies located at the airport, as well as in popular tourist areas around the island. Note that you have to have a valid driver's license and be over 21 years old to rent a car in Curaçao.

Public Transportation

Curaçao has a reliable and affordable public transportation system consisting of buses and minibuses. The buses are operated by several different companies and can be a good option for getting around the island if you're on a budget. The buses run on a regular schedule, and you can buy tickets on board.

Bicycles and Scooters

Another option for getting around Curaçao is by bicycle or scooter. There are several companies on the island that rent out bicycles and scooters, and it's a great way to explore the island at your own pace. Just keep in mind that Curaçao has a lot of hills, so it can be a bit challenging to get around on a bike or scooter.

Accommodation

Hotels

Curaçao offers a wide variety of hotel accommodations for visitors, including luxury resorts, mid-range hotels, and budget-friendly options. Some of the top-rated hotels on the island include the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, and the Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club.

Vacation Rentals

Another popular accommodation option in Curaçao is vacation rentals, such as villas and apartments. These rentals offer visitors more space, privacy, and flexibility than traditional hotels, and are often a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together. Some popular vacation rental providers in Curaçao include VRBO and Airbnb.

Camping and Glamping

For those who are looking for a unique and more natural experience, Curaçao also offers camping and glamping sites, where you can enjoy the island's natural beauty while enjoying all the comforts of home. Some popular camping and glamping sites in Curaçao include Boca Tabla Camping & Bungalows and Bonaire Beach Resort.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

Things to Do

Curaçao is a Caribbean island that is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities. With so much to see and do on the island, it can be difficult to narrow down the top things to do, but here's a list of the top 10 must-see and must-do activities:

1. Visit the Historic Willemstad

The capital of Curaçao, Willemstad, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is known for its colorful Dutch colonial architecture, bustling marketplaces, and great restaurants and bars.

2. Relax on the Beautiful Beaches

Curaçao is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Some of the most popular beaches include Cas Abao, Porto Marie, and Knip Bay.

3. Explore the Underwater World

Curaçao is a diver's paradise. The island is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean, with an abundance of marine life and colorful coral reefs.

4. Visit the Curaçao Sea Aquarium

This is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island, and it is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and tropical fish.

5. Take a Day Trip to Klein Curaçao

Klein Curaçao is a small, uninhabited island located just off the coast of Curaçao. It is known for its beautiful beaches and great snorkeling and diving opportunities.

6. Explore the Curaçao Ostrich Farm

The Curaçao Ostrich Farm is a unique attraction where visitors can learn about these fascinating birds and even take a ride on one!

7. Visit the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery

Curaçao is known for its famous blue liqueur, and a visit to the distillery is a must for any liqueur lover.

8. Hike the Christoffel National Park

The Christoffel National Park is a beautiful nature reserve that is home to a variety of plants and animals, as well as some great hiking trails.

9. Enjoy the Nightlife

Curaçao is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a wide variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from.

10. Take a Boat Tour

A boat tour is a great way to see the island from a different perspective and to explore some of the more remote areas.

With so much to see and do on this island, you will never run out of things to do on your next trip to Curaçao!

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