Practical information Curacao
With its pearly white sands, beautiful blue sea and year-long warm climate Curaçao is a real dream destination. The melting pot of cultures on the Caribbean island makes for pleasant variations in language, peoples and cultures. Enjoy the sun on one of the many beaches of Curaçao, explore its impressive underwater world or visit one of the beautiful parks where the robust plant and animal life can be seen in all its splendour. The capital Willemstad is also a must-see. This historic harbour town offers a wealth of culture that is otherwise unknown in the Caribbean. There are lots of great shops and you can enjoy magnificent meals. The pleasant speed at which life moves on Curaçao is also one of the reasons why it is so easy to have a relaxing and worry-free holiday there. The following practical information may help you to prepare for your holiday on Curaçao.
Curaçao is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- The official languages on Curaçao are Dutch and Papiamento. Many people also speak excellent English and Spanish.
- Time on Curaçao is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. In summer months (Daylight Saving Time) this time difference is 5 hours.
- Electrical current on Curaçao is 110 to 130 Volts at 50Hz. Some hotels and apartments have a 220 volt current. Most electrical sockets (outlets) are American. Europeans will usually need an adapter (easily obtainable on Curaçao). The Electrical current is quite constant, but a voltage regulator is advised for sensitive equipment or computers. You can charge your batteries for underwater or video equipment at diving and photography shops.
The fire brigade and police can be reached on Curaçao by calling the number 911. You can call an ambulance with number 912 and the coastguard on number 913. Diving chamber: 910 or +5999 462 4900
Internet connections are of good quality on the whole island. Internet cafés can be found in various locations. In some places, such as the Wilhelmina square in Willemstad, WiFi is available.
In order to be able to call from public phone boxes, you will need a phone card. These cards are available at, among others, snack bars and post offices.
- New year’s day
- 10 – 12 February (Carnaval)
- Good Friday
- Dutch King’s day
- Labour day
- 2 July (Dia di Bandera i Hymne)
- 10 October (Dag van het Land Curaçao)
- Christmas Day (25 December)
- Boxing Day (26 December)
- New Year’s Eve
Many border formalities, such as travel documents, medical coverage and bringing pets, depend on your nationality. The duration of your stay also plays a role. General rules concerning border formalities can be read below. Make sure you are fully informed about the border formalities for your specific situation. When in doubt, obtain extra information.
- When traveling to Curaçao you need a valid passport and you need to be able to show a return ticket.
- A European driving license is valid on Curaçao should you wish to rent a car. You do not need an international driving license.
- Airlines all have their own rules concerning amount, weight and size of luggage that you may bring with you. Consult the information on your ticket and the airline’s website. Usually you are allowed to bring one piece of hand luggage. Generally speaking the following applies: the cheaper the flight, the stricter the rules are enforced.
- Travellers generally do not have any trouble importing goods for personal use and gifts upon arrival on Curaçao. If you are bringing expensive jewellery or cameras etc. it is wise to have a proof of purchase with you in order to prevent having to pay import duties upon your return home.
- Clearly state which prescribed medicines you have with you. It is a serious offence to have even small quantities of illegal drugs with you.
- Should you want to take any pets along with you, they will need a valid health attestation which is not older than two weeks. This can be included in your EU animal passport.
- Dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies and should not have any internal or external parasites. Between 48 and 24 hours before departure they need to be treated with a registered insecticide. A statement that this has been done needs to be added to the animal passport.
- Make sure you have extensive travel insurance with medical coverage.
Generally the following operating hours apply on Curaçao. The operating hours may vary from place to place.
- Shops: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00. Supermarkets are open the entire day. Some supermarkets on Curaçao are also open on Sundays.
- Banks: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 15:30.
- Post offices: Monday to Saturday from 07.30 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 17:00.
Currency and finance
Curaçao currency is the Dutch Antillean Guilder (NAF). American Dollars are also accepted. Credit cards are accepted virtually everywhere on Curaçao. There are cash machines (the so called ‘bankomaticos’). Often you will be able to take out Dollars as well as Dutch Antillean Guilders. Some restaurants and hotels also accept Euros, but this is not customary tender. In cafés, restaurants and in taxis it is customary to give a tip.
In principle the tap water on Curaçao is drinkable. As the natural freshwater basins do not carry enough water to supply the whole of Curaçao with drinking water, seawater is distilled. This is an expensive process, so you are requested not to be wasteful with water.
Roads and traffic
The roads on Curaçao are generally of good quality. Traffic drives on the right. On crossings and roundabouts traffic coming from the right has right of way, unless otherwise states. On T-junctions vehicles going straight on always have right of way. Maximum speed within populated areas is 40 km per hour. Outside of these areas the maximum speed varies between 60 and 80 km per hour.