Investment in Curacao

Source: http://www.investcuracao.com/

Curacao is the largest of the five islands that together make up the Netherlands Antilles. The other four islands are Bonaire, St. Marten, St. Eustatius and Saba. Curacao is located in the southwestern Caribbean, 44 miles off the coast of South America and rather close to its sister islands of the ABC group, Aruba and Bonaire. It is approximately 38 miles long and from 2 to 7.5 miles wide depending on where on the island you are.

The average temperature is in the mid 80s all year round and the island has relatively little rain throughout the year making Curacao a perfect vacation destination especially with the added perk of it being outside the hurricane belt. Curacao is known to have a minimum of 30 beautiful yet intimate beaches scattered along its coast. The well known Seaquarium Beach is home to the Sea Aquarium as well as the Sea Aquarium Beach Resort. The waters are calm and excellent for swimming and diving. In fact Curacao is like a hidden treasure chest to the Scuba diving world. The waters surrounding this tranquil island are full of the most colorful and exciting reefs, marine life and shipwrecks. A must stop for diving enthusiasts.

Economy
The Curacao economy relies heavily on tourism, petroleum transshipment, and offshore banking all of which are closely tied to the United States, Europe and South America and almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US and Venezuela being the major suppliers.
The oil refinery earnings represent more than 90% of all exports. About 200 cruise ships come annually, and nearly 240,000 tourists, most from Europe and specifically the Netherlands, visit each year.

Government
Curacao’s government is based on a parliamentary democracy, and Parliament comprises a council of ministers and a prime minister. A governor general, is appointed by the queen of the Netherlands to be the crown’s representative in the Netherlands Antilles. Curacao falls under the Dutch legal system.

Climate
Curacao is warm and sunny year round with an average temperature about mid 80s (27°C ). The rainy season occurs between October and February with short, occasional showers, mostly at night, with sunny weather during the day. Total annual rainfall averages only 22 inches (570 mm).

History
Curacao has a very rich and unique history. It is the largest of the Dutch Caribbean islands and was first settled by the Spanish in 1527. The Dutch gained power in 1634 and have primarily retained possession of the island well into this century. Curacao was at the center of the slave trade in the Caribbean and once slavery ended in 1863 petroleum became vital to their economy well into the 21 st century, along with tourism. Rather than ignore it’s dark history, Curacao has chosen through its’ museums on the island to to educate those that visit, through very sophisticated exhibits depicting the black holocaust. The museum located at Hotel Kura Hulanda is in the capital Willemstad, as are all the museums and has probably the largest collection of African artifacts in the Caribbean.

Punda, which means the point, is the oldest part of Willemstad. Otrabanda, which means the other side, is where the first buildings were actually constructed. Curacao’s “Floating Lady” official name the Queen Emma Bridge was built in 1888 and still functions as a major connection between the east and west sides of Willemstad and swings open several times throughout the day to admit ships to the harbor.

Today Curacao is known as the gem of the scuba diving world and is often compared with Grand Cayman as a diver’s paradise. The capital Willemstad has fantastic shopping and a very technologically advanced business districts. When in Curacao the Floating Market is a must a spot known throughout the Caribbean, where islanders from surrounding islands come in boats to sell almost everything from fresh fruit to art and crafts.

Currency – Universal Currency Converter
The local currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder also known as the florin and abbreviated as NAf or ANG. The stable rate is US$ 1 = NAf 1.77 for cash. The exchange rate can vary very slightly from stores and hotels. There is no black market and no restrictions on the amount of money one chooses to bring into the country. International credit cards are accepted at most major commercial establishments.

Curacao Entry Requirements:

US and Canadian citizens need either a valid passport, or proof of citizenship in the form of an original birth certificate accompanied by photo ID, and an onward or return ticket. Most other nationals need only a passport. Visitors from the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Haiti require a visa.

Curacao’s Commitment to Economic Growth
Curacao is committed to economic growth and to leveraging and nurturing its unique comparative advantages. At the core of economic policies are the interests of investors which are reflected in the underlying principles of the investment upgrade program, economic development strategy, privatization program, and legislative reform. Curacao recognizes that essential to its economic growth is the need to create an environment that is attractive, open, and friendly to foreign investment. This guide is designed to provide investors an overview of Curacao’s economy and links and referrals to more detailed information and assistance.

Location
Curacao is located in the southwestern Caribbean, at’altitude 12′ north and longitude 68′ west. The island is just 44 miles (70 km) north of South America. It is 2.5 hours by air from Miami. See Map

Size
444 square kilometers
(182 square miles);
61 km long: 5-14 km wide.

Population
Curacao has 150,000 inhabitants; 40 to 50 different nationalities live on the island.The nationalities are mainly from Europe, South America, Africa and the native Indians that once inhabited the island before the Europeans came.

Time Zone
Curacao is on Atlantic Standard Time: one hour later than US Standard Time (the same time as Daylight Savings Time) and four hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time.

Language
Dutch is the official language but Curacoans are multilingual and speak English and Spanish very well along with Papiamento, the local Creole language with it’s heritage taken from Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Dutch and West African.