Because of its wonderful climate, CuraÃ§ao is a year round paradise for those looking for an active, outdoor vacation. At the same time our historic capital Willemstad – featured on the World Heritage List – our beaches and underwater park offer diverse possibilities to people of all ages and interest. Before you start packing, take some time to inform yourself about our island, how to get here and how to enjoy your stay to the max!
The Hato International Airport is a center for various European airlines flying to the Caribbean, like the KLM and Sobelair. In addition, major American airlines like American Eagle and American Airlines have frequent flight services to and from the island. CuraÃ§ao has regular connecting flights to most South American capitals, including Caracas, BogotÃ¡, Quito and Paramaribo. Our national carrier Dutch Caribbean Airlines has daily flights connecting the Antillean islands to each other and the world. Several regional airlines including Air Jamaica, also offer frequent services to Curacao.
Another very popular way of visiting the island is by cruise ship. New mega-cruisers can comfortably dock at the â€˜Mega pierâ€™, located within walking distance of the famous harbor and the historic city center of Willemstad, the capital of CuraÃ§ao. As of October 2001 there is also a sea ferry connection between Bonaire and Curacao. The ‘Chogogo’ catamaran takes just an hour and a half one way. From Venezuela, the port of Curacao can be reached by ferry.
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 nationalities need only a passport; ask your travel agent for more information. Visitors from the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Haiti require a visa. If you plan to stay for more than three months, an application for a resident permit is essential.
Departure Tax: departing air travelers have to pay a mandatory airport tax. For flights within the Netherlands Antilles, the tax amounts to US $6 per person and for international flights, including those to Aruba, US $20 per person.
Time: CuraÃ§ao is on Atlantic Standard Time; one hour later than US Eastern Standard Time (the same time as Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and 5 hours earlier than the Central European time. In European summertime, the time difference shifts to 6 hours.
Electricity: At 110 – 130 volts/50 cycles electricity is similar but not identical to the US standard. So while most 60 cycle electrical appliances from the United States will function properly, hairdryers, clothing irons and battery chargers may overheat when used for a long period of time. Dual voltage appliances from Europe and South America will need an adapter plug, readily available on the island. Although electrical current is generally reliable, the use of surge regulator is advised for sensitive electronic devices and computers.
What to Wear: Since temperatures are warm throughout the year, light, casual tropical wear is in order. However, most indoor establishments are air conditioned, so you may need a light jacket or long sleeves. Also, with the constant Caribbean breeze it can get just a little bit chilly in the late night hours, especially by the sea. Touristy outfits of sandals, short pants and (for men) sleeveless tops are a no-no at certain more upscale restaurants and clubs. Wear sturdy shoes and long pants to walk in the countryside, these protect your legs and feet from the thorny underbrush, cacti and mosquitoes.
By Car: Driving is on the right side of the road. At intersections and traffic circles yield to traffic coming from your right unless signs indicate otherwise. At all T-crossings through traffic has priority unless indicated otherwise. No right turn allowed at red lights. Most principal routes are well indicated but some suburban areas lack road signs, so inform yourself duly and consult a road map before setting off on your excursion. The use of safety belts is compulsory.
The speed limit is 45 km/hour in town and residential areas and 60-80 km/hour outside the city and on the four-lane ring road.
By Bus: Though it is possible to get around the island by bus, public transportation is somewhat limited. CuraÃ§aoâ€™s two types of public transportation are the large busses called ‘konvoi’ and cars or mini vans called ‘bus’. You can recognize them by the word BUS on the license plate. Major bus terminals are located outside the post office on the Waaigat inlet in Punda and beside the underpass in Otrobanda. With fees varying from 1.50 to 3.50 guilders, it’s a cheap and fun way to see the island and its people. Last services are generally around 23.00.
By Taxi: There are taxi stands at the airport, in Punda and Otrobanda, and outside major hotels. Taxis are easily identified by their sign and/or the letters TX on the license plate and have no meters, but fares are standard; confirm these before departure. Expect to pay about US$ 10.00 from the airport to town and US$ 12.00-15.00 to hotels.