Curacao is one of the ABC islands that include Aruba and Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela. They have the reputation of lying outside of the hurricane path, but the truth is that they do face that possibility on rare occasion.
The island also is part of a group of five islands called the Netherlands Antilles, including Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius (or “Statia”) and St. Maarten (Dutch side).
The island is ranked 18th in total visits. Although more people visit the island by cruise than by stopover, the difference is smaller than the average island.
The capital city of Willemsted was chosen a cultural heritage of the world by UNESCO. A walk through the city reveals historical places, monuments and architecture. Tours around the island include the HATO caves and other historical landmarks.
Atlantis Adventures has semi-submarine tours; Curacao Sea Aquarium has 400 species from the ocean around Curacao and offers dolphin encounters in the water with them; and the separate Dolphin Academy has programs allowing visitors to swim, snorkel or dive with the dolphins.
Tourism / When to Go
Stopover tourists require a passport if they are staying up to 30 days. Cruise visitors simply require their cruise ID card when leaving and returning to the ship.
Curacao is consistently popular each month with the most popular ones being December, March and April. The least popular months are September followed by, oddly enough, May.
The average temperature is about 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the climate type is tropical like all of the islands, it has the benefit of cooling northeast trade winds. The average annual rainfall is among the lowest in the Caribbean at 22 inches.
Currency / Tipping
Currency is Netherlands Antillean guilders, although U.S. currency and major credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping is usually 10 percent for restaurants and taxi drivers; hotels add a 12 percent service charge to bills. The hotel room tax is 7 percent.
Culture / Geography
The dominant language is Papiamento, a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English dialect, although English is widely spoken. The economy depends on tourism, oil refining and offshore financing.
The terrain is mostly hilly with volcanic interiors. The light annual rainfall makes for sparse vegetation.
Sources / More information