Our Curaçao vacations gave us all kinds of tips on how to enjoy this southern Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela.
Curaçao is one of the ABC islands that include Aruba and Bonaire. It is a good choice for a vacation or cruise destination for anyone who has already seen Aruba and also wants a low risk of rain.
These ABC islands are the driest in the Caribbean. They have the reputation of lying outside of the hurricane path, although they do face the possibility of heavy rains or a nearby hurricane on rare occasion. Even so, the odds of dry and hot weather are good for most months of the year.
Curaçao also is part of a group of five islands called the Netherlands Antilles, including Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius 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.
Curaçao is best known for one major attraction -- the capital city of Willemstad. it 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.
We loved having lunches and dinners at restaurants along the inner harbor by Queen Emma Bridge after shopping in the historic district.
Curaçao Sea Aquarium has 400 species from the ocean around Curaçao and offers dolphin encounters in the water with them. The separate Dolphin Academy has programs allowing visitors to swim, snorkel or dive with the dolphins. Atlantis Adventures has semi-submarine tours.
Most of the island’s 17 beaches are on the southwest coast. The best is Klein Curaçao, which is an uninhabited island. Kenepa is the most popular.
Other attractions include the Curaçao Ostrich Farm and Hato Caves. Golfers have two 18-hole and one nine-hole courses.
Tourism / When to Go
Curaçao attracts about the same number of overnight vacationers each month with the most popular ones being December, March and April. The least popular months are September followed by, oddly enough, May.
September is usually the least popular month to visit the Caribbean because it is the peak of the annual hurricane season.
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.
The average high temperature ranges from 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius in January and February to 91 Fahrenheit in September. Temperatures are among the warmest in the Caribbean because of the island’s southern location.
Rainfall averages about one to two inches a month from January through September, according to the Meteorological Service of Netherland Antilles and Aruba. It averages between three and four inches from October through December.
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 Antillian 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.
Curaçao is a Dutch dependency that attracts a large number of Dutch tourists.
The terrain is mostly hilly with volcanic interiors. The light annual rainfall makes for sparse vegetation. Like Aruba, the interior is desert-like with dry brush and few trees.