Papiamento, Dutch and English are the official languages of Curaçao. Of these three Papiamento is the most widely spoken. It is a language created by the slaves from West-Africa who were brought to the island to work. Later this language was enriched by other nationalities who immigrated such as the Portugese, Dutch, Spanish and English.
In addition to these three official languages, Spanish and French are regularly spoken because of Curacao's colonial background.
Words in Papiamento
hello/hey: Bon dia/ Halo
Good morning: Morru
Good afternoon: Bon tardi
Good evening: Bon nochi
Please: Por fabor
Thank you: Danki
You're welcome: Di nada
Communicating with home
Mobile/ Telephone: You can call home with no problems. It could be cheaper to buy a local prepaid card or simcard. These can be bought at petrol stations and supermarkets.
Internet: Many public places provide free wifi. This includes most restaurants and hotels. Some beaches such as Cabana and Mambo beach also have free connection to wifi. The centre boasts a multitude of internet cafes. Costs for using internet or calling internationally are generally low.
Snorkeling and diving: Curaçao's maritime world possesses a great biodiversity, with stunning coral reefs to explore. It is one of the most popular locations for diving in the Caribbean. You can also dive and swim with wild dolphins and other sea creatures.
Night life: Curaçao boasts an outstanding night life. Inhabitants of Curaçao love to dance and party.
In the evening everything comes to life! There are beach parties on a regular basis . But there are also enough bars and clubs to go wild on the newest tunes or for trying out some salsa.
Carnaval: This huge event is something the people of Curaçao look forward to for the whole year. Streets are filled with vibrant colours and exotic music. This is definitely a must-see!
Do you need visa or permits?
When you're staying fewer than 90 days as a visitor or tourist and you have a Dutch nationality you don't need a visa.
If you're staying over 90 days as a visitor or tourist you should apply for a Caribbean visa. This visa expires within six months.
Work permit (also for interns and volunteers)
For temporary work or internships at Curaçao you will need a (temporarily) work permit. Before requesting this permit you're not allowed to work. Once the application is filed, you are allowed to work, pending the decision of the embassy.
Requirements for a work permit:
a valid passport
a return ticket or a ticket to another country
enough financial resources for the stay
55 Euros for the application . Be aware that costs for modification are 45 Euros.
If you're going to Curaçao for an internship you will need these additional documents:
copy of your birth certificate
certificate of good conduct
internship agreement certification from your university the internship is a required part of your studies
How about the money & the costs?
The currency of Curaçao is the Antillian guilder (Nafl.) 1 Euro is more or less 2,5 Nafl. The US dollar is also an officially accepted currency.
You can pay in cash almost anywhere. Currencies such as the Antillian guilder, US Dollar and the Euro are widely accepted. Exchanging money from Euros to Antillian guilders or US dollars can most cheaply be done on Curaçao, rather than prior to departure.
ou can pay with credit card in almost any big store, restaurant and hotel.
Traveller cheques are accepted at almost every major attraction, big store, restaurant and hotel. You will need to show your passport or ID for identification.
Costs for a cheap stay are around 15 to 30 euro per day.
You can have dinner for 8 Euros and a beer or cola will cost between 1 and 2 Euros.
Public transportation costs around 1,50 Euros.
Willemstad: The capital of Curaçao has a lot to offer. Take a walk at the floating market at the shore, eat typically Antilles food at Marshe Bieu and admire the colourful houses at Handelskade. The centre has a rich history and a lot of activities. In the centre you can find museums, stores, restaurants and a lot of possibilities to go out.
Mambo-beach: This is probably one of the most popular beaches. As such it's pretty busy but also very well facilitated with cocktail bars, live music and an open air cinema.
Klein Curaçao: A distance of 25 km south-east from the island of Curacao you can find an even smaller island, Klein Curaçao. It's a very peaceful island where you can enjoy the most beautiful white beaches and stunning coral reefs.
Christoffelpark: For the adventurous types there are a lot of active opportunities at this park which includes a mountain you can explore by car, quad, mountain bike, horse or by foot.
Mosquitoes love Curacao's climate too. So don't forget to pack your insect repellent!
How to transport yourself?
If you depart from Amsterdam, flight duration will be about 9 hours. Sometimes it's possible to fly cheaper from Germany or Belgium. The price of a flight to Curaçao is usually between 600 to 800 Euros. Bear in mind you have to pay 25 US Dollars airport tax, which is often not included in the ticket price. Sometimes the airport tax is included but do check this first.
By bus: Buses don't adhere to a strict timetable but are nonetheless a cheap option. Public transport in Curaçao is fairly limited . There are two kinds of public buses.
Firstly, there are the big yellow and blue buses called 'Konvooi' which depart from the bus station once per hour and drive you to more remote locations of the island. Prices are around 1,50 Euro.
For the shorter urban routes you can take the collective cars or vans called 'Bus'. These don't have a schedule but will drive you to your destination for 1,- to 2,50 euros.
:It is definitely recommended to rent a car so you can explore the island in your own way. The roads are mostly paved and in good state. If you prefer a more adventurous route you can explore the area of San Pedro. If you want something smaller and cheaper it would also be fun to rent a scooter or quad.
Taxis are generally cheap and reliable in Curaçao. The prices are fixed.
Tours & Training Desk
The Tours & Training Desk offers information & booking facilities for fair tours & courses on talent development and local culture.
The aim is to contribute, share knowledge, experiences and skills & to stimulate mutual understanding in the world.
Curaçao is part of the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean area which also consists of islands like Aruba and Bonaire.
Curaçao is a small island of just 10 miles across, compromising 150.000 inhabitants.
Curaçao has a rich history, albeit not a very positive one. The slave trade which was active until just a century ago, left behind many historical and cultural sights such as plantations and a cultural rich capital called Willemstad. Because of Curacao's colonial history it is culturally and demographically very diverse, boasting some typical Dutch cultural elements as well. Curaçao has a very constant climate, with temperatures of around 27 degrees the whole year round.
The island has one of the world's most beautiful beaches with pearly white sand and crystal clear water. You can go snorkelling and bask in the sun with a tropical cocktail next to you and some lounge music on the background. For the active visitor the island is a water sport paradise. In addition to beach and water activities there is lots of leisure to be found on land as well.
When to go?
Curaçao has a tropical climate with minimal rainfall. It's very sunny with a cooling breeze coming from the north-east. The perfect climate.
The average temperature is about 27 degrees the whole year round.
Nights are cooler by an average of 5 degrees.
Most rainfall will be between October and January.
During this period there is a chance of incidental heavy rainfall or tropical storms, but this is a rare occurrence.
Best travelling period
There isn't really a best travelling period. Generally, there is less rainfall between February and September when compared to other months.
Worst travelling period
Curaçao doesn't have a worst travelling period. On average there is more rainfall between October and January, when compared to other months.
Hours of sun
Curaçao has an average of 8 to 9 hours of sun per day.
The sea has an average temperature of 27 degrees. This is almost the same as the air temperature.
How to stay safe?
You can compare the safety of Curaçao with that of a Spanish city.
Watch out for pick pockets and other petty crime.
Don't show off your expensive jewellery and don't walk around with too much cash in your wallet.
Incidents of robbery are not uncommon so avoid alleys and other quiet or dark streets because these can be unsafe.
Serious crimes occur mostly in the organised criminal world, involving drugs or weapons trade. As an outsider you will usually not get caught up in this. Drug related crimes are punished severely. In case of emergency you can call the tourist emergency number: 917.
Robberies and petty crime happen on occasion. Generally speaking however, Curaçao is considered to be safe.
Most serious crimes are part of the organised criminal world involving drugs or weapons trade. As a visitor you will not be dealing with these kind of crimes. Small robberies and other small criminal incidents are not uncommon on Curaçao. Don't show off your expensive accessories and keep valuable possessions in your bag or even better in a safe at the hotel. Also keep an eye on your luggage at all times and don't accept packages of anyone.
Forces of nature
: From June to November hurricanes can occur in the Caribbean area. Yet they rarely reach Curaçao.
The traffic is mostly safe at Curaçao. Yet Curaçaoans often don't take traffic rules too seriously. For example, sometimes drivers will pass from the right side instead of from the left. Frequently the rule of giving way to the right is also put into practice differently. Be aware of scooters and cars without lights at night.
Possessing drugs is punished severely, even marihuana.
Avoid alleys and other quiet or dark streets and beaches. Check the unsafe areas before arriving at Curaçao so you don't accidentally end up somewhere dangerous . Neighbourhoods like Souax, Seu Fortuna and Scharloo are examples of unsafe areas you should avoid, especially at night. Prostitution and drugs trade are rife in these areas.
Where to sleep?
hotels and resorts
Accommodation in Curaçao mainly consists of luxurious hotels and resorts. These are generally expensive. But there are some cheaper options like bed & breakfasts and simple apartments. Be sure to book these cheaper options as soon as possible. Hostels are very rare at Curaçao.
Bed & breakfast:
If you want to experience the culture of Curaçao we recommend you to sleep at a bed & breakfast. These normally cost between 15 to
30 Euros per night.
Plane apartments or studios cost also 15 to 30 Euros per night.
If you want more luxurious accommodation , prices are around 30 to 60 Euros per night.
What can you eat & drink?
Curaçao has a very diverse cuisine. From typical Dutch to Japanese, Argentinean, Italian, Brazilian and more.
There are also a lot of possibilities to eat local Antilles food. Typical local food uses lots of meat and fish. Some of the best local food is found at Marshe Bieu.
Local stew like karni stoba (beef) and kabritu (goat)
Sopi di banana (a soup made of bananas)
Local caught fish like dradu (bream), red snapper, groupers and lobster
Pastechi (a savoury pie)
Grilled iguana or made as a stew
Amstel Bright (which tastes a bit like Corona) is a very popular beer at the Antilles.
Smoothies made of pineapple, mango and other local tropical fruits.
Fresh coconut water
Happy hour: A lot restaurants and beach clubs offer drinks at half price during happy hour. You can drink different (non-alcoholic) cocktails like Piña colada, fruit punch and Lamoenchi.
Liquors like rum and Blue Curaçao
How to stay healthy?
Besides dengue there aren't any risks to catch tropical diseases at Curaçao, so vaccination isn't necessary. You might need some insect repellent because Curaçao isn't short of mosquitoes! This is particularly true during the rainy season. The water supply is of good quality and covers the criteria of the World Health Organization. The water supply consists of distilled seawater.
You will only need a vaccination when you've visited a yellow fever area.
There is dengue in Curaçao
Party, Party ... & Celebrations
At the Antilles people really like to party. So whenever an opportunity arises to celebrate, Curaçaoans will arrange a huge party. Do keep in mind that companies and governmental offices are often closed on these days.
Traditional celebrations and remembrance days
: Carnival is one of the most outspoken and wild celebrations at Curaçao. Colourful parades and dancers fill the streets in February. Other typical celebrations are Seú Parade (harvest festivity) and remembrance of the slavery resistance.
The kite season starts around March or April. This is a season full of kite competitions. If you prefer sailing, there is an international sail competition in June.
One of the biggest music festivals of Curaçao is the International Jazz festival in September.
Curaçaoans also celebrate new year, Christmas and even Dutch celebrations like Kingsday and Sinterklaas.