Beyond Blue: Exploring the Island of Curaçao

Sweet Curaçao: Exploring Diving’s Secret Getaway In the Caribbean

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Facts and Figures

  • Official name: Curaçao
  • Location: Southwestern Caribbean, at 12 degrees north latitude and 68 degrees west longitude.
  • Size: 37 miles (59 km) long, six and a half miles (10.4 km) wide, or about 171 square miles (455 sq km).
  • Highest point: Mount Christoffel, at about 1,240 feet (376 m).
  • Capital: Willemstad.
  • Population: 153,000.
  • Government: Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; residents have Dutch nationality and carry European Union passports. It has a parliamentary democracy, with both federal and territorial governments.
  • Language: English is spoken almost everywhere, as is Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento, a Creole mix that combines all three.
  • Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time, or one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time and four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
  • Climate: Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate with constant cool breezes from trade winds. Year-round temperatures average 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). The “rainy” season is October to February, and even then usually at night; semi-arid Curaçao only gets about 22 inches (56 cm) of rain a year.
  • Water Temperature: Summer’s high is about 84 F (29 C); winter’s lows are 81 F (27 C) in January and February.
  • Getting Here: Hato International Airport, which has the longest runway in the Caribbean, is served by daily flights on U.S. carriers; flight time is about 2 ½ hours from Miami.
  • Entry Requirements: American tourists need a current passport and return ticket.
  • Transportation: Rental cars, scooters or taxis are your best bet, though minibuses are also available. Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Money: The local currency is the Netherland Antilles florin (Nafl), but U.S. currency and credit cards are widely accepted; $1 is about Nafl 1.77. Most ATMs offer the option to withdraw money in U.S. dollars.
  • Dress: Cool and casual in the day, but reserve swimwear for the beach and pool. Dress up a bit for dinner; some restaurants prohibit shorts, and some casinos require jackets for men.
  • Water: Water comes from a modern desalination plant and is safe to drink; take bottled water if you’re out and about.
  • Electricity: Hotels use both the round-prong European plug and the two-blade U.S. plug; they’ll provide adaptors for U.S. plugs if necessary.
  • Departure Tax: $39 per person is included in your airfare.
  • For More Information: Visit the Curaçao Tourism Board’s website,, call 800-328-7222, or email northamerica@Curaç Curaçao also offers a free “Curaçao to Go!” iPad and iPhone app at the iTunes store for trip planning.