Country guides Caribbean
Electrical current is 127 volts, 50Hz. Two-pronged flat plugs are used.
Dutch is the official language, but English and Spanish are widely spoken. The majority of islanders speak Papiamentu, a Creole language.
The official currency is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG), which is divided into 100 cents. US currency is accepted everywhere and the Guilder is tied to the US Dollar. Most major credit cards are widely accepted. Banks and exchange bureaux will change foreign currency and ATMs are available.
A 10 percent service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, but a few extra guilders as change is appreciated. Most hotels add a 12 percent service charge, and porters are usually tipped one or two guilders. It is customary to tip taxi drivers about 10 percent.
Curacao has no tropical diseases such as malaria (though mosquitoes can be a problem), and no vaccinations are necessary. However, a vaccination for hepatitis A should be considered and proof of a yellow fever vaccination is necessary for those arriving from infected areas. Tap water is distilled from the sea and is safe to drink. There are a number of medical centres on the island, as well as a modern and well-equipped hospital, but travel insurance is still recommended.
Most visits are trouble free, but petty crime is on the increase and although tourist areas are generally safe it is advisable to take sensible precautions like not taking valuables to the beach or wandering alone off the main roads at night. The islands are used to smuggle drugs from South America to Europe and North America and visitors should not leave bags unattended or agree to carry packages for anyone.
Topless sunbathing and nudity is illegal on the island, and beachwear is inappropriate away from the beach. Curacao is a self-proclaimed 'gay friendly' destination.
Curacao is an important centre of business in the Caribbean. Business tends to be conducted formally; punctuality is important and dress is smart and conservative. Greetings are usually accompanied by a handshake and business cards are exchanged. Although Dutch is the official language, Spanish and English are widely spoken. Business hours are usually 7.30am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Travellers to Curacao may import 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, and one litre of alcohol. There are no restrictions around perfume.
The international dialling code for Curacao is +599. Free WiFi is available at most upscale hotels; travellers can purchase local SIM cards for unlocked phones.
Passport & Visa
Travellers are required to have a return or onward ticket to another destination, and all the documentation required for that journey. Visa extensions are possible. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
United States citizens must hold a valid passport. No visa is required for stays of up to 180 days.
UK passport holders, irrespective of the endorsement regarding their national status, must hold a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Canadian nationals must have a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
South African citizens must have a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao, and must obtain a visa prior to entry. Passengers do not need a visa if they have a multiple-entry "C" visa issued by a Schengen Member State which lasts for a maximum of 90 days or a valid "D" visa issued by a Schengen Member State.
Irish nationals must have a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
New Zealand nationals must have a passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Curaçao. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Curacao Tourist Board, 19 Pietermaai, Willemstad, Curaçao: +599 9 434 8200911 (Police); 912 (Ambulance).
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Netherlands Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 244 5300.
Netherlands Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7590 3200.
Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 5031.
Netherlands Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6220 9400.
Netherlands Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 425 4500.
Netherlands Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 269 3444.
Netherlands Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 471 6390.
Embassies / consulates in Curacao
United States Consulate General, Curacao: +599 9 461 3066.
United Kingdom Embassy, Willemstad, Curacao: +599 9 747 3322.
Embassy of Canada, Caracas, Venezuela (also responsible for Curacao): +58 212 600 3000.
Australian Embassy in Santiago, Chile (also responsible for Curacao): +56 2 550 3605.