Places in Curaçao
Willemstad, Curacao
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Willemstad, Curacao

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Curaçao Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

444 sq km (171 sq miles).

Population

158,635 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

334.4 per sq km.

Capital

Willemstad.

Government

Automous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Head of state

King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented by Governor Lucille George-Wout since 2013.

Head of government

Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas since March 2021.

Electricity

120/127 volts AC, 50Hz. American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without round grounding pin) are used.

The southern Caribbean island of Curaçao boasts a vibrant cultural mix, from the colonial architecture of the Dutch to the mouth-watering cuisine of the Creole. This combined with the natural beauty of the island makes it a real gem worthy of discovery. Think rolling desert plains concealing rocky coves trimmed by massive cliffs, to long sandy beaches flanked by clear blue-green water, while leafy nature trails offer quiet seclusion – you'll find them crisscrossing much of the island. Wander past landhuizen, which means 'land houses', and old plantations juxtaposed near cacti clusters and desert shrubbery.

The island's handsome UNESCO heritage capital of Willemstad offers visitors a window into the past with its pastel-coloured houses and cobblestone plazas. For the commercially minded, music-filled malls bustle with bag-laden shoppers and cut-price deals.

Situated on the outer fringe of the hurricane belt, Curaçao weathers a strong breeze that lessens the intensity of the Caribbean sun. It also makes Curaçao ideal for water sports, while the island's stunning coral reef draws divers from across the globe.

If it's the coastline you've come for, you won't be disappointed. There are some 40 beaches, some of them several kilometres long, with powdery sand that looks from a distance like blankets of silk. You'll also find a number of small coves; often you can claim them for yourself.

Although for much of the year Curaçao is tranquil and sleepy, carnival is perhaps the best time to visit. A huge party engulfs the island, and more revellers are flocking here to take part in the festivities every year – part of what makes carnival so compelling here is the multicultural vibes of the inhabitants.

So whether you want to lounge on a beach, explore rugged nature, wander colonial architecture or party until dawn, Curaçao will not disappoint.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Curaçao on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights to and from Curaçao remain limited. Check with your travel company for the latest information.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Curaçao.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK. You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. Contact the local authorities in Curaçao to receive information on getting tested for travel purposes.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Curaçao

The Government of Curaçao has put measures in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. All measures and updates can be found on the website of the Government of Curaçao.

Healthcare in Curaçao

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact the health authority (GGD) by calling 9345.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Curaçao

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Curaçao

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Curaçao announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Curaçao national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in Curaçao are eligible for vaccination. The vaccine will be available to all residents and will be rolled out in stages according to priority group. Once the vaccine is available to your priority group, you can register online or by phone. Further information is available on this website of the Government of Curaçao.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Curaçao, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Most visits to Curaçao are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime is a concern. There is violent crime among members of the illegal drugs world, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you should take normal precautions. Avoid remote areas at night. Don’t take valuables to the beach or leave any valuables in your vehicle. Make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch.

The islands of the Dutch Caribbean continue to be used to smuggle illegal drugs from South America to Europe and North America. You should have a heightened sense of awareness of this problem and never leave bags unattended. Under no circumstances should you discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. Some airports have installed body scanners and it is possible you may be required to have a scan. Dutch authorities generally screen all baggage and passengers from the Dutch Caribbean. 

Local travel

When taking a taxi, always check that it is a registered one and negotiate the price before taking the ride. Most taxis do not have meters.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the right-hand side. Main road conditions are relatively good, but roads can become slippery when wet.

Air travel

You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

Political situation

Curaçao is now an autonomous country within Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with Aruba and St. Maarten. It has a separate government, and currently shares a central bank with St. Maarten. The island lies within 50 miles of Venezuela.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Curaçao, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

By Dutch law, you must always carry your ID. You should carry a copy of your passport with you at all times.

Language

Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish and English are spoken in Curaçao with Dutch being the official language. In Curaçao the Creole language, Papiamento (a mixture of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and French), is widely spoken.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Curaçao

Entry requirements for Curaçao and details of the testing and quarantine requirements for travellers can be found on the Curaçao tourist board website.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British nationals don’t need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in a calendar year. Extensions beyond 90 days can be requested at immigration, but you must have travel insurance for the duration of your extended stay.

Further information on visa requirements can be found at the Netherlands and You website.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Curaçao.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Curaçao on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Curaçao.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

UK health authorities have classified Curaçao as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Curaçao and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The European Health Insurance Card EHIC is not valid in Curaçao. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The hurricane season in the Dutch Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Meteorological department of Curaçao and the National Hurricane Centre, and follow the advice of the local authorities. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane.

Most hurricanes pass well to the north of Curaçao, which has no record of a recent major hurricane; there are occasional tropical storms.

The local currency is the Antillean guilder (ANG). It has been fixed to the US Dollar at approximately 1.80 NAf to 1USD for over 35 years.

The US Dollar is also accepted. Local currency and US Dollar ATM machines (Maestro/Cirrus) are situated throughout the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist establishments.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.