Curaçao is an independent island nation in the southern Caribbean, off the coast of Venezuela. It is one of the ABC islands which include Aruba and Bonaire. Curaçao covers 444 sq km (171.4 sq mi) and has a population of 142,000 (2011 estimate). it includes the small, uninhabited Klein Curaçao. Together Curaçao is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The capital and largest city in Curaçao is Willemstad.

Evening in Willemstad, Curaçao
Author: Chika Watanabe (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Curaçao is four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4). It uses the Netherlands Antillean guider as its official currency. Traffic is driven on the right, the same as in the Netherlands. The phone IDD code is +599-9. The electricity here is 110-130V/50Hz using European plug. The official languages are Papiamentu and Dutch.

The name Curaçao means “cured” in Portuguese. How this name came about has not been fully established, with popular opinion being that it was given by early Portuguese who were cured of scurvy. In 16th century Spanish maps, the island appears as Curaçote, Curasaote and Curasaore.

Curaçao was occupied by the Dutch since 1634. The Dutch West Indies Company founded the settlement of Willemstad, which is today the capital, in 1634. Interestingly, although being under the Dutch for over four hundred years, the island was not renamed to a more Dutch-sounding one.

Beach in Curaçao
Author: Acdx (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

As with the other islands of the Caribbean, Curaçao is now banking on tourism as the mainstay of its economy. To this, it promotes its beaches and heritage as tourist products. In 2009, it had an estimated GDP at purchasing power parity of $2.914 million, equivalent to a per capita GDP of $20,567.

Curaçao has a semiarid climate which provides lots of sunshine attractive to most sun-seeking tourists. The temperature is quite uniform across the year, between 25.6°C (78/1°F) and 31.2°C (88.2°F). The dry season here is from January to September while the wet season from October to December.

Building called Landhuis Groot Davelaar in Curaçao
Author: Harry van der Made (Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Generic)

Visiting Curaçao

Hato International Airport (CUR) on the northern part of Curaçao is the gateway to the island. It receives flights from Amsterdam, Aruba, Bogotá, Bonaire, Caracas, Miami, Newark, Panama City, Paramaribo, Port of Spain and Santo Domingo, among others.

To explore Curaçao, it’s best that you rent a car. There are a number of car rental agencies at the airport. The fee is around $45 per day.

Major Cities in Curaçao

  1. Willemstad – capital

Places of Interest in Curaçao

  1. Christoffel National Park
  2. Curaçao Sea Aquarium
  3. Fort Amsterdam
  4. Fort Nassau
  5. Hato Caves
  6. Maritime Museum
  7. Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
  8. Museum Kura Hulanda
  9. Postal Museum
  10. Queen Emma Bridge
  11. Queen Juliana Bridge
  12. Shete Boka National Park

Beaches in Curaçao

  1. Cas Abao
  2. Daaibooi Baai
  3. Habitat Beach
  4. Playa Grote Kenapa
  5. Playa Jeremi
  6. Playa Kalki
  7. Playa Kleine Kenapa
  8. Playa Lagun
  9. Playa Porto Mari

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