Set in the beautiful Southern Caribbean region, the island of Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Located approximately 56 kilometres from the northwest coast of Venezuela, the island combines more than 50 different nationalities in a population of just over 142,000.
The unique characteristics of capital city Willemstad is largely a result of the area’s African-Caribbean descendants and the Dutch and South American influences on Curaçao. Divided into 2 sections (Punda and Otrobanda), Willemstad has several historic districts and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Punda, the oldest area in the city, is still lined with many homes that were built by Dutch Protestant merchants and that date back to 1634. The districts of Scharloo and Pietermaai are also home to beautifully restored mansions.
Curaçao is a well-established port for shipping, thanks to the deep-water ports and location. The area is also famous for the clear blue waters and calm beaches that surround the island. Water activities, including boating tours, snorkelling and swimming are very popular for visitors.
Cruise ships may dock at Megapier Cruise Terminal, which is found at the entrance of St. Anna Bay, in Willemstad. Smaller cruise ships may dock at Mathey Wharf, which is inside the harbour. The central area of Willemstad is within 6 minutes’ walk of the terminal, across the main footbridge.
The large cruise ship terminal, Megapier Cruise Terminal, has a number of facilities travellers can take advantage of.
How to Get Around
With the port located so close to shopping and dining precincts, many visitors choose to explore the area on foot. Walking tours of the city are very popular. Car rental, island tours and public transport options are also available.
Taxis will likely be waiting outside of the terminal to transport you into the central district or to take you for a short trip around the city. Be prepared to negotiate on the fare rate.
Curaçao’s public bus system covers the majority of the island, with inner-city routes catered for around every hour. The large buses are called Konvooi and the smaller vans are referred to as ‘bus’ (with BUS on the licence plate). Schedules are available at the bus station. Tour groups also offer ATV and buggy tours, helicopter tours or cycling tours.
Travel times from the Megapier Cruise Terminal:
- It is a 4 minute journey to the Renaissance Rif Fort.
It is a 41 minute journey to Christoffel Park
It is a 14 minute journey to the Dolphin Academy
It is an 11 minute journey to the Curaçao Liqueur Factory.
Currency - The local currency in Curaçao is the Netherlands Antillean guilder (NAFl or Ang), which is sometimes also called the florin. Coins are available in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c and 50c, as well as ƒ1, ƒ2½,ƒ5 denominations. Notes are available in ƒ10, ƒ20, ƒ50 and ƒ100 denominations. The US dollar is also accepted in many areas of Curaçao.
Time Zone – Curaçao observes Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Curaçao’s climate is dictated by its tropical location, providing warm and sunny weather all year round. The temperature does not vary by more than a few degrees throughout the year, with an average temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is highest around November and December and is lowest around March. Curaçao’s annual rainfall is only around 570mm.
Christoffel Park – As the largest national park in Curaçao, Christoffel Park has something for every visitor. Many native wildlife can be found in the park, including the Palabrua, a rare native barn owl, and the Curaçao White-tailed deer. The park has 8 different hiking trails, including a difficult hike to the top of Christoffel Mountain. Visitors can also explore the park by car.
The Renaissance Rif Fort – Originally constructed in the 19th century and still home to 56 cannons that protected the island from unwelcome invasions, Renaissance Rif Fort is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors will find an abundance of nightlife, shopping, dining and entertainment options here.
Dolphin Academy – Offering visitors a personal and magical experience, the Dolphin Academy allows for real interaction with these beautiful mammals. Learn more about the dolphins through the academy’s informative programs or take part in a dolphin encounter, swim or snorkel adventure.
Curaçao Liqueur Factory – A visit to the home of Genuine Curacao Liqueur is certainly worthwhile. Produced locally in Landhuis Chobolobo, Genuine Curacao is made from the peels of the native Laraha. Visitors can take a free tour of the visitor centre (complete with free tasting) between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.