A Brief History of Curacao

Curacao, located in the southern Caribbean Sea, is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was first inhabited by the Arawak people, before being discovered by the Spanish in 1499. In the early 17th century, the Dutch West India Company took control and established a naval base. Curacao's natural harbour, Schottegat, became a bustling centre for trade. The island thrived during the 18th and 19th centuries, aided by its strategic location and the booming slave trade. Slavery was abolished in 1863, and the economy shifted to oil refining in the 20th century. Today, Curacao is known for its blend of cultures, colourful architecture, and beautiful beaches.

FAQ for Curacao

What is the best way to get there?

The easiest way to reach Curacao is by air, with daily direct flights from several major cities around the world to Hato International Airport.

What is Curacao famous for?

Curacao is famous for its Dutch Colonial architecture, crystal clear waters, coral reefs ideal for diving and snorkelling, and the namesake Curacao liqueur.

What are five interesting facts about Curacao?

  • Curacao is home to over 35 unique beaches.
  • The island's official languages are Dutch, Papiamentu, and English.
  • It's known for its distinctive blue liqueur made from the dried peels of the "Laraha" citrus fruit.
  • Willemstad, the capital city, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Curacao has a multi-cultural community with over 50 nationalities.

How did Curacao get its name?

The origin of the name "Curacao" is debated, but one theory suggests it comes from the Portuguese word for heart ("coracao"), referring to the island as a centre of commerce.

What are some travel tips for Curacao?

Key travel tips for Curacao include renting a car to explore the island, trying local cuisine, packing sun protection, and bringing a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Do I need a visa?

Visa requirements for Curacao depend on your country of origin. Most tourists from the US, Canada, and EU do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days.

When is the best time to visit Curacao?

The best time to visit Curacao is during the dry season, from May to November, when the island enjoys warm, sunny weather.

Are there local customs I should know for Curacao?


The legal drinking age is 18, and alcohol is widely available across the island.


It's customary to greet people with a handshake, a smile, and a simple "hello" or "bon dia" (good day in Papiamentu).

Public transit

Buses and taxis are available, but renting a car is recommended for convenience.

What is the time zone for Curacao?

Curacao is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, which is 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4).

What are the voltage/plug types?

Electricity in Curacao is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are types F and C, the two-pronged plugs used in Europe.

What is the currency?

The official currency is the Antillean Guilder (ANG), but US dollars are widely accepted.

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes, ATMs are available throughout the island and dispense both Guilders and US dollars.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Most hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions in Curacao accept major credit cards.

Can you use ApplePay and Google Pay?

While some businesses may support ApplePay and Google Pay, their use is not as widespread.

How much do I tip in Curacao?

Tipping is customary in Curacao. Here are some general guidelines:


  • Restaurants/bars: 10-15% of the bill
  • Hotels: $1-2 per bag for bellboys and $2-3 per day for housekeeping
  • Taxis: 10% of the fare
  • Tour guides: $5-10 per person

Curacao at a Glance

Founded Population Elevation
1499 by the Spanish, 1634 by the Dutch 149,996 (source) 375m (Mount Christoffel)


Seasons/Months High (°C) Low (°C) High (°F) Low (°F)
Winter (Dec-Feb) 31 25 88 77
Spring (Mar-May) 32 26 90 79
Summer (Jun-Aug) 33 26 91 79
Fall (Sep-Nov) 32 26 90 79
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