is the largest of the five islands that together make up the Netherlands
Antilles. The other four islands are Bonaire, St. Marten, St. Eustatius
and Saba. Curaçao is located in the southwestern Caribbean,
44 miles off the coast of South America and rather close to its sister
islands of the ABC group, Aruba and Bonaire. It is approximately 38
miles long and from 2 to 7.5 miles wide depending on where on the
island you are.
The average temperature is in the mid 80s all year round and the island
has relatively little rain throughout the year making Curaçao
a perfect vacation destination especially with the added perk of it
being outside the hurricane belt. Curaçao is known to have
a minimum of 30 beautiful yet intimate beaches scattered along its
coast. The well known Seaquarium Beach is home to the Sea Aquarium
as well as the Sea Aquarium Beach Resort. The waters are calm and
excellent for swimming and diving. In fact Curaçao is like
a hidden treasure chest to the Scuba diving world. The waters surrounding
this tranquil island are full of the most colorful and exciting reefs,
marine life and shipwrecks. A must stop for diving enthusiasts.
The Curaçao economy relies heavily on tourism, petroleum transshipment,
and offshore banking all of which are closely tied to the United States,
Europe and South America and almost all consumer and capital goods
are imported, with the US and Venezuela being the major suppliers.
The oil refinery earnings represent more than 90% of all exports.
About 200 cruise ships come annually, and nearly 240,000 tourists,
most from Europe and specifically the Netherlands, visit each year.
Curaçao's government is based on a parliamentary democracy,
and Parliament comprises a council of ministers and a prime minister.
A governor general, is appointed by the queen of the Netherlands to
be the crown's representative in the Netherlands Antilles. Curaçao
falls under the Dutch legal system.
Curaçao is warm and sunny year round with an average temperature
about mid 80s (27°C ). The rainy season occurs between October
and February with short, occasional showers, mostly at night, with
sunny weather during the day. Total annual rainfall averages only
22 inches (570 mm).
Curaçao has a very rich and unique history. It is the largest
of the Dutch Caribbean islands and was first settled by the Spanish
in 1527. The Dutch gained power in 1634 and have primarily retained
possession of the island well into this century. Curaçao was
at the center of the slave trade in the Caribbean and once slavery
ended in 1863 petroleum became vital to their economy well into the
21 st century, along with tourism. Rather than ignore it's dark history,
Curaçao has chosen through its' museums on the island to to
educate those that visit, through very sophisticated exhibits depicting
the black holocaust. The museum located at Hotel Kura Hulanda is in
the capital Willemstad, as are all the museums and has probably the
largest collection of African artifacts in the Caribbean.
Punda, which means the point, is the oldest part of Willemstad. Otrabanda,
which means the other side, is where the first buildings were actually
constructed. Curaçao's "Floating Lady" official name
the Queen Emma Bridge was built in 1888 and still functions as a major
connection between the east and west sides of Willemstad and swings
open several times throughout the day to admit ships to the harbor.
Today Curaçao is known as the gem of the scuba diving world
and is often compared with Grand Cayman as a diver's paradise. The
capital Willemstad has fantastic shopping and a very technologically
advanced business districts. When in Curaçao the Floating Market
is a must a spot known throughout the Caribbean, where islanders from
surrounding islands come in boats to sell almost everything from fresh
fruit to art and crafts.
Currency - Universal
The local currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder also known
as the florin and abbreviated as NAf or ANG. The stable rate is US$
1 = NAf 1.77 for cash. The exchange rate can vary very slightly from
stores and hotels. There is no black market and no restrictions on
the amount of money one chooses to bring into the country. International
credit cards are accepted at most major commercial establishments.
US and Canadian citizens need either a valid passport, or proof of
citizenship in the form of an original birth certificate accompanied
by photo ID, and an onward or return ticket. Most other nationals
need only a passport. Visitors from the Dominican Republic, Colombia
and Haiti require a visa.
to Economic Growth
Curaçao is committed to economic growth and to leveraging and
nurturing its unique comparative advantages. At the core of economic
policies are the interests of investors which are reflected in the
underlying principles of the investment upgrade program, economic
development strategy, privatization program, and legislative reform.
Curaçao recognizes that essential to its economic growth is
the need to create an environment that is attractive, open, and friendly
to foreign investment. This guide is designed to provide investors
an overview of Curaçao's economy and links and referrals to
more detailed information and assistance.
Curaçao is located in the southwestern Caribbean, at'altitude
12' north and longitude 68' west. The island is just 44 miles (70
km) north of South America. It is 2.5 hours by air from Miami. See
444 square kilometers
(182 square miles);
61 km long: 5-14 km wide.
Curaçao has 150,000 inhabitants; 40 to 50 different nationalities
live on the island.The nationalities are mainly from Europe, South
America, Africa and the native Indians that once inhabited the island
before the Europeans came.
Curaçao is on Atlantic Standard Time: one hour later than US
Standard Time (the same time as Daylight Savings Time) and four hours
earlier than Greenwich Mean Time.
Dutch is the official language but Curacoans are multilingual and
speak English and Spanish very well along with Papiamento, the local
Creole language with it's heritage taken from Spanish, Portuguese,
English, French, Dutch and West African.