Curaçao's visitors may wish to use a car to see the Christoffel National Park, the Ostrich Farm, the Curaçao Seaquarium, or just to visit one of the island's many beaches. Travelers should be aware of driving rules and road conditions before setting off.
Always exercise caution and drive defensively when driving a car in a foreign country. Traffic laws and road conditions differ in every country, even if traffic moves on the same side of the road. Drivers in other countries often drive more aggressively than what many travelers are used to.
Driving in Curaçao is done on the right hand side of the road, so travelers from North America and mainland Europe will have no problem adjusting to the movement of traffic. Seat belts are required in Curaçao, and children under 12 years of age must travel in the back seat of the vehicle. Children under the age of 4 must also be in a child seat. Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Travelers from North America and the United Kingdom should have a valid driver's license with at least two years of driving experience in order to rent a car in Curaçao. Many car rental firms also require drivers to have a major credit card and be at least 25 years of age.
The speed limit in Curaçao is 45 kilometers per hour in cities, towns, and residential areas, and can be 60 to 80 kilometers per hour on the faster roads. Look for posted signs along the road that indicate speed limits and traffic rules. Right hand turns at red lights and stop signs are not permitted in Curaçao. Roads are often dark in the evening and street signs are often missing or not visible, so drivers should exercise additional caution while on the road. Most roads in the Curaçao are paved, but can become dangerously slick when wet. Travelers should beware of pedestrians and animals while on the road, and should consider renting four-wheel drive vehicles if traveling to remote locations on the island. Curaçao Road Services can be contacted at 599-9-747-1333 or by dialing "199". For 24-hour roadside assistance, call 599-9-9-24-7.
What about tourists who just don't feel comfortable driving in another country? Fortunately, Curacao has a bevy of other transportation options, including a ferry that goes from one main shopping center to another, unmetered taxis that can double as tour guides, and buses -- some of the most reliable in the Caribbean. Your options are not limited if you prefer not to get behind the wheel.
Still, driving can be a great way to explore the many areas and attractions of Curaçao at your own pace. Travelers should drive defensively, wear seat belts, carry maps, and make sure that they educate themselves about local driving laws in order to stay safe on the road.
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