Can We Talk on Curacao?

Curaçao is a nation of many languages

Photo credit: © Roger Mcclean |

Languages in Curaçao

Language is a greatly diversified part of the culture of Curaçao. Many of the local people speak at least three different languages, and the majority speak English along with their native tongue.

The official language of Curaçao is Dutch, but the island has been infused with so many different international cultures that many languages can be heard on the island. The majority of the island's inhabitants speak Papiamentu, which is a Creole language influenced by Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Dutch. The word Papiamentu has Spanish origins and literally mean "talking." This language is spoken more than it is written, so it isn't uncommon to see several different spellings of the same word.

Visitors from English-speaking countries should be able to communicate on Curaçao quite easily, as most locals speak English. If you still have some reservations about being able to understand island inhabitants, here are a few Papiamentu phrases that may help you get along:

Papiamentu English
Bon bini! Welcome
Bon dia. Good morning.
Bon tardi. Good afternoon.
Bon nochi. Good evening.
Duschi. Sweetie.
Kon ta Bai? How do you do?
Mi ta bon. I am fine.
Unda bo ta bai? Where are you going?
Mi ta bai kas. I'm going home.
Bo ta bunita. You look nice.
Danki, shon. Thank you
Mi ta gustabo. I like you.
Mi ta stimabo. I love you.
Bo ta mi dushi. You are my sweetheart.
Ayo! Goodbye!
Kiko esaki ta? What is this?
Kuantu e ta kosta? What does it cost?

Learning a few basic phrases can help you communicate with the local people of Curaçao, who are sure to appreciate your effort to speak their language.


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.