Curaçao offers useful yachting facilities for sailors who venture into the waters of the southern Caribbean. Travelers can also enjoy scuba diving in the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park and the culture and shopping available in the capital of Willemstad.
If you want to experience some time on the open water, without the cost and responsibility involved with renting a boat you can take an excursion. Wondering about taking a boat ride? Check out the chart below to obtain information on area excursion services.
|Adrenaline Tours Curacao||(999) 767-6241||Caracasbaai Road - 4.9 mi. (7.9 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|Bounty Adventures||(999) 767-9998||5.8 mi. (9.4 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|Captain Boots Tours||(599) 951-3274 ext. 7||Kima Kalki Marina - 5.1 mi. (8.2 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|Mermaid Boat Trips||(599-9) 560-1530||Trompetbloemweg 10 - Punda|
|Miss Ann Boat Trips||(999) 767-1579||232A Jan Sofat - 5.5 mi. (8.8 km) East of Willemstad|
|Pelican Boat Trips||(999) 527-0747||Bapor Kibra - Willemstad|
|Sailing Charter Curaçao||(999) 521-3464||4.6 mi. (7.4 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|Smallfield Adventures||(999) 663-4848||Brakkeput Abou 61 - Willemstad|
Many yachters who sail through the Caribbean will sail on a private yacht rather than a rented, or chartered, yacht. For those who do not own their own yachts, it is common practice to charter a yacht from Florida or the Virgin Islands. Those with sailing experience will probably choose either a bareboat or a skippered bareboat, while inexperienced and novice sailors should choose a chartered crewboat.
Chartered crewboats come equipped with a crew that will be in full control of managing the boat. Many boats will also have a cook on board to prepare meals for the crew and passengers. Since passengers on crewed boats can focus less on sailing and more on having fun, these boats are often stocked with water equipment such as scuba diving gear and sea kayaks. Passengers also have the option of simply relaxing on board and are sometimes allowed to assist in sailing chores under the direct supervision of the crew. Passengers chartering a crewed vessel should be aware that the itinerary for these voyages is ultimately in the hands of the captain. A crew will never jeopardize the safety of passengers or of the boat by risking treacherous conditions and routes. Charterers should be sure to discuss routes and itineraries during the chartering process. Crews survive on tips, and travelers should be sure to tip the whole crew 10 percent to 15 percent on the cost of the charter.
Charter companies often recommend a skippered bareboat for travelers who have limited sailing experience or no experience sailing in the Caribbean. A knowledgeable skipper will accompany charterers on board the boat for several days or for the whole journey. Skippers are generally paid by the day, and charterers are responsible for providing food. Skippers will generally be paid at least $80(USD) to $120(USD). Despite this extra cost, having a helpful guide on board while sailing through the sometimes hazardous waters and winds of the Caribbean is a good way for less experienced sailors to get acquainted with the area.
Seasoned sailors can choose to charter a bareboat if they can provide adequate proof and documentation of extensive sailing experience, along with a knowledge of and experience in the general region of the Caribbean. Bareboats have no crew and generally come without extra supplies and recreational gear. Charterers are in full control and have full responsibility for the navigation and care of the boat. They will also usually need to stock the boat prior to embarking. Experienced sailors will relish the opportunity to be at the helm of their own vessel in the Caribbean.
If you are serious about renting a boat, you can reserve one from these area agencies:
|(599-9) 747-5830||Jan Thiel|
|(999) 663-4082||6.6 mi. (10.6 km) North-Northwest of Piscadera|
Charter brokers act on behalf of the charterer, seeking out a boat and crew that will be most suitable for the charterer's travel needs and desires. Brokers are paid by the yacht owners and will make every attempt to find a boat and crew that matches your needs. Travelers who are interested in securing the services of a charter broker may contact the Charter Yacht Broker's Association (866-901-2922).
The tier of a charter company is directly related to the age of the boats in the fleet. Both small and large companies can be classified as first or second tier companies. First tier companies have boats that are less than five years old and are generally equipped with all of the newest equipment and extras. Second tier companies purchase older boats from first tier companies.
|Insulinde||(999) 560-1340||Downtown Willemstad||Curacao|
Sailors have a variety of yachting facilities and harbors for use when they sail to Curaçao. The island also hosts the Curaçao International Sailing Regatta, which has been taking place and growing in popularity for 20 years. The island has two primary areas for yachts to harbor in: Willemstad and Spanish Water. Contact Curaçao in Willemstad on working VHF channels 12 and 14.
Evaluating the option of visiting Curacao using a vessel you own, or a boat you charter in a different location? Check out the listing that follows to get basic information for area marinas.
|(999) 767-4627||5.4 mi. (8.7 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|(999) 465-8936||Abattorweg - Willemstad|
|--||5.1 mi. (8.2 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|(999) 562-5435||Palapa Curacao - 4.6 mi. (7.5 km) East-Southeast of Willemstad|
|(599-9) 767-9042||Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort - Nieuwpoort|
Yachts docking in ports in Curaçao will be subject to varying harbor and docking fees that are based on the size of the boat. Upon arrival, yachts must clear with customs and immigration. Passports are required for nationals of most countries. Travelers from the Untied States should keep in mind that as of December 31, 2005, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, travelers reentering the United States by air or sea must have a valid passport. After an initial 14-day period, stays can be extended for up to 3 months without a visa. Firearms must be declared and submitted to customs, to be returned upon the boat's departure.
Yachters seeking to dock and dive offshore must obtain documents from the Harbor Authority. The use of anchors in the area of the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park is prohibited, and the provided moorings must be used. Spears and harpoons are also prohibited. When sailing in the Caribbean, it never hurts to have someone on board who is familiar with local waters. Also, be sure to have nautical maps of the area detailing coral growths.
Travelers have many important decisions to make as they select and secure the charter of their boat. Consider when and where you would like to charter the boat, how long the charter will last, and what sort of itinerary you would like to follow. Travelers should also consider who will be on the boat with them and what kind of crew they would like to have.
The most important consideration for your trip should be your own expectations. Travelers who are scuba diving enthusiasts may wish to spend much of their trip sailing to some of the colorful and diverse reef areas in the Caribbean, such as the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park. Other travelers may wish to see a number of different islands while on their trip, and may wish to plan an itinerary that includes a number of short sails to neighboring islands. When choosing a crew, travelers should also consider their own traveling companions. Some crews may be more compatible with families, while others may cater to travelers looking to learn about sailing.
The size and type of your boat are also essential considerations. Monohulls provide a more authentic sailing experience, complete with considerable rocking in the water. Catamarans do not roll at anchor and may be best for those prone to seasickness and those traveling with children. The techniques for sailing these boats are different, so travelers should be familiar with the type of boat that they charter. Catamarans also generally have more cabins and cabin space, again making them a better choice for families. Forty-five-foot catamarans will typically have four rooms, each with a private bathroom. Smaller boats may have three rooms and two to three bathrooms.
Since chartering a yacht is such an investment, be sure that it is everything you want it to be. Careful planning can help charterers enjoy the experience of sailing through the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean. And travelers sailing to the south of the Caribbean can find great harbors and scuba diving in Curaçao.
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