Travel Fundamentals for Curacao

Travelers should take time to learn the basics of island life

 

Unless you're from another Caribbean island, daily life on Curaçao is bound to be slightly different than what you are accustomed to. To make the most of your island vacation, take the time to research everything from customs and electricity to driving and postal services.

In order to enjoy the different aspects of daily life you when visit a foreign country for business or pleasure, it is important to understand how that nation's services and society function. Some travelers may need to learn how to call their home country from the island. Others may wish to know what kind of credit cards are accepted. But whatever you need to know, a good basic amount of knowledge of Curaçao should begin with local etiquette and customs, along with a knowledge of the different regions on the island.

Etiquette

Maps

Curaçao is a friendly island, accepting of many different ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles. Heavily influenced by European culture, the island is home to a great number of cultural influences. This diversity is evident in the wide range nationalities that visit and live on the island and in the local language, Papiamentu. Papiamentu is a Creole language that formed as the result of the mixing of many languages. Visitors to the island can show respect for the local culture by learning a few Papiamentu phrases. Depending on the time of day, travelers can greet locals with bon dia (good morning), bon tardi (good afternoon), or bon nochi (good evening/night). To give thanks, visitors may say danki (thank you), or masha danki (thank you very much).

Another important point of etiquette is following local customs by tipping members of the service industry appropriately. Travelers should also take care to dress appropriately when visiting Curaçao. Beachwear and revealing articles of clothing are considered inappropriate in cities, shops, and restaurants. Topless and nude sunbathing is illegal on the island, although travelers may see topless bathing at select beaches that tolerate the practice. Possession of any form of illegal drugs is a crime.

Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the wonderful assortment of colors and scenes in Curaçao. However, it is always polite to ask permission before taking a picture of someone.

Gays and Lesbians

Curaçao prides itself on being friendly to many different cultures and lifestyles, including gays and lesbians. The island is a self-proclaimed "gay friendly" destination. A number of island hotels are designated as gay friendly, and nightclubs and bars increasingly cater to gay and lesbian travelers on various nights throughout the week. To read more about nightlife on Curacao, click here.

Regions

While Curaçao is the largest island of the former Netherlands Antilles, it is still relatively small, allowing travelers to see many parts of the island during their vacation. Although Willemstad is considered to be the cultural center of the island, other regions offer sites and attractions worth visiting.

Region Description
Willemstad The capital of Curaçao and home to much of the island's culture and history, Willemstad offers shopping, dining, museums, Carnival, and entertainment. The city itself is divided into two sections - Punda and Otrobanda.
Christoffel National Park This national park in the northwest corner of the island offers travelers views of island wildlife and scenery. Hiking and tours are both available. Shete Boka National Park is just north.
Northwest and Westpunt Beaches in Curaçao are all concentrated on the southern coast of the island, and the largest concentration is found along the western section, from Kaap St. Marie up to Westpunt.
Curaçao Underwater Marine Park Located on the southeast coast, this marine park stretches for 20 kilometers, is popular with divers and is home to a wide array of marine life. The Curaçao Seaquarium is located nearby.

Travelers to Curaçao have many choices to make as they plan their island vacation. By learning about the culture, regions, and daily life in Curaçao, it should easily to create a memorable and customized vacation experience.

 

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