Living in Curaçao

General Information

Curacao is a well developed Island in the Caribbean, where sun sea and carefreeness join each other. This paradise, hemmed by white beaches and whimsical rocks, has the size of 445 square kilometers. Together the 144.000 inhabitants form a melting-pot of cultures. The island knows more or less 60 different Nationalities. The quality of life has a high standard, thus health care is first-rate. Six thousand years ago the Arawake-Indians came to Curacao. In the year 1634 the Dutch conquered the island, after that it was British territory. Since 1815 Curacao definitely formed a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 10-10-2010 Curacao has obtained the status of a Country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

 

Climate In Curacao we have a dry, warm and sunny climate. Everybody enjoys the sun, shadows, wind and the water. The population lives in tropical houses, mostly with beautiful laid out gardens, where the tropical plants, flowers and palm trees fight to be the leading figure. Many residents know the extra luxury of a swimming pool. It is particularly the perfect combination of the cool north east trade wind and the tropical sun that makes it so pleasant. The average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is from October until February and then rain falls mainly during the nights.

 

The population and the language

The locals living in Curacao speak a “mixed language" Papiamento. It is a graceful language which is a combination of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, English and native languages.

 

Below some words and phrases in the language Papiamento:

 

Bon bini – Welcome Kon ta bai?

– How are you doing? Pasa un bon dia

– A good day to you “Dushi” is the most common word, with different meanings, like darling or sweetheart and delicious. The choice is yours!!

 

Most Curacaoans in addition to Papiamento also speak Dutch, English and Spanish. Dutch is the official language and the locals mostly speak Papiamento.

 

Capital

An island should have island ports. Curacao has no less than six! Without exception, they are all natural harbors. On the south west side lays the biggest port - the “Schottegat” - surrounded by a part of Willemstad and some residential areas, like Emmastad and the Isla-refinery. This port was developed mainly through the establishment of the Shell refinery on the Isla. Since then the refinery is owned by Curacao and is still processing crude oil from Venezuela. Willemstad is the capital and has for some years been included on the world’s heritage list, by UNESCO. It is a place where past en present merges harmoniously. Willemstad is picturesque with many restored historical buildings and is divided in to the urbane parts Punda and Otrabanda. These districts are separated by the Sint Annabaai, with its entrance from the Caribbean Sea to the Schottegat. The pontoon bridge, which in fact is called The Queen Emma Bridge, is a floating chain of little boats that carry the bridge and connect in this way Punda and Otrabanda. When ships enter the Sint Anna baai, the entire bridge rotates to the side. Here by large cruise ships can also enter the harbor. This unique way of working is still a spectacle which people enjoy. When the pontoon bridge is open, the transportation of passengers is provided, free of charge, by the government through the famous ferries. For heavy traffic there is another bridge over the Sint Annabaai with an overhead clearance of about 60 meter. Allowing thus very large ships to enter the harbor and dock at the wharfs. The view from the Juliana Bridge is impressive and gives a splendid view of Willemstad and the Caribbean Sea. Important: don't fall under the spell, but do watch the traffic!

 

Recreation

The underwater world around Curacao is world famous for its unique beautiful coral reefs. If you say Curacao, you say Water sport. You can scuba dive, sail, surf, do water skiing and go canoeing here. Boat lovers, anglers and sport fishermen, find luck at their feet, or rather at their prow. In the exclusive Spanish Water on the eastside of the island there are a number of marinas, where yachts and boats can dock. If you prefer to stay ashore, you can go to the district Jan Tiel. There you can frequently see walkers, joggers and cycling groups in the evening. Especially for the mountain bike there are a many nice trails to be found. And like any self respecting tropical gem, Curacao has natural golf courses. There are three on the island, all in another beautiful natural environment and likewise with a beautiful view. Here table tennis and water polo are very popular too; really there is something for everyone to do. Also there are organized bridge-tournaments or the card player can swerve to a cozy "klaverjasclub". For those who like to mingle with the local men on the island, there are many snack bars, where the game of dominos is played fanatically, while enjoying a drink. Last but not least, there are of course many nice beaches for the swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts to enjoy the wonderful Caribbean Sea!

 

Transportation

There are many bus routes in Curacao, which run from East to West. In remote areas and districts, it subsequently may take a little longer before there is a bus. Be prepared. You can always arrange a taxi, but own transportation or a rented car is the easiest way. Hato is the international airport from which many international air connections are maintained. Roads here are quite good and the lighting conditions also. Motorcyclist and cyclist should continue to look good for bad roads, here and there.

 

Currency

The local currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder/ Netherlands Antillean florin (ANG/NAfl). You can also pay with the Dollar or the Euro. The local currency is related to the Dollar, $ = 1.79 ANG. It is now very advantageous for Europeans to vacation here or to buy real estate, given the current € exchange rate against the $.

 

Nature

Not only cactuses. Because of the climate many tropical plants, flowers and even fruit trees are found here. In Banda Abou, on the West and leeward side of the island, there are many natural beaches and one can climb the Christoffel Mountain - with a height of 372 meters. A beautiful view of the island is the reward. There are also several nature reserves and a visit and tour to the Hato Caves is recommended. This way you can gain insight to the geological formation of the island. There are several boat trips to Klein Curacao; this is a beautiful unspoiled island on the East side of Curacao, where one can swim, snorkel or dive between the turtles. A small recommendation for great fun. In Curacao the renowned national Aloe plant is grown from which the medicinal and Aloe Vera skin care products are produced. In Banda Ariba, the east side of the island, a visit to the famous botanical garden of Dina Veeris, cannot be missed.

 

Tourism

Unlike a few years ago tourism is seriously increasing. In the momentum of the population, there are nice resorts added and beaches are beautifully landscaped with many facilities including: restaurants, showers, changing rooms and sun loungers. There is also an increase in new hotels and luxury holiday homes, which are offered through vacation rental organizations, and have an administrator who controls everything for the residents. The tourists need never be bored. There are many great attractions, including a tour of the ostrich farm, swim with dolphins, visit the aloe farm, or make a nice island tour. There are also some nice museums and art galleries, in which you can discover the multicultural society. And as said: Don't forget Klein Curacao. There is just a lighthouse and a handful of people live here. It is a paradise, with a long stretch of pearl white beaches and bright blue sea, where in all confidence turtles swim under you.

 

Night live

Well where do you go? Actually there is too much to mention. In recent years a few nice hotels and star-restaurants are added. Places of entertainment are open daily. Some examples: piano bar, discos, beach bars, two cinemas with the latest movies, coffee bars and salsa dancing places. You name it, something for everyone! It is always party time in Curacao! And in addition, you'll find weekly free brochures at outdoor cafes, etc. under the name Ke Pasa. The topics for the following week are mentioned herein.

 

Healthcare

There are many specialists in various medical fields. If a different treatment is necessary, than these specialists can refer you to collaborating physicians in countries such as: The Netherlands, Colombia, Venezuela, U.S.A or Aruba, where the required treatment can take place. You can find good medical insurance here, so these costs can be covered entirely or largely.

 

Nourishment

Don't worry. Neither do the people of Curacao. To complete the tropical experience, you obviously need the right nutrition and drinking. The island is a culinary magic box. This is because of the many nationalities present on the island. In the most unexpected places vegetables and fruits are grown, but also flown in, several times per week from Colombia and Venezuela. Then there is the floating market – some little boats from Venezuela - docked at the Ruyterkade in Punda, where many tropical food is sold. Much of the meat comes from the meat-Valhalla of South America. The supermarkets offer a wide assortment of food. You can just drink the tap water. Seawater is purified on a large plant on the island and it is nice and pure and it has a sparkling taste. Symbolic for the Curacao experience.

 

“Dushi Korsou” is a gem that awaits you.