Ports of Call
Curacao Travel Information
Electrical current is 127 volts, 50Hz. Two-pronged flat plugs are used.
Dutch is the official language, but English and Spanish are widely spoken. The majority of islanders speak Papiamentu, a Creole language.
Curaçao has no tropical diseases like malaria (although mosquitoes can be a problem), and no vaccinations are necessary, although a vaccination for hepatitis A should be considered. Proof of a yellow fever vaccination is necessary for those arriving from infected areas. Sunburn is common. Tap water is distilled from the sea and is safe to drink. There are a number of medical centres on the island and a modern and well-equipped hospital, but medical insurance is still recommended. All in all, Curaçao is a very safe place to visit from a health point of view - just stay well hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
A 10 percent service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, but a few extra guilders as change is appreciated. Most hotels add a 12 percent service charge, and porters are usually tipped one or two guilders. It is customary to tip taxi drivers about 10 percent.
Most visits are trouble free, but petty crime is on the increase and although tourist areas are generally safe it is advisable to take sensible precautions like not taking valuables to the beach or wandering alone off the main roads at night. The islands are used to smuggle drugs from South America to Europe and North America and visitors should not leave bags unattended or agree to carry packages for anyone.
Topless sunbathing and nudity is illegal on the island, and beachwear is inappropriate away from the beach. Curacao is a self-proclaimed 'gay friendly' destination.
Curacao is an important centre of business in the Caribbean. Business tends to be conducted formally; punctuality is important and dress is smart and conservative. Greetings are usually accompanied by a handshake and business cards are exchanged. Although Dutch is the official language, Spanish and English are also widely spoken. Business hours are usually 7.30am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The international dialling code for Curaçao is +599. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). All local telephone numbers begin with 9 and are typically seven digits. Telephone cards for use at public phones can be purchased at post offices, roadside snack bars and petrol stations. Free wifi is available at most upscale hotels.
Travellers to Curaçao may import 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; two litres of alcohol; perfume; and gifts valued up to 100 florin without paying customs duty.
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