Caribbean – Curaçao

AN INTRODUCTION TO CURACAO

Unique culture, rich history, and undeniable charm discover the difference of Curacao. From its multi-ethnic population and diversified culture, to the beautiful beaches and European style, Curaçao - one of only six Caribbean UNESCO World Heritage site - offers an unforgettable island experience. Curaçao has over 35 beaches with a remarkable variety. Whether you are a sun-loving vacationer or a resident enjoying a day off, you can choose between intimate rocky coves surrounded by massive cliffs, long sandy beaches secluded by nature or bustling with activities. Curacao beaches all share crystal clear turquoise water and picture-perfect weather. Almost all of the beaches are scattered along the sheltered and calm southwestern coast, where the waters are calm and crystal clear. Divers and snorkelers never seem to be able to stop talking about the beauty of Curaçao's underwater world. Let us assure you - this is with good reason, because there is virtually no other place in the world offering such great shore dives or the opportunity to enjoy the underwater beauty while snorkeling. Curaçao is a perfect place for diving, but as you will find out, the island has so much more to offer. There are dozens of undiscovered adventures to be enjoyed. Ranging from water sports, to visiting 17th century architecture sites, playing tennis, golf or enjoying world-class cuisine or visiting high-standard casinos. So if you are looking for more than just a dive vacation, or are bringing along non-diving family or friends, Curaçao has something out-of-the-ordinary for everybody. What to Expect in Curaçao.

BANKS: ATM machines can be found all over the island at major population centers and at the airport. To recognize an ATM machine, look for the signs “Bankomatico” or “Geldautomaat.”

CLIMATE: Located in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate year-round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, which is between October and February, is usually marked by short, occasional showers, mostly at night, and continued sunny weather during the day. Total annual rainfall averages only 570 mm (22 inches).

CURRENCY: The local currency in Curaçao is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder (also called the florin), which is abbreviated as NAFL or ANG. U.S. Dollars circulate freely, so it is possible to get by using only American dollars or credit cards, and major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere on the island. Please note that vendors can rarely supply change in U.S. currency. The U.S. dollar is at a stable rate, though rates can vary slightly at hotels and stores. US$ 1 = NAFL. 1.77—cash. US$ 1 = NAFL. 1.78—traveler's check. Please note that it is often difficult for establishments to take $50 and $100 bills so please keep US bills small.

DEPARTURE TAX: Curacao has a departure tax of $39 U.S. Dollars. This is included in your ticket price on most carriers, so do check with your airline or ticketing agent for details. If it is not included, it is payable in cash only, either Guilders or U.S. Dollars upon check in for your flight home.

DRINKING WATER: Not only is Curaçao water safe to drink, it is of the finest quality, too. It is soft, contains no chloride and little calcium, is tasteless and odorless and has a good bacteriological composition—so it is safe to drink.

DRIVERS LICENSE: A U.S. Driver’s License is acceptable for up to three months.

ELECTRICITY: Electricity is 127/120 VAC at 50 cycles. North American appliances, except for clocks, will work just fine. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A Passport is required. Visa not required for tourist/business visit of up to 90 days. Tourists may be asked to show onward/return ticket or proof of sufficient funds for stay. TOURISM SEASON: The rainy season, October to February, is marked by short, occasional showers, usually at night, and continued sunny weather by day. Total annual rainfall averages only 22 inches.

VACCINATIONS: No vaccines or preventative medications are required for travel to Curacao. However, we always suggest that you speak to your family physician for a personal recommendation.

WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS: Water temperatures generally range between 78 – 82°F. Most people find wearing a 1mm – 3mm wetsuit keeps them comfortable

"TOP SIDE"

Activities and Adventures Below are just some of the activities and attractions that await you in Curacao. We will be happy to arrange any of these and more to complete your customized itinerary. Please contact us for more information.

CHRISTOFFEL PARK: This is the first and biggest park in the hands of Carmabi. A park with beautiful domestic flora and fauna, but also rich in culture and history. Guide tours, iguana tours and jeep tours are available upon request.

CURACAO SEAQUARIUM: This is the first and biggest park in the hands of Carmabi. A park with beautiful domestic flora and fauna, but also rich in culture and history. Guide tours, iguana tours and jeep tours are available upon request.

DEN DUNKI NATIONAL PARK: This site is an excellent example of how numerous places on Curacao were used at different times for very different purposes. First in the late 17th century an African slave camp was established here by Dutch slave traders. During that period the site was used as a holding camp for slaves and a place to have the Africans regain their health after their importation from Africa and before being sold. Second, in the late 19th century, after emancipation of the African slaves the wealthy Gorsira family as owners of Landhouse Zuurzak, rebuilt a recreational swan park at the place. This park consisted of numerous ornamental water fountains, additions to the large well, and building of the impressive entrance bridge.

DOLPHIN ACADEMY: At the Dolphin Academy Curaçao visitors get the opportunity to meet dolphins and swim, snorkel or even dive with these special animals in 6 different programs. There are suiting programs for everybody! For a first meeting there is the Dolphin Encounter, a program for all ages. In this program visitors get to know the dolphin up close and personal while they are standing on a platform in the water about waist deep. The trainer will tell all about the dolphin, who off course will thank the visitors for al their attention and petting with a big kiss and a hug. For the ultimate experience there is the Dolphin Swim. This program offers a unique experience where the dolphin will come swimming next to the participant so he/her can pet it. The swimmers will also give signals to the dolphins, who will start singing, spinning, waving and much more. Highlight of the Dolphin Swim is the Dorsal Ride where two dolphins will pick up the swimmers and give her or him a ride by holding on to their dorsal fins. For those who want to submerge themselves in the world of dolphins there are the Dolphin Snorkel and even a Dolphin Open Water Dive in which participants will dive on a beautiful coral reef together with the dolphins. For the real fanatics Dolphin Academy offers the chance to become a dolphin trainer. In two courses, one for children and one for adults, the students, apart from learning about the dolphins, will also get the first principles of dolphin training. The courses consist of 2 levels, spread over 2 or 3 days.

HATO CAVES: The Hato Caves were formed below the sea level millions of years ago. With the Ice Ages the water level dropped down and Curacao was born. The Hato cave covers an area of 4900 m2, and is the home to the beautiful limestone formations, romantic pools, waterfall and the famous Madonna statue. Also inside the Cave is a colony of Seldon seen long nose fruit bats.

HOFI DI PASTOR PARK: Hofi di Pastor is known for its unique vegetation amongst others the oldest tree in Curacao ( Kapok). The park offers the opportunity for picnic or camping, hiking and walking trails.

OSTRICH FARM: The Curaçao Ostrich Farm is not only one of the biggest farms in the Caribbean; it’s even one of the biggest outside of Africa. It offers an interesting view at how ostriches live and breed. You can take a look around the farm with a population of over 600 birds. Or take a guided tour around the farm and find out all there is to know about these magnificent birds. You will see little one-day-old chicks to big adult birds over 8 years old. Hold an Ostrich egg, stroke a little baby chick and much more. After the tour you can buy plain or decorated ostrich eggs or choose from a few other souvenirs. The farm’s Zambezi restaurant serves African style food, including ostrich meat of course, and South African wines and liqueurs.

HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR TRAVEL TO CURACAO

BANKS: ATM machines can be found all over the island at major population centers and at the airport. To recognize an ATM machine, look for the signs “Bankomatico” or “Geldautomaat.”

CLIMATE: Located in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate year-round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, which is between October and February, is usually marked by short, occasional showers, mostly at night, and continued sunny weather during the day. Total annual rainfall averages only 570 mm (22 inches).

CURRENCY: The local currency in Curaçao is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder (also called the florin), which is abbreviated as Nafl. Or Ang. U.S. Dollars circulate freely, so it is possible to get by using only American dollars or credit cards, and major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere on the island. Please note that vendors can rarely supply change in U.S. currency. The U.S. dollar is at a stable rate, though rates can vary slightly at hotels and stores. US$ 1 = Nafl. 1.77—cash. US$ 1 = Nafl. 1.78—traveler's check. Please note that it is often difficult for establishments to take $50 and $100 bills so please keep US bills small.

DEPARTURE TAX: Curacao has a departure tax of $39 U.S. Dollars. This is included in your ticket price on most carriers, so do check with your airline or ticketing agent for details. If it is not included, it is payable in cash only, either Guilders or U.S. Dollars upon check in for your flight home.

DRINKING WATER: Not only is Curaçao water safe to drink, it is of the finest quality, too. It is soft, contains no chloride and little calcium, is tasteless and odorless and has a good bacteriological composition—so it is safe to drink.

DRIVERS LICENSE: A U.S. Drivers License is acceptable for up to three months

ELECTRICITY: Electricity is 127/120 VAC at 50 cycles. North American appliances, except for clocks, will work just fine.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A Passport is required. Visa not required for tourist/business visit of up to 90 days. Tourists may be asked to show onward/ return ticket or proof of sufficient funds for stay.

TOURISM SEASON: The rainy season, October to February, is marked by short, occasional showers, usually at night, and continued sunny weather by day. Total annual rainfall averages only 22 inches.

VACCINATIONS: No vaccines or preventative medications are required for travel to Curacao. However, we always suggest that you speak to your family physician for a personal recommendation.

WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS: Water temperatures generally range between 78 – 82°F. Most people find wearing a 1mm – 3mm wetsuit keeps them comfortable

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