Curaçao travel guide
The southern Caribbean island of Curaçao boasts a vibrant cultural mix, from the colonial architecture of the Dutch to the mouth-watering cuisine of the Creole. This combined with the natural beauty of the island makes it a real gem worthy of discovery. Think rolling desert plains concealing rocky coves trimmed by massive cliffs, to long sandy beaches flanked by clear blue-green water, while leafy nature trails offer quiet seclusion – you'll find them crisscrossing much of the island. Wander past landhuizen, which means 'land houses', and old plantations juxtaposed near cacti clusters and desert shrubbery.
The island's handsome UNESCO heritage capital of Willemstad offers visitors a window into the past with its pastel-coloured houses and cobblestone plazas. For the commercially minded, music-filled malls bustle with bag-laden shoppers and cut-price deals.
Situated on the outer fringe of the hurricane belt, Curaçao weathers a strong breeze that lessens the intensity of the Caribbean sun. It also makes Curaçao ideal for water sports, while the island's stunning coral reef draws divers from across the globe.
If it's the coastline you've come for, you won't be disappointed. There are some 40 beaches, some of them several kilometres long, with powdery sand that looks from a distance like blankets of silk. You'll also find a number of small coves; often you can claim them for yourself.
Although for much of the year Curaçao is tranquil and sleepy, carnival is perhaps the best time to visit. A huge party engulfs the island, and more revellers are flocking here to take part in the festivities every year – part of what makes carnival so compelling here is the multicultural vibes of the inhabitants.
So whether you want to lounge on a beach, explore rugged nature, wander colonial architecture or party until dawn, Curaçao will not disappoint.
444 sq km (171 sq miles).
158,635 (UN estimate 2016).
334.4 per sq km.
Automous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented by Governor Lucille George-Wout since 2013.
Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas since March 2021.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Curaçao’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. Travel insurance is advised but not necessary for entry into Curaçao. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
The Venezuelan authorities have closed the borders with Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. There is currently no air or sea traffic between Curaçao and Venezuela. If you’re planning to travel on these routes, contact your tour operator for further advice.
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. See Natural disasters
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Curaçao is used as a drug passageway from South America to Europe and North America. Don’t leave bags unattended nor agree to carry a package for anyone. See Crime
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Curaçao, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
If you need to contact the emergency services, call 911 (police and fire), 912 (ambulance) or 913 (coastguard).
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Curaçao on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Curaçao.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Curaçao
The Government of Curaçao has put measures in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. All measures and updates can be found on the website of the Government of Curaçao.
Healthcare in Curaçao
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact the health authority (GGD) by calling 9345.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Curaçao
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Most visits to Curaçao are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime is a concern. There is violent crime among members of the illegal drugs world, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you should take normal precautions. Avoid remote areas at night. Don’t take valuables to the beach or leave any valuables in your vehicle. Make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch.
The islands of the Dutch Caribbean continue to be used to smuggle illegal drugs from South America to Europe and North America. You should have a heightened sense of awareness of this problem and never leave bags unattended. Under no circumstances should you discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. Some airports have installed body scanners and it is possible you may be required to have a scan. Dutch authorities generally screen all baggage and passengers from the Dutch Caribbean.
When taking a taxi, always check that it is a registered one and negotiate the price before taking the ride. Most taxis do not have meters. Taxis’ number plates will always start with TX.
Traffic drives on the right-hand side. Main road conditions are relatively good, but roads can become slippery when wet.
You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.
Curaçao is now an autonomous country within Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with Aruba and St. Maarten. It has a separate government, and currently shares a central bank with St. Maarten. The island lies within 50 miles of Venezuela.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Curaçao, attacks can’t be ruled out.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.
By the law of Curaçao, you must always carry your ID. You should carry a copy of your passport with you at all times.
Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish and English are spoken in Curaçao with Dutch being the official language. In Curaçao the Creole language, Papiamento (a mixture of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and French), is widely spoken.
This page has information on travelling to Curaçao.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Curaçao set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Curaçao’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.’
The following requirements for entry to Curaçao apply regardless of your vaccination status, and apply to all travellers.
Precise rules are subject to change and you should follow any instructions given on arrival at immigration or airport testing facilities.
You will need to complete the digital immigration card online to enter Curaçao, 48 hours prior to your departure.
Travellers to Curaçao do not need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. For further information, please see the website of the government of Curaçao.
If you’re transiting through Curaçao
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination. Check with your airline before departing.
Transiting travellers must fill out the digital immigration card online.
Children and young people
There are no specific requirements for children and young people.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
You should check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are visiting Curaçao, your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. You will be permitted entry as long as your passport does not expire before the end of your stay.
You don’t need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in a calendar year. Extensions beyond 90 days can be requested at immigration, but you must have travel insurance for the duration of your extended stay.
Further information on visa requirements can be found at the Netherlands and You website.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
Contact the local authorities in Curaçao to receive information on getting tested for travel purposes.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
UK health authorities have classified Curaçao as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
The European Health Insurance Card EHIC is not valid in Curaçao. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The hurricane season in the Dutch Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Meteorological department of Curaçao and the National Hurricane Centre, and follow the advice of the local authorities. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane.
Most hurricanes pass well to the north of Curaçao, which has no record of a recent major hurricane; there are occasional tropical storms.
The local currency is the Antillean guilder (ANG). It has been fixed to the US Dollar at approximately 1.80 NAf to 1USD for over 35 years.
The US Dollar is also accepted. Local currency and US Dollar ATM machines (Maestro/Cirrus) are situated throughout the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist establishments.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
‘If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.