World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > Curaçao

Curaçao travel guide

About Curaçao

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.

Key facts


444 sq km (171 sq miles).


158,635 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

334.4 per sq km.




Automous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Head of state:

King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented by Governor Lucille George-Wout since 2013.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas since March 2021.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics. 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications  when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice 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 not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Netherlands Embassy in the UK

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Curaçao.

Passport validity requirements 

Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

Digital immigration card

You must complete a digital immigration card 48 hours before you arrive in Curaçao.

You must also complete it if you’re travelling through Curaçao.

Visa requirements

You can stay in Curaçao for up to 90 days in a calendar year without a visa. You can request an extension beyond 90 days at immigration if you can show you have travel insurance for the duration of your extended stay.

See more information on visa requirements.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Curaçao guide.

Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Curaçao. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.


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.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Curaçao

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Curaçao, attacks cannot be ruled out.


Protecting yourself and your belongings

Petty theft and street crime are a concern. There are violent crimes related to the illegal drugs world, but the main tourist areas are generally safe. Take precautions such as:

  • avoiding isolated areas, including beaches, after dark
  • keeping valuables secure and out of sight
  • being on the look-out for bag snatchers

Drug smuggling

Criminals continue to use the islands of the Dutch Caribbean to smuggle illegal drugs from South America to Europe and North America. Because of this problem, never leave luggage unattended when departing the country. Do not discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. You may be asked to have a body scan at some airports. Dutch authorities generally screen all baggage and passengers from the Dutch Caribbean. 

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

You must always carry a copy of the photo page of your passport with you.

LGBT+ travellers

Read advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive a hire car or a UK vehicle, see information on driving abroad.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Curaçao. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience and a higher minimum age.


Check that a taxi is registered and agree the price before taking the ride. Most taxis do not have meters. Registered taxis have number plates that start with TX.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


The hurricane season in the Dutch Caribbean normally runs from June to November. Most hurricanes pass well to the north of Curaçao, which has no record of a recent major hurricane. There are occasional tropical storms.

Monitor local news and check weather updates from the:

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to hurricane warnings.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 912 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Curaçao

Curaçao has 3 local hospitals. Curaçao Medical Center is the largest hospital with an extensive emergency room and the only intensive care unit on the island. Taams Clinic and The Antillean Adventist Hospital also offer a wide range of medical services and specialists.

In case of an emergency, the attending doctor will be able to make an informed decision on the best hospital to send you to if necessary.

COVID-19 healthcare in Curaçao

If you think you have COVID-19, seek medical advice from a local physician.

Health insurance cards

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.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health  guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Curaçao

Ambulance:  912

Fire:  911

Police:  911

Coastguard: 913

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications  when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Curaçao and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in The Hague who provide consular assistance for Curaçao.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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