Curacao - Facts

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  • Curacao together with Aruba and Bonaire form the ABC islands. They are the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. Curaçao lies off the coast of Venezuela between Aruba and Bonaire.
  • Aruba is a flat island, exposed to the ocean currents with a barrier reef along the south coast providing protected lagoons. In contrast Curaçao has bays with relatively narrow entrances offering protected waters inside, and Bonaire can only offer shelter in the marinas.
  • Curacao is part of the former Netherlands Antilles. In October 2010, Curacao became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • Curacao has a population of approx. 160,000.
  • Dutch, English, and Papiamentu (Portuguese Creole) are all official languages of Curacao. Most people speak at least two of these languages. Dutch is the sole language for administration and legal matters.
  • The official currency is the Antillean guilder (also called the florin), which is abbreviated as Nafl. U.S. dollars are also widely used and accepted.
  • The timezone is Atlantic Standard Time (UTC-4)
  • Curacao is outside the hurricane belt. For more info see weather below. Because of this, it is a favourite stop for yachts en-route to Panama. Application for a 180-day visa is now possible, making this an option to wait out the hurricane season. Be sure to reserve in advance for haul out and dry storage space for hurricane season.
  • There are two main ports; Willemstad harbour – the busy commercial port and city (together with adjacent Piscadera Bay) and Spanish Water, which is where all pleasure yachts should anchor for clearance. Spanish Water is probably one of the best hurricane holes in the Caribbean.
  • The coastline along the south is irregular, peppered with small bays and inlets, including the spectacular bays and beaches at the west end of the island. The largest bays are located along the central-east and east end of the island, where Willemstad is located.
  • Yacht services on the island are good and three facilities in Curacao have a bonded warehouse status; meaning that yachts can be stored without a time limit when uninhabited. See Yachting Essentials for more information.

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Curacao was last updated 5 months ago.

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  1. November 14, 2023 at 8:10 PM
    Lance Leonard says:

    As of October 2023 the immigration office has moved back to the West side of the river next to the Harbor Master/Port Officer’s building. Customs remains on the East side of the river close to the swinging bridge.

    1. November 15, 2023 at 5:08 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Thanks so much for the update, very helpful!

  2. October 12, 2023 at 5:05 PM
    egon71 says:

    Aha, my comment did not apply to specific page. So once again, now for the better:
    Immigration (temporary):
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/osYirVzHauc38BAB7
    Customs (stable location):
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/kP32gXw96cGGh5N5A

  3. September 12, 2023 at 11:21 AM
    RichardFreeborn says:

    From Spanish Water to Aruba (next stop for many cruisers) is around 75 miles.

    However, what some do – and what we did – is to travel the 27 miles from Spanish Water up to Santa Cruz beach near the top of the island.

    Clear out of Customs and Immigration in the morning, leave late morning and you’ll be there by late afternoon.
    There is a 100’ wreck in 6 metres of water there which is worth a snorkel.
    Anchorage is here:

    https://goo.gl/maps/48jiG3mitjnmatvq5
    Many cruisers do this, which, technically, is not legal as they will already have cleared out and, therefore, have no anchor permit but apparently no one has been in trouble for this, and anchoring after clearing isn’t usually illegal.
    From there its only 55 miles to Barcadera in Aruba which is a mandatory (ie no anchoring anywhere before!) first stop, alongside their quay.

    That means that instead of arriving in the dark after 75 miles you can arrive in the light after 55 miles.

  4. November 8, 2022 at 12:18 AM
    be-brave says:

    Hi there I am planning to come from Aruba to Curacau by sailing vessel. will I need an pcr test?

    1. November 16, 2022 at 12:26 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      The biosecurity sections for every country – found within formalities (use the hamburger menu) – outline Covid protocols (if any) for arriving yachts. Those for Curacao can be found here – https://www.noonsite.com/place/curacao/formalities#biosecurity-section

  5. June 11, 2021 at 3:20 AM
    pedrogc says:

    I am sailing to Curacao from Puerto Rico on monday ,on the 14 th of June. Anyone can give me an updated status. Does curacao request a PCR test before departure?

    1. June 12, 2021 at 4:37 PM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Pedro, there are new country classifications and Puerto Rico is now a high risk country. Yes, you will need a PCR test prior to departure. We are currently updating Noonsite. See https://gobiernu.cw/corona-travel-to-curacao/

  6. May 28, 2021 at 9:08 PM
    NicoB says:

    CURACAO:
    If you want to haul out to do work on your boat, currently a very good alternative is the Royal Marine Sevices, located on the Veerisweg 87, Piscadera bay, Willemstad.
    Though the situation is unclear what will happen in the future with this marina and if there will be a new owner at all on any term.
    It’s a good place also because the big Isla-Refinery is not operational at this time so there are no dirty smells at all. Besides it is close to Willemstad and even closer to companies like Kooyman, Building Depot, Cavalier, Napa and Sambil, a major shopping mall with restaurants, a big supermarket, various kid entertainment and all kind of stores.
    The marina is not very well maintained but there is electricity, water and a cold shower.
    There is a bar/disco on the marina which produces 4/5 days a week loud music untill covid-19 ordered closing time.
    The foreman on the harbor is a very friendly guy and if you need a mechanic, whatsoever and you don’t know your way around on Curacao he knows many people who can do labour for you without the extra ‘marina fees’ you have to pay in other marinas.
    Besides at this moment it is by far the cheapest marina on the island.
    The travel lift is operating allmost every day and is well maintained by the foreman.

    nico

  7. June 23, 2020 at 2:42 PM
    wiriwr says:

    All the yachts from different countries that stay 14 days or longer in st Maarten are welkom in Curacao without Quarantaine. E-mail [email protected], and ask for the best price. The Marina Seru Boca is hurrycane free and you can rent a slip for the hurrycane time or the end from the corona time for a very good price.

  8. June 22, 2020 at 11:05 PM
    wiriwr says:

    Curacao is open for cruisers coming from Bonaire, Aruba and St Maarten (st Martin.) without Quarantaine . We checking in on 06-20-2020 and no problems.

  9. May 16, 2020 at 11:51 PM
    wiriwr says:

    Çuracao is closed for cruisers, only when you 14 day quarantaine in a hotel stay and your boot in the marina, your are welkom.

    1. June 18, 2020 at 5:56 PM
      josephf says:

      With the required quarantine and ships being on the anchorage a long time comes a lot of marine growth underneath your hull.

      As a long term resident living on my 43′ Beneteau Navegare I offer hull cleaning for reasonable rates.

      You can contact me by phone or whatsapp on 005999 5145765.

      Greetings Joseph, sv Navegare

  10. May 15, 2020 at 11:58 AM
    wiriwr says:

    Çuracao is open voor sailers. 14 days quarantiene on your boot or yacht in the marina , make the boot ready for leave and take the first airplane fying home. Aks info by Robert van den Heuvel

  11. May 15, 2020 at 11:53 AM
    wiriwr says:
  12. May 15, 2020 at 10:52 AM
    wiriwr says:

    Çuracao verwelkomt zeilerss. Bij binnenkomst 14 dagen op je eigen boot in quarantaine.of boot in jachthaven ,klaarmaken voor vertrek en het eerst vliegtuig nemen. E-mail [email protected], jachthavenmeester

  13. March 17, 2020 at 2:32 AM
    VLangerwerf says:

    Curacao closed for cruisers due to the Corona Virus

  14. January 14, 2020 at 4:00 PM
    ourboame says:

    Currently doing a big refit project at Royal Marine Curaçao, in the not well known harbour of Piscadera.
    This is a DIY marina but all other maintenance services provided for your SV.
    There is a home improvement shop 10 minutes walking from the yard where you can buy all the materials and tools you might need.

    Launch & haul starts at $400 with 1 free week on the hard.
    If you would like to stay longer it starts at $10 a day.
    If you are in for a very long stay other arrangements can be made.
    Showers, restrooms and wifi are free of charge.
    Overall a great and cheap marina, i guess that is something all cruisers want.
    Hensley, the manager of the marina is over-friendly and will treat you as family.
    you can reach him on +59996798935
    Or Aj on +59996791535
    Whatsapp preferred

  15. August 29, 2018 at 10:39 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    About gas in Curacao: for French or other who use Campingaz tank.

    We have tried every option and the only one is to buy a american bottle and the regulator.

    For that : from Spanish Water.
    1) take the bus 6A (CaracasBaai/Punda) to Willemstad
    2) take the 4A (Seru Fortunas) bus and stop at the industrial zone with Kooyman or Building Depot.
    3) buy a american bottle (local’s name BBQ propane tank (aluminium ~9kg of gas): 110NAF) and the good regulator (50NAF).
    4) take again the 4A Bus direction Seru Furtuna and stop at the Münzenberg pompe Station.
    5) Fill up the tank for 23NAF
    6) take the 4A bus to willemstad
    7) take the 6A Bus to CaracasBaai

    Begin à 9 AM and come back à 16PM.

  16. May 23, 2018 at 11:35 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Agree with all of you, immigration is a problem if you don’t know where it is. I am sailing with my friend on a 50ft boat on the way to Panama, we stopped at Curacao Marine and had a wonderful time there. They have Happy Hour at the bar (too bad we only stayed a short time). Mark and Gereth were great and very helpful. Mark dropped us off at the Customs office and explained to us where the immigration office was.. highly recommend this yard. Only when settling the bill an unfriendly lady from the admin helped us. I don’t really remember her name – Viliy? Anyway she was not so nice to us.. but for the rest great yard! JP

  17. March 27, 2018 at 1:03 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    27 March 2018…immigration 180 days for USA and Dutch citizens…For Canadians 90 days in a year.
    We stayed here 90 days…very safe..great service from customs and immigration. There is a bus pick-up at 0830 which takes you to bujet, napa and grocery ..free at fisherman dock. You can dispose of trash for free there. There is no more water boat..so for water and fuel you must go to the yacht club.

  18. December 8, 2017 at 2:12 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    I am a cruiser living in Curacao for 2 years now having sailed 35,000NM around the Atlantic, the Med and in the Caribbean. As Curacao has a reputation for not being so yacht friendly, just let me know and I’ll be happy to help you out with customs, immigration and local info. (as long as I’m not sailing!). I speak Dutch, English, German and some French.

  19. March 15, 2017 at 4:40 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Posted on behalf of Ann Lange:
    Just to let you know that the Sail Clear web site is up and working in Curaçao and you could save yourself a lot of time at Customs by doing it yourself before check in.

  20. February 3, 2017 at 10:12 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    The immigration building is now green and the anchor permit location is up the stairs on the left, it is not signed in any way. Closed at 11:30 for long lunch. If walking over from Customs via the pontoon bridge you get to immigration by going through the cruise ship entrance. We were issued a paper to get us in then walked along the water. They are pounding in new sheet piling so it seems unlikely but they waved us through. If you are driving, there is a gate on the eastern side near the giant tanks.

  21. January 11, 2017 at 10:29 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Negative experience with Curacao immigration yesterday. We were refused entrance to the country because we did not have an exit document from our last port, St. Croix, USVI. As US citizens, we are not required to check out of the USA, so we did not do so, and did not have a document. We had valid passports and boat document, but no matter. The official would not take our word for it. Bottom line, if you do not have an document to prove where you came from, you will not be granted entrance to Curacao. We were forced to leave.

  22. October 6, 2016 at 7:54 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Curacao Immigration confirmed to us in writing today that US citizens receive a six month tourist visa. This is not yet updated on their website. Here is a copy of the letter:

    Dear Mr Dubler,
    According to the Dutch-American treaty, American citizens get the same treatment as Dutch citizens regarding Admission to Curaçao.
    This means that American citizens can also stay a total of six months as tourists.
    When submitting a petition for a permit to live on the island, Americans have to submit the same type of permit as Dutch citizens.

    Regards,
    Customer Service Center
    Prinsenstraat 90, Punda
    Willemstad, Curaçao
    T: +5999 733-2000
    F: +5999 462-6176
    E: [email protected]
    W: http://www.gobiernu.cw

  23. October 2, 2016 at 3:20 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    There appears to be very differing reports on clearance and length of stay issues. Some may be as a result of citizens of a certain countries are subject to different roles. We sail a US flagged vessel and my wife and I are US citizens. After almost 90 days in Bonaire, we sailed to Curacao arriving July 8 2016. Went to Customs,then immigration then the port office for a cruising permit. Based on what I have read I was under the impression I would need to fill out some additional paperwork and pay $300 fee to extend my initial 90 day stay to the full 180 days allowed. Last week I went first to Customs and asked what was required. After looking at our passports the Customs officer said nothing was required so long as we departed by the end of 180 days. I then asked,what about the boat? The Customs agent briefly spoke with her supervisor and reported that they thought nothing was required, but I should check.Next I went to immigration (under the highway bridge) showed my initial clearance documents and was told everything was good as long as I left, with the boat, by the end of the 180 days. No paperwork, no additional documents and no charge. Happily I left and started walking back to town, then it occurred to me that I probably needed to check on my anchoring permit. Went back d upstairs to the port control office asked. There I was told to make sure and come back on or before Oct 7th to buy a new anchoring permit for $10.00. The officer said it would be better for me to think about other authorized anchorages so I could pay one fee,and include any authorized anchorages on the same permit. If these responses were based on citizenship of vessel flag,maybe it would be a possibility for future commentators on clearance issues to identify their citizenship or vessel flag in order that we all have a better understanding of differing requirements that may apply to us.

  24. September 23, 2016 at 2:36 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Regarding the immigration offices. The port office for the initial check in/out is the same, but the main office for further enquiries that was noted at “Mortiersweg 5, Suffisant” has moved to the Punda office near Mcdonalds.

  25. September 23, 2016 at 2:29 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Further to the previous information regarding the short stay visa extension. We can confirm that our extension was granted in a few weeks. The duration given was a further 180 days from our application, so it gives more than enough time for laying over during hurricane season. The fee was 300 US p.p. No other fee was payable and no deposits required for the overwinternaar short stay visa. We were advised that one can come and go as much as one likes with in the 180 days. No applicable to us, but we also noted that USA passport holders get 6 month automatically, which is the same as a Dutch citizen. This is not published yet, but was at hand in the Punda immigration office. Europeans get 3 months and some nationalities 1 month.

  26. June 2, 2016 at 1:53 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    For Curacao Immigration, the information above is still applicable. We found that the immigration at the port office are only interested in stamping you in. They advise 1 month unless you one of the countries that get 3 months. This info is on the internet. The port office did not entertain any discussion or accept the valid 90 day Schengen Multi Entry visa. They refer you to the Punda office (opposite McDonalds). A visit there proved that the 90 Day Schengen visa was accepted and an application to extend for a further 90 days was possible on the “Short Stay” application as “Overwinteraar”. The current fee is 300 USD p.p. So far, with the exception of the port immigration office, every official has been an absolute pleasure to deal with. We can also vouch for the Santa Barbora Beach Marina (also linked to Seru Bocca) for their incredible continued service right from our first enquiry by the Manager [email protected]

  27. November 21, 2015 at 5:08 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    It is important to note that ALL CREW must be physically present to clear in AND OUT with Immigration. This means you have to load up everyone, including kids, and take them on the trek to town after you anchor/dock in Spanish Waters. We didn’t know this, they were firm about it, and so we had to make the trip twice! Blek!

  28. March 29, 2015 at 4:43 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    If you sail west, dont miss the Santa Cruz Bay at the west end of the island. We saw caves in the water and ate great food by the restaurant of Captain good life, the only house and restaurant in this bay. it was really a nice stop there

  29. October 5, 2013 at 2:30 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    when we checked into Curacao almost 2 weeks ago I asked at Immigration if the rules were still the same, i.e. 3 months per calender year, and was informed that the 3-month rule had been changed and foreigners can now stay 6 months per calender year. You can now either stay 6 months in a row, or break them up throughout the year, according to the lady at Immigration. However, I also heard from some people that not all immigration officers either have been informed or adhere to the new rules.