Road Conditions and Safety: Take extra caution when driving in Cura?ao. Proceed through intersections with caution as traffic signs are often hidden or nonexistent. Roads are extremely slippery when it rains. Look out for scooters, motorcycles, and ATVs, as drivers of these vehicles may not strictly follow traffic rules. Be alert for speeding cars and drunk drivers. In rural areas, watch out for goats and other animals that cross the road unexpectedly.
Night driving is reasonably safe, as long as drivers are familiar with the route and road conditions. Roads are not as well-lit as in the U.S. Driving while intoxicated may result in the loss of a driver?s license, fine, and imprisonment.
Traffic Laws: You can drive in Cura?ao with a valid U.S. driver?s license. Right turns at red lights are prohibited. Traffic signs prohibiting actions have a red circle around them, but not the red slash you expect to see in the United States. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children must ride in the back seat and children under 5 years of age must be in a child safety seat.
At intersections and traffic circles, yield to traffic coming from your right unless signs indicate otherwise. Right turns at red lights are prohibited. U-turns are often restricted. Traffic signs prohibiting actions have a red circle around them, but not the red slash you expect to see in the U.S. At all T-crossings, through going traffic has priority.
If you get into an accident, do not move the vehicle or pull over. Call your rental agency and call Cura?ao Road Services at 199. You may be required to file a police report.
In case of car trouble, call Roadside Assistance 24/7 Cura?ao at 9-24-7.
Public Transportation: Public transportation is limited. There are two bus terminals, one in Punda near the post office at the Waaigat and another in Otrobanda near the overpass. Large buses (called ?Konvooi?) travel limited, longer-distance routes, typically once per hour. Mini-vans and mini-buses bearing the word ?BUS? on their registration plates travel shorter routes on main roads. They are inexpensive and run non-stop during the daytime with no fixed schedule. Each minibus has a specific route that is displayed on the front windshield. Taxis are expensive, but generally safe and well-regulated. There are no meters, so passengers should determine the price in advance.
Watersports Advisory: You should carefully assess the potential risks inherent in recreational water activities and measure your participation in them against your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of watercraft traffic in the area. When in doubt, stay out!
Cliff Jumping and Diving Advisory: Carefully consider the potential risks inherent in cliff jumping and cliff diving. Individuals have suffered serious injuries from engaging in these activities in Cura?ao.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Cura?ao?s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Cura?ao?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
The U.S. Consulate prohibits U.S. Consulate personnel from flying on Insel Air. The Consulate adopted this policy following an internal review of safety-related considerations.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Cura?ao must have completed a Customs Form 1300, Vessel Entrance or Clearance Statement declaring their intention to travel to Cura?ao prior to their departure from the U.S. port. Mariners failing to fill out and submit this form will be denied entry to Cura?ao?s ports. Mariners should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
Access to quality medical care is limited in Cura?ao, and facilities do not offer the health and service standards typically expected in the United States.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. Critically ill patients requiring service not offered in Cura?ao are normally transferred to Colombia at the patient?s expense. If medical evacuation is authorized by the patient?s insurance carrier or funded privately (approximately $15,000 ? $25,000), patients can be transferred to the United States.
Medicines: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Cura?ao to ensure the medication is legal in Cura?ao. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
The variety of drugs available locally is smaller than in the U.S. To find out which local pharmacy is open after hours, you can call (+599)(9)737-7404, visit pharmacies on duty, or check with your hotel.
Cura?ao?s medical system emphasizes the use of ?house doctors? or ?huisarts,? outpatient primary care physicians who may not have completed postgraduate training such as a residency program. Some surgical specialties, e.g., neurosurgery and cardiac surgery, are not represented on the island.
St. Elisabeth Hospital (SEHOS) is the largest hospital in Cura?ao with an extensive emergency room and the only intensive care unit on the island. Cura?ao also has two private clinics, The Taams Clinic and the Antilles Adventist Hospital.
Below are emergency phone numbers for Cura?ao:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Furthermore, some offenses committed overseas can be prosecuted in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
In Cura?ao, laws against possession of controlled substances are enforced rigorously, including against tourists in possession of marijuana for personal use.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Local law is based on Dutch law, which allows for the detention of subjects during an investigation with the approval of a judge. Persons imprisoned in Cura?ao do not have the option of posting bond for their release.
Dual Nationality: Dutch law, in principle, does not permit dual nationality. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For detailed information, contact the The Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, or one of the Dutch Consulates in the United States.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Cura?ao.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Cura?ao, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different than in the United States. Sidewalks and crossings in many areas are not wheelchair accessible, and many buildings lack ramps.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Crime: Crimes of opportunity are common, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, particularly at beaches, hotel lobbies, or from cars. Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to secure personal property. Car theft is an increasing problem. Do not leave valuables in cars in plain view or unattended in unsecured hotel rooms and rental homes. Parking lots that are unattended and without access control are considered higher risk for car break-ins. Some beaches charge a fee for access and employ private security, which provides some deterrent to crime.
Keep a copy of your valid U.S. passport in a secure location in case your passport is stolen.
Violent crime, including rape and armed robbery ? although not common ? does occur. Exercise caution when visiting more isolated areas of the island. Some thefts and assaults have been reported near nature areas, remote beaches, and small or informal parking areas used by divers.
If you are traveling with children, be aware that the legal drinking age of 18 is not always enforced, so extra parental supervision may be appropriate. Take standard precautions when frequenting nightclubs and bars. Travel in pairs or groups and, if you consume alcohol, do so responsibly.
Victims of Crime: Dial 911 for police assistance in Cura?ao. Contact the U.S. Consulate at +(599)(9) 461-3066 after you have contacted local police. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Do not rely on hotels, restaurants, or tour companies to make the police report for you.
For more information, see our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- replace a stolen or lost passport
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Consulate for assistance. If you are in immediate danger, first contact the local police at 911.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to contact you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, basic emergency medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. Critical injuries often require medical evacuation. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Upon arrival in Cura?ao, you must have:
- a U.S. passport valid for the duration of your stay
- a completed Embarkation and Disembarkation Card (ED-Card). You can complete the ED-Card on the airplane en route to Cura?ao or in advance by using ED-Card Online.
- a return or onward ticket
- if requested, proof of sufficient funds to cover accommodations and food during your stay.
U.S. citizens are allowed to stay in Cura?ao without a visa or permit for a maximum consecutive period of six months each calendar year. If you want to stay longer than 180 days, or if you want to work, you must apply for a residence permit. U.S. students planning to attend school in Cura?ao must obtain a student visa before arrival. If you have already stayed in Cura?ao six months and want to reenter the same year, you must apply for a ?declaration of admission? upon arrival. For further information, contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch Consulates in Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Visit the website for the Island of Cura?ao for the most current visa information.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cura?ao.
Departure Fees: When departing Cura?ao, airport departure fees are charged for international destinations. Most airlines include this fee in the ticket price. The most current information can be found on the airport?s website.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Cura?ao for information on U.S. – Cura?ao relations.