Driving in Curacao – 10 Things You Should Know Before You Go
A few months ago, we had a fabulous Fun Family Vacation in Curacao for a week filled with snorkeling, diving, and exploring. During our stay we had a few hiccups while getting around. Driving in Curacao is relatively easy, however there are a few things we wish we knew before our visit to the Island.
Car Rental is a necessity. Unless you are staying in an all-inclusive resort or a resort with a shuttle service, you will need a car to get around. Curacao is a big Island and the public bus service is not realistic for vacationers.
Google Maps and other smart phone directions apps do not work well on the Island. Rent the GPS from your car rental company. Most of them have the most popular attractions and beaches pre-programmed in the GPS unit.
Driving is on the right side of the road (same as the U.S.).
Be observant when pumping gas, both the diesel and regular gas nozzles will fit the gas tank. Diesel is colored black and regular is YELLOW. Double check to prevent filling your car with the wrong gas. *Read the labels on the pump as they may vary between gas stations.
The gas stations on Curacao do not take credit cards and do not sell anything but gas. You will need cash to purchase gas.
As with all tourist destinations, Do not leave anything in your car even if a security guard is on duty. Having visible items in your vehicle increases your chance of a break in. Take all your valuables with you and leave the car unlocked.
We found most drivers to be courteous, however inside of the roundabouts drivers will give you a short honk, to let you know they are entering the roundabout “out of turn.” Don’t be surprised if you hear people honking as a “courtesy.”
Speaking of roundabouts, Curacao is filled with roundabouts. If you aren’t used to driving through a roundabout, this could be a bit of a “driving-culture shock.” You want to remember to yield to drivers who are inside of the roundabout, stay in your lane, and don’t stop once you are inside of the roundabout. Roundabouts can be a tricky to maneuver at first; but they become easier once you have done it a few times.
Traffic on the main road is congested during the day. Leave early to ensure adequate time to get to your destination.
PARKING: in some areas (including near the Willemsted floating markets) you will have to pay for parking. The machines only take Antilles Guilders – make sure you have a few guilders on hand for parking. In downtown Willemsted, parking is 1 guilder per hour.
Curacao is a wonderful Island to visit, but could be frustrating for travelers who like to depend on public transportation to get around. As mentioned above, public transportation is not geared toward vacationers and you’ll spend most of your time waiting for the bus. Due to the sheer size of this Island car rental is a necessity to make the most of your stay here.
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