The currency of the Netherlands Antilles is the Antillean Guilder, sometimes also refered to as Florin. But you can also pay in US$ nearly everywhere (sometimes also in Euro), even on buses! Usually you pay a bit more if you use foreign currencies, as it's common to use an easy-to-calculate exchange rate.
All major credit cards are widely accepted. You'll find ATMs at the airport and in Willemstad.
Landhouses played an important role in the island's history. Many have been renovated and are now lovely restaurants, guesthouses, and museums.
Landhuis Savonet in Christoffel Park, originally built in the 17th century, was rebuilt in Borque style after it was destroyed by British invaders.
Along side the roads you will see markers on rocks showing you which direction you should be driving, warning for curves, and important sights.
Street signs are very hard to find thus making finding a certain address very dificult.
If you are out shopping or sightseeing in Willemstad and discover that you don't have a clue where you might be, look for these signs . They are located at many of the street crossings and show you where you are.
They are very helpful.
All places take USD$$, but you will not always get USD as change. In general I think if I can remember the exchange was $20=NAfl 35 (or $1 = NAfl 1.75). It seemed that everyone used that exchange rate and people were honest about it. I only brought $20 bills with me and that was fine. There were some ATMS in Willemstad and while I was driving around some of the banks had outside ones.
Yes! A trip through Willemstad. But then again...where are the 'hidden treasures'? No panic! Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. you can gather with a group on the Plasa Brion at the Otrobanda side of the pontoon bridge where a guide will lead you along the nicest trail. You can also take a city train through 19th century quarter of Scharloo. For information call tel. 4616000 or 4628833.
This green mansion in Scharloo, called the Wedding Cake, now houses the National Archives. Continuous photo expositions of our history. Free entrance.
We live by CST, that is: Curaçao Standard Time. It simply means we live by our personal, individual watches. So do not get angry if your local friends arrive late (very late!) to your appointment. And do not try to teach them 'the right way', after all you're on vacation and in no rush! Enjoy! Relax! Break away from the everyday!
Although this is a Dutch island, it is a real mutlicultural community. There are about 50 nationalities represented amongst the inhabitants of the island.
People who grow up on the island speak 4-5 languages. Dutch is the official language, but they also learn and use Spanish (Venezuela is 35 miles away), English (good for tourism) and Papiamento (local creole) from a very young age. Most also learn French or German.
Many students from Curacao will go to the Netherlands for University.
This being our first port of call on a 7 day cruise, we were very eager to get off the ship and explore. Almost immediately you will be literally bombarded by locals offering themselves as "tour guides". There is really no way to be selective but we decided to take a man up on his offer. He was outstanding. As we started walking through the town he gave us little tidbits of information about the locals, the market, the poverty. He tromped all over town with us on a hunt for specific items I felt I HAD to have. We were searching for watercolors and watercolor pads. Alas! After many, many stores, we found what I needed. We also needed to stock up on rum for the ship which he graciously led us to as well as carried it back to the ship. There is no set fee for their service but it was easy to be generous when he was so great. Probably best to make sure they speak English well enough to communicate but we didn't regret it!
I have never seen this before but quite a few restaurants and bars spritz their clients with water vapor, especially on the waterfront side. Refreshing!
Apparently, Amstel Bright used to be brewed locally for the Caribbean-only market. Enjoy this pale laeger whenever you can since it is a bit like Corona but with more body and taste- much brighter!