There are no direct flights to Curacao from the United States. I connected through Miami International Airport. Please be advised that you must have, at least, a two hour transfer window, especially for the return flight home. The wait at inbound Immigration is agaonizingly slow and thorough so "Take your time" and be prepared to navigate the airport rail system since gates are often widely dispersed.
ARRIVING: Curacao International Airport (HATO) is very navigable. Be prepared for a longish wait upon arrival as there are multiple flights that arrive around the same time.
There weren't many taxis there when I arrived; I guess they come incrementally. See if someone is going to or near your hotel. The driver should charge you one rather than two fees if you or your cabmate get off at the same hotel address. Otherwise, see if any buses are heading towards the two major stops: "Banda" or "Punda".
DEPARTING: see if you have already paid the "Departure" tax in advance (it will say so on your ticket) so as not to double pay. They fortunately pointed this out to me at the "Pay" window but just in case.
Also, don't purchase any Curacao goods prior to going through Security. You will pay significantly more for Curacao liquors, etc. Wait until you are airside.
Cruise and freighter traffic is constant in Willemstad. When the floating Emma Bridge is out the complimentary Ferrys kick into gear.
Always give yourself a little extra time. For example, if you are on the Punda side and you have dinner plans on the Banda side then take into account that the bridge may have floated out and that you'll have to take the ferry.
It is helpful to have the number of a few reliable taxi drivers. I recommend
Cap at cell 669 0196 and a terrific guy whose name is smudged beyond recognition
(Mel?) 69 45777 (he works at night and has a great personality). Of course, you can always go to a taxi stand and watch the furious domino action before you jump into a cab. FYI: find out at the arport if anyone is heading to or near youyr hotel. They must charge you a single fare as oppsed to 2 people ($25). Note that an early morning pickup is more (around $35).
There are large "Konvois" and smaller buses zooming around the island of Curacao. It is very important to get one of the free schedules at the main tourist info stand (Emma Bridge, Punda side). Half of the local bus adventure is painless and easy to understand: there are two main bus depots: called Punda and Banda, after their respective neighborhoods. Once you determine the direction (for example "Hato" means the bus is heading towards the airport) you simply go and ride that bus for about a $1. The impossible bit is that you can never know when the bus is coming back since any stops along the way do not post pick-up times. It is possible to take the bus from the airport in order to save the $25 to $30 cab ride. Returning to the airport I am told is trickier since the very early morning buses make a lot of stops to pick up school children . In essence, take a bus in one direction and an overpriced taxi for the way back!
We do transfers v.v. form the airport and all major hotels and restaurant,we do have mini vans Mercedes Benz and also Mercedes Benz Sedan new.For prices just email us and we will do a quotation for you, transfer,sightseeing tours,phone rentals,limousine service,VIP service.
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To see the best of Curacao, you need to rent a car. Of course there are many regular car rentals, but I found a new and very nice one: Ducks United. Driving around the island in a duck is so much fun, it's an experience by itself!
Every duck is a convertible, with an extra sunroof and will get you anywhere, even on the roughest roads of the island! I really enjoyed myself; the Duck even had a wire to connect my i-pod to the radio! Within 10 minutes you get the hang of driving this nostalgic old-timer!
As far as I know, there is no commercial boat connection between the the A-B-C islands, anymore. There used to be a ferry, the Chogogo, but they stopped some years ago. I am afraid you will have to fly between Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The flights are short (around 15 minutes), and oompared to thatr the fares may seem high (from Curacao US$82 for Bonaire and US$122 for Aruba).
www.flydae.com: Tel: +599 717 0808 / Fax: +599 717 0880 / E-mail: email@example.com
http://www.fly-inselair.com/ : US$299 from Curaçao to Suriname, i am not sure about the fare from Suriname to Curaçao.
http://www.abctravel.nl/start/index.php : operating from the Netherlands. May be able to help.
There are many shuttles that take the locals around. They are very inexpensive. We would pay $20 each way to get to and from the area where the hotels are. If you walk up the hill to the major road, there is a bus stop. Better directions would include heading north in front of the World Trade Center, walk up the hill (there is a sidewalk). The bus stop is on the left. The buses look like minivans. This is okay and they are familiar with tourists. We also took the minivan to the bus stop to get on a bus to head to the north part of the island. This was a great way to see the island for under $4.00.
I strongly recommend to rent a car during your stay in Curacao to be able to visit the island and go to Willemstad to have dinner. But beware, driving in Curacao is a bit wild and cars will be hurrying you up from behind all the time. I rented at National/Alamo at $188 without insurance for the week. If you're not sure that your credit card will cover you, take the CDW for your peace of mind.
There are lots of sights around the island. So no matter where you stay its a good idea to rent a car to see the other parts. Driving was a little scary because most of the times there are not traffic lines on the road. People also drive very fast and most roads are only 2-ways. When entering a circle/rotary/round-a-bout you need to follow the signs to see who has the right of way. There are not many street signs but there are signs that point you in the right direction. I rented a car from the place where I was staying.
Cab, shuttle or taxi? The last thing you need to worry about when you’ve landed in Curacao, is how to get from Point A to Point B.
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When the Queen Emma Bridge is open and therefore unavailable for pedestrians who wish to cross from one side of Willemstad to the other, they can be transported free of charge by the ponchi, a small ferry.
A very short but necessary journey! The ferries are frequent and efficient!
It is a short 15 minute flight between Curacao and Bonaire on Bonaire EXEL.
We left on time, after we waited 3 hrs for our flight. The flight that we were to be on had been discontinued so it pays to confirm the flight before arriving at the airport.
The best way to get around the island is to rent a car, buy a map, and drive.
Most of the roads are paved, driving is on the right, and it is easy to get around.
We got our car from Budget and were very pleased with the service.