Are you thinking of how great life could be if you retire in Curaçao? Or maybe just looking to book a relaxing family vacation or romantic weekend getaway?
This guide to Curaçao offers a brief history of the island, and gives information and tips about when to go, how to get there, traveling on the island, banking, passport requirements, phone service, taxes, where to stay, where to eat, beaches, nightlife, shopping, and outdoor activities. Consider this your concise one-stop shop for all things related to those looking to travel, snowbird, or retire in Curaçao.
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Curaçao is the largest of the islands in what is known as the Dutch Caribbean. Located just off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao’s 150,000 people live on a island that is is 38 miles long and 7 1/2 miles wide at is widest point. The capital city of Willemstad is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is known for its colorful waterfront town houses.
The first Europeans to discover Curaçao were the Spanish in 1499, on an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda. The Dutch came to the island in 1634 via the Dutch West India Company, and are responsible for building the capital of Willemstad. Over the years, the city built fortresses to defend against attack from England and France. A few of those ramparts exist now as house restaurants and hotels.
In 1651, twelve Jewish families arrived from Amsterdam. By 1732, a synagogue was built. The current Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere.
Tourism is growing rapidly in Curaçao, with year-over-year cruise passenger growth among the highest in the Caribbean. This is partially due to a recent massive pier expansion project. The government and private sources have invested in the restoration of some of the island’s colonial buildings, and the hotel development in recent years has increased to support the tourist demand.