Lagoons Tours and Coastal PaddlesIn or out? In Curacao, paddlers can do both. At resorts scattered along the island's southern coast and west end, clear Caribbean waters are just a paddle stroke away. Here, headlands, breakwaters and bays provide protection from the prevailing trade winds and ocean swells. Novices can hug the beach for a relaxing cruise, while more accomplished kayakers can venture farther afield along coastlines where colorful coral reefs rise close to the surface. Those who would rather stay inshore can paddle into calm lagoons, or join an organized tour that takes in mangrove forests and sand flats where fish flit through the shallows.
- Best for: Everyone, solos, couples and families looking for watersports and adventures from soft to rugged
- Best season to visit: Year-round, as it's below the hurricane belt
- Weather: Steady easterly trade winds, sunny and dry in the winter with temperature in the 70s. Summer sees mid 80s in the daytime, with occasional evening showers
Paddle Sports in Curacao Overview
In or out? In Curacao, paddlers can do both. At resorts scattered along the island's southern coast and west end, clear Caribbean waters are just a paddle stroke away. Here, headlands, breakwaters and bays provide protection from the prevailing trade winds and ocean swells. Novices can hug the beach for a relaxing cruise, while more accomplished kayakers can venture farther afield along coastlines where colorful coral reefs rise close to the surface. Those who would rather stay inshore can paddle into calm lagoons, or join an organized tour that takes in mangrove forests and sand flats where fish flit through the shallows.
Paddle Sports in Curacao Tips
To add an additional element to kayaking trips in Curacao, pack some snorkel gear. There are a number of shallow, snorkel-worthy coral reefs along the island's southern coast that lie close to shore. Reaching these sites can be as easy as beaching the boat and donning the gear. One favorite destination is Caracas Bay, where there are both reefs and a shallow shipwreck.
Best Places for Paddle Sports in Curacao
From a launch point at the Curacao Hilton, paddlers can embark on self-guided paddles into blue water, or turn inland to explore Piscadera Bay. Guided tours of the bay take in a mangrove forest and a nursery area where more than 40,000 new trees have been replanted. The beach breakwater at Sunscape Curacao provides a safe area for novices and younger kayakers to hone their skills. On the island's west coast, the cliffs above Playa Grandi create sheltered waters.
What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Curacao
A swimsuit if using a sit-on-top kayak. Sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a long-sleeve shirt or water sports top for sun protection. Sports sandals, flip flops or water shoes. Add a water bottle. Use a waterproof hard case or soft dry bag to store items that shouldn't get wet.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required for U.S. Citizens with at least one blank page for passport entry stamp. No visa is required for entry.
Exit Requirements: There is a departure tax of $39(US) per person, which should be included in your International Airline Ticket taxes. If you are travelling to another island from Curacao, inter-island domestic departure taxes apply and should be included in your airline ticket
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Curaçao. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at www.cdc.gov.
Culture and Customs
Blessed as one of the best natural harbors in the southern Caribbean, Curacao has long been a regional crossroads not only for goods but also for people. This has resulted in a cultural fusion that includes more than 40 ethnic groups, each enriching the mix. Though Dutch is the official language, English is widely spoken and many islanders converse in Papiamentu, a dialect created from mixing of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and several African languages. The capital city of Willemstad is one of the oldest settlements in the Caribbean, dating back to the Dutch capture of the island from the Spanish in the early 17th century. Thanks to the well-protected harbor of St. Anna Bay, the town quickly grew into a busy trading port, and the seat of government for the Netherland Antilles. Today, most of the original colonial-era architecture survives and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The oldest part of the city, known as the Punda district, has always been Willemstad’s main shopping area. Here, pedestrian-only streets and narrow alleys create a picturesque atmosphere, full of life and color. Unique boutiques offer a diverse selection of European clothing, French perfumes, Japanese electronics, Irish crystal, English china, fine Italian leathers and Chinese embroidery, while sidewalk cafes serve up a tasty mix of island favorites and international flavors. Noteworthy landmarks include Fort Amsterdam, the Mikve Israel- Emanuel synagogue, which is the oldest in the western hemisphere and the Queen Emma floating bridge, a pontoon bridge. The Museum Kura Hulanda focuses on the slave trade, while the Maritime Museum recounts the island's nautical traditions. No visit is complete without a stop off at the floating market, where a colorful array of fruits and vegetables make their way from the nearby shores of Venezuela aboard small island trading vessels.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity in Curaçao is 127/120 volts at 50 cycles and they use 2 prong plugs, so most appliances made in the USA will work well and should not require an adapter.
Curaçao's country code is 5999 with a 7 digit local phone number following the country code. UTS and CT are a few of the local companies providing phone and internet service. Check with your provider to see what plans are available or you will be subject to roaming charges. Many hotels and restaurants offer WiFi.
The water quality from the tap is safe to drink according to the ADC (Analytic Diagnostic Center). Bottled water is also readily available for purchase.
Language & Currency
Dutch is the official language, while Papiamentu is the most commonly spoken language. English and Spanish are all widely spoken and understood. Papiamentu is a form of Creole indigenous particularly to Bonaire, Curaçao, and Aruba, where it is considered the national language. You'll sound like a pro if you say 'Bon Dia' (Good Morning) or "Danki" (Thank you) to the locals.
The local currency is the Antillean guilder, abbreviated as Nafl. or ANG (also called the florin.) The exchange rate is set at ANG 1.79 to USD $1. Credit cards are often accepted, so exchanging money is not necessary. ATM's are available for withdrawals in USD or local currency
Curaçao is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Curaçao is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Curaçao is an island located in the Southern Caribbean Sea. Curacao is 42 miles east of Aruba, 30 miles west of Bonaire and approximately 40 miles north of South Americ. The island of Curacao is 37 miles long and 8 miles wide with an area of 171 square miles. The population of Curaçao is 158,635 (2016).