Like all other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao is a free port and therefore a shopping paradise. The selection of imported goods is large. Local souvenirs such as jewellery, handmade dolls, clogs and palm straw items are also readily available. A special souvenir is one of the hand-made, colorful kites (vliegers) sold at some street stalls. The capital Willemstad offers the best shopping opportunities, especially in the district of Punda. At the floating market in front of the Plasa Jojo Correa in the Waaigat you can buy fresh fish, fruit and vegetables at particularly low prices. Goods are imported from Venezuela by ship. The Keramos pottery in the Kaya Col district makes individual customer requests such as door and shop signs. Popular with tourists are the handmade ceramic souvenirs, such as cheerfully painted wall panels and the popular miniature traditional kunuku huises (country houses). There are also some larger shopping centers in Willemstad, such as the Samira Shopping Center in Buena Vista, the Las Vegas Shopping Center in Gosie or the Muizenberg Shopping Center in Suffisant. The larger supermarkets such as Centrum, Esperamos and Vreugdenhill offer a wide range of goods. Some supermarkets have a grill stand by the meat counter that sells freshly grilled chicken and spare ribs.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Curacao.
Most shops are open Mon-Sat 8am-12pm and 2pm-6pm. Supermarkets are usually open Mon-Sat 8am-8pm and Sun 8am-1pm.
Attention: The import of jewelry made of black coral to Germany is prohibited!
The nightlife on Curaçao mainly takes place in Willemstad. Discos, pubs and cocktail bars are often open until late at night, and there is a large selection. Most of the localities are located in the centrally located district of Salina. Theatrical performances and musical events take place at the Centro Pro Arte in Groot Davelaar and the Teatro Luna Blou in Otrobanda. A special highlight of the year is the carnival season, which usually lasts from the beginning of January to the end of February or the beginning of March. Curaçao celebrates one of the longest and largest carnivals in the Caribbean. At carnival parades, competitions and street festivals, fantastically costumed participants party to Caribbean sounds during this time. During the four-day Tumba Festival, the island’s best local composers, singers and bands vie for the honor of providing the annual Tumba song for the carnival. The two largest parades are the Curaçao Gran Marcha in the afternoon of Carnival Sunday and the Marcha Despedida in the evening of Shrove Tuesday. In the evening parade, the countless, festively decorated floats are additionally decorated with lights. The parade changes its route year after year, but always ends through Otrobanda. Grandstand seats can be reserved at the hotel reception. If you feel like dancing and want to mingle with the local people, just stand by the side of the road.
There are a few luxury hotels on Curaçao that all have air conditioning, restaurants, swimming pools and/or beach access. Some hotels also have nightly entertainment, casinos, cable television, and babysitting. You can choose between the European Plan (accommodation without meals) and the Modified American Plan (half board). Outlying hotels offer free shuttle buses to Willemstad. 7% tax and 12% service are included in all hotel bills. Information from the hotel association: Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHATA), PO Box 6115, Willemstad. (Tel: (09) 465 10 05. Web: www.chata.org). Information also from: Curaçao Apartments and Small Hotels Association (CASHA) (Internet: www.apartmentscuracao.com).
There are some campsites. Some of these places only accept larger groups that have been organized in advance.
Most of the residents are Catholics (80%), with a few Protestants (8%). There are minorities of Hindus, Jews and Muslims.
Social Rules of Conduct
Social etiquette: The people on Curaçao are very hospitable, but invitations to private homes are still rather rare. The manners and customs are influenced by Dutch, Indian and African traditions. The usual courtesy formulas should be observed. They shake hands to greet each other. Clothing: Casual clothing is accepted throughout. Light cotton clothing is recommended. Swimwear belongs on the beach. Some hotel beaches have separate zones for topless sunbathing. Men wear thin suits to business meetings. In the evening, many visitors dress more elegantly. A jacket is not required, except for official functions. Taking pictures: People should be asked before photographing them. Photography is often allowed in churches and museums, but you should ask beforehand. Smoking: Smoking is generally allowed everywhere. However, some hotels divide into smoking and non-smoking rooms. Non-smoking zones should be observed. Crime: Like everywhere else in the world, there are pickpockets on Curaçao. Valuable jewelry and large amounts of cash should therefore not be boasted about, valuables should not be left unattended on the beach and rental cars should be locked. After dark, it is better to avoid the narrow streets in the districts of Scharloo and Otrobanda.
Best travel time
Hot all year round with trade winds. The rainy season is between October and December. The average temperature is 27.5°C. The temperature between summer and winter differs on average by 2.5°C, the difference between day and night is 5-6°C. Curaçao is outside the »hurricane belt«.
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