Curacao has a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries. The island was first inhabited by the Arawak people, who were later displaced by the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 15th century. The Dutch West India Company later colonized the island, establishing a lucrative trade in sugar, salt, and slaves. The island was also a strategic military outpost during World War II, with the Allied forces establishing a military base to protect the oil refineries on the island. Today, Curacao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with a diverse mix of cultures and a rich history that can be seen in its colorful architecture, museums, and landmarks. Visitors to the island can learn about Curacao’s history by exploring historic sites like the Kura Hulanda Museum or touring the historic district of Willemstad.
Curacao is a beautiful island that is best explored by car. Renting a car gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the island at your own pace, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some practical tips for traveling around Curacao in a rental car:
- Drive on the right: Like in the United States, cars in Curacao drive on the right side of the road. If you’re not used to driving on the right, take your time to adjust and be cautious when approaching intersections and roundabouts.
- Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws: Make sure you’re familiar with local traffic laws before hitting the road. Some laws, such as speed limits, may be different from what you’re used to. In Curacao, the speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph) on most roads, but it may be lower in residential areas or near schools.
- Use GPS or a map: To navigate Curacao’s roads, use GPS or a map to help you find your way. If you’re using a GPS device, make sure it’s up to date and accurate. Many rental car agencies offer GPS devices as part of their rental packages.
- Stay alert for road hazards: Curacao’s roads can be narrow and winding, so stay alert for road hazards such as potholes and speed bumps. Also, be cautious when driving on rural roads, as they may be unpaved and rough.
- Use turn signals: Using turn signals is important in Curacao, as it helps other drivers know your intentions. Always signal when changing lanes, making turns, or merging onto a highway.
- Watch for pedestrians and cyclists: Pedestrians and cyclists are common on Curacao’s roads, so keep an eye out for them and be patient when passing them. Give them plenty of room and slow down when approaching crosswalks and bike lanes.
- Stay within the speed limit: Curacao’s speed limits are there for your safety, so it’s important to stay within them. Speeding can not only result in a fine but also put you and other drivers at risk of an accident.
- Park in designated areas: When parking your rental car, make sure to park in designated areas to avoid getting towed or ticketed. Be especially cautious when parking on narrow streets or in busy areas.
- Keep your rental car secure: To keep your rental car secure, always lock the doors and windows when you’re not in the car. Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight, as this may attract thieves.
- Fill up the gas tank: Make sure to fill up the gas tank before returning your rental car to avoid additional charges. Gas stations are located throughout Curacao, but they may be more limited in rural areas.
- Respect the environment: Curacao is known for its beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, so it’s important to respect the environment when traveling around the island. Avoid littering or leaving trash behind, and stay on designated trails to protect fragile ecosystems.
- Stay hydrated: Curacao’s tropical climate can be hot and humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated when traveling around the island. Bring plenty of water with you and take breaks to rest and cool off when needed.
- Have fun: Finally, don’t forget to have fun! Curacao is a beautiful island with plenty to see and do, so enjoy your time exploring the island by rental car. Take in the scenery, try local cuisine, and make memories that will last a lifetime.