Curaçao is an island in the southwestern Caribbean, about 44 miles north of Venezuela, South America and between Aruba and Bonaire. It is part of the Netherlands Antilles, also known as the ABC-Islands and is under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The island is about 38 miles long and varies in width from three to five miles, with a population of about 160,000. While 90 percent of the population speaks Papiamentu — a native Creole-style language — English, Dutch and Spanish are commonly spoken here as well.
The capital city is Willemstad, on the southwestern part of the island, and it is divided into two areas on either side of the large canal. One area is called Otrobanda, and the other side is called Punda. Willemstad’s two bridges put Curaçao on the map. Queen Juliana, the highest in the Caribbean, and the Queen Emma Pontoon, which allows access to one of the busiest ports in the world.
With its noticeable Dutch influences, Willemstad has the colorful appearance of an 18th-century Dutch colonial village. These historic buildings and unique architecture gave Willemstad the title of World Heritage site by UNESCO. For more information about the island, please find practical information here or visit curaçao.com.
Facts about Curaçao
- The island has a population of over 160.000 people.
- Curaçao is located between the islands of Aruba and Bonaire, just 35 miles north of Venezuela. It is in the Southern part of the Caribbean Sea.
- The island has a total surface area of 444 km2 /171.4. mi2 and it measures 64 km/40 miles long and 16 km/10 miles wide.
- The capital is Willemstad which is divided into two quarters – Punda and Otrobanda.
- The island is a cultural melting pot with over 65 nationalities living on the small surface.
- The main languages spoken on the island are Papiamentu, English, Dutch, and Spanish.
- Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by the Spaniards.
- The island became Dutch territory as of 1634.
- The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Western hemisphere that is in continued use. It has been in use since 1651.
- Curaçao has its very own deserted island named Klein Curaçao. No one lives here but you can visit it.
- The island is self-governing as of December 15th, 1954.
- The tropical average temperature is 27ºC / 80ºF.
- The biggest religion on the island is Catholic (80%), followed by Jewish, Protestant and Muslim.
- The currency used is Netherlands-Antillean Guilder, abbreviated as ‘NAfl.’ Or ‘ANG.’. The exchange rate is US $1 = NAfl. 1.75 – NAF 1.82
- A famous national figure, and popular souvenir, is the Chichi doll. In the shape of a well-rounded Caribbean woman, she represents the older sister that binds the family together in a loving and caring way.
For more information about the island of Curaçao, you can visit the website of the Curaçao Tourism Bureau.