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Curacao Travel Safety Advisory for 2024

Susan Laurent
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by Susan Laurent

Around one million tourists visited Curacao in 2022. But is the island as safe as it is popular?

The short answer to that question is yes: Curacao is both beautiful and safe. It’s a great destination if you like sandy beaches, eclectic Dutch-inspired architecture, and rich national parks, but also want peace of mind.

Let us cover everything you need to know about Caracao’s safety – including crime rates, safety tips, the prevalence of natural disasters, and much more – so you can enjoy your vacation without any worries.

ESSENTIAL CURACAO TRAVEL RESOURCES

Are you planning a last-minute trip to Curacao? We’ve put together all the resources you’ll need for a fun & safe travel:

🛌  Best & Safest Places to Stay in Curacao:

👉 Curaçao Marriott Beach – Sea view, Garden, 4 restaurants
👉 Dreams Curacao Resort – Pets allowed, Key card access, Sea view
👉 Sandals Royal Curacao – (Serene environment for couples)
👉 Scuba Lodge & Suites – 2 swimming pools, Family rooms, Non-smoking rooms

⛱️ Fun Activities & Tours in Curacao:

👉 Boat Trip to Klein Curacao
👉 Curacao Guided Underwater Walking Tour No swimming skills needed
👉 Curacao Half Day ATV East Adventure Tour


🚗 Best & Safest Curacao Transportation Services:

👉 Airport Pickup Service – Welcome Pickups
👉 Rent a Car – DiscoverCars

🙏 Stay Safe While Travelling:

👉 Safetywing (for medical insurance)
👉 VisitorsCoverage (for trip insurance)

Is Curacao Safe?

Curacao

Here’s a short preview of Curacao’s safety:

  • Travel advisory: All travel advisories consider Curacao a safe destination.
  • Crime rate: Crime in Curacao mostly affects the local residents; tourists need only worry about petty theft and car theft.
  • Dangerous areas: Tourists should stay away from Stone Rich, Koraal Specht, Otrobanda, Marie Pampoen, Seru di Kandela, Kanga — all of them located in the capital.
  • Police presence: Curacao has a special police force whose only job is to protect tourists.
  • Natural Disasters: Curacao is outside of the hurricane belt, and hence completely safe.
  • Public transport: It’s completely safe, but sometimes unreliable.
  • Medical care quality: Curacao has three fully-functioning hospitals.

Travel Advisory for Curacao

The US State Department categorizes Curacao as a level-1 country, which means that travelers should only exercise normal precautions while visiting.

The travel advisory of the United States provides four categories:

  • Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • Level 4: Do Not Travel

The Government of Canada is on the same page as its US counterpart, giving visitors to Curacao the green light, and recommending only “normal security precautions” to potential travelers.

Finally, the Government of New Zealand issues no specific travel advisory for Netherlands Antilles (that Curacao is a part of), meaning that they consider it safe.

That being said, no country is without crime or without its problems. According to the travel advisories, here’s what you need to know about crime on the island:

  • Crimes of opportunity and petty thefts, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, could affect tourists.
  • There’s a continuously increasing problem of car theft.
  • Violent crime — such as homicide, armed robbery, home invasion and sexual assault — is rare, but it still happens.
  • There’s a widespread problem of drug trafficking and drug smuggling from South America to Europe and North America, which is the most common cause of violent crime.
  • Violent crime mostly happens in problematic areas, away from the tourist hotspots, and mainly affects the local population.

A Comprehensive Look at Curacao Crime Rates

Curacaos is as safe as Aruba and Bonaire, which are considered to be two of the safest islands in the Caribbean.

But let us showcase that through crime stats, crime types, and what it all means for you as a tourist.

Crime Statistics

The numbers offered by the highly relevant and accurate Curacao’s Central Bureau of Statistics (from 2012 to 2022) vouch for Curacao’s relative safety.

Type of crime20122013201420152016201720182019202020212022
Life offenses2921  222119272119  13108
Car thefts338254423355241422197  283  237  283158
Violent crimes (against life)  503546  685641  516482336407270386168
Robbery    891411001448711080
Firearms seized    111152128103808474
Business burglaries     25727524820095  118
Home burglaries     495562665292184  204

As you can see from the table, the number of life offenses is really low. The statistics indicate that the cases of homicide and manslaughter were quite rare in the last ten years — even reaching an all-time low in 2022, when only eight cases of life offenses occurred.

Moreover, the numbers of violent crimes have been continuously dropping in the last ten years, falling from 503 in 2012 to 168 in 2022.

The most common crimes, on the other hand, are types of property theft: car thefts, business burglaries, and home burglaries.

But how are all these numbers relevant to the tourist’s experience in Curacao?

Petty Theft and Violent Crime: Who Is the Real Target?

There’s a widespread consensus on the travel advisories that most petty thefts and property crime affect tourists, while most violent crimes are drug-related and rarely affect visitors to Curacao.

Petty Theft & Tourists

The most popular locations for pickpocketing and bag snatching are hotel lobbies, beaches, and unattended cars. These are places where tourists usually have their guard down and leave their belongings unattended.

The income gap between tourists and the local inhabitants of the island most likely is the cause behind these crimes of opportunity, which generally don’t generate damage or major trauma, aside from the material loss and irritation.

The Carnival season, with its bustling crowds, loud music, and organized chaos, is a particularly convenient time for petty theft. It’s a generally widespread problem in the Caribbean islands, including Curacao. Every year, during the period between January to March — the Carnival season — petty crime is on the rise.

Violent Crime & Locals

Violent crime, on the other hand, is mostly drug related. It stems from Curaca’s position in the world’s drug trafficking routes, within the context of local gangs, such as the infamous No Limit Soldiers.

Murders, homicides, and other life-threatening incidents are localized in bad neighborhoods, far from tourist hotspots. Almost all dangerous neighborhoods are located in the capital of Curacao, Willemstad.

You should stay away from:

  • Stone Rich
  • Koraal Specht (the headquarters of the No Limit Soldiers)
  • Otrobanda
  • Marie Pampoen
  • Seru di Kandela
  • Kanga

These locations are impoverished (sadly, almost always a prerequisite for these types of crime) and known sites of inter-gang violence.

To sum things up: as long as you stay away from the capital’s problematic neighborhoods and avoid any contact with drug dealers, the worst thing that can happen to you is getting pick-pocketed or getting your bag snatched. Most of the violent crimes are drug-related and happen in gang-ridden neighborhoods.

Curacao News Reports Regarding Crime

When we turn our gaze from the statistics to the news regarding crime, the picture we get is roughly similar. Theft, burglaries, and robberies happen relatively often, but violent crime and homicides rarely come up on the news as they rarely happen. The most scandalous crimes, of course, are related to crime rings. Most of the cases, aside from petty theft and car theft, don’t affect tourists.

On February 6, 2023, the local English newspaper Curacao Chronicle raised concerns about the general rise of crime in the beginning of the year. The most common crimes were robbery, theft, home burglary, car burglary and — something that wasn’t included in the statistics — domestic violence. However, domestic violence, although cruel and unfortunate, is a thing that doesn’t concern tourists.

Thefts, robberies, and car burglary do target tourists. For example, on March 23, 2023, two suspects were arrested because of their entanglement in car theft. The victim was a tourist, and the place was Watamula, a major tourist destination to the north of the island.

However, the police have tried to mitigate crimes against tourists through an increased police presence in tourist hotspots since August 4th, 2022. Particularly, the crime they’re most concerned about is theft. Consequently, “the police, together with the politur (tourism police), will deploy more units in places where many tourists come”. The purpose of increased police presence and visibility is to make tourists feel more safe.

Events related to drug busts, drug trafficking, and gang arrests are all over the news. The battle between the police and organized crime seems to be never-ending. For instance, on November 28, 2022, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard seized more than 600 kg of cocaine near the island. Few months later, on January 6, 2023, five people were extradited to the USA for organized drug trafficking on an international level. In the meantime, the police and the justice system continue their war against gangs, especially against the No Limit Soldiers (NLS).

Police Presence in Curacao

Curacao is protected by the Curacao Police Force (Korps Politie Curacao). You can contact them via the regular 911 number.

Aside from the official police force, the island also has a special police force — Politur, specifically trained to help tourists. Their most important strength is the knowledge of multiple languages — they are usually fluent in English, Dutch, and Spanish. The headquarters of the Politur are located in Mambo Beach and the World Trade Center.

You can contact them on the following numbers:

  • Mambo Beach office: +(5999) 735-0044
  • World Trade Center office: +(5999) 463-6542

Also, because of their widespread drug problem which has international consequences, INTERPOL has offices in the capital of Curacao, Willemstad. 

The country’s official website gives the following advice in relation to their police force which you might find useful: “If you have questions or need assistance you can always approach them and they can usually answer you in English, Dutch, and Spanish. If a police officer gives you an order please be sure to follow it as quickly as possible, just like you would at home.”

But, the US State Department shares this valuable piece of advice: “do not rely on hotels, restaurants, or tour companies to make the police report for you.”

Is it Safe to Travel Solo in Curacao?

Travel Solo in Curacao

Curacaos is a great destination for solo travelers: it’s a safe and welcoming place, and there’s no need for any special or additional safety precautions, aside from following your common sense and intuition.

But, according to the Government of Canada, solo women travelers “may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.”

The Canadian travel advisory gives the following useful tips for lone female visitors to Curacao:

  • Always stay in touch with your family and friends;
  • Keep the battery on your phone charged at all times;
  • Be particularly careful during the night;
  • Don’t leave your drinks unattended;
  • Use (whenever possible) women-only transportation, such as women-only buses;
  • If you get robbed, stay calm and don’t resist.

Is it Safe to Travel to Curacao as a Family?

Curacao is completely safe for families and small children.  

But there’s one additional piece of information that you should be aware of. Namely, Curacao has a very strict policy for the entry and exit of visitors under 18 years of age. Because of that, children entering the island are required to present the following documents, as indicated by the Government of Canada:

  • Birth certificate, identity documents, as well as travel documents;
  • Identity document(s) of the parent(s) or guardian, having authority to give consent to travel;
  • Documents proving who is the legal representative of the traveling minor;
  • Fully completed consent form, signed by the parent(s) traveling, designating the accompanying adult during the stay.

Aside from that, there’s nothing in particular that you should worry about.

Perils of Nature: The Risk of Natural Disasters in Curacao

The risk of a hurricane hitting Curacao is extremely small.

According to the UK’s official travel safety advisory: “most hurricanes pass well to the north of Curaçao, which has no record of a recent major hurricane. There are occasional tropical storms.”

The hurricane season in the Caribbean generally starts in May or June and lasts until the end of November. But Curacao, like the other Leeward Islands, is geographically outside the hurricane belt.

While the rest of the Caribbean is particularly hurricane-prone during that part of the year, Curacao only experiences increased temperatures, since most of the wind passes through the other islands. That basically means that while huge storms happen a few kilometers to the north of your hotel, you’re only going to sweat your pants off.

According to WorldData.info, the last hurricane to hit Curacao was Bret on June 23, 2023. But, it only reached a maximum speed of around 83 km/h, so according to the Saffir-Simpson classification, Bret is not even a level-1 hurricane. It didn’t cause any considerable damage, nor endanger any lives.

Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The smartest thing you can do while staying anywhere in the Caribbean is to follow the updates of the National Hurricane Center and the warnings of the World Meteorological Organization. That way, you can always be prepared for the worst, even if the worst never comes.

Beware the Silent Threat: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Curacao

There are no known cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in Curacao.

But that shouldn’t stop you from being wary. After the highly-publicized case of the deaths of three American tourists in the Sandals Resort in the Bahamas, there’s increased caution in the Caribbean regarding the invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas.

As you can’t be 100% certain that the hotel you’re staying at is doing everything to protect you against potential carbon monoxide poisoning, the best thing to do is buy a portable CO detector (which costs only around 20$) and bring it along on your trip.

Curacao Weather Patterns: What to Expect

Curacao Weather

Curacao has a tropical semi-arid climate. Like most tropical countries, it has dry and wet seasons. Unlike most tropical countries, their changes in weather between the two are not as strongly pronounced in Curacao.

Generally speaking, the weather is sunny throughout the whole year — it’s a rare thing for the rain to linger through the whole day, even during the wet season. Intense but short showers usually happen either in the early morning or in the late evening.

Here are some quick facts about the weather in the country:

  • The average temperature throughout the whole year fluctuates between 86°F and 91°F (30°C and 33°C).
  • The south-east trade winds blow between February and August, and brings dry weather from South America.
  • The more intense north-east trade winds blow between October to January and usually bring rain.
  • The warmest months are August, September and October, while the coldest months are December, January, February, and March.
  • February through June are the driest, while October, November and December are the wettest months of the year. January, July, August, and September are somewhere in between.
  • The average annual temperature of the water is 80°F (27°C).
  • The humidity stays constant, around 70%, throughout the whole year.
  • The average yearly rainfall is no more than 22 inches.

Monthly Average Temperatures and Rainy Days in Willemstad, Curacao

MonthTemperature (High and Low)Rainy Days
January76° / 86°F (24 / 30°C)8 days
February76° / 87°F (24 / 30°C)6 days
March77° / 87°F (25 / 31°C)2 days
April78° / 89°F (25 / 31°C)2 days
May79° / 90°F (26 / 32°C)2 days
June80° / 90°F (26 / 32°C)3 days
July79° / 90°F (26 / 32°C)6 days
August80° / 91°F (26 / 33°C)5 days
September80° / 92°F (26 / 33°C)5 days
October79° / 90°F (26 / 32°C)8 days
November78° / 89°F (25 / 31°C)11 days
December78° / 89°F (25 / 31°C)11 days

Source: Climates to Travel

Essential Tips for Staying Safe and On the Right Side of the Law

  • According to Dutch law, you must always carry your ID;
  • It’s prohibited by law to take corals or conch seashells out of the country;
  • Turning right on red lights is prohibited;
  • The island’s currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG), but they usually accept US dollars;
  • The UK’s travel advisory warns against leaving your bag unattended at the airport, because you may unintentionally be used as a drug mule by gangs and criminals that smuggle drugs from South America to Europe and the USA;
  • Stay away from dodgy and dangerous areas;
  • Never leave your stuff, especially bags, unattended in hotel lobbies;
  • Be particularly careful with your belongings during the carnival season;
  • Never leave any valuable belongings in your car unattended;
  • Don’t consume or purchase drugs: it could put you in dangerous contact with gangs, and drug-related fines are very high.

Wildlife Precautions

Although Curacao isn’t home to any particularly blood-thirsty animals, there are some that can really hurt you, like poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and wild boars. Because of that, Canada’s travel advisory provides some additional wildlife safety precautions, mostly applicable to visitors of the two national parks in Curacao, Christoffel National Park and Shete Boka National Park:

  • Always keep a safe distance between you and the animal;
  • While exploring wilder areas, never leave the car without a direct permission from the travel guide;
  • Closely follow the park’s regulations or the warden’s orders.

Emergency Numbers

For emergency services in Curaçao, dial:

  • Police: 911
  • Ambulance/EMS: 912
  • Fire Department: 911
  • Coastal Guard: 913

Public Transportation Safety in Curacao

Curacao City Buses

Public transportation is generally safe in Curacao. But there are some particularities that you should be aware of.

There are basically tree public transportation option in Curacao:

  • City buses
  • Minibusses
  • Taxis

None of these transportation options pose any safety concerns. You can use them by yourself or with your family without concern.

The city buses in Curacao are well-maintained. They operate on fixed routes, running on the hour through the day. There are two major bus stations in Curacao: Punda (tel +5999 – 641 6257) and Otrobanda (tel +5999 – 462 8359).

Minibusses, on the other hand, run more frequently, and are generally available throughout the whole day. But, they don’t have fixed routes and schedules. Every minibus has its own schedule and route which is displayed on its windshield, on the front of the vehicle.

You don’t have to be afraid of unlicensed taxis in Curacao, since all taxi cabs must possess a license. You can easily notice them by the “TX” mark on their license plates.

That being said, there’s one thing to keep in mind: taxis in Curacao are not metered. Every taxi driver has a rate sheet that determines the price according to location and distance. That means that you always have to negotiate the price upfront. One more interesting fact is that taxi drivers can and usually serve as tour guides for tourists, and can take them to different parts of the island.

Finally, if you want to avoid public transport and prefer renting a car, you’re in luck! The roads in Curacao are in good condition. However, after rainfall, they do tend to get a bit slippery. Also, wandering animals can pose a danger on roads, so don’t speed and slow down on sharp curves in the road. Finally, road signs are rare on the island.

The Quality of Medical Care in Curacao

According to the Canadian travel advisory, the “medical care [in Curacao] is generally good but may be limited in availability.”

There are three medical care facilities in Curacao:

  • Curaçao Medical Center — the largest and most developed hospital on the island which boasts both emergency rooms and intensive care.
  • Taams Clinic — significantly smaller, but also sufficiently equipped for routine procedures.
  • The Antillean Adventist — smaller and less developed, but still offering all the regular medical services.

In case you find yourself in a medical emergency, the attending doctor will decide, on the spot, which hospital is best suited to handle the situation.

The Government of Canada shares a couple more tips for tourists in Curacao:

  • The hospital in the island may require im mediate cash payment for their services;
  • In the worst-case scenarios, medical evacuation to another country is likely to be very expensive;
  • The best thing you could do is to travel with medical insurance that covers any potential expenses.

Curacao, Here We Come!

To come full circle, let’s reiterate: Curacao is a safe place for tourists and a wonderful holiday destination for both solo travelers and families.

Potential problems tourists may encounter are car theft and petty theft. The public transport is safe and reliable, and the medical institutions, although small in number, are well-equipped. Finally — the weather is great throughout the year and the chance of hurricanes hitting the island is very low.

As long as you keep your eyes wide open, your valuables near you, and avoid dodgy neighborhoods, you’re most likely to have an incident-free vacation in Curacao!


About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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