ABOUT Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao, which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao, is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There are different theories for the origins of the word Curaçao (pronounced kyur uh sow). The most likely explanation stems from the Spanish calling the island "Corazon" (Heart) at some point. The famous Portuguese mapmakers adopted this word into their own language as "Curaçau" or "Curaçao." Today, the island is known as "Dushi Korsou" (Sweet Curaçao). Curaçao is one of the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean. It is located 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela, 42 miles east of Aruba, and 30 miles west of Bonaire. Curaçao is the largest of the five islands and the government of the Netherlands Antilles is located here. The island is about 62 km long and 14 km wide (4 km at its narrowest point in the middle of the island). About 150.000 people live on the island. The local language is Papiamentu (or Papiamento), the official language is Dutch, and English and Spanish are widely spoken. Curaçao is an island with many small and beautiful beaches surrounded by clear and refreshing water. Curaçao's beaches are concentrated on the southern coast, especially the western side. Willemstad the capital has various marinas which seafaring travelers can dock their ships. Travelers can also enjoy nearby shopping at duty-free stores. Larger ships will arrive at the Mega Pier, and smaller ships will dock at the Cruise Terminal.

CLIMATE Curacao’s climate is typical of the Caribbean. The island has a sunny dry climate all year round with an average daily temperature of 32 degrees C. The rainy season, which is between October and February, is usually marked by short, occasional showers, mostly at night, and continued sunny weather during the day. The dry season from January to September and a wet season from October to December. Total annual rainfall averages only 22 inches.

BEWARE Most visits to the Dutch Caribbean are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime is a concern. There is violent crime amongst members of the illegal drugs world, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you are advised to take normal precautions and, for example, do not wander alone off the main roads, especially at night. Never take valuables to the beach. Make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch.

The islands of the Dutch Caribbean continue to be used to smuggle illegal drugs from South America to Europe and North America. You should have a heightened sense of awareness of this problem and never leave bags unattended. Under no circumstances should you discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. Some airports have installed "body scanners" and it is possible you may be required to have a scan. Dutch authorities generally screen all baggage and passengers from the Dutch Caribbean. The local currency is still the Antillean guilder (ANG) for Curacao. It has been fixed to the US Dollar at approximately 1.80 NAf to 1USD for over 35 years.