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    Car hire in Curacao – Discover the Dutch Caribbean

    Officially known as the Country of Curacao, the island is located in the southern half of the Caribbean Sea. The island group consists of Curacao Island itself and a smaller uninhabited island known as Klien Curacao. An estimated 158,000 people live on the island, with a substantial cruise ship population visiting yearly. Although tourism is not the islands main industry, the cruise industry has seen significant increase recently. Many visitors are attracted to the Caribbean lifestyle, amazing beaches and water sports – including, Coral reef scuba diving and snorkelling.

    Curacao forms part of the ABC Islands, known as the Dutch Caribbean. In addition to Curacao, the other two islands are Aruba and Bonaire. With a square mileage of only 171, Curacao is the perfect place to rent a car in. With a car hire in Curacao you’ll be able to drive all over the island and explore its numerous beaches, inlets and lush inner regions. In particular, its capital city Willemstad is full of beautiful Dutch period colonial buildings – something full of charm and to be admired during your visit.

    When planning your trip, consider renting a car through Auto Europe. With over 60 years global car hire experience, we have partnered with several suppliers in Curacao to provide you with unprecedented vehicle choice – together with a great quotation. Along with our trusted car rental, we also hire luxury cars, motorhomes and provide a transfer service. If you’d like to discuss further, please contact our reservation agents on +44 123 3225 114.

    How is the traffic in Curacao?

    Traffic in Curacao is not an issue, with the highest concentration of vehicles being around the capital city. Roads are paved and reasonably maintained, although we would recommend hiring a 4x4 SUV if planning to venture inland. Roads can get slippery especially during the winter months, and some tailgating does occur, but generally your driving experience will be a pleasant one. Slight hot spots of congestion exist along the ring road within the capital. This is however not a major traffic concern and can easily be avoided.

    Where can I park my car hire in Curacao?

    Parking your car rental in Curacao isn’t an issue. Many parking spots are free and with the added existence of large free parking garages, finding the right spot to park is easy. Large parking garages exist near St. Anna Bay and Plaza Mundo Merced, including others. Paid parking does exist, but it is mainly contained to specific downtown streets within the capital city. Paid parking bays can be recognised by a number painted on the road.

    Curacao Airport

    The islands international airport is located around 7.5 miles from the Curacao capital Willemstad. Consisting of the third-largest commercial runway in the Caribbean, Curacao International Airport provides routes to South America, Europe and North America. Since 2014 the airport has seen many improvements in its infrastructure, with expansions to its terminal, with new check-in, arrivals and services. When you decide to rent a car in Curacao, often many tourists opt for collecting it at the airport. This greatly simplifies their onward journey.

    Curacao International Airport (CUR)
    Address: z/n Plasa Margaret Abraham, Curacao
    Website: Curacao Airport
    Telephone: +5999 8391980

    What to do in Curacao

    Although not the most popular of Caribbean islands to visit, Curacao still has plenty of things to entertain you. If a relaxing time surrounded by wonderful nature is on your wish list, then Curacao is the ideal place - from numerous sandy beaches with pristine waters, to beautiful national parks, inlets, bays and caves. We wholeheartedly recommend the following experiences during your holiday.

    • Museum Kura Hulanda: Established in 1999, the Museum Kura Hulanda lends itself to preserving the islands history. Jacob Gelt Dekker founded the museum which now houses numerous Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade exhibitions. Located in central Willemstad, the museum is easy to reach. It also contains the largest collection of African artefacts in the Caribbean, including exhibitions on Africans in Brazil, Maroon cultures of Suriname, Pre-Columbian Gold of Colombia and many more.

    • Tuk Tuk City Tour: A Tuk Tuk guided city tour is the ideal way to get to know the islands capital city Willemstad. You’ll be able to enjoy this UNESCO listed city and its sights from the comfort of a traditional yellow Tuk Tuk. Walking between sights in the city isn’t recommended, especially under the hot Caribbean sun,, therefore this is a great option, plus your tour guide will talk you through all the impressive sights. Visit the floating market, Scharloo’s Mansions and Fort Amsterdam.

    • Snorkelling with Sea Turtles: Curacao is the ideal island for scuba diving or snorkelling. Together with its natural and artificial coral reefs, caves and rich sea life - the island offers plenty of subaquatic adventure. Why not take one of the many guided tours on offer, and often a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience beautiful sea turtles first-hand. Some tours will even take you onwards to the Flamingo Sanctuary, to further experience these beautiful flamingos in their natural surroundings.

    • Playa PortoMari: It goes without saying that Curacao has many beautiful sandy beaches on offer – up and down the whole stretch of the island. Playa PortoMari however, is one of the top beaches to visit. With white powdery sand and crystal clear water, it’s what postcards are made of. There is ample parking nearby and a restaurant is also provided. The highlight of this beach is the free roaming pigs – great for those holiday snaps.

    • Hato Caves: The Hato Caves are a natural wonder that every visitor to the island should see. Take a guided tour and you will be introduced to the main focal points within the caves. The caves contain plenty of history and interesting facts, including numerous residents, such as bats. This is a wonderful experience with well-established paths that are lit. The caves can become hot inside and we wouldn’t advise it for those with mobility issues.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Curacao

    Islands are always ideal for day trips. With a car hire in curacao you will find it easier to get around, often saving you time and money. Many tourists opt to make the capital city their main port of stay, if this is the case, then we would recommend you driving further out to explore what else the island has to offer. Consider the following to enrich your Curacao adventure.

    Shete Boka National Park: This is a wonderful coastal national park with several viewing platforms. Along with the local wildlife, namely roaming goats – the views across the sea is mesmerising. A cave located near the entrance is great for feeling the power of the sea - as you feel the thrill of rushing waves before they break and reach you. Boka Pistol is another ideal viewing location within the national park. Here you’ll be constantly sprayed from the waves crashing together.

    Christoffel National Park: Located only 20 miles from the capital city, you’ll reach another splendid national park. This is an exceptional location for hiking, walking and mountain biking – but you can also opt to drive through the park. Within its large boundaries, you’ll be presented with local flora and fauna, barn owls, deer and around 450 different species of plants. The landscape is rugged, but is full of photo opportunities and wildlife to entertain you. It’s also an ideal spot for relaxing and enjoying nature.

    Cas Abao Beach: Popular amongst tourists and locals, Cas Abao Beach is a striking sandy beach surrounded by impressive cliffs and lush vegetation. What are even more impressive are the sea turtles, colourful tropical fish and eagle rays that inhabit the area – making it ideal for snorkelling! The warm Caribbean waters are turquoise blue, but if the warm waters don’t relax you, then consider a full-body massage available right on the shore.

    Klein Curacao: Little Curacao, as it is locally known, is an uninhabited island around 15 miles southeast from Curacao itself. Like many places in Curacao, Klein Curacao is ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling and sunbathers. The waters are pristine and idyllic, the marine life plentiful and its beaches seemingly endless. The island like its bigger cousin has a slave trading past before it opened up to phosphate mining. Nowadays, it is a calm and relaxing destination, with the remains of its past laying in ruin, from a lighthouse to the hull of a sunken 1960s shipwreck – all waiting to be explored.

    Geographic Information & History

    Curacao consists of two islands, the main island Curacao covering 171 sq. miles, and the smaller uninhabited island, known as Klein Curacao. Mount Christoffelberg is the highest point on the island, rising up 1,220 feet. The coastline largely consists of inlets, hot springs, beaches and bays. The islands capital city is Willemstad – the city encircles a natural harbour, which has traditionally been a perfect location for shipping.

    The Arawak and Caquetio were the original inhabitants of the island before European settlers arrived. The island was first spotted in 1499 by the Spanish who enslaved its inhabitants. In 1634, the Netherlands gained independence from Spain and went onto capture the island. During this period, piracy, commerce, shipping and salt mining became the islands main economy. In 1662 the island became a hub for the Atlantic slave trade. Along with Dutch settlers, Sephardic Jews and other people from the Iberian Peninsula moved to inhabit the island. The French tried to capture the island unsuccessfully in 1678, with the British also attacking the island in the 19th Century.

    After the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Netherlands regained control of the island and abolished slavery in 1863. Many Portuguese and Lebanese settlers migrated to the island, largely attracted by the islands business opportunities. During the 20th Century oil was discovered in Venezuela, with oil refineries being established in Aruba and Curacao. This significantly changed the islands economy and wealth. In 1929 the islands saw off an attack by Venezuelan rebel forces, resulting in an increase of Dutch military.

    In 1954 the island joined the Netherlands Antilles until 2010 when it became a dependent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This allowed for greater freedoms, but with defence and foreign policy still under Dutch rule.

    How to get around Curacao

    There aren’t many public transport options for getting around this beautiful island – although, there really isn’t a need. The combined bus network and taxi coverage successfully allows locals and tourists to move around the island safely and efficiently. Using the bus service is an extremely cost-effective way to travel. For those harder to reach places we would advise on hiring a car. Taxis can be costly when taken on a long journey, costing on average up to 80 pounds if taken from the north to south of the island.


    Two types of bus services operate on the island. The main bus service consists of a van type bus, whilst the other consists of traditional buses known locally as Konvoi. Two main bus terminals exist on the island of Curacao – one is located in Punda and the other in Otrobanda. Konvoi buses run regularly every hour, whilst the smaller van type buses have to be requested. Both bus networks are known to be safe to travel on, making it an economical form of transport.


    A taxi service operates on the island, although these are not metered. Ideally, this option is only viable for short journeys, around the capital city for example. Taking a taxi for longer journeys can be costly and thus isn’t recommended. Although taxis are unmetered, many drivers carry with them a journey rate card. We advise viewing this rate card and discussing your journey with the driver before commencing.

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