26 Curacao Facts About The Lesser Known Caribbean Country

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 10, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Feb 10, 2022
Read these Curacao facts to know about Willemstad, which is the capital of Curacao Island
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.2 Min

When you think of the Caribbean, you're most probably going to picture the beautiful, sun-drenched beaches and islands, and relaxing on one of these places to your heart's content.

Curacao is one such island country. It is located in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region.

Pronounced as 'cure-ah-souw', this Dutch Caribbean island has a mesmerizing layout with sparkling, turquoise-blue waters, pristine soft-seaside sand, and has the perfect beach-weather all year-round. Apart from these enchanting features, this island in the Caribbean Sea has a lot more to offer and is beautiful in all respects.

Facts About Curacao

Here are some fun facts about Curacao to inform you on what you can expect to see if you do visit there.

  • Located about 40 mi (65 km) off the coast of Venezuela, South America, is this paradise island. Curacao, a constituent country of the Netherlands, is a part of the ABC islands that are all located close to each other. The ABC islands stand for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
  • Curacao is made up of two islands, the main island is where the population of close to 160,000 are settled. The smaller island called Klein Curacao does not have any residents.
  • The capital of Curacao is Willemstad, which is a lovely location, with historical Dutch colonial architecture. This place has also been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Curacao has a sunny and dry climate with an average temperature of 86 F (30 C).
  • With warm weather, come bugs. To deal with bug problems, the traditional Curacaoan homes feature kitchens with red walls and white dots. Seeing as flies and mosquitoes seemingly detest white polka dots on red walls as it makes their heads spin.
  • The mansions and buildings of Curacao were colored all white at some point in time. Eventually, the sitting governor stated that white was a reflective color and bad for the eye. This led to the mandate painting of the building and houses in different colors.
  • With over 35 picturesque beaches, lush greenery, and pastel buildings of pink, gold, and blue, this island has a European feel.
  • There are close to 60 different dive sites for curious scuba-divers to explore. The numerous reefs and wrecks, not far from the coast, are a diver's paradise.
  • With a small population of around 160,000, what's interesting is that there have been 16 Curacao-born Major League Baseball (MLB) players over the last three decades. This sums up to the most players per capita worldwide.
  • If you are an American traveling to Curacao, you don't have to worry about going for currency exchange, as they accept the United States currency in Curacao. Quite the convenience!
  • What's bound to astonish you, is that in Curacao, the seawater is desalinated to extract clean water, that is used for drinking as well.

Curacao's History

The history of Curacao is as diverse and interesting as the sight of this island.

  • The island got its name from the Portuguese word 'coracao', meaning heart. This could be because Curacao was once the heart/center of trade. This was also the place where sailors would be left behind and would miraculously heal from their seasickness.
  • The original inhabitants of Curacao were the Arawak people from the mainland of Latin America. While the Europeans visited here in 1499, this was followed by settlements of the Spanish, who deported the entire native population as slaves to Hispaniola in 1515. The Dutch conquered the island in 1634.
  • The Dutch government is responsible for defense, foreign relations, and matters of similar importance. However, Curacao controls and manages its own internal affairs and is an autonomous country.
  • It was in 1954 that the Netherlands Antilles was granted full autonomy.
  • In 2010, going by the actions of Aruba, Curacao followed suit and separated from the Netherlands Antilles to be included as a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • Although ignored by colonists for the lack of gold deposits, the natural harbor of Willemstad was an ideal trading spot.
These Curacao facts will make you want to go on a family vacation to this paradise island.

Curacao's Economy

Curacao does have its own share of challenges in its economic maintenance, although it is in a good place.

  • A major part of Curacao's economy relies on petroleum refining, from crude oil imported by Venezuela. The natural harbor accommodates large oil tankers. The port of Willemstad provides a free trade zone and a dry dock.
  • Apart from this, the economy of this small island thrives on tourism, offshore finance, transportation, and communications, keeping it in touch with the rest of the world.
  • The limited natural resources, poor soil quality, and inadequate water resources hamper the development of agriculture. On the other hand, budget issues hamper the improvement of the health and education systems.
  • Although the island receives scant rainfall and has less fertile soil, sugarcane plantation estates were developed under Dutch colonial rule.
  • When compared to other countries in the region, Curacao maintains a high per capita income and well-developed infrastructure.

Curacao's Culture And Food

Curacao is very commonly known as a melting pot of languages and cultures.

  • Having been invaded and settled by people from different parts of the world, this island is a blend of multiple ethnicities, spoken languages, and diverse cuisine. This small island has at least 50 different nationalities living on it.
  • The official language of Curacao is Dutch, but it is predominated by Papiamentu which is a blend of Dutch, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Most people of Curacao are quadrilingual and can speak four languages - Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Curacao is home to the oldest inhabitants from the Jewish communities, originally formed by Sephardic Jews who emigrated from Portugal in the 1500s.
  • The cuisine is also an assortment of the various cultures, with a plethora of traditional Dutch street snacks. Also worth exploring, for the sake of your sweet tooth, are sweet treats like pumpkin pancakes and cashew cake.
  • An adventurous dish, the 'stoba yoana', is a stew made from the iguana. Thanks to this dish, this reptile's rampant population growth are kept in check. This mystery meat is known to taste like chicken.
  • If reading about Curacao was so much fun, just imagine what this paradise island holds in store for you and your family vacation. Don't forget to add Curacao to your vacation list right away.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

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Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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