Living in Curaçao
Anyone looking at Curaçao not just from the business side but also from the living environment perspective will discover an island that has much to offer in every aspect. The museums, beaches, numerous country houses (the so-called “landhuizen”) and the friendly population make Curaçao a living environment with something new to discover every day. The beautifully preserved 17th and 18th-century Dutch buildings in Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The inhabitants of Curaçao spell the name of the island Kòrsou, a Papiamentu word, indicating a strong cultural sensibility. The island is cosmopolitan but also the Caribbean and Latin American, in its culture: indeed a real melting pot.
The quality of life in Curaçao is of a high standard. Security, economic stability, and tolerance are what characterize daily life. Such aspects as living and working are fully in balance and industrial activities have deliberately been concentrated in designated areas.
Curaçao is known to be ‘real, different,’ for the many and varied attractions which can be found on the island. Curaçao is famous for its more than 100 dive sites with visibility ranging from 60 to 150 feet and water temperatures at comfortable temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The Curaçao Underwater Park is a 12.5-mile coral reef, which is protected as a National Park. Guides are available for hire, and lessons are offered for beginners.
For a complete overview of all accommodations, restaurants, dive sites and golf courses on Curaçao, please visit the website of the Curaçao Tourist Board (www.curacao.com).
Work Permits and Residency (beyond 30 days)
In order to work in Curaçao a resident permit and work permit must be obtained by the Immigration Department. The Immigration Department will issue the permit in accordance with the domestic laws. The permit validation varies for 6 months to up to one year from the issue date, within which the worker shall enter Curaçao. Upon arrival in Curaçao prospective workers shall go to the Curaçao Civil Registration for registration as a resident.
Business Visits up to 90 Days
A residence permit for business visits is required of more than 30 days.
After receiving your permit to stay (Verblijfsvergunning), you shall register with the Curaçao Civil Registration Department.
• Permit to stay
• Valid passport.
A driving license issued by another country may be used in Curaçao. Non-residents with a permit to stay in Curaçao can drive using their foreign or international driving licenses until they obtain Curaçao residency. After one year of Curaçao residency, a person can apply for a Curaçao driving license. Specifically:
• Residents holding a foreign driving license issued by a country not holding a mutual recognition agreement with Curaçao are required to obtain an Curaçao driving license;
• Residents holding a foreign driving license issued by a country holding a mutual recognition agreement with Curaçao can exchange their driving license(s) for a Curaçao license.
Health Services / Medical Care
Curaçao provides tertiary care for all the islands in the former Netherlands Antilles. Consequently, there are excellent hospital facilities and every type of specialist is to be found on the island. Curaçao’s up-to-date medical facilities include the St. Elisabeth Hospital with 600 beds. The services at this hospital are considered to be of high quality; it has a skilled medical staff and specialized units such as intensive care, dialysis, premature baby center, as well as decompression facilities.
Ambulance service is manned on a 24-hour basis. There are about seventy active general practitioners on the island and many specialists on the hospital staff. Besides the main St Elisabeth Hospital, there are also other hospitals and clinics.
Name Hospital / Clinic Type of Surgery
Renata Kliniek Electives in cardiology/pulmonology
Taams Kliniek Electives in surgery, cardiology & pulmonology
Advent Hospitaal Electives: Medicine, Surgery, OB/Gyn
Capriles Kliniek Electives: Psychology
Analytisch Diagnostisch Centrum Electives: Laboratory Medicine
Banks are generally open nonstop from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday, with some providing extended hours of services. The bank located at the airport is open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Saturday. On Sundays it is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for currency exchange only. The airport also has a 24-hour automatic currency exchange machine. Selected bank ATMs disburses US dollars and Euros. US dollars are accepted everywhere, travelers check less. Bills of $50 and $100 are not widely accepted. Major international credit cards are accepted at most commercial establishments.
To open a bank account, you may be required to present a letter of reference from your home bank. U.S. personal checks take six weeks to clear and may be associated with a fee; other foreign checks may take longer to clear and be associated with a higher fee.
There is also a savings bank (no checking privileges) within the local post office. The account is in guilders only. Therefore, other currency will automatically be converted. Personal checks are not accepted. Money in the postal account accrues interest at 6%. The postal bank is also the agent for Western Union Financial Services, a worldwide money transfer service.
A combination of factors makes Curaçao attractive to yacht owners;
• Its geographic position, outside the hurricane belt;
• the weather conditions; a stable climate throughout the year;
• the long-time presence of boat and yacht repair facilities;
• good international air connections with daily flights to Europe, the US and South America;
• safe waters around the island;
• the presence of good telecommunication and service sectors; and
• a stable political environment and economic prosperity on the island.
The fact that Curaçao is already a tourism center makes the island more than just a docking station for yacht owners. Most yachts anchoring in Curaçao do so in the large, naturally sheltered Spanish Water Bay. This bay, home to several marinas, offers many facilities and conveniences.
Marinas and Facilities
The most popular yachting facility providers in Spanish Waters are:
• Curaçao Yacht Club
• Sarifundy’s Marina
• Seru Boca Marina
The facilities vary widely, ranging from the most basic, to more modern fully-equipped facilities. Sarifundy’s Marina offers the most basic services, such as showers, drinking water, telephone, and fax service, mail service, battery charging and a very charming restaurant known to most as a place to relax and enjoy. Membership is not required.
At Seru Boca Marina there are two piers at the end of the two main docks that can accommodate vessels of varying lengths. The main dock has its own finger pier for easy access onto a vessel docked in the slip. There are floating slips for 128 vessels up to 150 feet in length. The slips have power and water availability and the marina offers 24-hour security. Dockage fees are based on the size of the vessel and include privileges at Sta. Barbara Resort’s private beach, Barbara Beach, with free access to the beach pier and Fuik Bay
For more information visit: www.santabarbararesort.com
The Curaçao Yacht Club is open to members only but offers to bunker of diesel fuel and gasoline to all yachts. The club offers piers that can accommodate yachts of varying sizes. Water and electricity are available. Dockage fees are based on the size of the vessel.
Docking in the St. Anna Bay, at the Handelskade or the Mathey Wharf, is possible upon special request. Requests must be directed to the Harbor Master.
Yacht Repair and Other Services
Curaçao Dry-Dock offers state-of-the art facilities for repairs and dry dockage. Some marinas also provide repairing facilities.
Curaçao offers all services needed by yacht-travelers, including a wide range of auxiliary facilities such as sea rescue services, hauling out and dry storage, provisioning and shopping, medical facilities, and much more.
Permits, Customs & Immigration
Yachts are permitted to stay for a maximum of six months unless registered in Curaçao or in Bonaire, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius (Statia).
Upon arrival, the captain of the yacht must visit the Immigration Office to register all members, the Harbor Master to clear in the ship and the Customs Office to declare goods.
For these visits he/she needs to present:
• The ship’s registration papers
• The passports of all crew members and other traveling members
• The clearing papers from the last port of call.
Registration of Yachts
Yachts may be registered in Curaçao if the owner is either a natural person residing or a corporation established in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or in the European Community. The following documents are required for registration of the yacht:
• An international tonnage certificate issued by the administration
• A bill of sale
• A statement of ownership
• A judge’s declaration that the vessel qualifies as a Curaçaose vessel
• Proof of identification of the owner
• Photo of the vessel
In addition, information concerning the VHF radio installation must be submitted for issuance of a ship VHF radio license. A provisional Certificate of Registry may first be issued for a period of three months.
The nationality requirements mentioned above may be met by engaging the services of a local trust company or a notary office, which consequently establishes a limited liability company (NV). The most important licenses when incorporating an NV, are the business license from the government, permitting the corporation to act in Curaçao, a manager’s license for a non- Curaçao Managing Director and a work and residence permit for the Managing Director, even though he/she lives on the yacht. The notary will also take care of registering the company at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Carving of the official number must take place under the supervision of an official from the shipping administration or a surveyor from one of the classification societies.
Application for a permanent registration certificate can be made when the carving has been completed. Call-signs are issued together with the (provisional) Certificate of Registry.
For more information:
Curaçao Ports Authority. Werf de Wilde z/n.
P.O. Box 689. Curaçao
Telephone: (599 9) 434 5999
Fax: (599 9) 461 3907
Water and Electricity
The electrical current in Curaçao is 110 – 130 volts A.C., 50 cycles. The tap water on the island is distilled seawater and perfectly safe for drinking.
Aqualectra is the company responsible for the production and distribution of electricity and drinking water for households and companies in Curaçao.
For more information, please contact:
Rector Zwijsenstraat 1
P.O. Box 2097
Tel: (+5999) 4332200
Fax: (+5999) 4626685
Public Waste Management
Selikor NV is the largest waste management company of Curaçao. Its core business entails among other things: the collection of residential waste, cleaning of public areas and management of Curaçao’s only sanitary landfill and waste water transfer station.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: (+599-9) 434-1300 Fax: (+599-9) 465-6964