Curacao may be a small island, but there is certainly much to see. Fortunately for travelers, there are plenty of easy ways to navigate the island and experience an incredible array of activities. The local population and thrift-conscious travelers take advantage of the reliable public transportation system, supported by bus routes that visit all parts of the island. Mini buses also roam the streets of Curacao offering families a great way to see the island, while taxis take care of travelers exploring the island’s nightlife. Car and off-road vehicle rentals are easy to find for those that want to experience Curacao at their own pace. If you are staying in Willemstad, you will probably find that the city is comfortably walkable, but if you want to explore what the rest of Curacao has to offer, you have plenty of options for getting around.
If you are making a long journey within Willemstad or travelling outside of the capital city, the most affordable way to get around Curacao is the public bus system. All the bus routes in Curacao originate in the central Willemstad districts of Punda and Otrabanda. From these central locations, the buses traverse the city and depart for Curacao’s western shore, reaching as far as Westpunt at the island’s northwestern-most point. The buses run regularly throughout the day, especially within Willemstad. However, service is typically limited after 11 PM, meaning taxis must be relied upon for those exploring Curacao’s nightlife.
Curacao’s mini buses represent another good transportation option for travelling both within Willemstad and to destinations across the island. Able to carry up to nine passengers, the mini buses have long been the preferred mode of transportation for visiting families. Though the mini buses travel the same routes as the primary public buses, these comfy cruisers are able to pick up and drop off passengers at any point along the way. In fact, as mini buses are not allowed to use Curacao’s official bus stops, these rides can be hailed just like taxis throughout the island. The easiest way to find a mini bus is to look for “BUS” on both the license plate and top of the vehicle. While the mini buses do not run on strict schedules throughout the day, service typically stops at 11 PM like the public bus system.
If your resort is near Willemstad, taxis will be readily available around the clock. Though Curacao is a small island, taxi fares will generally be higher than you find at home. On average, taxi rides from the airport to Willemstad cost between $15-25. Furthermore, as public transportation runs sparingly after 11 PM, your taxi fare might be subject to a surcharge of up to 25% when travelling at night. Fortunately, drivers happily quote rates and agree on set prices before departing, allowing visitors to find the most affordable transportation. If you are unsure which taxis are officially recognized, look for the letters “TX” on the license plates.
Visitors planning on spending plenty of time exploring the island – or those hoping to do without public transportation – will have no trouble renting reliable vehicles in Curacao. Rental agencies are available at both the airport and many of Curacao’s best resorts. Additionally, as Curacao is home to numerous unpaved roads that traverse the unspoiled interior and coastlines, many rental agencies offer well-equipped off-road vehicles. Regardless of where you drive in Curacao, it is worth paying attention to local driving habits. Traffic in Willemstad can be difficult for visitors to navigate as the island’s relaxed Caribbean atmosphere often promotes a carefree driving style. However, resident drivers in Curacao rarely speed and are always very patient and gracious to visiting families. Hence, when practicing focused and responsible driving, visitors have no trouble navigating the island and enjoying the ride.
If you need help understanding bus routes, finding a taxi or renting a car, your concierge will be able to provide valuable assistance and help you make the most of your experience in Curacao. However you choose to travel in Curacao, once you get on the road, you will find Curacao is easy to get around and even easier to enjoy.
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Curacao for the Marriott Resorts.