Below are some characteristics of the traffic on Curacao. That is something different than in Europe and the United States. The traffic has some nice elements in it but also some less pleasant elements. We mean to do well sharing this information on beforehand. Forewarned is forearmed.

Culture

The inhabitants of Curacao are usually heartily. Not always, of course, but that is in no country in the world. People from Curacao often have pleasure when they meet and the ‘celebrate’ this by loud honking. On busy roads and roundabouts the people often use the English system. This means that in a traffic jam, traffic that comes from a side street to turn into the main road is given precedence. A car on the main road and a car from the side street, then another car on the main road, etc., etc.. A small gesture or a short horn signal then is sufficient to express your gratitude. Incidentally, it is not true that you can count on priority, eye contact with the driver of the other car makes this very much clear. So do not take precedence, even if you think you are right.

Curacao is , despite the fact that it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a real Caribbean island. The atmosphere and culture have little to do with the Netherlands. During fall and winter months people in the Netherlands usually drive home quickly after their work , turn the heater to a comfortable level and watch TV or do other home activities. On Curacao it is the opposite. After work many people go out to meet friends. This meand that the traffic on Curacao in the evening is relatively busy compared to many other countries. That is very nice but it has some dangers in it because the roads are often less well lit and marked and not everyone abides by the traffic rules. Indicating direction is not as common practice as in the Netherlands. Fast driving towards crossings, braking at the lates possible moment sometimes seems a bit intimidating. And cars driving around with some bad (brake) lights. That’s a lot better today than 10 years ago, but it remains for the average European driver to get used of.

Rain

On Curacao it rains in the months of October to February very frequently, usually they are fierce and heavy showers, a real tropical monsoon. Then the sun dries the roads very quickly. However because of the fact that cars on Curacao are often of significantly lower quality then the cars found on the roads in Europe, they leak more oil on the road. The oil on the road with the rain makes the roads extremely slippery on Curacao. It is therefore important to maintan distance, braking in a straight line (not in the curve) and to curve as smooth as possible. If one does not, then the car slides easily off the road and cause a lot of damage.

Parking

Unlike a few years ago free parking in the center of Willemstad (Punda) no longer applies. The parking fees are relatively low. You can think Ang to 1 hour. That is the equivalent of € 0.45. We recommend paying these parking fees just to prevent for a wheel clamp to be put on your rental car. Besides it is not always easy to get it removed by parking authorities.

Westpunt

Willemstad has much to offer but that also applies to the West of the island (West punt). The road to and from Westpunt is a relatively narrow two-lane road where many improvements have been made the last couple of years. Nevertheless, this route is similar to the quality of the roads in Europe. The people who use this road every day know this road well and they drive often to fast. There have been a lot of accidents with fatalities on this road the last couple of years. It is very wise to you maintain the maximum speed on this read (60 km) and turn on your headlights. This increases your visibility drastically.

Speed

The maximum speed on very Curacao is 60 kilometers per hour. Now many people do not keep to this limit, but in practice you will rarely see that they will exceed speeds of more than 70 kilometers per hour. Besides driving faster is not so senisible because the roads are not designed for high speeds. By the way, you will arrive at your destination anyway, the island is not that big. And besides, you are on a vacation so why hurry?

Gasoline

And last but not least, the gasoline. Which is relatively inexpensive in Curacao. Around € 1, – per liter. The consumption of most cars is usually also considerably higher than you might expect. With most cars a full tank will bring you between 400 and 500 kilometers further. In normal use of the vehicle during your holiday, you can drive up to ten days on a tank. And then you refuel and that is slightly different than the local Texaco. Before refueling, go to the ticket office (or to the atm) and you pay in advance the amount mentioning the pump number. Only then can you refuel. At some stations friendly staff is ready to fill up your car. A small tip for these people is often rewarded with a generous smile.