Your guide to being an expatriate in Curaçao

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Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island nation located in the Southern Caribbean Sea. Its economy is based on various industries such as tourism, finance, commerce, and oil refining. Curaçao gained autonomy from the Netherlands Antilles in 2010 and has been a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2011. The island nation is well-known for its vibrant culture, diverse population, and picturesque beaches. In 2017, Curaçao ranked as the sixth happiest country in the world, according to the Happy Planet Index.


Expat destinations in Curaçao

Demographics of Curaçao:

Ethnic groups

The population is predominantly Afro-Caribbean (81%) followed by Europeans (15%) and Asians (3%).


Dutch is the official language, but Papiamentu and English are also widely spoken.

Religion Overview

Curaçao has a diverse religious landscape, with Roman Catholicism being the predominant religion (74%), followed by Protestantism (14%), and Omã Nyoba (4%).

Major Religions


Curaçao has a tropical desert climate with warm temperatures year-round, usually ranging from 26-30°C (79-86°F). Trade winds provide a welcome relief against humidity, and rainfall is scant, usually less than 700mm (28 inches) annually.

Economy Overview

The economy of Curaçao is based on various industries such as tourism, finance, commerce, and oil refining. The island nation is home to several financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten and an international offshore financial services center. The tourism industry is also significant, with several attractions such as the Mangel Hal Beach & Resort, Klein Curacao, and the Hato Caves.

Key Industries

  • Tourism
  • Finance and banking
  • Trade and commerce
  • Oil refining and petroleum logistics

Major Companies

  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Curaçao International Ports N.V.
  • ConsorM Research
  • Curaçao Convention Bureau

Culture and Language Overview

Curaçao's culture is a mix of Dutch, Spanish, and African influences. The island's capital, Willemstad, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colorful architecture, brightly painted houses, wooden bridges, and tranquil Voorstraat. Carnival, a celebration of Caribbean heritage, is a major highlight of Curaçao's culture, filled with music, dance, and feasting on traditional cuisine such as iguana soup and cactus salad.

Cultural Highlights

  • Carnival (around mid-January to mid March)
  • Chichi Mongi (Cultural Festival, around August)
  • Kesilio (Cultural Festival, around March)

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Curaçao's rugged coastline and clear turquoise waters are some of the island's most iconic landmarks, with stunning beaches such as Mambo Beach and Constant Beach offering the perfect backdrop for water sports enthusiasts. The Hato Caves, a geological wonderland with stalagmites and bats, is a popular natural attraction that highlights Curaçao's geography.

Notable Landmarks

  • Mambo Beach
  • Constant Beach
  • Dokterstuin Forest
  • Hato Caves
  • Punda and Otrabanda Historic Districts (Willemstad)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Good Friday
  • Ascension Day (usually in May)
  • Pink Friday (usually in November)
  • Queen's Day (December 31)
  • New Year's Eve (December 31)

Political Stability

Curaçao functions as an autonomous islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island nation has a parliamentary democracy, with the Prime Minister as the head of government and the Governor as the representative of the Monarch. Curaçao's politics generally remain stable, although concerns over corruption and debt management have emerged in recent years.

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