Guide to Driving In Curacao - Drive Safe in Curacao

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Curacao?

Driving in Curacao


Curacao is a great place for a holiday and a great place to drive. It's links to Holland mean that the island's infrastructure is well funded and driving there is pleasurable - until it rains when you can encounter landslides and impassable roads.

Apart from that, you should have a trouble free time on your Curacao holiday!
 

Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

All occupants of a moving car must wear a seat belt whilst driving in Curacao. 

Drinking and Driving

In Curacao, there is no specified drink driving alcohol limit, instead the law says it’s illegal to drive whilst drunk. This would usually translate for most people having no more than one drink before getting behind the wheel. With the law being so vague, our recommendation is not to have any alcohol if you intend to drive, especially given the vagaries of driving on the island.

Must Have Documents

You will need to carry your driving licence – an international driving licence is required, your registration document or car hire contract and proof of insurance. 

Speed Limits

The speed limits for Curacao are as follows:
 
Open roads:   80 km/h
In Town:        variable up to 50 km/h 

Minimum Driving Age

You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Curacao although many young drivers ignore this rule. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 but if you are under 25 you will have to pay an excess for your inexperience with some companies.

Safety Camera Warning Devices

It’s not illegal to use safety cameras in Curacao but the roads on the whole aren’t conducive to excess speed so we recommend that you don’t bother with them and instead, stick to the speed limit.

On the Spot Fines

If a traffic police officer stops you for a motoring offence, you must be given a violation notice which indicates the offence and the penalty it incurs – usually a fine. You will have up to 21 days to pay the fine at any police station. 

Child Safety Rules

Children under the age of five may not travel in the front of a car and must be secured with an appropriate seating system in the rear of the car. If you don’t want to bring your own child seat with you, advise us of your requirement when you book and we’ll fit the appropriate seat ready for your arrival.

Insurance

You’ll find that a minimum of third party insurance is obligatory in Curacao and you must be able to prove it with a valid certificate.

Rules of the Road

Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
 
In Curacao, cars travel on the right hand side of the road
Many roads are narrow and winding so take care, especially at night
You cannot turn right on a red traffic light
Use your horn only in emergency situations to warn others of your presence

Towing Regulations

If you need to tow anything in Curacao, all you need to do is to ensure you’re securely attached and you can see around the vehicle clearly. 

Speed Cameras

Fixed speed cameras have yet to arrive on Curacao but instead the police operate regular mobile speed traps on roads where speeding is common. Offenders will be issued with a penalty notice.

Using Mobile Phones when driving

You must use a hands-free kit if wanting to make or answer a phone call whilst driving in Curacao

Parking

Parking regulations
 
You won’t find parking too much of a problem in the smaller towns or near the beaches but in the capital Willemstad, it’s a different matter. Tourists and locals combine to clog the streets and parking can be a nightmare. In such circumstances it’s best to park a little further away from the attractions and walk through the pretty streets.
 
Paid parking
 
It’s generally only in Willemstad or near tourist attractions that you’ll have to pay parking charges. Some of them can seem excessive but that’s because there’s often no other choice. 
 
Enforcement
 
Enforcement of parking rules can mean a penalty ticket in paid parking areas, usually issued privately or being towed if causing an obstruction. You’ll have to pay a charge to release your car from the car pound in those circumstances.
 
Disabled parking
 
Provision of accessible parking for disabled drivers is more common in the capital but if you need it elsewhere you’ll find people willing to help you find accessible parking.

Motor Way Signs

You won’t find any motorways on Curacao as the island is small. 

Phrases

Whilst Curacao is officially Dutch, English is one of the official languages so you should encounter no difficulties with being understood.

Traffic Lights

Like its neighbour Aruba, Curacao traffic lights don’t have an amber signal when changing from red to green. If you’re unused to it, it can come as a surprise.

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads on Curacao.

Emergency

All the emergency services can be contacted on 911

What to do in an emergency

Mechanical problems with a hire car are easily resolved by contacting the local agent using the phone number on your documentation or on a sticker inside the car. If you are driving a private car you’ll need to contact a local mechanic as there are no official breakdown services on the island.
 
Only if there is major damage or injury in a collision do you need to contact the emergency services. In all other cases you can simply negotiate fault and exchange insurance details on the spot. If the emergency services do attend, you’ll be given a report for the insurance or hire car company. It’s worth taking photographs of the scene and witness details whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive. 

Fuel Costs

As of December 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Curacao is 96p whilst diesel is 88p. Prices can vary between the coast and inland.
 

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Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Curacao and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.