Warm weather, beaches, water activities, hiking, cocktails, sight seeing: these are the things to consider when packing for a week in Curacao.
Curacao part of the Dutch Caribbean provides a much needed respite from the lasting Northern winter, and more importantly a reset for your minds & spirit. Packing comes pretty easy when the only item on the itinerary is soaking up vitamin D.
To provide you with a little help and to ensure that you don't forget anything, we have compiled 8 helpful tips on packing for your Curacao vacation.
1. Go through security like a pro
Before entering Curacao, you will need to provide customs officials with a few documents: a valid passport, embarkation and disembarkation documents, and a return or onward ticket. You may also be asked to show the address of your accommodations for your trip.
Of course, you will want to make sure you have enough money to get you through your vacation. Although they will probably never ask, customs officials have the right to ask you to prove that you do. The local currency is called Antillean Guilder (ANG). The Antillean Guilder is tied to the US Dollar at a fixed rate of 1 USD = 1.75 ANG. or in other terms US$20 equals ANG 35.
Since the US Dollar is widely accepted on the island, it is best to have some cash US Dollars. The ATMs will dispense your choice of Antillean Guilders or US Dollars. Be warned, when you leave Curacao, you will be required to pay a departure fee of US$39.
For more information on local currency, ATMs, and credit cards see Frequently Asked Questions.
In case you like to go quickly through Curacao customs, make sure you read our post Skip the Lines at Curacao's Customs and Immigration Clearance.
2. No need to dress to impress
You don’t need a lot of clothing when vacationing in Curacao. Most dress casual; dressed up can be as easy-breezy as a button-down tropical shirt for gents and a sundress or capris and a nice top for ladies.
Bring a couple of swim suits, a few shorts, a couple of capris which you can pair with several different tops, 3 or 4 sundresses, and maybe one really nice outfit. For footwear, you’ll find that you live in flip-flops, which pack easily.
3. Think about the excursions and adventures you have planned
Don’t forget that the sun here is very strong! While you’re out enjoying yourself, you are going to want to wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses, as well as a strong SPF, waterproof sunscreen, the higher the SPF, the better. The sun in Curacao gets very hot, but due to the trade winds you will not feel yourself burning until it is too late! Don't bother bringing the spray ones because the wind will blow it to other directions.
If you will be participating in any water sports (see Top 10 tips for water activities in Curacao), wearing a UV-protection Rash Guard Shirt is highly recommended, particularly when snorkeling. Backs are notoriously burnt to a crisp when you spend an hour face down in the water.
Water shoes are no luxury, since the coral that washes in on the beach can be painful to walk on to get to the sand beyond.
If you plan to do some real hiking or visiting one of the National Parks, pack sturdy shoes or sneakers.
4. Use your beach bag as your personal carryon
This is not only practical, but will get you into an island state of mind from the minute you leave your house!
One more thing to keep in mind when packing your personal carryon is that luggage does go missing on occasion, especially when international travel is involved. It is not nice when it happens, but it does happen. Planes may get delayed en route to your destination and you may be forced to overnight somewhere along the way without your suitcase.
Be sure you have everything you need for at least 1 night in your carryon and you’ll reduce your stress level immensely. In particular, pack any necessary medications or items you can’t live without. You also may like to pack a cotton sundress, extra undies and a pair of flip-flops in addition to your toiletries.
To make the best of it in case you get delayed in another city, throw in a few granola bars, a bag of nuts and another snack.
5. Leave your beach towels and toiletries at home
Villa Seashell has beach towels for your use, so there’s no need to take up valuable space in your suitcase with those.
We also provide soap, shampoo, and conditioner, and you can get any other toiletries you need at the Botica (local pharmacy) when you arrive in Curacao. Still, if you are particular about what you use on your hair and body, you will want to play it safe and bring your own.
6. Be prepared to fight some buggers, just in case....
Although we hardly ever have mosquitoes at Villa Seashell, they may appear when it has been raining. Because of this, you will want to bring along some bug spray to apply when the sun sets and before you leave the house for dinner.
If you forgot to take it with you, buy a can of OFF at the supermarket or Botica. Also, most restaurants have bug spray available in case the buggers bother you.
7. Ensure you can share all the memories with friends and family
You definitely don't want to forget your camera and all of the equipment needed to maintain it. An extra memory card might be a good idea as well, so you can capture every part of your Curacao vacation on film.
If you've got a waterproof camera, this is definitely the time to use it. There is nothing better than being able to frolic in the ocean, with your camera, and take amazing photos.
8. What else to pack?
Bring chair clips, it is breezy in Curacao most of the time and chair clamps/clips will help keep your towel from blowing off the chairs on the beach.
Other helpful items to bring with you include zip-lock bags, which have many uses including keeping ants out of food and keeping personal items dry; a collapsible cooler that can be popped open for hikes, but folded takes very little space in your luggage; your own snorkeling gear (although we have at least 2 sets for you available at Villa Seashell); and one of those waterproof pouches you wear around your neck or waist to keep your cash, credit cards, phone and keys with you while you’re in the water.
Still not sure what to pack? ......have a look at the Pack Light app. For more information on this app, see our blog 9 Great apps for the best vacation in Curacao.
A little pre-planning and efficient packing will help you to avoid stress and expenses, and will get you into the island mindset quickly!
Interested in staying with us? Contact us for information about our oceanfront villa, one of the nicest Curacao vacation rentals.
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