Your phone is indispensable when you’re on vacation in Curacao. Being able to call, access your email and use other applications is important. However, using your cell phone in Curacao can cost you a lot of money…
Cell phone service in Curacao
Curacao has two phone providers; Digicel and UTS. You have a choice to use your local provider (roaming) or buy an Curacao sim card.
If you choose to keep your US, Canadian, or European phone plan, remember to contact your phone provider before you fly to Curacao. Ask them if they have cell phone service in Curacao. You may be able to get a roaming plan or international plan.
Ask them specifically how much they charge you for incoming and outgoing calls. They often don't tell you that they will charge you around 1$-3$ per minute for incoming and outgoing calls, which means a 20 minute conversation may cost you around 40$! Also expect hidden charges like data use for email updates and push notifications.
If you plan to roam you’ll be able to do so in Curacao with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and many more.
However, it‘s way cheaper to have a Curacao cell phone number to call abroad.
Less expensive cell phone service in Curacao
Using your international sim card to get Curacao cell phone service is expensive. We recommend to buy a Curacao sim card from Digicel or UTS. A sim card will cost you about $21.
Data plans can be bought separately and activated online. The Digicel 7 day data plan with 750 MB costs $8, see Digicel Curacao for other data plans. The UTS 7 day Chippie data plan with 500 MB costs $11, see Chippie Prepaid Data Bundles.
If you use a Digicel or UTS sim card, make sure that you change your APN (Access Point Name) settings.
(for Digicel) APN Name: Digicel – APN: web.digicelcuracao.com
(for UTS) APN Name: UTS – APN: premium
Having the wrong APN-Settings means your internet connection won’t be good.
Make sure your phone is unlocked before you purchase a sim card!
How to call to and from Curacao
To call the United States or Canada from Curacao, dial 001 and the area code in the United States plus the phone number. To call European countries dial 00, the country code (0031 for the Netherlands and 0049 for Germany) and then the area code plus phone number.
To call Curacao from the United States or Canada, dial 011 plus 599 plus the phone number. To call Curacao from European countries, dial 00 plus 599 plus the phone number.
Cell phone Curacao tips
If you plan to keep your original sim card and not roam, you should:
Turn off your mobile data
Put your device in airplane mode.
Turn on your WiFi and use WiFi instead of GPRS/EDGE/3G. Curacao is dotted with WiFi hot-spots (see our blog post Free wi-fi hotspots in Curacao). You can make a phone call if you need via Skype, What’s App, Facebook Messenger and all other calling apps over WiFi.
If you plan to roam but minimize international data charges, you should:
Track your usage upon arrival. iPhone has a native data usage tracker. However, if your phone doesn’t have one, download a 3rd party data tracking app from your app store. iPhone tip - tap on Settings > General > Usage > Reset statistics. Periodically check your data usage by tapping on Settings > General > Usage and review your data consumption under Cellular Network Data.
Your mail app uses a lot of data, because it needs continuous updates to get emails.
You save money when you disable your device from receiving emails automatically.
If you need to check your email, you can do so manually by using Wi-Fi.
How to disable your device’s auto email check functionality:
iPhone users Tap on Settings > Mails, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. Toggle “Push” to off and under “Fetch”, select manually.
Android users Select Settings > Accounts and syncs > Manage Accounts. Un-check “Auto-sync” for your email.
By default the setting for international roaming should be “off” on your phone. This blocks emails, browsing, downloads, but not text messages.
How to turn off your data roaming:
iPhone users Tap on Settings > General > Network > Data Roaming
Android users Tap on Settings > Wireless and network > Mobile Network > Data Roaming
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