Getting Around on Curaçao
A guide to taxis, public transport and renting a car
*Disclaimer: We don’t receive any endorsements from any of the recommendations we mentioned. Free Walking Tours Curaçao prides itself on giving an honest opinion from a local’s perspective, and we always try to imagine putting ourselves in your shoes.
I recently saw on a visitors forum on Curaçao questions around how to get around the island of Curaçao. Considering the lack of information, we at Free Walking Tours Curaçao thought we would summarize all options and help give guidance on what to do.
The best way to get around is rent a car.
Car rental is by far the most efficient way to get around the island. Assuming you have a valid driver’s license and aren’t afraid of sometimes ambiguous traffic signs (or lack thereof) – driving a car offers the freedom to come and go as you wish.
A car rental will vary from $28USD to $100USD a day depending on the type of car, company and insurance you request. Be sure to check whether the insurance will allow coverage to the likes of Mambo Beach and other beaches on the island. Another thing to look at is whether the car is capable of going over steep the hills of the western part of the island (on route to Groot Knip, Christoffel mountain etc.).
Your car rental company will be able to give guidance on this.
In case you don’t have a license or are not comfortable driving, your next option is a taxi. But be warned this is no cheap option.
Uber does not exist on Curaçao, but there is a local taxi app that you can download on the google play or apple store. Visit http://taxiclickandgo.com/, prices are on the app are on average cheaper than taxis you would find on the taxi stand.
Hailing taxis off the street is a foreign concept on the island. So be sure to take note of a taxi company’s phone number and book a pick-up in advance (especially if coming back from the rural beaches and late night)
Your next challenge is prices. From our own experience a one-way ride with a Taxi from Punda (old town) to Mambo beach would set you back $20USD and from Otrobanda to Mambo beach would cost you $25USD (4.7km and 6.7km respectively)
The below table provided Caribya.com shows the total cost of a single journey from the airport to numerous destinations. Note: We included the distance ourselves using Google maps.
As you can see – renting a car would come out a lot cheaper than taking the taxis. Also note that taxi prices increase after 23:00
Please note that both options taxis don’t accept credit card payments and you need to pay cash, the same applies when booking through the app.
Our public transport system nothing to boast about. Even locals get confused on how to take the bus. Buses have the reputation of being never on-time, schedules are scarce and you might be waiting in the sun with no shade. Still not deterred? Here we go.
As a start, there are 2 types of buses 1)Konvooi (large buses) and 2) mini-buses
The good news about buses is that all buses depart from or head to Punda or Otrobanda depending on what part of the island you’re coming from. You could take the bus from your Hotel to town and then arrive back the same way or via alternative transport.
The large buses called “Konvooi” roughly pronounced as “Convoy” are run by the ABC bus company with a timetable found here. Prices for these buses range from 1.75 to 2.50 Antillean guilder. The Konvooi buses are the buses that go the long distance to West Point and Banda Abou
Konvooi (Source flickr)
The alternative to the Konvooi are the smaller buses running shorter distances and are more frequent throughout the island. These buses are MPV vehicles and you’ll be able to recognize them with the letters “BUS” written on the license plate. Prices for these buses are between 3.00 to 5.00 Antillean guilders. The benefit of these buses is that they stop and pick-up almost anywhere.
Caveat is that you need to know where you are at all times and telling the bus to stop is done by yelling and not by pushing a button.
Image of a van that could be a bus (source: Steerwellauto)
Lastly, it’s important to stay connected (google maps, order through the taxi app, calling a taxi company etc.) In case your phone plan doesn’t cover Curaçao and you want to avoid those roaming charges, you can consider buying “tourist sim” from Chippie the price $20USD or $30USD depending on the plan you choose and the sim-card data/minutes is valid for 30 days.
There you have it! Getting around Curaçao in a nutshell.
Written by Alex Driesprong (Free Walking Tours Curaçao)