Curaçao is located in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast and lies just 12° north of the Equator; it includes the main island as well as the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao. In the fall of 2010, Curaçao became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curaçao is the most “Dutch” of its Caribbean sister islands: Aruba, Bonaire, St. Eustatius (Statia), Saba and St. Maarten. The city’s candy colored downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the few found in the Caribbean. It has a land area of 444 square km (171 sq miles) measuring 61 km (23 miles) in length with a maximum width of 14 km (5 miles), Curaçao has an elongated shape, orientated northwest to southeast, highest point is the 375 meter (1,230 ft) Christoffelberg (“Mount Christoffel”) in the north-western part of the island. The Island has a population of approximately 142,000.
Local currency, the Netherlands Antillean guilder, also referred to as the guilder. US dollars are readily accepted island-wide although change may be given in guilders.
The official language is Dutch with English and Spanish widely spoken. The native language is Papiamento, a combination of Spanish, English, Dutch, Portuguese, Indian and some African words.
The average temperature is about 27° C (mid 80s F) and there is little variation throughout the year, although it may be a few degrees warmer during the summer months.. Refreshing trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, October to February is marked by short, occasional showers, usually at night, and continued sunny weather by day. Average rainfall is less than 20 inches per year. The Island is out of range of the traditional Caribbean Hurricane belt.
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