Curacao sometimes gets a bad rep for safety and security which is somewhat unfair. It’s no better or worse than other places we've traveled to or lived in – including the UK and USA – and just like everywhere, it’s about using your common sense.
In fact, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how friendly most people are: a smile and a nod will get you a VERY long way.
Curacao is wealthier than other Caribbean islands, but it has poorer neighbourhoods and its share of poverty and street-folk, like most places. However it’s highly unusual to be harassed like you might in places such as Jamaica, for example. (Unless you visit the street markets, but that’s just folks trying to earn an honest living. A smile and a ‘no thanks’ usually puts an end to it.)
Crimes against the person are rare, but, like back home, don’t wander around certain areas after midnight, flashing your Rolex or your fancy camera.
Crimes against property are less rare, unfortunately. Leave your belongings unattended on the beach or in your car, and you may find they belong to someone else by the time you return. So keep your money and your valuables with you at all times, and only bring what you need when you head out.
(We were once confronted by a very angry South American, furious that over $1000 cash and 6 passports had been stolen from his car whilst he went swimming at the beach…)
So if you’re heading out diving:
- invest in a dry-box and carry your money, credit card, DAN card and PADI card with you on the dives. It doesn’t even need to be a dry-box – soggy dollars are widely accepted (it’s still cash after all) and if your credit card has survived a turn in the laundry machine, a dive or 2 certainly won’t hurt.
- If you rent a car, leave the vehicle unlocked and windows open a bit so would-be thieves don’t have to smash them to enter – only to find there’s nothing to take, as you took your valuables with you.
- Bring your common sense, and leave your 6 passports and $1000s at your accommodation.