Curacao is one of the ABC-islands in the Caribbean, consisting of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. It is part of the Netherlands and conisdered to be an overseas region in the Caribbean Netherlands. Previously, it was part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, has an old colonial town that you have to see. It also has the Queen Emma Bridge that floats on the water.
Otrobanda is most likely the town you will dock at when going to Curacao with a cruise ship. The town has various of caninos and hiking trails.
Lagun has cool beaches and a few seaside resorts with majestic views. Sint Michiel has more beaches, and Jan Kok has… flamingos wandering around. Besure to take a pic of them!
What you should not do is posting the photo you have taken of flamingos on social media while roaming with your provider in Curacao. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Curacao one.
Those with a SIM card from a country from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) should especially watch out with deciding to roam in Curacao.
Curacao is neither part of the EU nor the EEA, so they are not bound to the 2017 roam like at home regulation. Be sure to check whether your operator offers free roaming in Curacao before receiving an expensive roaming bill, as your operator is not required to offer free roaming in Curacao.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Curacao. Let’s go.
Telecom Providers in Curacao
Curacao has 2 telecom providers: Digicel Curacao and UTS Curacao (formerly Chippie). Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Curacao? If you want to buy a SIM card in Curacao, I would recommend going with either Digicel or UTS. I would recommend UTS a bit more for those who plan on visiting Bonaire or select other Caribbean nations because UTS offers free roaming in those destinations. Otherwise, Digicel would be a good option, as they often provide slightly more data for the same price compared to UTS.
Do note that UTS offers free roaming in Chippieland, which is Bonaire, Saba, Saint Barthelemy (Barts), Sint Eustatius, Saint Martin (French side), and Sint Maarten (Dutch side).
Like most countries in the Caribbean, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in Curacao.
A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: Curacao is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in Curacao. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a Curacaoan SIM card instead of roaming with their providers. Some providers, however, offer free roaming in Curacao, but this is not the case for all. Be sure to check your provider’s site to learn whether you can roam for free or not.
With that being said, let’s see what Curacao has to offer to us.
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
Digicel Curacao, just Digicel, is the most popular operator on Curacao with a market share of around 55%. They offer good coverage throughout the island.
You can buy a Digicel SIM card for 25 ANG ($13.90) with 20 ANG in credit in Digicel stores and various other stores throughout Curacao. Recharge cards are sold in many supermarkets, corner stores, and convenience stores in the country, but you can also top-up online with a credit card.
Digicel has several LTE Bundles, which are their combo plans with unlimited WhatsApp messaging (no VoIP), on-net calls, and unlimited on-net SMS:
- 6 ANG: 300 MB for 1 day
- 15 ANG: 800 MB for 3 days
- 45 ANG: 2 GB for 7 days
- 140 ANG: 10 GB for 30 days
You can activate a Digicel LTE Bundle online, by dialing *123#,or on the My Digicel App. All LTE Bundles auto-renew if there is enough credit. Unused data will roll over to the new period, as long as the auto-renewal is successful.
Additionally, these bundles are for local use only.
Only interested in data? Digicel offers LTE Data Plans that come with unlimited WhatsApp messaging (no VoIP) and unlimited rollover of unused data. As of recently, they have added 3 new plans, highlighted in bold, with more data:
- 2.50 ANG: 75 MB for 1 day
- 5 ANG: 150 MB for 1 day
- 10 ANG: 500 MB for 3 days
- 22 ANG: 1 GB for 7 days
- 56 ANG: 3.5 GB for 30 days
- 94 ANG: 6 GB for 30 days
- 100 ANG: 8 GB for 30 days
- 155 ANG: 15 GB for 30 days
You can activate a Digicel LTE Data Plan online, by dialing *123#,or on the My Digicel App. All LTE Data Plans auto-renew if there is enough credit. Unused data will roll over to the new period, as long as the auto-renewal is successful.
LTE Data Plans are for use in Curacao only.
UTS Curacao, formerly Chippie, is the other operator in Curacao. They offer good coverage throughout Curacao, slightly better than Digicel.
You can buy a UTS SIM card for 50 ANG with 25 ANG in credit in a UTS store (Novo Building on Gosieweg or Renaissance Mall in Otrobanda). To check your balance, dial #191# or use the miUTS app.
UTS offers several Smart Combo Bundles, which come with unlimited local calls and from Curacao to Chippieland and unlimited local SMS:
- 4 ANG: 100 MB daily. Activation: text combod40 to 3434
- 6 ANG: 300 MB for 1 day. Activation: text combod100 to 3434
- 15 ANG: 1000 MB for 3 days. Activation: text combod3d to 3434
- 50 ANG: 2500 MB for 7 days. Activation: text combow500 to 3434
- 140 ANG: 10 000 MB for 30 days. Activation: text combom2500 to 3434
- 180 ANG: 12 000 MB for 30 days. Activation: text combom5000 to 3434
Remember, you can use your data allowance in Chippieland, which is Bonaire, Saba, Saint Barthelemy (Barts), Sint Eustatius, Saint Martin, and Sint Maarten.
The 4 ANG 100 MB plan will renew automatically daily. To cancel the auto-renewal, text COMBO STOP to 3434.
Only need data? The following UTS Smart Surf Bundles are available:
- 2.50 ANG: 70 MB daily. Activation: text surfd70 to 3434
- 5 ANG: 150 MB for 1 day. Activation: text surfd150 to 3434
- 10 ANG: 500 MB for 3 days. Activation: text 3d to 3434
- 22 ANG: 1000 MB for 7 days. Activation: text surfw1000 to 3434
- 32 ANG: 750 MB for 30 days. Activation: text surfm750 to 3434
- 56 ANG: 3000 MB for 30 days. Activation: text surfm3000 to 3434
- 94 ANG: 6000 MB for 30 days. Activation: text surfm6000 to 3434
All UTS Smart Surf Bundles auto-renew if there is enough credit. You can use Smart Surf Bundles in Chippieland as well (Bonaire, Saba, Saint Barthelemy (Barts), Sint Eustatius, Saint Martin, and Sint Maarten).
Smart Surf Bundles cannot be combined with Smart Combo Bundles (and vice versa). You can, however, combine them with voice plans, but you would be better off getting a Smart Combo bundle instead.
Finally, UTS offers 2 tourist SIM cards. For 20 USD, you get 1 GB, 100 on-net minutes, and 10 local SMS. For 30 USD, you get 3 GB, 300 on-net minutes, and 30 SMS.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Curacao
So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Curacao. However, that is not the only way to be online in Curacao. I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.
Roaming in Curacao with Your Provider
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is UTS Bonaire, then you would be roaming with UTS Bonaire in Curacao.
You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.
Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Curacao, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Curacao, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.
Using Free WIFI connections in Curacao
This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.
First, you need to find hotspots in Curacao. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.
In the case of Curacao, you can mainly find hotspots in the tourist areas, but many of them are slow.
Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.
Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Curacao
Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Curacao
International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.
All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Curacao. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in the Caribbean require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Curacao
Getting a SIM card from either Digicel or UTS would do you well when considering a Curacaoan SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in the Caribbean? Check out my Caribbean SIM card buying guide covering the other Caribbean destinations, such as Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French West Indies, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French) & Sint Maarten (Dutch), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Curacao
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Curacao. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Curacao drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Curacao
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Curacao. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Curacaoan hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Curacao
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Curacao, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the local currency for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!