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Curacao (Curaçao) is an island country in the southern Caribbean Sea, approximately 40 mi north of the Venezuelan coast, that is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Formally called the Country of Curaçao, it includes the main island and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao").
It has a population of over 150,000 on an area of 171 sq mi and its capital is Willemstad.
Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the "Island Territory of Curaçao", one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.
Curaçao is a popular tourism destination for the Eastern United States, South America and Holland.
Tourism in Curaçao
Curaçao has developed a tourist industry. It offered low corporate taxes to encourage companies to set up holdings in order to avoid higher taxes elsewhere. It has emphasized its diverse heritage to expand its tourism industry. Since the late 20th century, immigrants have come from neighbouring countries, such as Venezuela, but also from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Anglophone Caribbean and Colombia. In the early 21st century, a number of Dutch pensioners have settled on the island for its mild climate.
Curaçao has a tropical savannah climate (Köppen climate classification As) with a dry season from January to September and a wet season from October to December. The temperatures are relatively constant with small differences throughout the year.
The northern sea floor of the island drops steeply within 200 ft of the shore. This drop-off is known as the "Blue Edge" which makes it a popular scuba diving destination.
Scuba diving tourists often visit for this vista. Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou. The coastline of Curaçao features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.
Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef's condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish.
Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, international trade, shipping services, refining, storage (oil and bunkering) and international financial services being the most important sectors. Curaçao's economy is well developed and supports a high standard of living, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 27th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita. Curaçao possesses a high income economy, as defined by the World Bank.
While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao's economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean countries. Most tourists originate from the Eastern United States, South America and the Netherlands. It currently leads the Caribbean in cruise tourism.
Local food is called Krioyo (pronounced the same as criollo, the Spanish word for "Creole") and boasts a blend of flavours and techniques best compared to Caribbean cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Dishes common in Curaçao are found in Aruba and Bonaire as well.
Map of Curacao