Time Zone: -4 hours. No daylight saving time in 2008
Tel. Country Code: 599
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical current 220/50 or 110/50 (volts/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plugs A, D.
• Canadian Embassy
Maduro and Curiels Bank, N.V.
Tel:  (9) 466-1115/1121
• Honorary British Consulate
Tel:  (9) 747-3322
Fax:  (9 747-3330
The Netherlands Antilles is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea: Curacao and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands. The islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and formed its own state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands Antilles is scheduled to be dissolved as a unified political entity on December 15, 2008, at which time the five constituent islands will attain new constitutional statuses within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Two new associated states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands would be formed, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Meanwhile, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius would become a direct part of the Netherlands as special municipalities. These municipalities will resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways.
The two island groups of which the Netherlands Antilles consists are:
The Leeward Islands, part of the Leeward Antilles island chain off the Venezuelan coast (along with Aruba):
• Bonaire, including an islet called Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire)
• Curacao, including an islet called Klein Curacao (Little Curacao)
The Windward Islands, east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
• Sint Eustatius
• Sint Maarten, the southern half of the island Saint Martin (the northern half, Saint-Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France).
A valid passport is required. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket and be able to provide proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their visit.
Nationals of countries other than Canada, the UK and the US may require a visa. Consult your nearest Netherlands consulate or embassy. For information, travelers may contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch Consulate in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston or Miami. Visit the web site for the Embassy of the Netherlands athttp://www.netherlands-embassy.org for the most current visa information. U.S. Citizens traveling by air to and from the Netherlands Antilles must present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States. Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID).
HIV Test: Required by Aruba for intending immigrants.
Required Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers >6 months of age arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise. Note: The CDC does not recommend yellow fever vaccine for infants <9 months of age.
Curacao is one of the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles is a group of five Caribbean islands: Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius (Statia), and St. Maarten. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and formed its own state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Tourist facilities are widely available.
Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from acupuncture, tattooing or body piercing; when receiving non-sterile medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin sores on an infected person. Recommended for long-term travelers, expatriates, and any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.
Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.
Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers except short-stay visitors and cruise ship passengers.
Yellow Fever: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise.
Hospitals / Doctors
Adequate medical care is available on Aruba, Curacao, and Saint Maarten but is not up to the standards of industrialized countries. Medical care is substandard on other islands. All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this countryâ€”the equivalent drugs may not be available.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage, including air ambulance medevac. In the event of a serious illness or injury that cannot be treated locally, every effort should be made to arrange aeromedical evacuation to the United States or to the closest facility with state-of-the-art capability.
• St. Elizabeth Hospital
Tel:  (9) 462-4900
Emergency Tel: 910
This is a public hospital, one of the most modern in the southern Caribbean, that may be compared to midrange facilities in the United States. The hospital has a decompression chamber and qualified staff to assist scuba divers suffering from decompression sickness.
Several private clinics in Curacao provide good to excellent medical service.
• Dr. J. Taams Clinic
(De Kliniek Dr. J. Taams)
Tel:  (9) 736-5466
The clinic has 52 beds, approximately 100 English-speaking staff members and more than 25 affiliated specialists.
• The Antillean Adventist Hospital
Tel:  (9) 737-1992
• Diatel Dialysis Center
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: The Caribbean has a well-established HIV epidemic and the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the region is now second only to sub-Saharan Africa, making the region the second most affected in the world. The predominant route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is heterosexual contact. Much of this transmission is associated with commercial sex, but the virus is also spreading in the general population. The contribution by men having sex with men is significant but not well documented, due to a general atmosphere of homophobia making data gathering difficult. At one extreme, Haiti has the highest HIV prevalence in the entire western hemisphere (3.8%); at the other, Cuba has one of the lowest (0.1%). The Bahamas (3.3%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.6%) and Guyana (2.4%) are all heavily affected, while Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean country apart from Cuba where it is thought that less than 1% of the population is living with HIV. The overall prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean is estimated to be between 1.1% and 2.2%. (Source:www.Avert.org)
• The United Nations does not currently publish HIV/AIDS epidemiological fact sheets for The Netherlands Antilles and thus specific HIV/AIDS data are not available for this country.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with another person’s body fluids or blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.
Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.
Dengue Fever: In 2007, over 50 cases in the Netherlands Antilles were confirmed to be dengue fever and one case in Curacao was confirmed to be dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness occurring throughout the Caribbean. It is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from this region. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases. Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours.
• You should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and applying permethrin spray or solution to your clothing and gear. There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
• A world dengue fever map is at:http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/documents/dengue_map.pdf
Another map of endemic areas is here: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/2008/gfx/dengue080428-eng.gif
Food & Water Safety: All mains water on the island is distilled from sea water, and is thus safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.
Hepatitis: ll travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic but levels are unclear. Sporadic cases may occur. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals may serve as a viral reservoir. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• Hepatitis B is endemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 2% to 7%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic in the general population but level is not clearly determined. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Influenza: Influenza is transmitted year-round in the tropics. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months who have not been vaccinated in the past 12 months.
Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in Curaçao.
Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, corals, and sharks. There are no sea snakes in the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
• SCUBA DIVING-Hyperbaric Chamber Referral: Diver•s Alert Network (DAN) maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Through Duke University, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke University Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. In a diving emergency, or for the location of the nearest decompression chamber, call the DAN Emergency Hotline:  919-684-8111 or  919-684-4DAN (Collect).
• A decompression chamber is located at St. Elizabeths hospital.
Rabies: Curacao is considered to be rabies-free, but stray and sometimes viscous dogs may be encountered. All unprovoked animal bites should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Low to moderate risk. Food and water are generally safe on this island. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (exception: short-term travelers and cruise ship passengers) traveling to or working in The Caribbean, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.
Yellow Fever: Travelers >6 months of age entering the country from an endemic area are required to present a certificate of immunization against yellow fever. Not otherwise recommended.