Curacao is one of the most favorite vacation destinations for the Dutch. But unfortunately, the Caribbean islands also have an enemy of tourists: the mosquito. Curacao also has mosquitoes, but don’t let that stop you from vacationing in Curacao!
What mosquitoes on Curacao
If you really want to know all the scientific details, you should read Wikipedia on what kinds of mosquitoes there are in Curacao. But for most people, it doesn’t matter that there are lots of species of mosquitoes, most of which don’t even sting (bite). Let’s worry mostly about the mosquitoes that do sting. What is important to know is that a mosquito bite in Curacao can have several effects. In almost all cases, you get a significantly itchy mosquito bite. There are serious diseases you can get from a mosquito on Curacao, in recent years several epidemics have passed through Curacao: Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. Dengue occurs but is very rare in Curacao. The summer of 2014 did trigger a Chikungunya epidemic, with a total of some 20,000 infections in early 2015. Fortunately, that epidemic has passed since 2016, but people who contracted Chikungunya then are still regularly suffering from the after-effects today.
> Read more about Chikungunya on Curacao
Zika on Curacao
In 2015/2016, South America was under the spell of another virus: the Zika virus. Zika is spread by the same mosquito that also spreads Dengue and Chikungunya, the Tiger mosquito. Fortunately, Zika is less serious for most people (only 1 in 5 infected people show symptoms of illness, and then also for up to 10 days). However, Zika can be dangerous to pregnant women: the unborn baby can be deformed by Zika. Fortunately, Zika has infected few pregnant women, therefore there is no known case in Curacao of a baby with physical abnormalities due to Zika. A fair number of people did get sick from Zika on Curacao, including tourists. However since 2019, we can state that the Zika epidemic is over and Zika no longer needs to be a reason not to go to Curacao, even for pregnant women.
> Read more about Zika on Curacao
Mosquitoes on Curacao love tourists!
Curacao tourists frequently wonder why the mosquito does not attack the Curacao people. You see tourist after tourist with plenty of mosquito bumps on legs and arms, but among the locals you rarely see a bump. Why is that anyway? This is mainly due to the thin white skin of the Dutch. The colored skin of the locals (including the tanned Dutch living in Curacao) is thicker and harder to get through for the mosquito in Curacao. And the locals’ immune system is used to the mosquito on Curacao, so they no longer get itchy mosquito bumps when they are stung.
What does a mosquito on Curacao LOVE
What a mosquito likes, you as a human should avoid as much as possible:
- standing water
- dark places
- high humidity
What does a mosquito in Curacao NOT like
So these are things that can help keep the mosquitoes away from you:
- colder environment
- covering clothes
When do you suffer from mosquitoes in Curacao?
We regularly get the question “When are there no mosquitoes in Curacao?“. Unfortunately, there are always mosquitoes in Curacao. But it can vary a bit by time of year whether there are many or few mosquitoes.
Rainseason: mosquito season on Curacao
From September through December (with occasional spills into January) is the rainseason in Curacao. Because of the humidity and puddles of water everywhere, this is also automatically high season for the mosquito in Curacao.
Wind doesn’t like the mosquito on Curacao
In March and April it can be quite windy on Curacao. That means you will also be less bothered by the mosquitoes on Curacao during that period.
The mosquito is always there in Curacao
In addition to the above two periods, you are always bothered by the mosquito in Curacao. Don’t be fooled by locals who claim the mosquito is not there. Just because the locals are not bothered by them does not mean they are not there! The mosquito is always there in Curacao, just some times more often and other times less. In addition, because of the sunshine, the locals will have thicker skin which the mosquitoes do not like. So anyway, a mosquito in Curacao is more likely to seek out “white” tourists and less likely to seek out locals with colored skin.
Mosquito protection on Curacao
Even though as a tourist in Curacao you are a favorite target for the mosquito, you can protect yourself quite nicely and thereby greatly reduce the chances of getting stung.
DEET is available in three varieties: a lotion with 50% DEET, a spray with 40% DEET and gel with 30% DEET. If you have a remedy with a percentage of DEET lower than 30%, it only protects for a short time and is really not suitable for Curacao. If you have a remedy with a percentage of DEET of more than 50%, it has no extra value: you actually just smear more poison on your body without any extra (long) help.
- One package of DEET is enough for one person with normal daily use for 2 to 3 weeks
- DEET can be a pretty nasty stuff. If you are using it for the very first time, apply a small amount first to see how your skin reacts to it.
- Do not apply DEET on a wound or if your skin is irritated because you have been in the sun too long. Avoid contact with eyes and lips. If DEET does accidentally get on sensitive skin, rinse with water as soon as possible.
- In children, use up to 30% DEET. Ideal for children is an anti-mosquito bracelet
- The effect of DEET can be adversely affected by strong body odor such as sweat
- Like sunscreen, you should reapply with DEET after swimming
- Important! The correct order: Apply sunscreen first and let it soak in. Only then apply DEET to your body. If you do this the other way around, the DEET has no effect at all.
Swallowing Vitamin B
Many people claim it helps to start taking Vitamin B beforehand. Of course, it is difficult to test for yourself whether it works or not, but so far it has not been proven with scientific research that taking Vitamin B (B1) helps. Indeed, Bart Knols, the mosquito expert in the Netherlands, says it is certain that swallowing Vitamin B does not help. But despite the lack of (scientific) evidence, there are many people who say they definitely benefit from it in the fight against mosquitoes. So maybe it’s worth a try?
Sleep under a mosquito net
A mosquito net can make you feel safe to sleep peacefully while outside the mosquito net the mosquitoes are trying to get to you. If you want to buy a mosquito net you have several options Do you want a mosquito net for single or double bed? Want a compact travel mosquito net? Impregnated with anti-insect stuff or not? So before you order a mosquito net, find out what is convenient for your accommodation in Curacao.
Tip: Also consider how you will hang the mosquito net. Bring some practical items for this! In Curacao, mosquito nets can be bought in some supermarkets, but they are rare and expensive!
Turn on the air conditioning
A mosquito does not like wind, cold and dry air. How nice that you can combine this by turning on the air conditioner! Tip: On Curacao, use the air conditioner only when really necessary: electricity is expensive on Curacao and an air conditioner consumes a lot of power. Many accommodations will charge use of air conditioning extra, usually between US$ 6 and US$11 per night.
Stuff at the local supermarket
You can buy various items against mosquitoes in Curacao’s supermarkets:
- Mosquito racket: A small model tennis racket with power on the wires (battery or rechargeable). For a few Antillean Guilders on sale in almost any supermarket or mini-market. A good remedy to take a walk around the room and kill any mosquitoes present.
- smoke spiral: Mosquitoes in Curacao don’t like smoke. In Curacao, you can buy an anti-mosquito smoke coil in any supermarket. Put the spiral on its leg, light it and for about three hours the spiral stands quietly smoking, similar to incense. You can smell the smoke a little, but it is certainly not bothersome. A great way to keep mosquitoes away from the table while eating (outside, of course!). Be careful when unpacking the anti-mosquito smoke spiral: they are often packed twisted together. Unpack carefully because they break easily.
- OFF! anti-mosquito spray: OFF! is the most popular anti-mosquito spray on Curacao. You can buy it in any supermarket or botika (= pharmacy), but it is expensive. Because of the DEET, OFF! is not of unlimited use. Many people inject themselves with plenty of it daily. Don’t do that for too long; it may cause irritation to your skin. OFF! comes in green and orange versions. In some people, one version helps against the mosquito better than the other. We regularly get questions about this, but OFF is not for sale in the Netherlands. Note: Be careful when buying OFF! or any other anti-mosquito remedy in Curacao. Besides being hugely pricey, there are varieties that have a limited shelf life. If it is past the date then the drug is less effective.