Climate & WeatherLocated in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate year round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, which is between October and February, is usually marked by short, occasional showers, mostly at night, and continued sunny weather by day. Total annual rainfall averages only 570 mm (22 inches). Additionally, Curaçao is located on the outer fringes of the hurricane belt. Consequently, the frequency of hits by tropical storms is much lower than for other parts of the Caribbean.
Geology and geography
Curaçao is divided in four geological units-the Curaçao Lava Formation, the Knip Group, the Middle Curaçao Formation and the Limestone Formation.
The oldest known rock of our island is the Curaçao Lava Formation. It's a 5000m thick succession of submarine basalts, formed in deep waters in the mid-upper Cretaceous. The Knip Group formed in the upper Cretaceous ages, consists of siliceous sedimentary rock. It's noticeably thicker on the northwestern part of the island than in the southeast. The Middle Curaçao Formation is found principally in the middle section of the island. Its turbidite sequence, formed in the upper Cretaceous and or Paleocene age, consists of fine-grained conglomerates, mudstones, sandstones and shales. The Limestone Formations can be divided in two units, the Seru Domi formation and the Quaternary limestone terraces. The Seru Domi Formation is basically formed as a sub-marine reef talus slope, and the Quaternary limestone terraces were formed by sea level changes in combination with tectonic uplift.
At first glimpse Curaçao may seem a rather barren island, and it's true-due to the scant rainfall, there is certainly a limit to the types of plants and animals that can survive here. But on closer inspection, you'll be amazed at the variety nature has to offer. What at first seems to be a monotonous desert landscape, turns out to be a scenery teeming with life. Curaçao's total surface area is 444 square km. The stretched northern coast of the island is characterized by rough limestone cliff formations set on top of eons-old volcanic rock, and weather-beaten terrain. At the western end of the island you will find expansive, hilly landscapes. The Christoffel Park encompasses most of the landscapes. Inside the park you will find the highest point on the island-the 375m high Mt. Christoffel. The east end of the island comprises flat and mostly barren plain, with few settlements and some secondary roads weaving to and from its coastal inlets.
Local plants have ingenious mechanisms allowing them to weather the dry, desert climate, scant rainfall and the ever-present tradewinds. These include marvelous adaptations to their roots, leaves and stems. Total vascular flora amounts to about 450 species. Species composition differs significantly between the different geological formations. No group of plants is as well suited to the climate as the cacti, which are specially designed to reduce the amount of moisture lost to evaporation. Their nasty thorns are, in fact, modified leaves. The island hosts hundreds of species. Not all of the species on the Island are harmless.
One plant you have to avoid contact with is the manzaliña tree, called manchineel in other parts of the Caribbean. This tree has rough, dark bark and small green leaves. The fruit of this plant is poisonous, and will cause skin irritations and burning if touched. One of Curaçao's most characteristic trees, is the Dividivi tree-recognizable by its "wind form," caused by the tradewinds.