Cruising in the Netherlands Antilles
Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles; its northern portion is called Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe (France).
Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed
of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and St.
Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Generally hilly, volcanic interiors
Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP has declined or grown slightly in each of the past eight years, the islands enjoy a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region.
Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, the US and Mexico being the major suppliers. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture. Budgetary problems hamper reform of the health and pension systems of an aging population.
Airports: 5 (2005)
Total: 161 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,338,891 GRT/1,704,829 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Bopec Terminal, Fuik Bay, Kralendijk, Willemstad
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Anguilla - Antigua and Barbuda - Aruba - Bahamas - Barbados - British Virgin Islands - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Grenada - Guadeloupe - Haiti - Jamaica - St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Lucia - Martinique - Montserrat - Netherlands Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos - St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Virgin Islands (USA)