Frequent asked questions


1. How is the diving organized?
All diving is organized through a certified 5-star PADI dive facility next to CARMABI. Here you can rent gear or get tanks. After a small introduction by CARMABI staff, visiting researchers tally whatever they use on a list and pay after the completion of their trip. Click here to see the diveshop’s website.

2. How can I obtain a CITES permit?

CARMABI can help you with your CITES permit in case you need one. A simple procedure normally results in a permit within 1-2 working days if your organization has a CITES number. A itemized list with species names, sample sizes and dimensions and a short description on how samples were packed is required. Please ask your organization whether they have a CITES number as this greatly expedites the permit application process.

3. How should I send materials to Carmabi?

From the US it is often easiest and cheaper to bring your equipment or materials with you on the plane as “exces luggage”. You can send “stuff” over with the usual couriers, but be aware that customs wil inspect your shipment and this can take a lot of time. Again, this is another reason to bring as much as you can with you on the plane as it will make sure you will have your “stuff” available when you need it (rather than it sitting in the customs office). When you send your “stuff” over, please indicate that it is “scientific material” (i.e., represents to commercial value) and that it will only be temporarily imported. In this case you have to pay Customs a deposit that you will get back once your materials leave the country again. The other option is to import the goods and pay import taxes (this is simpeler, but more expensive depending on the value of your goods). It is much appreciated if you could make sure that you use a courier that provides door-to-door service. This way, the shipping agent takes care of all the paperwork if needed, which we at Carmabi do not have time for……. Please contact  Mark Vermeij  if you have any additional questions.

4. How do I ship samples from the island?
Businesses such as FEDEX, UPS, and DHL are all present on the island that you can use to send your samples home when they are packed according to these companies’ requirements. Both dry ice and liquid nirtogen are available and dryfreezers or biobottles (click here for an example)  are recommended to ship samples.

5. What is the power on Curacao?

The island itself mostly runs on 120V/50Hz. At CARMABI 120V/50Hz and220V/50Hz are available.

6. Can I dive all year round?
Along Curacao’s leeward shore, one can dive throughout the year. Most dives are made from shore, but boat dives are certainly possible. The windward side is characterized by high waves and currents. People unfamiliar with diving on this side of the island should first dive here accompanied by a local diver with experience diving this rough, though interesting part of the island.

7. What language do they speak on Curacao?
Papiamentu (the local language), Spanish, English and Dutch. Basically everybody on the island speaks all four and communication is hence extremely easy.

8. Can I get liquid nitrogen/ dry ice on the island?
Most of the time. Please inquire beforehand about the availability.

9. Can I do experiments underwater?

CARMABI has a dive side where no one goes and that is set aside for underwater experiments as long as these are not destructive. This site lies approx. 300m from CARMABI and is best reached by using one of the smaller research boats.

10. What kind of laboratory equipment can be used at CARMABI?
We have all kinds of “standard” lab equipment such as (precision)scales, drying ovens, fridges, freezers (-20oC), fumehoods, chemicals…. etc. For a current inventory, please contact  Mark Vermeij .

11. Do I need shots when I go to Curacao?
No. Also due to the island’s modern RO-water plant, it is perfectly safe to drink tap water (bottled water for sale is actually tap water stuck in bottles by the local water company…)

12. Can I buy materials for e.g. field experiments?
Yes. There are several major hardware stores on the island that basically have all you need.

13. What money is used on Curacao?

Antillean Guilders, but you can pay everywhere with US dollars as well. Many places now also have the option of paying with major credit cards (inlcuding CARMABI itself).

14. What kind of driver’s license can I use?

It’s always best to have an international driver’s license. However, depending where you’re from, different rental companies have different policies. It’s therefore a good idea to inquire beforehand whether your license will be accepted or if you have to get an international driver’s license. Licenses from the U.S.A. and the Netherlands are however commonly accepted.

15. What about immigration “rules” etc?
The Government of Curacao further requires that all adults entering the country for more than three months must have submitted a Residence Permit application upon arrival. The Student Residence Permit can be obtained on behalf of the student by Carmabi upon submitting all required documents. All students living on Curacao must purchase a round-trip airline ticket back to their place of origin in order to comply with Curacao Immigration requirements. Since January 1st 2007, US citizens require a passport to get back to the United States. The rules differ slightly for Dutch students so please contact Carmabi to ensure things are planned well ahead of time. See also addi