Curacao

A much bigger island than Aruba is Curacao.
The capital, Willemstad, has cosy and cute streets to stroll around in. The beautiful view over the colonial buildings built around the waterways makes this city absolutely stunning. Even outside the capital there is a lot to see! There are beautiful beaches, gorgeous natural phenomenons and beautiful historical buildings. Curaçao is an island I wouldn't mind going back to.

The floating market in Curaçao.

The floating market in Curaçao.


  Average costs

Stay – There are not too many budget options in Curacao. With only a couple of hostels on the island, you will easily pay between $25 and $30 a night. For a little more money you can have your own budget room. I was very happy with my accommodation at the Ritz Hostel. There, I paid around $30 a night. The staff is very friendly and the accommodation is located within ten minutes from the city center of Willemstad. Besides, you have a nice swimming pool and a jacuzzi you can use as a guest.

Throughout Curaçao there are lots of ressorts and luxurious hotels. These are a lot more expensive. Generally, they start at 100 dollars a night.

A complete list of accommodations in Curaçao can be checked on this page.

Eat – Going out for dinner can get quite costly in Curacao. For lunch or a quick bite you pay anything between five and ten dollar. For a main course, expect to pay between nine and fifteen dollars. A soda can cost you three to five dollars and alcohol is a lot more expensive. Cocktails start around $11, beers $5.

Transport – From the airport you can book a transport shuttle (you need to book them in advance!) for about $50 pick-up and drop off, or you can take a taxi for $35 for a single drive.

On the island you can also rent a car. Per day they would cost between $35 and $55. Since there is some public transportation in and around Willemstad, I don’t think renting a car is necessary. Right in front of the movie theatre (over the water) you will find lots of big and small busses. If you’re not sure which one to take you can just ask the driver where he is heading.
One ride costs, depending on where you go, between three and five guilder. Always try to pay in guilder, because the drivers always seem to ask the same price in dollars.

The Spanish waters in Curaçao.

The Spanish waters in Curaçao.

  Saving money

Pay in guilder – Often, but not always, you get the same price in dollars as in guilders. A guilder is about half a dollar, so after a while it starts to add up significantly. Always try to have ten or more guilders with you, so that you never have to pay double.

Drink tap water – The tap water in Curacao is very clean since the water is purified and thus perfectly drinkable. Instead of buying lots of plastic bottles, you can better just refill a couple with tap water. Since it’s always quite humid and hot in Curaçao you’ll need a lot of water anyway!

Eat local dishes – Local restaurants or dishes always are the cheapest option when abroad. There’s plenty of restaurants who offer foreign dishes that might make you feel more at home, but these are always a lot more expensive. Definitely try the Keshi Yena. A delicious meal with chicken and cheese in a sweet and spicy sauce.

'De grote knip' in Curacao, also known as Kenepa Beach.

‘De grote knip’ in Curacao, also known as Kenepa Beach.


  Do’s

Kenepa Beach – Often this beach is called the most beautiful beach of Curaçao and I understand why. The water is absolutely beautiful! This rather small beach is located between two high rock formations. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even jump off one. In the middle of the water you’ll see a floating raft where you can relax with a beautiful view over the bay.

Willemstad – The capital of Curaçao is gorgeous. There’s always something going on and you’ll definitely need one day to check out all what this city has to offer. Definitely take the ferry or moving bridge to Ottrabanda to check out the city from the other side.

Try some local dishes – The local dishes in Curacao are quite tasty and unlike any other food I had before. Awaken your taste buds with the sweet, sour and spicy dishes from this beautiful island. For a truly unique and authentic experience, I recommend Plaza Bieu.

Shete Boka – This national park is completely different than the many beautiful beaches at the other side of the island. The coast and sea is more rugged. Be sure to take a peek in the underground caves. Personally, I thought that was the nicest place in the park.

Snorkelling and diving – There’s plenty to see around the island. Coral reeds, beautiful fishes, sea turtles, sunken boats and airplanes, … Grab your mask, fins and snorkel and hop in the beautiful Caribbean waters to explore the underwater world of Curacao!

Little Curaçao – For the beach bums and sunbathers, Little Curacao is the perfect spot. The small island is uninhabited and the only building that you can find here is a lighthouse. The waters surrounding the island is filled with sea life like sea turtles and tropical fishes. The only way to visit this island is to arrange a tour and these aren’t very cheap.

The typical streets of Willemstad, the capital of Curacao.

The typical streets of Willemstad, the capital of Curacao.

  Don’ts

Book expensive tours – There’s a lot of tour operators on the island and the prices they charge are very different. Do a little bit of research before you book a tour. It might save you a good amount of money! A tour around the island usually is quite expensive, but you really shouldn’t pay more than $50.
Personally I was very happy with Peter Trips.

Dolphin swimming in the Seaquarium – It’s quite an exhilarating experience to swim with dolphins, but it just is way too expensive and too touristy. At the Seaquarium they tell you that you will swim for about thirty minutes with the dolphins. But to be fair, you don’t do anything more than circle around the dolphins and make them do a couple of tricks for you. In the meantime, it feels mandatory that you look at the (lousy) photographer who charges another whopping $40 for four pictures of mediocre quality of your ‘adventure’ with the dolphins.

If you really want to do it, I suggest you go to another island in the Caribbean. At most of the other islands you can also have a moment with the dolphins but for a much cheaper price.

Paying in dollars only – Sometimes restaurants, stores or drivers ask for the same amount in dollars as in guilder. One guilder is only about $0,5, so paying in dollars only will cost you a lot more!

A salt water lake in Curacao with lots of flamingos.

A salt water lake in Curacao with lots of flamingos.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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