Teamed with Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao is one of the three “ABC” islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. As the largest and most populated of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao has the most going on and the most “social life.” The island capital, Willemstad, is a bustling city with brightly colored Dutch architecture, and its Old Town area is a designated World Heritage site. There are a lot of resorts on the island but once you leave the resorts, you’ll find a lot of delicious restaurants and more interesting activities. That being said, I didn’t love Curacao. I liked it and I’m glad I went but I didn’t love it the way other people do. I’m more in like with it. You’ll just have to go and figure it out yourself!
Accommodation – You can expect to pay about 30-55 ANG per night for a dorm room in a hostel and about 70-110 ANG for a private room that sleeps two. A night in a room that sleeps two at a 2-star budget hotel starts at 110 ANG. This price includes basic hotel amenities, like television, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, and free WiFi. The best way to get inexpensive accommodation here is to use Airbnb. It offers the best deal. You can rent entire homes (including studio apartments) starting at 50 ANG but you’ll find more options starting around 90 ANG.
Food – Curacao has many upscale restaurants, but for travelers on a budget there are also many fast food chains and American style eateries. Sandwiches, burgers, and other cheap Western food cost about 17-26 ANG per meal. If you can, stick with local cuisine, especially at the markets in Willemstad. My favorite spot in the main market is Gracia Di Dios. For meals at the resorts or fancier restaurants, expect to pay 53 ANG or more for an entree with a drink. Groceries will cost about 125 ANG per week for basic foodstuffs like pasta, vegetables, chicken, rice, etc.
Transportation – A taxi from one end of Willemstad to the other will cost around 18 ANG. Taxis from Willemstad to Mambo Beach are about 52 ANG. If you’re going to other points on the island, expect about 88 ANG. Buses are reliable and are about 2 ANG for a single fare to most parts of the island. However, buses outside the Willemstad area run very infrequently and, if you miss one, you’ll be stuck waiting hours. (If you get stuck, many people will give you a ride back to Willemstad.) Renting a car is the best way to get around and will cost about 80 ANG per day.
Activities – Like most Caribbean islands, Curacao is popular with divers, snorkelers, and fishermen. These kinds of organized activities cost around 220 ANG. The Christoffel Park entrance fee is 21 ANG and the Sea Aquarium is 37 ANG.
Suggested daily budget – 106 ANG / $60 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)