Curaçao Tips For Budget Travelers: How To Plan an Affordable Curaçao Vacation – Episode 28

Tips for visiting Curacao on a budget
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island only 40 miles from Venezuela. Known for its colorful capital, voluptuous ChiChi souvenirs, blend of cultures and picturesque beaches, Curaçao is the perfect destination for those seeking culture, delicious food, and relaxation. Curaçao has been on my travel wish list for a while and I’m so excited to share that I finally got a chance to visit. In this episode, I share my top Curaçao vacation tips and how to planning an affordable Curaçao vacation.

We cover:

  • Where to stay in Willemstad, Curaçao
  • Languages spoken in Curaçao
  • Things to do in Curaçao
  • Ways to save money on your trip
  • Tipping culture in Curaçao

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just want to say that I really enjoyed my trip to Carissa it was a girlfriend getaway me my best friend Sosa decided that we would take a spring break trip now one of the things about Spring Break trips is that I really love Spring Break trips because it gives you a chance to kind of thaw out from the winter but also if you go before and after the crowds of Spring Break it's a good time to get a good deal so because this year I'm really focusing on spending less money on traveling but still traveling I use my points my jet pool points to get and fund a trip to curse out and it wasn't expensive at all actually my flight from New York City to Carissa would cost me five dollars and sixty cents and I believe was like 8,000 JetBlue points so that was amazing okay definitely my return flight cost a little bit more but subsonic or so the people here are so friendly and interesting fun fact is that the people here they speak actually regularly they speak four languages so we're talking Dutch English Spanish and Papiamento which is a local dialect that they have here which combines a lot of them together so I mean it's just been really interesting when you're walking on the street not only you will hear tourists who may be speaking German or Russian but you'll also hear the locals speaking English Spanish you know Papiamento so it's really interesting and it's such a diverse place to be now if you're a foodie I highly recommend coming to curse out the food here is really really delicious and a lot of it is all-natural which is awesome now the one thing that I didn't like didn't really get to experience here is a local cuisine interesting fun fact if you're staying in the capital there the Capel's is pretty much split into two so you have Pune which is really the world UNESCO heritage site it's a lot of old old Dutch architecture and that's really for shopping and restaurants and bars and things like that and then we actually stayed in otra Banda which is the other side of the of the city and is separated by this beautiful Emma bridge so every day when we're actually going to their side the city would cross this bridge and we would you know pretty much be taking it and transport it to a different part of the city so you just get such a different vibe so kunda was really shopping and beautiful Dutch inspired architecture and Eau de bon that is really where a lot of the local state and that's where we stayed and we're actually staying at Chris house Suites Hotel now one of things I love about my hotel here is that we got free breakfast and free breakfast isn't something not like you really should if you can find a hotel that offers free breakfast because it really helps you save the budget now with free breakfast were able to really stock up on rec breakfast and we skip the lunch every day and we only really spent money on dinner and honestly dinner here was not that expensive now let me tell you that there were plenty of expensive restaurants that we pass by I mean we took it took us a while every day to find a good restaurant that we liked because you're really looking at the prices but if you're looking for a top of the fine dining there are plenty of fine dining options here but we also found more affordable spots and we actually ended up going to the same place three times which was super super fun but definitely if you're looking if you're on a budget you're looking for a good deal you can definitely find some really good food spots here and the food is amazing and the service the people their servers your waitstaff are really really friendly the people who we went to they just knew what we wanted and so it was this really really nice so I could recommend like if you're gonna stay in Curacao for a couple days definitely stay at a hotel that offers you free breakfast because I will definitely save money on your budget now other things in terms of money we spent about less than $80 a night on our hotel suite and in our suite we had two full sides full sized beds and we had a suite area so we had a coffee maker a tea maker we had a microwave and we have a fridge and a beautiful terrace and I just felt like it was just we were living really nice and it wasn't super super expensive and honestly it was very comparable to the air bebe prices so I'm really happy that we decided to stay at a hotel and our hotel even had free parking so if you can get free parking and you can get free hold free car that's like the best like just as many free amenities as possible it's awesome now it's interesting because like because we went to so many different restaurants and bars the things that I liked for example the local beer that was served here I was able to shop around and see different prices so the one of the beers I really loved here is called Amstell light and they serve it with a lime a piece of lime and that ran from anywhere from 350 to 650 but because I shopped your own and I saw the different prices I knew that the closer I got to 350 the better of a deal that I got but again this is turist prices so maybe it's even cheaper if you're a local another thing to share is that a lot of people who come to curse out they definitely rent out cars and I definitely see the appeal the car rentals was about twenty five dollars and a day when I was looking but again because so soon I didn't really have a plan we kind of just were winging it we said why don't we get to the city first and see if we actually need a car and honestly the furthest we went outside of the city center was to Mambo Beach mambo Beach is a beautiful white sand beach now this Beach is actually man-made it so just just to give you a disclaimer there but it's still absolutely stunning and we could have took a taxi that would costs about $25.00 US dollars but we decided to take a bus and there's different buses here but we took like a nine-person van and that's what cuz there's a bus and they charge us two dollars cash and we went there and it was great now if you do want to go to Mambo Beach it's really important to note that they do have an entrance fee the entrance fee is three dollars or fifty cents and if you decide to get beach chairs which I highly recommend that cost four bucks so and of course if you want to have lunch or anything like that that's something to add in there but honestly that was a very affordable beach day we spent literally all day at the beach and we had an amazing time the sand is soft the water is clear it is awesome and Mambo Beach also has a ton of restaurants a ton of shopping options there they really made it into a beautiful plaza area in addition to having the beach there that's really really cool now one of the most I think expensive things that we actually spent money on was the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and we're gonna do the same thing tomorrow when we leave and that taxi ride cost us $35 and we were like oh wow that's pretty expensive because when we actually traveled from the airport in puerto rico to the sino city center that cost us 20 - we were up in arms so this is an excessively expensive but at the end of the day you know it's something to plan for if you decide to come to curse out and one of the other things I mentioned is that we have a lot of we have a lot of cruise ships that actually were here while we were here so I think a lot of people come to curse out via cruise line and I think not as many people come via like flight and stay here but I honestly I feel like it's an awesome place to stay so if you are considering come to curse out catch a flight come to curse out spend a couple days we spent four nights five days and I feel like I got a really good vibe of this city now because I don't have a car and I didn't get to explore further out my views are definitely limited but what I love about at least coming and tasting an area is that I could always come back and I know okay this is how it works and and you can also have things to look forward to in the future so I didn't get to go to the ostrich farm I didn't get to go to some of the caves that they have here and other beaches outside of the main capital so those are definitely things to look for too now other things in terms of money tipping is customary but it's really important to make sure that when you're looking at your receipt to see if service if a service charge was included now out of the restaurant that I went to in Punta did not have a service charge so then I took the liberty of tipping my waitstaff but we actually went to a beautiful infinity Beach Bar and Grille pool in the Renaissance Hotel area and that's an oath or a bandha and they actually included the service charge in there so in that case because it's right included you don't have to you don't have to if you don't want to but that's just something to just consider so tipping is customary here and curse out if it's included in your bill you'll just see a service charge that's the tip not included feel free to tip your waitstaff I know that they will totally totally appreciate it now again like I said the locals are extremely friendly and a common greeting that your here is born the app which is mean hello that is Bon dia that is hello and I mean the locals are super friendly and super nice another thing that I really loved about just being a northern Aban that is that there are a ton of street art here and I mean really colorful street art which reflects the colorful buildings and homes that you'll see here in the country I mean we're talking about pastel blues and oranges and purples and it's just beautiful rich colors that you'll see in Kerr style so it's just awesome if you're if you are into bright and colorful places you should definitely definitely come here and I honestly I recommend curse out if you're with your honey on your honeymoon if you're with the group of friends and if you're solo I definitely recommend it I would say if you're traveling solo consider maybe renting a car so you can kind of have more access to kind of see the countryside and you can you know spend more time seeing more than just pull down and all that Abunda but definitely I think across the board crystal was just an amazing experience and I would definitely come back solo with my honey or with my girlfriends or my family now if you're looking for things to do around I definitely recommend Mambo Beach which we talked about earlier that's a great place to eat shop and just have a beach day and then if you're interested in going to a slave museum we went to Kula who Ananda I hope I'm pronouncing that right it's called kovanda and that was a slave Museum and it was founded by a Dutch entrepreneur and he donated a lot of his a lot of his relics that he that he acquired and it's just really an eye-opening experience to just see just to see where the slaves where they came from and also their treatment how they were transported and just the history of it so I mean that was just I open and it just makes me not take anything for granted to be honest and of course like the more you know the more that I think just think this is it's really good to just Empire self what knowledge and the coup de holanda Museum it cost 10 US dollars so it's definitely worth worth it I spent we spent about I would say an hour and a half to two hours just going through all the exhibits there's beautiful beautiful sculpture garden there as well and there are a lot of photo opportunities and I think you'll find it to be a very eye-opening experience so overall I had a wonderful time here and curse out I loved it it was a awesome vacation spot awesome place to just eat be merry I actually also ran in the mornings and I will run tomorrow my last day I will definitely get some get a good run in now I'm I ran about like 3 to 4 miles a day and there were two different routes that I took so I just highly recommend it even if you're a fitness head and you're just looking for to run by the beach or just things like that so I had a wonderful time and honestly I hope that you will consider visiting coração sometime soon I have really nothing but great things to say about it I will be running the numbers and crunching numbers to see exactly how much you cost me but off the top of the of the dome I honestly felt like it was affordable on average I spent about $25 on dinner and with coupling that with free breakfast at the hotel and just really you know pullin down and otra Banda are walkable they're very walkable you could walk everywhere now if you want to go outside and have to take into events Macau to get a taxi or a peon or bust about that overall I had a really great time and I highly highly highly highly highly recommend it until next time see you soon bye [Music]

Tips For An Affordable Caribbean Getaway to Curaçao

Why travel during Spring?

Spring is one of my favorite times to travel.

Not only do you get to enjoy the warm weather but if you travel before and after the Spring Break crowds, you will likely find good travel deals.

My favorite times to travel are between April and May.

How much did my flights cost to Curaçao?

Flying with JetBlue was the most affordable way to fly from New York City to Curaçao.

I used my JetBlue TrueBlue points to redeem a round-trip flight from New York City to Curaçao for $65 USD (taxes and fees only).

What languages are spoken in Curaçao?

Curacaons speak several languages including:

  • Papiamento (Creole language) – spoken more than written
  • Dutch – official language spoken in Curaçao
  • English
  • Spanish

What currency to use in Curaçao?

The Netherlands Antillean Guilder (NAFI) is the national currency of Curaçao.

You can also use US Dollars.

If you’re coming from the U.S., there is no need to exchange your money, just bring some cash with you.

Major credit cards are also accepted widely accepted on the island.

Read Next: Is Curaçao expensive? How Much Does a Trip To Curaçao Cost?

Should I tip in Curaçao?

Yes, absolutely!

Tips are greatly appreciated in Curaçao.

It’s customary to tip taxi drivers and restaurant waitstaff 10%.

Be mindful that some places include a “service charge” in your bill which is equivalent to a tip.

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

Curaçao Tips For Saving Money In Curaçao

  • Bring cash with you to avoid ATM fees (credit cards are widely accepted in Curaçao)
  • Stay at a centrally-located hotel like Curacao Suites Hotel which offers free breakfast and free parking
  • Rent a car only if you want to explore outside the city center – Willemstad is a walkable city
  • Buses (9-person vans) cost $2 USD cash

Overall, I had a wonderful time exploring Willemstad and I hope that you will consider visiting Curaçao sometime soon! Have you been to Curaçao, what Curaçao vacation tips would you share?

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