Curaçao has been on my radar for a while now and I’m excited to share that I finally got the opportunity to experience this Caribbean gem for myself back in May. From the pastel-colored colonial architecture in Willemstad to the crystal clear beaches, I had a wonderful time exploring Curaçao with my best friend. If you are planning a trip to Curaçao but you’re unsure of how much to budget, you are in the right place. To help you create a more realistic Curaçao travel budget, in this destination budget breakdown I’ll share how much a Curaçao vacation costs. Although your travel budget may end up looking different from mines, use this Curaçao vacation cost breakdown as a guide.
What currency to use in Curaçao?
Curaçao’s national currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder (NAFl).
Although most prices are listed in the local currency, the US Dollar is accepted everywhere on the island so there’s no need to exchange your money before you go. Plan to use cash when either tipping or taking public transportation.
Visa and Mastercard are also widely accepted and there’s plenty of ATMs downtown. These ATMs charge high transaction fees so bring enough cash with you to avoid having to spend extra money.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Curaçao?
Curaçao Vacation Cost Breakdown
How much does it cost to visit Curaçao? Well, here’s how much I spent during my four day trip.
Airfare from NYC to Curaçao: $65 USD
I booked a round-trip flight from New York City to Curaçao using my JetBlue TrueBlue points. After redeeming 18,200 points, I spent $65 on taxes and fees using my JetBlue Plus Mastercard.
If you don’t have the JetBlue Plus Mastercard, here are some of the noteworthy perks:
- 6 points for every $1 spent on JetBlue purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Points don’t expire
- First checked bag for the primary cardmember and up to 3 companions
Airport Parking: $195 USD
To park at the John F. Kennedy Airport, I spent $49 a day.
For cheaper alternatives, I recommend taking public transportation or grabbing a Uber.
Hotel: $378 USD ($189 when split bill)
Where to stay in Curacao?
Before deciding to stay at Curacao Suites Hotel, I did a lot of research. Although I considered staying at an Airbnb, I ended up booking a stay here because of all the complimentary amenities offered like free breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking.
Curacao Suites Hotel is a 3-star hotel in Otrabanda within walking distance to attractions like the Kura Hulanda Museum and Queen Emma Bridge. Centrally located, there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby.
Our superior studio suite was spacious, featured a kitchenette and we had access to a small balcony which offered fantastic views of the city and cruise ship port. Alternatively, you can hang out at the rooftop terrace where you can spot iguanas in the trees. We ended up eating breakfast here every day and I really enjoyed the views.
Curacao Suites’ complimentary breakfast was filling. It included eggs, cereal, coffee, fruits, different types of meats and pancakes. Every day you can expect something different.
The hotel staff was helpful and they conveniently spoke four languages fluently: English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamentu (local language).
Overall I had a wonderful stay at Curacao Suites Hotel and I recommend staying here if you’re looking for an affordable hotel in Willemstad.
Transportation: $39 USD
From Curaçao International Airport, we spent $35 USD (with tip) on a taxi ride to our hotel. We spent the same amount on our return trip back to the airport. Since my best friend and I split the bill, I spent $35 on taxi fares.
Helpful Tip: After my trip, I found out that my hotel offered a free airport shuttle service so this was a missed opportunity for me to save but if you’re staying at Curacao Suites take advantage of this benefit.
I also spent $4 USD to board a nine-person van heading to/from Mambo Beach from the Willemstad bus terminal.
I recommend having cash (US Dollar is fine) to pay for getting around the island if you don’t plan on renting a car.
Do you need to rent a car in Curaçao?
While I don’t think renting a car is necessary, I can see the appeal. If you want to explore more places around the island outside of Willemstad, I recommend renting a car. However, if you plan to explore Punda and Otrabanda, everything is either within walking distance or you can take a minibus which is affordable.
Average Daily Curaçao Food Costs: $25 USD per meal
How much did meals cost in Curaçao?
On average, I spent $25 per meal totaling $125 USD. Since my hotel provided free breakfast I only spent money on dinner. At dinner, I usually ordered a cocktail, an appetizer, and an entree. If your hotel or Airbnb doesn’t offer free breakfast, I recommend budgeting $25 per meal.
Should you tip in Curaçao?
Tipping is customary in Curaçao. At restaurants most people tip between 10-15% but if you see a “service charge” on your bill then it’s already included.
Cost for Activities in Curaçao: $33 USD
- Kura Hulanda Museum: $20 USD
- Mambo Beach: $8 USD
- Mambo Beach admission: $4 USD
- Rent beach chairs at Mamo Beach: $4 USD
- Souvenirs: $5 for a colorful bracelet
- Window showing at Punda: Free
- Spotting street art in Otrabanda: Free
How much does a trip to Curaçao cost?
Is Curaçao expensive? Surprisingly, Curaçao is more affordable than I thought. My Curaçao vacation cost less than I expected. Overall I spent $646 USD during my four day trip to Curaçao.
- Airfare: $65 USD (used JetBlue TrueBlue points)
- Airport Parking: $195
- Hotel: $189 USD (split bill with best friend)
- Transportation: $39 USD (split bill with best friend)
- Food: $125 USD ($25 per meal)
- Activities: $33 USD
While you can certainly spend a lot of money on a luxurious trip to Curaçao, I kept things simple and had a blast.
By saving money on airfare and staying at an economical hotel which offered free breakfast, I spent most of my budget on fun dining experiences around town.
Since things were affordable that meant that I didn’t need to keep a close eye on my spending which is very different from my experience visiting other islands like Bermuda (which is rather expensive) or Barbados.
Would I visit Curaçao again?
Yes, I highly recommend it!
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.