Is Curaçao Expensive to Visit?

Making a budget is of key importance when traveling, and as you plan your dream Caribbean getaway, you might be wondering: Is Curaçao an expensive destination compared to the USA and Europe?

In general, the answer is no. While flights and shopping are likely to be more expensive, things such as accommodations, dining out and activities are equally expensive or even cheaper in Curaçao than in the USA and Europe. Curaçao offers something for every budget.

So which kinds of things are expensive in Curaçao and how expensive is Curaçao compared to other islands in the Caribbean?

In this article, we’ll delve into the various aspects of costs on the island and compare them to expenses in the USA and Europe.

Is Curaçao expensive?

Is Curaçao expensive?

Curaçao is a one-of-a-kind destination with a diverse range of experiences. From the colorful streets of Willemstad to the beautiful sandy beaches and unique diving opportunities to discover. The island offers a blend of relaxation and exploration, and it doesn’t need to be expensive at all! 

Curaçao offers many activities for different budgets. Lots of landmarks and sightseeing are free of charge, or you can opt for top-notch services to make your vacation a more luxurious experience. Whether you’re on a tight budget or have saved up some money to spend, there is something for everyone.

Compared to other islands in the Caribbean, Curaçao is not expensive at all. Curaçao is not a St. Barths or Barbados. Its economy is more like Aruba. Costs and expenses are comparable with our neighboring island.  

Accommodation Costs in Curaçao

When it comes to finding a place to stay, Curaçao offers options for every budget. There are luxury beach resorts where you are provided with lots of amenities, but you can also book a basic hostel- and everything in between. 

The average price to stay in a beach resort is about $200 to $300 per room per night, depending on travel dates and the duration of your trip. Packages tend to be a bit less expensive as well. High-end and all-inclusive resorts are more expensive. Mid-range hotels that are not located at the beach are slightly cheaper.

As for AirBnB and VRBO accommodations, average prices vary between $75 to €125 per night. You can definitely opt for cheaper options, as well as more luxurious condos, but it is entirely up to you and your preferences.

Regarding accommodations in Curaçao, prices are cheaper than in the USA, Canada, and Western Europe. In general, it all depends on your preferences, but if we check out the averages and compare them with similar options in the mentioned areas, Curaçao offers less expensive residences.  

Dining Expenses in Curaçao

Curaçao’s culinary scene is a delightful fusion of flavors influenced by its Dutch, African, and Caribbean heritage. What are the costs of dining out, from local street food to fine dining, and see how they stack up against prices in the USA and Europe?

Let’s begin by discussing restaurant meal prices. Typically, the average cost of a main course falls within the range of $20 to $30. Starters usually range from $10 to $15, and desserts are typically priced around $10.

Main courses at upscale dining establishments typically range from $50 to $75 and beyond. If you’re looking for a local (non-touristy) street food experience, a meal will cost around $10.

The prices for drinks at bars are fairly consistent across the island. While some places may charge a few bucks more, others may be a few dollars less. On average, you can expect to pay the following amounts for various drinks:

  • Sodas: $4.00
  • Smoothies: $7.00
  • Heineken: $5.50
  • Local beer: $4.75
  • Wine: $8.00
  • Cocktails: $10.00
  • Budget spirits: $7.00

Many restaurants and bars provide happy hours, offering discounts such as 50% off or buy one, get one free on drinks (cocktails are often not included). You can refer to the website for a list of popular happy hours on the island. 

Curaçao Fort Nassau Juliana Bridge

Transportation Expenses

Getting to and around Curaçao is an essential consideration. We’ll discuss the costs of flights, and local transportation options to get you around. Curaçao is not a walkable island, so reliable transport to get from A to B will be an essential part of your trip.

Let’s start with the prices of flights to Curaçao. Flying to Curaçao can become a bit pricy, especially in the winter months when Curaçao is experiencing its high season. As a result, airlines capitalize on this peak demand and increase their ticket prices. The cheapest month to fly from the USA to Curaçao is September.

Taxi prices in Curaçao are expensive. A taxi ride from the airport to downtown Willemstad will be 40 USD. Taxi rates are standardized by the government, so every taxi driver will have the same rate to different destinations.

Also Read: Getting a Taxi in Curaçao: A First-Timers Guide.

Renting a car in Curaçao is affordable. A mid-size car will cost around $50.00 per day. Jeeps, pick-ups, and convertibles are more expensive, but on average not more than $100.00 per day.

Public transportation is cheap as well. To get from downtown Willemstad to Mambo Beach will cost you around $3.00 per person. Unfortunately, public transportation is not that reliable in Curaçao. It is perfect to get around Willemstad, but not to go to Bandabou. Especially not if you’re on a tight schedule. 

How Much do Tours and Excursions Cost?

The island offers a wide range of activities, from discovering the beautiful beaches to exploring the local culture. The costs may vary per excursion or experience. Overall, I would say that prices for excursions and tours are average.

Joining a group tour to explore the island will cost between $70.00 to $100.00 per person. Prices for private tours range between $130.00 to $150.00. Boat excursions cost around $80.00, and excursions to Klein Curaçao will be around $125.00. 

Special excursions like underwater experiences, ATV tours, or diving introductions come with various prices.

 Viator offers the biggest range of Curaçao tours, excursions, and experiences on one platform. Check the Viator website for detailed information per tour, availability, and travelers reviews. 

Are Groceries expensive in Curaçao?

No trip is complete without a bit of shopping. We’ll explore the local supermarkets and shopping districts, where to shop affordable, and compare prices to shopping in the USA and Europe.

Since Curaçao is a Caribbean island with an arid climate, there is little local produce. Almost everything you find on the supermarkets’ shelves is imported from the USA, South America, and The Netherlands. Therefore, prices for groceries might be a bit more expensive than you’re used to, but it won’t break the bank.

To keep it more affordable, it is smart to check out products that are grown in the area. For example: watermelon and mango are more affordable than apples and berries. South American brands also tend to be a bit cheaper than European and North American brands. 

Also read: A List With all Supermarkets in Curaçao

Shopping in Curaçao can be pricier compared to buying items in USA or Europe. The latest fashion may not be readily available, and affordable clothing often lacks in quality. Curaçao isn’t known as a shopping destination, so if you plan to stay on the island for an extended period, it’s advisable to do your shopping beforehand.

Blue Bay Beach

Curaçao Currency

Curaçao operates on the Antillian Guilder (ANG), alternatively referred to as the Florin (NAFl). It has a fixed exchange rate of 1 USD = 1.80 NAFl. Additionally, the US Dollar is universally accepted as legal tender across the island.

Choosing the ideal currency for transactions in Curaçao is subjective and linked to your preferences and travel itinerary. Although the Antillian Guilder is frequently used, US dollars are widely accepted and often favored in tourist-centric areas.

We have always found it convenient to use dollars for payments, whether at local markets or restaurants. It’s important to note that when paying with dollars, you may receive change in Guilders. Also, be aware that dollar coins are not accepted. 

Also read: Everything you need to know about paying in Curaçao

Navigating currency exchange can be crucial. We’ll provide insights into the local currency, and exchange rates, and offer tips on managing expenses and choosing payment methods.

Budget-Friendly Tips for Visiting Curaçao

Visiting Curaçao on a budget? No worries, lots of great things on the island don’t cost to much, and some of them are even free of charge. You only need to know your way around and browsing our blog Exploring Curaçao, is a first step to creating your budget-friendly itinerary. 

Did you know that the most beautiful beaches on the island are free to visit? Curaçao has over 44 beaches and can be divided into private- and public beaches. The latter are free of charge and you can even bring your own food and drinks. Want to know which beaches are public? 

Read: 15 Free Beaches in Curaçao

In addition, a great deal of sights and landmarks are free of charge. Let me share a couple of our recommendations that don’t charge any entrance fee:

  • Curaçao Liqueur Distillery 
  • Fort Nassau Viewpoint
  • Mural route in Otrobanda
  • Willemstad sightseeing
  • Fort Beekenburg
  • Flamingo Sanctuary
  • The Blue room (hiking)
  • Cliff jumping Playa Forti

Also read: 15 Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Curaçao

Conclusion: Is Curaçao expensive to go on vacation?

As we review all the aspects mentioned above, is Curaçao an expensive destination to visit?

Generally speaking, Curaçao is not an expensive destination to visit. However, in some cases, you will spend more money on products or services than you’re used to. This is mostly due to the fact that lots of commodities need to be imported from abroad.

Hopefully, this blog has given you more insights about the diverse costs you might face when visiting Curaçao. Enjoy your stay on our Dushi island. 

Roxanne Verheesen

Hi there! My name is Roxanne , 30 years old and born in the Netherlands, I've visited Curaçao for the first time in 2011 and moved to the island one year later. Love to write, snorkel and watch pinky-orangish sunsets at the beach.

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