7 Ways to Explore Curaçao for Less
Lily Girma, Shermans Travel
An ideal destination for independent explorers and culture lovers, Curaçao’s Dutch-Caribbean bend and fewer tourists make it a pricier destination than most in the region. Here, meals and tours can add up quickly. But there are ways to make the most of your travel dollar or florin, while enjoying Curaçao’s colonial architecture–marking 20 years on the UNESCO World Heritage List this year–along with white-sand beaches, natural parks, and eclectic dining scene.
Stay in a Colonial Guesthouse in Otrobanda
Tucked in the heart of lively Otrobanda, a ten-minute walk from the floating Queen Emma Bridge and all the action in Punda, Poppy’s Hostel is the ideal base to explore Willemstad.
Built in 1904, the pastel yellow colonial home-turned-guesthouse sits on a picturesque street lined with UNESCO World Heritage buildings, including the Santa Famia Catholic Church. The hostel isn’t filled with bunk beds but, instead, individual guest rooms (from $35 single, and $48 double), with spacious, shared baths. Around the corner lies local bars, restaurants, discount clothing stores, and grocery stops along the Bredenstraat–the neighborhood’s main shopping street.
The original-tiled residence includes the use of a fully furnished kitchen, a cozy living room with flat-screen TV, wifi, free bikes, and a washing machine. Guests from around the world often gather on the outdoor patio to share the day’s adventures.
Rent a Car for Day Trips
Renting a car to explore Curaçao will save you from spending hundreds of dollars on tours and taxis, while giving you more time and access to all the sights, especially the beautiful beaches on the west coast. The good news is that roads are decent, traffic outside of the city is a rarity, and renting a car in Curaçao is as easy as booking a room. Most accommodations can arrange rentals, leaving you to focus on planning your day trips. Average rates start at $30 a day, and you won’t need a four-wheel drive. Hop along Westpunt’s numerous stretches and visit national parks–Christoffel National Park even has car trails–and dine at various landhuises or former plantation homes-turned-restaurants or venture south for more sun and sand.
Stock up at the Floating Market in Punda
A great way to save in Willemstad is to shop at the floating market in Punda, where vendors sell fresh tropical fruits and vegetables daily, brought in from neighboring South America. Buy fresh catch from Venezuelan fishermen who spend a week at a time on their boats until their goods are sold. It’s a lively place to stroll along Punda’s waterfront, and get a feel for the city’s multicultural pulse.
Read the rest of these tips, originally published on August 1, 2017, on Shermans Travel.