An upcoming trip to the beautiful tropical island of Curaçao can be the cause of much excitement and anticipation. The charming Dutch culture and gorgeous white sand beaches entice many travelers to visit this breathtaking Caribbean island. But before setting out on your island getaway, you should create a budget. Having an estimate of your expenses prior to your departure will eliminate most unplanned monetary frustrations and help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Most vacationers don't consider budgeting to be the highlight of their trip, but it is an extremely necessary part of planning to make sure that your retreat goes smoothly. Tourists should consider the large costs of things like accommodations and transportation, as well as minor expenditures that can add up in the long run. Being financially prepared for a vacation should make your island excursion more enjoyable and virtually hassle-free.
The price of your lodging in Curaçao will depend on several different things, such as the type and location of your accommodations and the time of year during which you visit. Travelers have several choices when it comes to accommodations. From rental apartments to lavish hotels, the island is sure to have lodgings that appeal to your particular tastes.
All-inclusive hotels and resorts provide their guests with package deals that include most of vacation costs on one bill. This option may be ideal for travelers who don't want the bother of worrying about every single aspect of their stay. The cost of staying at a hotels or resort on Curaçao can vary considerably in price, depending upon the season and amenities offered by the property. Rates generally start at more than $100 (USD) per night in the low season, and are higher during the peak season. Vacationers who are looking for more luxurious lodgings will typically pay $300 (USD) or more per night.
The cost of your accommodations usually reflects the quality of the room and services. Many of the less expensive hotels may not offer the same amenities as moderately priced and more expensive resorts. If you desire particular comforts at your lodging, be sure to check with the hotel prior to booking your stay to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
The time of year during which you travel can help you to save money on your vacation. Visiting the Caribbean during the off season, which lasts from May to November, is considerably cheaper than visiting during the winter months when many vacationers are trying to escape the frigid northern weather. Hotel prices in Curaçao are generally cheaper during the summer months, and travelers can find better bargains when there are fewer tourists on the island.
Vacationers will be presented with a plethora of exotic food choices on Curaçao, so they should budget for the cost of meals while on their island getaway. Tourists can find all kinds of savory local dishes as well as items from places like Indonesia. The cheapest meals on the island will cost about $6(USD) and can be found at locally-owned dining facilities and American chain restaurants. Moderately priced restaurants have an eclectic mix of meals; prices start around $9(USD) and go to about $24(USD) per meal. Travelers with expensive tastes can eat at any of the island's up-scale restaurants and can expect to pay about $20(USD) to $60(USD) per meal.
The price of meals doesn't include gratuities, which should also be considered when budgeting for your vacation. Patrons are not required to tip their waiter or waitress, but guests usually leave a 10 percent to 15 percent tip, depending on the service. Tourists must also remember to include the cost of the 6 percent sales tax and 10 percent to 12 percent service charge that will be included on the final bill.
Once on the island of Curaçao, most travelers will need to find transportation to get around and see the sites. There are several transportation options that range in price from free to pricey. Public transportation is inexpensive, taxis are a bit more expensive, and costly rental cars give you freedom to come and go as you please.
The ferry service on the island is limited in its destinations, but is free, and visits the island's two most popular shopping centers. Although buses are not as cheap as ferries, they are the next most cost efficient way to see the island. Many travelers will enjoy touring the countryside in a bus and minibus, which have convenient fares of under $1(USD) per trip.
If you're looking for a more direct way to traverse the island, taxis are a good option. Although more expensive than public transportation, taxis allow vacationers to leave the fuss of driving in a foreign country to someone else. Cab fare starts at about $8(USD) and can go up to about $30(USD), depending on the length of your trip and final destination. Remember to agree upon the cost of your journey before setting off in the cab.
Rental cars are probably the most independent means of transportation, but also the most expensive. Travelers will enjoy the freedom of seeing the island at their own pace, and driving conditions in Curaçao are better than on many other Caribbean islands. Travelers can rent a car by the day for about $30(USD) to $80(USD), and by the week for about $200(USD).
Other costs that you may want to include in your vacation budget are admission fees to clubs, museums, and other sites. You may also find some souvenirs and trinkets that you want to take home with you, so be sure to consider these little things when planning your finances.
Curaçao is extremely popular for its duty-free shopping, and many travelers take advantage of the many shops and vendors that line the streets in places like Punda and Otrobanda. Popular purchases among tourists are local artwork, Curaçao liqueur, Dutch Delftware, and wooden shoes. Produce markets are also popular with visitors to the island. Dutch cheeses are one of the best edible souvenirs you can get on the island.
The cost of your vacation shopping will obviously depend on what you buy and how much you buy. Travelers should keep in mind that some items may be subject to duty taxes when returning to their home countries. U.S. citizens can bring home the following items without being taxed: one to two liters of locally-produced alcohol, 100 non-Cuban cigars, original artwork, and other goods worth up to $600(USD). If you're visiting Curaçao from another country, check with your country's customs office to see what items are taxed and regulated.
All tourists over the age of 2 must pay a departure tax of $20(USD) for all international flights. If you're leaving Curaçao for another island, the fee is $5.75(USD). Airlines sometimes include the price of the departure tax in the overall cost of the plane ticket, but you should check with your airline to be sure.
While shopping in Curaçao is duty-free, restaurants and hotels do charge taxes and service charges. Hotels generally add a 7 percent government tax to all rooms, as well as a 10 percent to 15 percent service charge. Restaurants charge a 6 percent tax and 10 percent to 12 percent service charge on all meals.
Although crunching the numbers is not as fun as soaking up the sun, budgeting for your trip to Curaçao allows you to get the most from your island vacation.
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