One of the most asked questions we get from guests is should we bring USD for our upcoming trip to Curacao or should we use a bank machine to withdraw local currency when we are there?
Read along to get the best Curacao money tips!
Curacao's official currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder (ANG). Exchange rates may slightly vary at restaurants and stores, but the ANG is pegged to the US Dollar and worth about 56¢. In other words, 1 ANG = $0.56 and $1 = 1.79 ANG.
Most prices in Curacao are listed only in the local currency ANG. Travelers Checks and most major credit cards are accepted on Curacao but small establishments in rural areas may require cash, and some may insist on local currency. Always carry enough cash for snacks and tips.
When you pay for goods or services in US Dollars expect change in local currency and assume the exchange rate will not be in your favor. Also be sure which currency prices are in before you buy and become familiar with the local bills and coins so you can quickly calculate your change.
The ANG is divided into 100 cents and coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, as well 1 and 5 guilders. Paper bills come in denominations of 10, 25, 50, and 100 guilders.
Larger denomination notes are available in ANG but they like large US Dollar notes are hard to exchange and many establishments refuse to accept them.
Credit Cards and ATMs
Plan to charge as much as possible to your credit card! The exchange rate will be exact and you will have a detailed record where money went. Also, you won't have to carry large amounts of cash with you.
Most major credit cards are accepted by the majority of businesses, except at gas stations!!! Many require purchases to be more than $20. Supermarkets usually accept credit cards but small stores and mini-markets often do not.
ATMs are called Bankomaticos on Curacao. Most of the "Bankomatikos" that you will see all around the island (identifiable by their blue and yellow kiosks) are operated by MCB, Maduro and Curiel's Bank.
Bankomaticos are located at all banks, the airport, cruise-ship docks, large supermarkets, and in many tourist areas. The machines accept international bank and credit cards and dispense cash in either ANG or US Dollars. Your account will be charged in the currency where the card was issued.
Some History on the Curacao currency
The Dutch guilder circulated in Curacao during much of the 1700s. It was subdivided into 20 x 5 cents called a stuiver. In 1794 the Curacao reaal was introduced and the Dutch guilder was officially discontinued on the island. In 1826 the Dutch guilder was re-introduced. This time it was subdivided into 100 cents.
When WWII broke out the Netherlands were quickly overpowered by Nazi Germany and the Curacao guilder’s peg to the Dutch guilder was broken. A new peg, this time to the USD, was introduced that same year at a rate of 1 USD = 1.88585 guilders.
In 1952 the Curacao guilder was officially renamed the Netherlands Antilles Guilder (ANG) to better represent the currency’s use across the region.
In 1971 the Antilles guilders peg to the US dollar was adjusted to a rate of 1 USD = 1.79 guilders. Fifteen years later Aruba separated from the Netherlands Antilles and introduced its own currency: the Aruban florin. It was introduced at par with the guilder. The Antilles guilder still remains in use in Curacao and Sint Maarten.
If you like to know more about the history of the Curacao money, visit the website of the History Money Museum Yotin Korta. Unfortunately, the museum is currently closed until further notice, but the website gives very good details of the history of both Curacao coins and bank notes.
Our Let's Talk Money Tips!
The ATMs on Curacao are operated by local banks, mostly MBC, that adds on a transaction fee of $5. Therefore, make one big withdrawal vs. several smaller ones!
Your bank account may charge foreign transaction fees. Often banks charge 3%! To avoid these foreign transaction fees apply for a card that doesn't charge these fees such as Visa from Bank of America. Another card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee is American Airlines' Aadvantage MasterCard. There are lots of other cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees, you may like to ask your bank about it or simply Google to see which card you like best.
If you do plan to use a credit card be sure to do a travel notification with the credit card company.
Install a currency exchange app on your cell phone if you don't want to spend a lot of time to figure what the rate is in US Dollars. They are free!
Interested in staying with us? Contact us for information about our oceanfront villa, one of the nicest Curacao vacation rentals.
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