Shopping and food on Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Here are some travel tips for shopping and eating on Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles.

Shopping:
The Dutch Antilles Guilder(also called Florin) is the official currency, but The Euro(€) and U.S. Dollar($) are readily accepted. Automatic teller machines are widely available throughout the island, and many machines will dispense Guilders and the U.S. Dollar. Currency can generally be exchanged at local hotels, casinos and places of business. The exchange rate is generally pegged to the U.S.D. and stable. It is unlikely for tourists to be taken advantage when changing currency, but it is best to be aware of the current rates prior to arrival.

There are a plethora of random shops and markets around Willemstad offering clothing, souvenirs, crafts, and other goods. These include a duty free “enclave” in the downtown area. Offerings emphasize European goods, to include excellent jewelry and linens, plus the usual collection of souvenir shops. A water front market lies nearby that’s packed with fresh foods and flowers…best seen or shopped in the mornings.

On Sundays, however; most businesses except restaurants in the city are closed.

Food:
Local cuisine in Curaçao is a mixture of European, West-Indian and East Asian (particularly Indonesian) flavours. Dutch influences are found in the use of cheeses, bread and seafood, which are also important in Curaçaoan food. Indonesian cuisine, a migrant from Suriname, another of the Netherlands’ former colonies, can be found on the island, and explains the widespread availability of Sate and Peanut sauce along with the islands more Caribbean fare. Also, Chinese “snacks” can be found all over the island serving cheap Chinese food. They cater mostly to locals, but most serve good food.

Snacks:
Curacao is littered with ‘Snacks,’ small bar restaurants which serve Chinese Food. These are typically inexpensive, double as convenience stores and bars, and are typically open later than most other restaurants which cater to local (rather than European) patrons.

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