Money on Curacao
The currency on Curaçao is the Antillean Guilder (abbreviated as Nafl, Naf or Ang). After the constitutional changes in October 2010, only on St. Maarten and Curaçao can still be paid with the Antillean guilder, on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba since January 1, 2011, the U.S. dollar is the official means of payment. The exchange rate of the Antillean guilder is linked to the American dollar and has the same value as the Aruban florin: 1 guilder/florin = 1.79 dollars. At almost every ATM on Curaçao, you can choose between paying in guilders or dollars. You can then pay with guilders and dollars anywhere on Curaçao.
The local currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder (also called florin), abbreviated NAfl. or ANG. It is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a stable rate of US$ 1 = NAfl. 1.77 for cash and 1.78 for travelers checks. Exchange rates may vary slightly in stores and hotels. There is no black market. Exchange rates for other currencies can be found at banks or in daily newspapers. Banks are open all day from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The bank at the airport is open from 8:00 to 20:00, Monday through Saturday and from 9:00 to 16:00 on Sundays to exchange money. There is a twenty-four hour change machine at the airport. Some bank branches have ATMs that exchange U.S. dollars.
In several places you can withdraw money 'from the wall'. This is possible if both your card and the machine have the Cirrus, Plus, Maestro or Master/Eurocard vignette. There are costs involved, but that differs per bank. At the branches of Maduro Curiel's Bank in Sta. Maria and Punda, it is also possible to withdraw money inside if your card has the blue PIN vignette. High denomination banknotes (100 and 250 guilders) are difficult to exchange for small purchases. There are currently two one-guilder coins in circulation. The old square nickel coin and the new fifty-cent piece are among the few square coins in the world; along with the two and a half guilder coin, they are sought-after souvenirs, especially for children.
U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere, travelers checks less so. Bills of US$ 50 and 100 may be difficult to exchange. International credit cards are accepted in almost all major stores and the like. At all post offices, Postbank cheques can be cashed in Antillean money. With the Maestro vignette/Cirrus listed on your bank debit card, you can pay at more than 600 businesses.
The official currency in Curaçao is the Antillean guilder (NAF). The Antillean guilder is pegged to the U.S. dollar (1 US$ = 1.75 NAF). In addition to the Antillean guilder, you can pay with cash in Curaçao using the dollar, and increasingly the euro is also accepted. In both of the latter cases, you should be aware that shopkeepers may use an exchange rate that is unfavorable to you.
Exchanging Euros for Guilders
If you want to exchange Euros for Antillean guilders, your best bet is to visit the banks. Dutch banks such as ABN AMRO, ING and RABOBANK have sold or closed their Antillean branches in recent years, which is why you won't find them on the island anymore. However, local banks generally provide excellent service. Banks are generally open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Do not forget to bring your passport if you want to change money, this is a requirement set by certain banks.
Withdrawing money on Curacao
Throughout the island there are ATMs everywhere, sometimes within walking distance of each other. The ATMs sometimes behave strangely and give a cryptic message like "transaction can not be performed". Usually the ATM runs out of money or the connection with the Netherlands is not possible. You do not have to worry about wrongly withdrawing money in that case, just take another machine.
With a credit card you can also withdraw money from a bank, but there are additional charges. In this case the banks sometimes want to ask for valid passport in which hotel and hotel room number. In most stores and restaurants you can just withdraw money with your bank card. It is our experience that PIN payments on Curaçao almost always succeed, provided that the telephone lines work. You can pay by credit card almost everywhere, although we advise against it ourselves. The major credit cards such as American Express, Visa and Eurocard/Mastercard are accepted everywhere. This is because from the credit card companies, merchants are required to first calculate the money in dollars. Because of this you suffer a double exchange loss: namely from NAF -> $ -> Euro. Retailers often use an unfavorable exchange rate to compensate for the high cost of a credit card payment. The local credit card 'Kompa Leon' is only valid on Curaçao, Bonaire, St.Maarten and Aruba and with it you can only withdraw Antillean money.
It is customary to tip porters one guilder per suitcase, and cab drivers 10% of the fare. Restaurants usually charge a service charge on the bill of 10%; if you want, you can leave a few more guilders for a tip. Most hotels include a service charge of 12% in the bill.