Curaçao - Paradise beaches
We visited Curacao in 2013. It was a mixture of sun, beach, snorkeling, diving, beach bars and many more. We really enjoyed this island and I would not be surprised if we go back one day. On the other hand, the neighbor islands Aruba & Bonaire also don’t sound bad 🙂
The beaches of Curacao are spread across the sheltered and quiet coast of the Southwest of the island. The calm water on these places are crystal clear. At some beaches a small entrance fee is requested, and sometimes a beach chair is included. Although it’s not the habit, and not allowed on all beaches, you can see topless people. It is forbidden by law, but tolerated at some places.
There are 18 beaches you cannot miss to unwind yourself. We did not manage to visit them all, but still I’ll list them for your convenience and mark which we visited and what our experience was for those. Pictures you find in the banner on top of this page.
You can find the ones we did not visit listed at the bottom of this page.
We booked our stay in resort Papagayo located in Jan Thiel bay. We got a deluxe villa with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Further we had a living room and we could open 2 of the 4 walls to embed the terrace into our villa. Although the villa and the rest of the resort was awesome, we would not do this a second time. Curacao is an island where you live outside. You go to the most incredible beaches, you eat in beach bar/restaurants and there’s much more to do. We only lay at the pool once, for 1 to 2 hours, but that was more to have used it at least once. A more modest place or even apartment with terrace would do just fine.
Back then SUP (Stand Up Peddling) was not that famous yet, and we booked our tour with SUP Curacao. We got our own super guide (Elise) and together with her we were brought by motor boat to the other side of the Spanish Water, there you have a mangrove. From their your journey starts and it takes about 2 minutes to learn how to move forward. It’s very natural and I think everyone is able to do this.
After some time, when done with peddling in and around the mangrove, you return by crossing the Spanish Water. Luckily the waves are coming from the good direction, so it’s not that difficult. We had a great afternoon and we really recommend this activity and the organisation.
Blue Bay Beach
It’s a stretched beach with a lot of shadow. It’s a bit North of Sint Michiel. The beach has a lot of services and is very popular among locals due to it’s white soft sand. The bottom of the sea gradually degrades so kids can easily play. You have palm trees, lounge seats, a cosy bar and a restaurant. Further there is a water sports center (diving, kayak on the sea) and a bikini shop. There even is a swimming pool with showers and toilets. On Sunday you can queue for the BBQ-lunch. There is an entrance fee.
Boka St. Michiel (Boka Sami)
Small boats slide over the bay of this small fisher village. This small beach, also known as Boka Sami, doesn’t have shadow and not a lot of sand and you have a small fishing pier. There are 2 small but decent fish restaurants in the area.
We did not swim or lay at the beach. We only enjoyed the view of the boats over the bay.
This is a special beach. It’s an uninhabited island which you can only reach by boat. There are several operators that organize day trips to the island, but we advise you to compare their schedules and when they go. At our time, there was 1 day of the week where only Bounty Adventures went to the Island, which means less people. On our catamaran towards Little Curacao there were about 40 people.
You go across waves on engine towards the island. There you get the time to enjoy this paradise. The beaches are splendid, the water has the perfect temperature, is crystal clear and the under water live is impressive. I think we were able to see 10 to 15 big sea turtles. Those are really cool animals!
At noon you can go back on board of the boat for a BBQ lunch. Nothing fancy, but after snorkeling for about 2 hours, you would anything they serve anyway. After lunch we went for a small walk towards the lighthouse and visited some wrecks at the other side of the island. Later the afternoon we wrapped up with another snorkeling session.
You go back on sail and then they open up the bar where you can get beers and rum, all together with some great music. When we left the island, we were on the net in the front of the boat, about 1 meter and a half above the water. It was there that we saw some about 10 dolphins which swim along our boat playing with the hulls of the boat. An incredible moment we still cherish. And that for free (well included in our day trip fee at least).
At the time the sun is above to go down, you arrive back in the harbor. We had an incredible day and we strongly recommend experience it yourself when you have the opportunity to go to Curacao.
Jan Thiel Beach
You can snorkel in the area, but it was not the most impressive under water life. This is more a beach targeting tourists. It cannot compete with the many other exotic smaller beaches.
There are several nice beach bars and restaurant in this area. Some of them are open late and are the ideal place for a party. The restaurants are not cheap and especially the wine was quite expensive.
No decent picture
Kokomo Beach Curacao (Vaersenbaai)
Kokomo Beach, formerly known as Vaersenbaai, is completely renovated and has all services for an enjoyable day at the beach. There is a restaurant, a bar and a beach bar and you can rent lounge chairs at the beach. Palm trees provide shadow. This beach is free of charge and since it has been renovated it is one of the most popular beaches of the island.
This beach is like a postal card, with its fisher boats and a panorama on the west point of the island. You get a nice brown colored rough sand with small pebbles, but nearly no shadow. You have several snack bars and restaurants at the parking lot above the beach. A small steep stair leads you to the beach.
Kenepa Chiki (Kleine knip) & Kenepa Grande (Grote Knip)
These are very nice beaches. Mainly the Knepa Grande are very good for snorkling. Either at the sides with the rocks, or, for the well trained swimmer there is the rif which is about 1 to 1,5 km offshore. We went to that rif and enjoyed it very much. But indeed, when you look back from there, you are quite a distance away from the beach, so please be careful and we advise you not to go there alone. But at least have a companion.
This small bay is popular for diving and snorkeling. There is a floating platform. You can reach the beach via a steep stair from the parking lot. There is a snack bar and diving shop
We had the impression that this small beach was only visited by locals. We did not lay at the beach, but only had an terrific snorkeling session. The under water view was impressive and we had the luck to see a huge sea turtle. We could follow the turtle from a distance for several minutes. They are so beautiful. On the beach itself there was a restricted area where there was a nest of turtle eggs. Must be cool to see them come out. The entire bay has nice under water life. We also went outside the bay, but there the waves were stronger and the snorkel experience was less. We ended here our beach day.
At the right you have a stair of rocks that leads to a small restaurant with terrace where you can enjoy a snack. From there you have also a nice view on the bay and beach. There were lots of lizard hiding in the bushes. When the owner made a special sound they came from everywhere, suddenly there were more than 20 big lizards. Special to see them.
Playa Porto Mari
This is a beautiful sand beach on a private domain of the plantation Porto Maria at the West coast. Its white, sandy coral beach, with bright and calm water, which is a true paradise for the water lover. The unique double reef is easily reachable from the coast. It gives fascinating snorkel and diving possibilities. There is a company with diving facilities at the beach.
For the landlubber there are two walking paths through nature, which start from the parking lot.
Playa Porto Mari is open every day. The bar and restaurant offer a variety of tropical meals and drinks. Entrance is NAF 3.5 per person including a free drink. (NAF 4 on Sundays and holidays). The beach is open daily from 9:30 till 18:30.
We dived before in Tunisia, but after realizing we played with our lives over there, we decided to do it properly this time and follow an introduction session especially for beginners. It started with 30 – 45 minute theoretical course, followed by 20 minutes of exercise to put on your glasses under water, change jejunum, and few other things. It made us feel way more comfortable before going down a couple of meters under the surface.
We already experienced the nice under water life, but diving gives the snorkel experience an extra dimension. You can go deeper, look longer at the things, and move around freely. Where Marie-Claire was not that convinced about diving back then in Tunisia, she now really enjoyed it. It was for Tom that after 30-35 minutes under water it started to feel awkward. Tom felt a bit woozy and together with the guide we decided to go up a little bit earlier than planned. Marie-Claire felt sorry, but 5 to 6 meter under water you don’t want to take any risk. I’m sure we’ll have new opportunities in the future to experience this again.
If you follow an introduction course it is quite expensive, and often we say we would need to follow some diving course, to benefit more on our trips, but with all our other sports it’s not yet a priority for now. So until further notice, we’ll have to pay high introduction fee course whenever we want to dive in an exotic location.
We visited Willemstad twice. Once during daytime with the bus from Jan Thiel, and once in the evening after returning from the beach. During day time we followed a guided walk from our travel guide. Although it is a safe town, we recommend not to go to far of the beaten path. We missed an exit during the walk and we were noticed by the police. As we were looking a bit around and find where to go, they came to us and advised us to go back closer to the center. We have to say we never felt unsafe.
There was a market with fresh products, and off course you can’t miss the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge or the colored houses at the water front. We really enjoyed our afternoon in the city. Make sure you don’t miss this when you are on the island.
Beaches we did not visit
- Boca Santa Cruz
- Cas Abao
- Playa Piskado or Playa Grandi
- Seaquarium Beach