Curaçao’s crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches are like paradise. With our toes in the sand and the sun gently warming our faces, it’s the promise of a moment of pure bliss.
Curaçao, a hidden gem in the Caribbean, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in this part of the world.
From secluded coves to lively beach clubs, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island. For your next stay in this tropical paradise, here are 7 of Curaçao’s best beaches.
Curaçao’s beaches at a glance
Most of Curaçao’s beaches are located in the western part of the island. In fact, this is where you’ll find the most beautiful and ‘wild’ beaches.
Paid or free beaches?
Many beaches offer free access to their visitors. However, fees may be required for the use of beach beds or umbrellas.
On the other hand, some beaches charge an entrance fee, which can vary considerably from beach to beach and according to the services included in the price.
This entry fee may sometimes cover the use of a beach bed, but it is also possible for this service to be billed separately.
Do all beaches have facilities?
Many beaches have different levels of facilities, but again, these vary considerably, from sites equipped with showers, restaurants and stores to secret spots known only to the locals.
The most isolated beaches on the western tip of the island may have no services at all.
What are Curaçao’s beaches like?
Curaçao’s beaches are renowned for their white sands and peaceful, crystal-clear waters, creating perfect conditions for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Due to the island‘s rugged terrain, many beaches are nestled between rocky cliffs and lined with cactus.
Generally speaking, weekend traffic is much higher than weekday traffic.
Where to see sea turtles?
The most popular spot for sea turtle watching in Curaçao is Playa Piskado, where several fishing boats are moored.
After emptying their catch, these fishermen throw the remains back into the sea, attracting sea turtles. Even from the dock, you’re virtually guaranteed to spot these magnificent creatures, without having to enter the water.
However, it’s important to note that Playa Piskado is not one of the island’s most picturesque beaches. It’s often very busy, and the abundant presence of fish debris in the water can make swimming unpleasant, to put it simply.
What’s more, it’s not uncommon for tourists to surround turtles in the water or try to touch them, which is harmful to these marine creatures.
Despite these drawbacks, there are a few restaurants nearby, including Playa Forti, making it an almost unmissable stopover if you’re exploring the western part of the island.
If you decide to visit Playa Piskado, we strongly recommend arriving early in the morning, as your experience will be greatly enhanced.
It’s also possible to spot sea turtles in other parts of the island, including Playa Lagun, Playa Kalki and the neighboring island of Klein Curaçao, if you’re lucky.
Playa Kenepa Grande (Grote Knip)
At the western end of the island lies Playa Kenepa Grandi, a long, white-sand beach bordered by crystal-clear waters and dominated by imposing cliffs. It is more commonly known as Grote Knip.
Despite its renown, Grote Knip remains relatively remote, accessible only by a single road that also serves its little sister, Klein Knip. The beach is popular for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.
We also spotted wild pigs during our visit.
Playa Kenepa Chiki (Kleine Knip)
Known for offering a more peaceful, less touristy experience, Kleine Knip beach boasts calm waters ideal for snorkeling.
Although its infrastructure and services are limited, it is becoming increasingly popular on weekends.
Interestingly, this beach is close to Grote Knip beach, also known for its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. So it’s easy to combine a visit to these two magnificent beaches.
Playa Lagun nestles in a quiet bay, surrounded by rocky cliffs and home to a few fishing boats.
The cliffs overlooking Playa Lagun’s narrow channel are home to a wide variety of reef fish and a popular refuge for turtles. Corals and large sponges can also be seen at the end of the cove.
Playa Lagun is also renowned for being one of Curaçao’s most photogenic spots. The aquamarine water of the shallow inlet is framed by spectacular cliffs, providing an ideal backdrop for photography enthusiasts.
At the end of the day, visitors can climb the staircase along the rocks and enjoy the view while relaxing at the Bahia Apartments & Diving during aperitif hour.
As well as snorkeling and turtle watching, the sunset adds a magical touch to the experience.
Playa Kalki, one of Curaçao’s most westerly beaches, is a small, secluded cove renowned for hosting one of the island’s most beautiful coral reefs, making it a favorite spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. It’s also nicknamed “Alice in Wonderland”.
Access to the beach is by descending stone steps from the parking lot. It features a floating platform for easy entry into the water.
From Playa Kalki, another set of steps leads to the Kura Hulanda Lodge on the cliffs overlooking the beach, which also has a restaurant.
As the water is deeper here, Playa Kalki is best suited to snorkelers with some previous experience. You can observe coral formations, rays and sea turtles thanks to the region’s exceptional underwater visibility.
Playa Cas Abao
Cas Abao beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, thanks to its pristine white sand and crystal blue waters. This well-appointed beach offers an idyllic setting with palm trees providing shade, sun loungers, parasols and a full range of water sports equipment.
Cas Abao harmoniously combines the island’s natural beauty with the amenities of a full-service beach, including a bar, restaurant, showers and even a massage service for those in search of relaxation. The beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and requires an entrance fee.
It’s suitable for all ages, with underwater reefs that will delight snorkellers and scuba divers.
Playa Porto Mari
Renowned for its clear waters, soft sand and nearby coral reef, Porto Mari is another beach of choice for snorkeling enthusiasts.
Porto Mari stretches along a long strip of sand and offers a number of amenities, including a beachside restaurant and bar.
Although the beach is busy and attracts a considerable number of tourists, it retains a friendly atmosphere.
The beach features a unique “double” reef, easily accessible from the shore, offering great diving and snorkeling opportunities.
For nature lovers, Playa Porto Mari also offers walking trails starting from the beach parking lot. The beach is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the sunsets are magnificent!
Jan Thiel Beach
Located on the east side of the island of Curaçao, close to Willemstad, Jan Thiel Beach is a popular beach destination. This more urban beach offers a full range of amenities, including restaurants, bars and a variety of water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.
What’s more, Jan Thiel Beach is renowned for its spectacular sunset views.