30/05/2024

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Curacao Beaches – The Complete Guide to All 44 Beaches

14 min read
Curacao Beaches – The Complete Guide to All 44 Beaches

Curacao’s beaches are typically small patches of sand at the back end of a small blue bay. They range from remote and rugged to well-developed entertainment hubs.

Each beach has a different vibe, which is why we cover all 44 beaches in this complete guide. Whether you’re looking for beach accommodations, selecting a sightseeing tour, or planning a self-guided beach-hopping adventure, you’ll have all the information you need to find your perfect beach.

This guide to the beaches of Curacao is divided into four sections:

  • Beaches East of Willemstad
  • Beaches West of Willemstad
  • Sint Willibrordus Beaches (a little farther west)
  • Westpunt Beaches (the far west end)

We also included an interactive map and hyperlinked table of contents to make digital navigation easy😉.

Grote Knip Curacao
Sint-Michielsbaai-Flamingo-Habitat-Curacao

Curacao Beaches Map

Our interactive Curacao Beaches Map uses native Google pins where possible, so click in for pictures and reviews. You can also load it onto your mobile device for use when you leave the hotel wifi.

Beaches East of Willemstad

Willemstad is a historic city at the mouth of Sint Ann Bay. You’ll recognize the distinctly Dutch colors and architecture of the buildings surrounding the bay and then realize that the town was built around the bay, not the ocean. The rugged shoreline helped the early Dutch settlers defend the island, but it means you’ll have to travel to find a beach.

Santa Barbara Beach (Sandals) Curacao

Marie Pampoen Beach

Marie Pampoen Beach is the closest public beach east of Willemstad. As a beach, it’s unremarkable, with little shade and no amenities. However, under the water, it’s another world.

Marie Pampoen Jetty protects a small bay used by Twin Divers and Sea Trek Curacao. Frequent feeding keeps the local fish population large and friendly. It’s easy to see a bunch of fish in a safe setting.

Tug Boat Wreck Curacao

Mambo Beach / Seaquarium Beach 

Mambo Beach, aka Seaquarium Beach, is just down the road from Marie Pampoen Beach, so this is where you’ll go for the quintessential “beach experience.” You’ll find a white sand beach entirely protected by a sea wall with every beach amenity you could ask for, plus plenty of shopping and dining options.

The gentle water and abundant resources make Mambo Beach an excellent choice for families. Not to mention, you’re right next door to two family-friendly adventures: the Curaçao Sea Aquarium and Substation Curacao.

Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach is a more “grown-up” version of Mambo Beach. Like Mambo, it’s a full-service beach with all the amenities you could ask for. You can find rum drinks and kid swim areas on both beaches, but there’s a definite party vibe at Jan Thiel Beach, even when there’s not a full moon party going down.

Jan Thiel is on a small bay with many shore diving and snorkeling options. Plus, there are flyboard rentals and a casino right off the beach.

Jan Thiel Beach Curacao
Jan Thiel Beach Curacao

Caracas Bay (Caracas Beach / Boya Beach / Tugboat Beach / Director’s Bay)

Caracas Bay was home to an oil terminal before being dismantled in 1996. It’s a deep-water bay open to the ocean, home to some rocky beaches and distinctive snorkeling sites.

Caracas Beach is in the back of the bay, Tugboat Beach and Baya Beach are in the middle near historic Fort Beekenburg, and Director’s Bay is near the opening to the ocean. These beaches are the most relaxed beaches east of Willemstad, but they lack the white sand and sheltered aquamarine bays you’ll find in other locations.

They do have a couple of top-notch snorkeling sites, including a tugboat wreck and the remains of a shark cage at Director’s Bay. You can even arrange for an underwater scooter tour of the tugboat wreck if you want a little thrill with your chill.

Directors Bay Curacao
Tug Boat Wreck Curacao

Santa Barbara Beach

Santa Barbara Beach is located on the inlet of Spanish Waters Lagoon. Sandals guests will enjoy the full beach services of the all-inclusive resort, including kayaking, paddleboarding, SUPing, sailing, and diving. There’s also a “public” section of the beach that you can access by the marina and restaurant by paying a small fee at the Old Quarry entrance.

The white sand beach is quite nice, with excellent protection from a dock that runs the length of the beach. The marina is also the home dock to Miss Ann Boat Trips to Klein Curacao.

Santa Barbara Beach (Sandals) Curacao
Santa Barbara Beach (Sandals) Curacao

Klein Curacao

Klein Curacao, or Little Curacao, is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Caribbean. Going to Klein Curacao is a full-day adventure with options for scuba diving, snorkeling, visiting the lighthouse and shipwreck, and, of course, beach time. The sand is deceptively soft, the water is hypnotic blue, and the laid-back island vibe is everywhere you look.

Pro-Tip: Book a trip out to Klein Curacao with Island Routes or through Viator.

Klein Curacao Beach
Klein Curacao Beach

Playa Kanoa

The north side of Curacao is dotted with bokas (mouths) created by strong waves crashing into the rocky shoreline. Playa Kanoa is one of the few beaches on this side of the island. It adjoins a small pool formed by the collapse of an enormous boka. Playa Kanoa doesn’t justify the drive for most beachgoers, but it’s a well-renowned surf break that hits hard when big waves come in from the northeast. Although, with the tricky tides and currents, it’s a good idea to go out with a local surf school.

Beaches West of Willemstad

If you want a “pure” beach experience, you’ll be well served to head west of Willemstad. Generally speaking, the beaches get more natural and secluded the farther west you go. We’ve divided this guide into three western sections. This section covers Willemstad to Sint Michiel Bay, with two more sections for Sint Willibrordus and Westpunt.

Boka Sami Curacao
Sint Michielsbaai Flamingo Habitat Curacao

Mangrove Beach

Mangrove Beach is within walking distance from the Cruise Ship Terminal. You can’t access the resort from the beach, but it’s only a 15-minute walk to the main road and through the front entrance. The day pass to the resort is relatively expensive for beach access, but it’s all-inclusive and less than many other shore excursions.

Resort guests can enjoy on-site water sports, their choice of four pools, and an aquapark with water slides. Plus, the on-site dive center has unparalleled access to Double Reef, one of the island’s classic dive sites.

Corendon - Drone Shots - courtesy of  Mangrove Beach Corendon Curacao
Corendon - Drone Shots - courtesy of  Mangrove Beach Corendon Curacao

Playa Zakitó

Playa Zakitó is a public beach just west of Mangrove Beach. It’s only a 30-minute walk from the Cruise Ship Terminal, but its lack of services and development makes it more suitable for a local picnic than a vacation beach day. The 1/2-mile-long path along John F. Kennedy Boulevard does make for a nice, sustained bike ride or walk along the waterfront.

Playa Zakito Curacao
Playa Zakito Curacao

Piscaderabaai / Parasasa Beach 

Parasasa Beach is the resort beach for the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, but there’s still free public access plus paid amenities like snacks and a dive shop. It’s on the fringe of walking distance from the Cruise Terminal (3 miles), but it’s a nice walk along Mangrove Park and the beachfront path of JFK Boulevard.

With the amenities, sandy beach, and small blue bay, Pasacara is a solid “nice” beach and an excellent place to visit if you’re looking for a walk, ride, or run from Willemstad. However, if you’re looking for a “pure” beach experience and are arranging transportation out of town, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Parasasa Beach Curacao
Parasasa Beach Curacao

Blue Bay

With its beautiful blue bay, white sandy beaches, and upscale amenities, Blue Bay is perfect for a high-end beach day. The day pass to Blue Bay is the most expensive beach on the island (other than all-inclusive resorts), but, in return, everything is very nice. You’ll have clean restrooms, soft sand, a yummy restaurant, and views that rival Westpunt Beaches.

Blue Bay Beach Curacao
Blue Bay Beach Curacao

Boka Sami / Boka Sint Michiel

Boka Sami is the best “local beach” because it’s fairly close to Willemstad with a decent little beach club but retains its local flair. The beach is a little rocky, but it’s the first natural cove west of the city.

There are actually two beach areas here. Boka Sami is sheltered by a sea wall and is home to the Boca Beach Oceanclub. Boka Sint Michiel is just a little farther up the coast at the mouth of Sint Michiel Bay. There’s also a nice natural area north of Boka Sint Michiel with a mile-long trail to Kokomo Beach and several paths to viewpoints where you can see the flamingos on Sint Michiel Bay.

Boka Sami Curacao
Boka Sami Curacao

Kokomo Beach  / Vaersenbaai / Boka Playa Uniko

Kokomo Beach is very much an “Influencer Beach,” complete with a swing fit for the Gram. It’s a budget alternative to Blue Bay, with similar amenities like a beach restaurant and dive shop (albeit not as swanky). It sits on a natural bay called Vaersenbaai with the ruins of an old fort on the cliffs. There’s a trail south to Boka Sint Michiel and one north to a small, undeveloped beach called Boka Playa Uniko. On the subject of Sint Michiel, be sure to stop for photographs of flamingos on the way to Kokomo Beach as you pass by the bay.

Kokomo Beach Curacao
Kokomo Beach Curacao

Sint Willibrordus Beaches

For the purpose of this guide, we’re calling Sint Willibrordus Beaches the shoreline from the Bullenbaai Terminal to Sint Martha Bay. You’re approaching the flanks of Christoffel Mountain, so the terrain is shifting to rolling hills with a coast interrupted by small, natural bays.

Because of the topology, the beaches cluster together with a common access point off the main road. Some of the access roads are paved, while others are generally well-maintained dirt roads.

Cas Abao Beach Playa Cas Abao Caribbean island of Curacao, Playa Cas Abao in Curacao Caribbean tropical white beach with a blue turqouse colored ocean. Drone aerial view

Daaibooi Beach / Playa Porto Marie / Playa Hunko

Daaibooi Beach, Playa Porto Marie, and Playa Hunko are a trio of beaches immediately west of the town of Sint Willibrordus. Daaibooi Beach and Port Marie can be accessed via old but serviceable paved roads, but the road to Playa Hunko has a closed gate with a private property sign.

Daaibooi and Porto Marie are only 1/3 of a mile apart on small nature bays with the bluest water you can imagine. They’re full-service beaches with a nominal day usage fee and the option to rent a palapa. They each have beach bars and are a little slice of paradise. What makes this area truly unique is that a drove of wild pigs roam this area and routinely come out to the beach. In the water, a unique “double reef” formation attracts snorkelers and scuba divers alike.

Porto Marie beach - white sand Beach with blue sky and crystal clear blue water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean Island

Cas Abao Beach

Casa Abao Beach is a full-service beach accessed by an unpaved that’s easily manageable for all cars. It’s the last full-service beach in the Sint Willibrordus area and the next 10 miles, for that matter. Like many beaches in the west, it sits on a beautiful blue bay with a wide swath of white sand. What makes it stand out is the abundance of natural shade and shelters, as well as available on-beach massages.

Cas Abao Beach Playa Cas Abao Caribbean island of Curacao, Playa Cas Abao in Curacao Caribbean tropical white beach with a blue turqouse colored ocean. Drone aerial view

Landhuis San Juan Beaches (Playa Dushi / Playa Largo / Playa Manzaliña / Playa Shon Mosa / Playa Chiki / Playa San Juan)

Landhuis San Juan dates back to 1662 and has six rustic beaches on the property that you can explore for a small entrance fee. Playa Manzaliña is the largest and closest of the beaches, with a nearby sea cave for shade. Two smaller beaches, Playa Shon Mosa and Playa Chiki, sit on either side of Manzaliña. Playa San Juan is at the mouth of San Juanbaai (San Juan Bay) on the west end of the property, and Playa Dushi / Playa Largo is on the east end.

Playa Largo is the most interesting and enigmatic Landhuis San Juan Beach. Playa Dushi is often excluded in descriptions because it’s conjoined with Playa Largo. The drive over to Largo is the most challenging one on the island because the beach is all coral. Also, you’ll for sure want water shoes. As you might guess from the beach, there’s a healthy patch of coral here that’s perfect for snorkeling, especially on the far end of Playa Largo near the point.

Santa Martha Bay Beaches (Playa Carrara / Mareni Beach / Playa Hundu)

Santa Martha Bay Beaches exist, sort of, but they usually don’t attract the eye of vacation beachgoers. Playa Carrara (aka Mareni Beach) is on a small, man-made lagoon near the mouth of Santa Martha Bay.

It’s like an undeveloped version of the beaches near Willemstad. If you’re traveling this far west, you can go to a developed, natural beach instead. Also, Playa Hundu still appears on maps, but recent private development has blocked public access to the beach.

Westpunt Beaches

We’ve finally made it to Westpunt (West Point). Westpunt beaches are known as the most beautiful on the island because they tend to form in natural bays with sparkling turquoise water. The Westpunt vibe is evident, too, kind of like that feeling you get driving down the Keys. The farther you go, the more laid back everything is. By the time you hit the island’s western tip, you’re driving on unimproved roads with herds of free-roaming goats and chickens. A trip to Westpunt is more than a walk in the sand. It’s an adventure.

Playa Jeremi Curacao
Playa Lagun Curacao

Landhuis San Nicolas (Playa Franki)

Playa Franki would be a fairly unremarkable beach if it weren’t associated with the Landhouis San Nicolas. The first thing you need to know is that this private beach has exclusive access, which only comes as part of the beach picnic package. However, that package gets our nod for the best beach picnic in Curacao. The food is extraordinary, and the ambiance of a private beach with just the right amount of development is unbeatable. A big thank you to Landhuis San Nicolas Curacao and Influence Through My Lens for providing the images.

Loungers on the beach
Beach picnic set-up
Drinking set-up on table at beach

Playa Santa Cruz / Playa Santu Pretu / Boka Spanjo / Playa Hulú 

Playa Santa Cruz is a classic Westpunt beach at the mouth of Bahia Santa Cruz. It’s a white sand beach at the back of a sparkling blue bay. You can find snacks, shade, and watersports, or a spot on the sand with plenty of elbow room.

Playa Santa Cruz is absolutely beautiful, but the path to Playa Santu Pretu (and beyond) differentiates it from other Westpunt Beaches. A wooden sign guides you onto a small path on the east side of the beach. A five-minute walk takes you to Santu Pretu, but the trail continues to Boka Spanjo and Playa Hulú beaches. Santa Cruz is by far the most beautiful and well-equipped of all these beaches, but the overland adventure exists for people who love hiking on sharp rocks and through thorny brush.

Playa Santa Cruz Curacao

Playa Lagun

Playa Lagun is a public beach in the town of Lagun. The bay is relatively deep and narrow, which makes for a smallish beach and well-protected swimming/snorkeling area. There are restrooms, a dive shop, a restaurant behind the beach, and a few tables with shade on the beach.

What makes Lagun stand out is the unique shape of the bay, which makes it some of the calmest water in Westpunt, with some interesting snorkeling along the walls.

Playa Lagun Curacao

Playa Jeremi

Playa Jeremi has a couple of new housing complexes going in, but there’s still access to this rocky, local beach. Jeremi has a parking lot and one palapa, but that’s it for development. This is the sort of beach where local families go to enjoy a picnic away from the tourists. The water’s beautiful and great for snorkeling, but the beach and amenities make it more of a backpacker’s “hidden gem” than a traditional tourist beach.

Playa Jeremi Curacao

Grote Knip (Kenepa  Grandi)

Grote Knip is the iconic Westpunt Beach and one of Curacao’s largest beaches. If you ordered a beach from central casting, it would look just like this one. The parking area is up on the cliff with a staircase descending down to the sheltered bay. The traffic circle is large enough to handle buses, and this beach gets quite busy on the weekends.

Grote Knip Curacao

Kleine Knip (Kenepa Chiki)

Kleine Knip is the beach you’d get if Grote Knip and Playa Jeremi had a baby. It’s in a smaller, sheltered bay like Jeremi, but it has the white sand of Grote Knip. It also has just the right amount of amenities to get you what you’ll need without taking away from the beach. Because it shares the same access road as Grote Knip, Kleine Knip is a wonderful alternative if you’re finding Grote Knip just a little too much

Kleine Knip Curacao

Playa Forti

Playa Forti is a rocky beach that’s more famous for its cliff jumping than beach play. Adventurous souls can test their mettle, while sane and normal people can watch the excitement from the cliffside restaurant. Not only is Restaurant Playa Forti the best view in Westpunt, but it might be the best dinner with a view of the entire island.

Playa Forti Curacao

Playa Piskado / Playa Grandi 

Playa Gradi (aka Playa Piskado) is the most active fisherman’s beach in Westpunt. Small boats dot the beach and bay, but something else about the fishing makes Playa Grandi stand out. A regular population of sea turtles inhabit this bay, waiting to feed on the fish parts left over from the cleaning. Playa Grandi is where you want to snorkel for a little turtle time.

Playa Grandi Curacao
Playa Grandi Curacao

Playa Kalki

Playa Kalki is an uber-relaxed beach at the end of the paved road in Westpunt. Keeping with the Keys analogy, reaching Playa Kalki is like getting to Key West. There are chickens everywhere and not a care in the world.

The beach itself isn’t as stunning or secluded as others in Westpunt, but there’s there’s an undeniable feeling in the air. It’s also home to one of the best “advanced dives” in Curacao – Watamula. The dive is off the island’s west point, but Go West Diving on Playa Kalki is the classic dive operator to get you there.

Playa Kalki Curacao
Playa Kalki Curacao

Playa Guepi

Even though the pavement ends at Kalki, a rough dirt road continues to the island’s westernmost point. Even a wimpy rental car can make it to the end on dry days, but you might want to check that “extra insurance” box. Your reward? A beautiful water hole (Watamula Hole), a natural bridge, and a deserted beach.

You’ll need a beefier vehicle to go the final 100 yards to Playa Guipi, but the walk from the Watamula Hole parking area isn’t bad. The beach is (usually) empty and makes for a cozy cove that’s “just big enough.”  Be careful in the water out here as you’re close to the dropoff, and strong currents can kick up suddenly.

Playa Guepi Curacao
Playa Guepi Curacao

Concluding The Best 44 Curacao Beaches

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best 44 beaches in Curacao. Of course, that’s all the beaches, so we’ve written a companion piece identifying which beach we think is the best for any given activity. We’re also writing more Curacao content, so check back in periodically for updates and additions.

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Curacao Beach
Couple jumping for joy on Curacao beach
Curacao Beach

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