The best beaches in Curacao have soft, sparkling sand and clear water with world-class snorkel spots, and they’re easy to find: just head to Westpunt, along the island’s western coastline.
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The sandy strip starts about a 45 minute drive north of Curacao’s capital Willemstad, and from there it’s easy to beach hop since each one is only a few minutes away from the next. Whether you want to swim with turtles, go diving, soak up the sun or even pet a pig, there’s something for everyone.
Here are the best Curacao beaches in Westpunt, from north to south.
Curacao beaches map
While it has some colourful umbrellas and loungers for sun-seekers, Playa Kalki is best geared towards divers. There’s a dive shop on-site, and access to one of the top dive sites in Curacao called Alice in Wonderland where you can spot the likes of reef fish, rays, colourful parrot fish, lobsters and eels.
An underwater platform is equipped with a rope to make the descent down easier, which is helpful for night divers heading out in the dark. There are also a number of dive-focused hotels nearby.
A set of stairs leads down to the somewhat rocky beach, which is surrounded by limestone cliffs dotted with foliage, and there are a few parking spots up at the top. While Playa Kalki has a restaurant and snack bar, it’s not always open especially if you’re visiting on a weekday in the off-season.
Playa Piskado/Playa Grandi
Playa Piskado (also known as Playa Grandi) is one of the most famous beaches of Curacao, since it’s one of the best spots to snorkel with giant sea turtles. Rent a set of gear for about $9 from one of the vendors on shore, and head into the shallow bay to hopefully spot one gliding by.
Green turtles are attracted to the area because fishermen clean their catch then dispose of the remains in the water, so you’ll have a better chance at seeing turtles earlier in the day when the fishermen are working. If you time it right, there’s a chance you’ll see up to a dozen turtles swimming around!
There are also dozens of sun loungers to rent for the day, as well as changing rooms and a canteen selling drinks and snacks.
Adrenaline junkies love Playa Forti, which is best known for cliff jumping.
With postcard-worthy views from the top and golden sand below accessed by a steep staircase, this spot ticks a lot of boxes. There’s ample space to spread out, watching the cliff jumpers (or trying it yourself) makes for endless entertainment, and there are also two restaurants up top with sweeping vantage points of the bay.
One of them, Restaurant Playa Forti, was actually built on the ruins of a fortress dating back to the Napoleonic era, and you can still see the original cannons out front.
Playa Kenepa Grandi/Grote Knip
Playa Kenepa Grandi–or Grote Knip as it’s also known–is one of the top beaches of Curacao and a must-see thanks to its expansive stretch of velvety white sand surrounded by cacti-covered cliffs.
A huge parking lot marks the entrance, where there’s a panoramic overlook and a shaded palapa serving up fresh local dishes. Grab a refreshing mango smoothie at the Curacao Playa Knip Smoothies stand, then head down to the pristine beach where the sand feels as soft as velvet.
Loungers and umbrellas are available to rent, and there’s also a snack bar. Washrooms are available for a fee, and while there are showers they aren’t always working.
It costs $5 for a lounger, $10 for an umbrella, or $15 to rent two loungers and an umbrella for the day, and tickets are valid for both Small Knip and Big Knip for those looking to beach hop.
The snorkeling is phenomenal thanks to the clear water (gear rental is $10), and you might even spot a pig walking by.
Playa Kenepa Chiki/Kleine Knip
As the little sister to Kenepa Grandi, Playa Kenepa Chiki is a similarly stunning beach that’s a bit more secluded, and some people actually prefer it more since it’s not as busy.
Also called Kleine Knip, the sparkling sand is incredibly soft; however, there are tiny shells and rocks leading into the water so it’s best to bring swimming shoes if you plan to take a dip. It’s possible to see turtles, reef fish and seahorses while snorkeling in the clear, calm water.
There’s a small restaurant and picnic tables on shore, as well as loungers and umbrellas to rent.
Playa Jeremi is an absolute gem, tucked into a quiet cove where gem-toned water gently laps up on the golden shoreline which has fragments of volcanic lava debris.
Since there are no facilities it keeps the crowds away, which makes for an idyllic escape. If you bring along snorkel gear, there’s a reef wall with coral formations where you might spot rays, jawfish and squid.
Keep in mind that Playa Jeremi isn’t a great option for families due to the lack of restaurants, washrooms and shade.
One of the most photogenic spots on the island is Playa Lagun, where aquamarine water in the shallow inlet is framed by dramatic cliffs.
This is also one of the best beaches on Curacao to enjoy happy hour, thanks to the incredible vantage point from the top at Bahia Apartments & Diving. Head up the staircase, and grab a table overlooking the water for spellbinding views.
Back down on the beach, there are fishing boats and some rundown sunbeds that can be rented. Playa Lagun is typically frequented by locals from the Lagun fishing village, and is an excellent snorkeling spot.
Playa Santa Cruz
A thick mangrove swamp surrounds Playa Santa Cruz, which is one of the largest beaches in Westpunt Curacao though not the prettiest. There are a few beach chairs and a number of palapa-shaded picnic tables, a small bar and restaurant and washrooms (which have been closed off, so plan accordingly).
While snorkeling isn’t great here due to the cloudiness of the water, kayak rentals are available.
The reason most people come to Playa Santa Cruz is to see The Blue Room, a gorgeous sea cave. There’s a path that leads from Playa Sta. Cruz to Boka Sta. Petru to explore on your own, otherwise you can book this guided boat trip that includes beach hopping and snorkeling in the cave. Click here to book
Globe Guide tip: For the ultimate day trip from Willemstad, combine the Westpunt beaches with a visit to nearby Shete Boka National Park which is a protected area for nesting sea turtles and has impressive crashing waves.
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