The best part of island vacations has got to be the beaches. Sure, there’s lots of things to enjoy in your dream destination in and out of your resort, but what would an island vacation be like without a palm-fringed beach?
Curaçao has some of the best beaches in the world. To ensure you spend less time beach hunting and more time enjoying the sunshine, we’ve compiled a ranked list of the 23 best beaches in Curaçao (and two smaller hidden beaches!) that are sure to add good times to your vacation, and not to mention some pretty amazing photos.
Read on and be sure to note your top picks.
If picture-perfect views are what you’re after Santa Martha Bay beckons in the most serene way. This beach near the village of Soto in Curaçao is beautiful, but on the quieter side. If you choose to venture out here it’s a good idea to go with a group that includes people who’re familiar with the beach.
Sint Joris Bay Beach in the north of Curaçao is just where you need to be if a day of kite surfing is your idea of a good time. Whether you’re looking to get into the action yourself or just want to watch other kiteboarders in action you’ll be in perfect company at Sint Joris Bay. If you’re new to kite surfing you’ll be able to sign up for lessons on the beach that’ll help you get comfortable in the water. Access to the beach and parking are both free.
In the north of Curaçao Playa Canoa calls out to beach lovers who prefer a more rugged experience. This is a stunning beach setting, and there’s a small inlet where you’ll be able to swim. Playa Canoa is quite rocky and often there’s large waves on this beach. As such, a beach experience here is less about sunbathing on sandy shores and more about surfing for those who choose to go.
Caracas Bay beach is part of the Curaçao Underwater Park off the island’s southeast coast. This beach is popular with residents of the island and that has a lot to do with it’s convenience; there’s no admission fee and there’s also a number of small restaurants in this area. With calm sea conditions most of the time, you can have a pretty decent dive experience here.
Director’s Bay Beach on the southeastern coast of Curaçao is also known as Lover’s Beach. This beach was once privately owned and resumed public status as of 1985. Director’s Bay is relatively secluded and surrounded by limestone cliffs. It’s a great choice for diving with a steep drop off close to shore. Some of the marine life you’re likely to spot beneath the waves in this area are eels, sea horses, octopi, blue parrotfish, yellowtail snapper and various sponges. There’s also a sunken ship known as Tugboat here as well.
Cabana Beach is that carefree beach you’ve probably seen in your dreams. Those all-too-vivid dreams where you’re laid out in brand new swimming gear, staring up into clear blue skies, with palm trees in the vicinity. In real life, this beach is beautiful, and as tropical as they come. There’s a restaurant and bar here as well and more than likely, you won’t regret choosing to spend some time here during your vacation in Curaçao.
The Beach Boys made searching for Kokomo a real thing with their 1988 hit song, ‘Kokomo’. The truth of that matter is, the feel good jam sounds good on any Caribbean beach, but it’ll sound even more amazing as you lay back and relax at Curaçao’s very own Kokomo Beach.
This beach is about 15 minutes from Willemstad in Vearsenbaai (Vearsen Bay), and it really lights up on weekends. During the week there’s less people, so that can be a good time to go if you want a more peaceful experience. There’s a restaurant on the beach and an in-water swing set as well. There’s also a dive center and lots of cosy spots to lounge around. Around sunset is a great time to be on the beach as well; there’s often live music and delicious food being served up at the Kokomo Beach restaurant.
Aside from the fact that Karakter Beach is simply magnetizing, there’s a pretty awesome restaurant on the beach as well that can really add some flavor to your beach day. On the menu of this beachside restaurant are options like tapas, grilled fish, and a range of other items served up in the most delectable way. A romantic beachside dinner after a day of lounging in the sun will definitely be a possibility here.
Private cabanas, bird watching opportunities with a nearby mangrove, and massages on the beach. This is some of what you can expect to find at Playa Santa Cruz which is quite the delightful beach location. With lots of space to roam around freely, Playa Santa Cruz is perfect for unwinding and getting back in touch with nature. There’s a bar, restaurant, and restrooms available here.
Jan Thiel Beach is as energetic as beaches come and it appeals to beach goers looking for an action-packed day. Or a really quiet one… it’s entirely up to you. Spending the day here will give you lots of options of things to do; from watersports to beach side dining. You can enjoy the sand and sea and somewhere in between pay a visit to one of the nearby beach clubs where there’s always plenty of food options including stone oven pizza and BBQ meals. This is a great spot if you’re looking to enjoy a day outside of your resort. There’s an entrance fee, and you’ll also need to pay for beach chair rentals and parking.
Daaibooi Beach is great for a casual beach day. It’s not a fussy beach, but most who go there appreciate that in addition to just enjoying the ocean, its possible to enjoy some Dutch goodies and fried food from beach vendors. Some of the items you can try include Broodje Kroket (bread with fried meat), bamischijf (fried bami), fresh fish and fries, and more.
Playa Kalki is home to the popular Alice in Wonderland coral reef. This is one of the more popular beaches for diving in Curaçao, and it is more or less a small cove surrounded by limestone cliffs. Access to the beach is possible by climbing down some stone steps carved into the cliffside.
The reef at this location is the biggest attraction, and you’ll be able to appreciate this and other underwater sightings as there’s usually good visibility here. There’s also a dive shop. Plus, if you get hungry there’s a snack bar and plenty of restaurants and bars not too far off. You’ll be able to rent lounges and palapas as well if you just want to relax. There is no admission fee for this beach, and when you get there, you can easily park in the small public lot.
Mambo Beach (also called Seaquarium beach) is a family-friendly beach loved by parents because of the shallow waters. It is right next to a local seaquarium, hence the name. This beach is the sort you’d see on a glossy travel magazine spread, down to the thatched tiki umbrellas sprinkled across the shore. You’ll find all the beach facilities you need here and a few shops and bars. There’s even a mall nearby. Watersports facilities are available on this beach too. At night and on weekends, this beach spot turns into an entertainment hub with concerts and even movie events getting underway. There’s usually an admission fee to get onto this beach.
Postcard worthy views are what you’ll find at Playa Forti, and this will include charming fishing boats and a panoramic perspective of the island’s western tip. The sand on this beach is brown with a course texture which makes it stand out from some of the other beaches on the island. There’s a parking area near the beach and in that same area you’ll find snack bars and a restaurant as well. There’s a steep ramp and steps that lead down to the water and an opportunity to do some cliff jumping for adrenaline junkies.
The glistening blue waters and soft white sands of Blue Bay Beach are compelling, and a must to experience when in Curaçao. This beach in Willemstad is one of the best beaches on the island and you’ll see why right away just as soon as you settle in on some beach chair rentals, or even down on your beach towel. You’ll have options of umbrellas or palapas for shade while out on the beach, and plenty of high-end restaurant and bar options to choose from as well. This beach is great for diving with the Coral Gardens dive site nearby. There’s also a dive shop right on the beach.
The colorful fishing boats off the coast of Playa Laguna will certainly catch your attention once you arrive to this beach that is loved by swimmers, divers and fishermen alike. Whether you decide to dive or not, you’re sure to appreciate the ambiance of Playa Lagun relaxing in or out of the crystal clear waters.
Playa Piskado (also known as Playa Grandi) in Sabana Westpunt is a beach where you’ll be able to get up close and personal with the turtles. It will definitely be an unforgettable experience while in Curaçao. If you want to see the turtles, go to the beach before noon when the fishermen throw their chum into the water which attracts them. There’s a pier on this beach as well which you can sometimes admire marine life from, or just take really cool vacation photos. There’s a beachfront snack bar that always has tasty treats too.
Playa Jeremi in Willemstad is a secluded cove that you can access by walking down some steps cut into the rocks from the parking area. This beach is gorgeous and serene, but there aren’t any amenities here so you’ll need to bring everything you’ll need for your beach day. Snorkelling is decent here, and the clear water definitely adds to the experience. Stay for the sunset to add some magic to your day. There’s no entrance fee and not much shade, so keep that in mind.
With a stunning coastal landscape, Kleine Knip is loved by both locals and visitors to Curaçao. Kleine Knip is between the villages of Westpunt and Lagun and about 50 minutes from Willemstad. This is a highly-rated beach and although it is small, it is very beautiful. There’s no cost attached to parking or admission, and you’ll be able to rent beach chairs and umbrellas when you get there. If you get too hot, you can cool off in the ocean or with a cold fruit smoothie sold on the beach.
Cas Abao is gorgeous and at the top of the list for beach goers, local and visitor alike. This is a large beach, and the striking blue color of the water will draw you in right away. Right after you pay the entrance fee required for access (if you’re arriving by car), that is. You’ll have to shell out some cash if you want beach beds as well, but they can be worth the added comfort. Sometimes this beach is crowded, but it usually isn’t hard to find a spot to set up to relax for a few hours if you arrive early enough. There’s a dive shop, watersports, and options for food and drinks at this beach.
Number three on our list is Playa PortoMari in Bandabou, and this really is a beach that has it all. There’s a restaurant for dining, a bar, great diving and a dive shop, bathroom and shower facilities, and also beach chair rentals available. This beach is on a private estate known as Plantages, and the water is usually calm and clear here. There’s a double reef for anyone who wants to dive, and dives can be arranged through the dive operator on the beach. There’s also two nature trails you can access from the beach. There’s a beachside restaurant and bar as well, all of which is accessible for a small admission fee.
Playa Kenepa Grandi is also known as Grote Knip, and it is near West Punt in Curaçao. This is a white sand beach with amazing views, popular with both sun bathers, swimmers, and people who just want to dive. This beach is free to access, and there’s lounge chairs, kayaks, and snorkelling gear available for rent. There’s also washroom accessible for a small fee. There aren’t any concession stands on this beach so you may want to bring food and lots of drinks. If you don’t, you’ll have to hope you’re there on a day when local vendors are selling food.
The beach on Klein Curaçao island is probably the one you see in your beachside imaginings ahead of potentially booking a Caribbean vacation. This beach is untouched, gorgeous, great for snorkelling, and super private. So private that you’ll need to hop on a boat to get there! Klein Curaçao is also known as “Little Curaçao”, and it is a tiny, uninhabited island 15 miles off the southeast coast of Curaçao. It takes about two hours each way to get to Klein Curaçao from the mainland.
Near the village of Westpunt, you’ll find Playa Gipy which is a small, wild and rocky beach. This isn’t a very touristy beach, and for many visitors it can be difficult to find. In fact, sometimes the people who stumble upon this beach are those who go looking for the lighthouse in this area, so in that sense getting to Playa Gipy can be quite the welcome surprise. In calm weather, you can dive in this location. It is only recommended to do so with a guide.
Santu Pretu translates to black sand, and that is just what you’ll find on this Curaçao strand. This beach is relatively secluded with the surrounding natural elements mostly untouched. The road leading to Santu Pretu is closed, but you’ll be able to get to the beach with a 10 minute walk or by boat. There are no beach facilities here, but the snorkelling is pretty awesome.
An amazing vacation destination requires accommodation to match, and in Curaçao you’ll have quite a few options of places to stay.
Sandals Resorts has created a romantic oasis on the Dutch-Caribbean island of Curaçao. Sandals Royal Curaçao is an adults-only resort, designed for couples, featuring 350 luxurious rooms and suites.
This all-inclusive resort in Curaçao offers guests unlimited food and (alcoholic) drinks at 8 restaurants and 3 food trucks. Guests can enjoy free water sports, and free snorkeling and scuba diving trips. Golf aficionados can also have access to the neighboring 18-hole, par 72 Pete Dye championship golf course with ocean views.
The island of Curaçao just has so much going for it — from amazingly friendly people, exotic beaches and a ton of amazing things to do and to see.
Of all of these, the one thing you probably don’t want to leave the island without doing is heading to the beach. There’s quite a few beach options to choose from while in Curaçao, so selecting the best ones will really come down to the kind of experience you’re looking to have.
Fortunately, there really aren’t any bad choices beach-wise in Curaçao, and we hope we’ve made it easier for you to choose the perfect ones for you. Happy travels!