A Trip to Klein Curaçao
Klein Curaçao, a small, uninhabited island found a few miles southeast of Curaçao, has become a popular destination for day trips, thanks to its pristine beach, excellent snorkeling, and atmosphere of forsaken solitude. We booked an excursion which brought us to the island on a catamaran, and spent the day checking it out.
There are a number of operators which offer trips to Klein Curaçao, but we decided to book with Bounty Adventures, on the recommendation of a friend. And it turns out that the word “Adventure” in the company’s name is no joke.
The 90-minute boat ride to Klein Curaçao was among the roughest I’ve ever endured. Over and over again, we slammed headlong into huge waves, sending the bow of the ship meters into the air, and then crashing back down onto the water. Within minutes, everyone on-board was soaked to the bone, and many weren’t able to tolerate it. If you suffer from seasickness, or even suspect that you might, this might not be the right excursion for you. Seriously. There were a lot of people racing to the railings to empty their stomachs, and not all of them made it in time.
Everyone on the ship was overjoyed when we finally reached our destination. Immediately, Jürgen and I set out to explore, wanting to get away from the ship as swiftly as possible. Klein Curaçao is less than one square mile in size, so walking to the opposite shore required just a few minutes. On the way, we passed by an old lighthouse. Since the island is so small, its lighthouse was placed right in the middle, visible to ships on either side. We climbed up inside the tower, and although the top floor was locked off, were able to enjoy some nice views.
We continued east until arriving at the shipwreck of the Maria Bianca Guidesman oil tanker, which is totally rusted and slowly breaking apart under the pressure of the waves. This tanker ran ashore in the 1960s, and about half of its hull is still standing, with the wreckage of the other half strewn across the shore. We saw another, more modern wreck a few meters up the coast. There are apparently a few other boats which underestimated Klein Curaçao, but we didn’t take the time to search these out, as we were eager to return to the beach and get into the water.
The snorkeling is supposed to be great on Klein Curaçao, but maybe we didn’t find the best spot. We didn’t see much living coral or interesting sea life, and I was just about to label it “disappointing,” until we started spotting turtles. Klein Curaçao is mostly undisturbed by humanity and our destructive tendencies, and has long been an important breeding zone for sea turtles.
We never found much coral, but there was a short period during which we saw tons of fish. After our buffet lunch on the ship, the captain and his crew tossed the remaining food into the ocean. What ensued was a massive feeding frenzy underneath the ship. We jumped into the water with masks, and had front row seats for the crazy free-for-all.
Once we had finished swimming, eaten lunch, and cooked our bodies in the sun, it was time to head back to Curaçao. Given the rough outward journey, I was worried, but the return was a totally different experience. This time, we were moving in the direction of the waves. The captain even turned off the motor and foisted the sails, and we cruised back in style, stretched out on the catamaran’s tarp, with glasses of white wine in our hands.
Klein Curaçao is hard to recommend as an excursion for everyone. I’m not exaggerating the hellishness of the morning’s boat ride; it really is hard-core and the crew confirmed that this is always the case. After vomiting, the guy next to us had said, “Why am I on a boat to go to a beach, when I already flew to an island with so many beaches?” And it was hard to disagree with this logic. The beach at Klein Curaçao is great, but Curaçao has a lot of others which are even better. Although we had fun, and I’m glad we did it once, I’m not sure we’d want to repeat this particular adventure.