Just off the coast of the Caracasbaai Peninsula, a small tugboat rests in its watery grave, slowly becoming a part of the sea’s coral landscape. This is one of Curaçao’s most popular snorkeling sites, and for good reason; with the sunlight illuminating its shape and schools of fish darting through its windows and doors, the tugboat is an enchanting discovery.
After visiting Boka Sami and the dilapidated Fort St. Michiel, we found a trail which leads up the hill and along the cliffs to Vaersenbaai, which is home to Kokomo Beach. A short, mildly strenuous walk through the woods, followed by incredible views from high above the Caribbean, and then cooling off in clear blue waters? Sigh, if only all our hikes were like this!
If you’re looking for solitude, lace up your hiking boots and tromp through the woods to Santu Pretu, a small beach of black sand accessible from Santa Cruz. Here, you’ll find untouched nature, strange sand, and excellent snorkeling, but you probably won’t find any other people.
A couple kilometers south of Grote Knip, you’ll find its little brother, Kleine Knip. Grote Knip was the first beach we visited in Curaçao, and had already secured a place in our hearts. Would Kleine Knip be able to compete? In a word: yes.
Curaçao is a paradise for scuba divers. The coral reefs are in good condition, the visibility is usually excellent, the water is warm, and most of the best diving sites are ones to which you can swim from shore. We couldn’t wait to begin exploring Curaçao’s underwater world, and were invited to check it out with the two-man team of Scubacao.
After scratching wounds into our arms and legs during a prickly hike that started at the parking lot of Playa Porto Mari, we returned eagerly to the beach. Soft white sand, cool blue water, and incredible reefs for snorkeling… if this were always the reward, I would go hiking every day.
Once you drive past Sint Willibrodrus, you’ll arrive at Daaibooi Beach. Although it’s privately-owned, Daaibooi has remained free to the public, and boasts a natural, uncommercial vibe. The moment we sat down on the sand, we realized that we had fallen in love with yet another beach on Curaçao.
Curaçao is split roughly into two sections: Banda Ariba is the lower, southeastern side of the island, where Willemstad is. And Banda Abou is the more remote, northwestern end. Most of the people live in Banda Ariba, but Curaçao’s most popular natural beaches are found in Banda Abou. One of these is Playa Kalki.
We pulled our car into the parking lot and, for a few stunned seconds, sat in silence. We had found the perfect beach. The one which your optimistic mind envisions whenever you set off for the ocean. But Grote Knip was the very first beach we were visiting in Curaçao! Was it just luck we had already found the best one? Or… we allowed ourselves to hope… would all the island’s beaches be this spectacular?