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The Black Sand Beach of Santu Pretu

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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.

Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach

Santu Pretu is halfway along the path that connects Santa Cruz to the jump-off point for Curaçao’s famous Blue Room: an easily-accessible cave in the cliffs which sparkles beautifully with the Caribbean’s crystal blue color. But we’d be saving the Blue Room for another trip, because today we were content to stay on Santu Pretu.

This is a fairly remote spot; there are no services at all, and although there is a path which 4x4s could probably negotiate, the main way to arrive at Santu Pretu is on foot. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from the parking lot of Santa Cruz. The sand at Santu Pretu is coarse and dark; not the soft, white sand found at other, more conventional beaches, and lends the beach a different atmosphere.

The lonely, peaceful vibe of Santu Pretu is great, but the best reason to seek it out is the snorkeling. Just off shore, there’s a fantastic reef with tons of things to see. For us, the highlight was a large coral tower, whose short orange fuzz moved with the waves in a mesmerizing way.

Besides hearing it referred to as the “black sand beach”, we didn’t know anything about Santu Pretu, so our time here was a real surprise. I would say that it was among favorite spots on Curaçao… but we have bestowed that exact same honor upon so many other places, that it’s lost its significance. Curaçao is blessed with a lot areas of extreme natural beauty, and Santu Pretu is yet another one.

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Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
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January 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm Comments (0)

Playa Porto Mari

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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.

Playa Porto Mari is a large beach near Sint Willibrodrus, with all the conveniences you might want or expect, including a dive shop, a bar/restaurant, lockers, showers and bathrooms. We usually prefer beaches that are less developed, such as nearby Daaibooi Beach, but after the hike we had just endured, we didn’t mind the convenient comforts at all.

The beach is of fine white sand, and overlooks a gorgeous natural bay. The Dutch had protected the Portmaribaai with a fort atop Seru Kabayé, a hill south of the bay, but it was captured and destroyed by the English during their 1805 invasion of Curaçao. I’m not sure if there are remains of the fort, but we weren’t about to climb the hill and check. Not today, anyway.

The Plantation Porto Mari was a big one, dedicated to livestock and produce, and it had over 200 slaves before the 1863 emancipation. Today, most of the former plantation grounds have been returned to nature.

Porto Mari prides itself on its natural double reef, and the snorkeling here is fantastic. We spent nearly an hour kicking around, spotting hundreds of fish. The reef was damaged by a hurricane in 1999, but they’ve placed artificial “reef balls” on the ocean floor to encourage regrowth. The people in charge here seem to take nature seriously, as well they should. The restaurant might be great, and the lounge chairs comfortable, but visitors come to Playa Porto Mari primarily for the unspoiled nature.

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Affordable Snorkel Gear

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December 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm Comment (1)
The Black Sand Beach of Santu Pretu 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.
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