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A Birthday Celebration at Playa Forti

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This year, we celebrated Jürgen’s birthday at Playa Forti. I wouldn’t be so crass as to reveal how old he was turning, but please let me reiterate that this birthday celebration was at Playa Forti. It was a wonderful spot to spend the morning, swim, snorkel… and to mourn the loss of fleeting youth.

Playa Forti

Almost immediately, Playa Forti worked its way into the top echelon of our favorite beaches on Curaçao. It has everything: beautiful rocky surroundings, glorious solitude, calm water, soft sand and excellent snorkeling. While in the water, we saw sea turtles, puffer fish and huge schools hiding in rocks along the shore. Forti is right next to Playa Piskado, and the snorkeling is similar. You can easily swim between the two.

But even more than the swimming, we loved the beach itself. You park at the top of a cliff which overlooks the scene, and then walk down a set of stairs to the sand. The beach is large and continues past an outcrop of the cliff which meets the water. We set up our towels on the other side of this rocky formation… there was a single palapa, which we claimed, and no other people. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

I don’t think we’re ever going to make a final decision as to our favorite beach on Curaçao, but Playa Forti would definitely be in the running. It doesn’t seem to be as popular as the Knip beaches, or nearby Playa Kalki; I’m not sure why. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, uncrowded day at the beach, definitely check out Playa Forti. Even if it’s not your birthday.

Location on our Map

Buy Your Underwater Camera Online

Playa Forti
Playa Forti
Playa Forti
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February 14, 2016 at 7:22 pm Comments (3)

The Sea Turtles of Playa Piskado

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Playa Piskado’s name translates to “Fisherman’s Beach,” which is an apt description. Locals keep their tiny boats anchored just off-shore, here, and bring their daily catch to the small dock. But it’s not just fishermen that you’re likely to see at Playa Piskado; this is also a favorite haunt for Curaçao’s sea turtles.

Playa Piscado

I had been excited to see Playa Piskado’s turtles, and on arriving to the beach, ran straight into the water without bothering to ask Jürgen if he wanted to join me. I swam around for twenty minutes, but returned to our towels in failure. “No turtles here,” I huffed. “Stupid waste of time.”

Jürgen decided to give it a shot, anyway. Naturally, he came back with news that he had seen five turtles, and was just so delighted with himself. “Lying jerk.” It was a stupid accusation, of course, because Jürgen takes pictures of everything and had plenty of proof on his camera. And while showing me the snapshots, his stupid grin just got bigger and bigger.

I stomped back into the water, and this time I did see some turtles. I have no idea how I missed them the first time; it must have been bad luck, because they’re big and not at all skittish around humans. They won’t swim away from you and there’s no way you can overlook them. I floated for awhile above one turtle, watching him glide peacefully around, and felt my anger swiftly evaporating. Turtle-watching is a great sedative.

Playa Piscado

As I was coming out of the water, I saw that Jürgen had joined a crowd on the pier. A fisherman had just returned with a large tuna, and was showing it off. A group of guys took it from the boat, laid it on a small concrete table and began to cut it up, selling the fillets directly to the people who had gathered.

We loved Playa Piskado, as much for the turtles as for the exposure to local island life. There are a few palapas for shade, and the sand is nice to lay on. There aren’t a lot of services here, no lounge chairs or snack bars, but it’s an entertaining place to spend a few hours.

Location on our Map

Selection Of Different Snorkel Sets

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January 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm Comments (0)

Turtle Spotting at Ascencion

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After parking our car at Landhuis Ascencion, we embarked on a hike which would bring us through some wildly diverse nature, including forests, cactus fields, and towering granite outcrops. But the highlight came at Boka Ascencion, where we stood atop a small cliff and watched turtles swimming in the sea below us.

Curacao Ascencion Turtle Hike

Our five-kilometer trail got started to the north of the Landhuis, taking us into a dense field of cacti. As we approached the island’s east coast, the prickly plants began to thin out, replaced by curious plants which look like bushes crawling along the ground. These are trees which have adapted to Curaçao’s blustery climate by growing almost horizontally, in the direction of the heavy trade winds.

Curacao Ascencion Turtle Hike

Up to this point, the hike had been alright; easy, but unspectacular. But from here on out, we encountered one highlight after the other. The first was Boka Ascencion, which is known as a place to spot sea turtles. We only needed a couple minutes before seeing the first come to the surface and dive back down. Churning and with a powerful undertow, this isn’t water you could swim in, but the turtles had no problem with it.

We walked along the boka until reaching the coast, where we watched the waves for about 45 seconds. We would have stayed longer, but had severely misjudged the power and reach of the waves, and were taken off-guard by a massive splash that soaked us completely. Jürgen was able to shield his camera from the worst of it, but we were otherwise drenched.

Curacao Ascencion Turtle Hike

Our hike now turned to the hills, and we picked our way between a set of enormous rocks. This was an exciting and unexpectedly beautiful part of the trail, and it deposited us at the mouth of Boka Ascencion. After passing by the inlet, we continued south into a forest of tall trees. With the sunlight filtering through the branches, it was lovely. Considering the landscapes we had been negotiating just minutes before, shrubby then watery then mountainous, simply being in this forest was surreal.

We arrived back at the Landhuis Ascension about two hours after we had departed, and found a local arts festival underway. There was a band playing, and people were dressed nicely, so we figured we should take our smelly, sweaty bodies elsewhere. But then we saw the beer being served and decided to stay, after all.

If you want to see the turtles, but not embark on a hike, an easier option is to go straight to Playa Charomba, on the southern side of Boka Ascencion. There’s a parking lot directly off the main road, just before the Landhuis, and the beach only takes a few minutes to reach.

Locations on our Map: Landhuis Ascension | Playa Charomba
Our Route on Wikiloc

Buy Your Hiking Gear Before Arriving In Curacao

Curacao Ascencion Turtle Hike
Curacao Ascencion Turtle Hike
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January 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm Comments (0)
A Birthday Celebration at Playa Forti This year, we celebrated Jürgen's birthday at Playa Forti. I wouldn't be so crass as to reveal how old he was turning, but please let me reiterate that this birthday celebration was at Playa Forti. It was a wonderful spot to spend the morning, swim, snorkel... and to mourn the loss of fleeting youth.
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