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Intrepid Explorers Discover Playa Hunku

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We carefully made our way along an overgrown path, which, according to my calculations, had last been used by the Arwak Indians sometime in the late 1400s. Our mission was to find the legendary Playa Hunku, a place rumored about in whispered conversations across the island, but which no living man or woman had yet laid eyes upon. Our expedition was fraught with danger (cacti! mosquitoes!) but after a wearying trek of twenty entire minutes, we saw it: the fabled beach of Playa Hunku. And it was ours… all ours!!

Playa Hunky Curacao

The best part about this story is, I’m only exaggerating a little bit. Playa Hunku really is a hidden gem on Curaçao. Despite being so close to the popular resort of Playa Porto Mari, relatively few people know about it. We’ve even met locals who weren’t aware of its existence.

I hasten to point out that Playa Hunku is on private land. The road which leads there is closed, with signs indicating that trespassing is forbidden, and this might explain why the beach is almost always empty. But we checked with a few quasi-legitimate sources, all of whom assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem to walk over to the beach via the short path from Porto Mari. The owners don’t really care if the occasional tourist finds their way here, but they don’t want to open the road and have it become popular on a larger scale.

The path to Playa Hunku begins at the back of Porto Mari’s parking lot, with a brisk ascent up the Seru Mateo. From the top of this hill, you can look back for a nice view over the Playa Porto Mari… and it looks so beautiful, you’ll be tempted to run back down the hill and jump into the water. But press on, audacious adventurer! After a short hike of about twenty minutes, you’ll reach the other side of the hill, and be rewarded with your first glimpse of Playa Hunku. Note that the descent to the beach is steep and requires some caution.

The beach is a dream; a beautiful patch of sand, larger than we expected, with excellent snorkeling. While I was out by myself, a massive fish swam next to me, easily six feet long. I only spotted it from the corner of my eye, and wasn’t able to identify it before it swam swiftly away. In moments like this, logic flies out the window… I know there are no shark attacks on Curaçao. I know that. But I also know there’s always a first time. So I went into panic mode, swimming as swiftly as possible to shore. Later, Jürgen dared to go in after me, and got a better look at the same fish… it was a tuna.

We had an incredible time at Playa Hunku, and are loathe to write about it, since the magic of the place lies in its mystery and seclusion. But you’re reading this, which means you’re cool, so we’re letting you in on the tip. If you do go, please keep in mind that you’re a guest on private land. Don’t show up with a huge party, and (although it hardly needs said) make sure to clean up after yourself.

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February 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm Comments (2)

Laid-Back Daaibooi Beach

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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.

Daaibooi Beach Curacao

One end of Daaibooi is still reserved for the fishermen of Sint Willibrodrus; it’s nice to see that not everything on Curaçao has been given over to tourism. We stationed ourselves under a Manchineel tree, and wondered about the all the warning signs. Later, we would do some research. Manchineel trees produce fruits which look like tiny apples, but are poisonous enough to kill. And the tree’s sap is poisonous, as well. In case of rain, it’s better to seek alternative shelter; water dripping from this tree can cause blisters.

We spent a couple hours relaxing and snorkeling on Daaibooi; the visibility in the water was fantastic, and the coral was in great condition. We went around the point of southern cliff, where the underwater world really came to life. Giant elkhorn coral, angel fish, parrot fish, brain coral, trumpet fish, and hundreds of other things I didn’t yet know the names of.

There’s also a small restaurant on Daaibooi Beach, which is well-known for its french fries. They’re good, the beer is good, the beach is good, the snorkeling’s good. In fact, I can’t think of anything to complain about. Except perhaps for those death trees.

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Daaibooi Beach Curacao
Daaibooi Beach Curacao
Daaibooi Beach Curacao
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December 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm Comments (0)

Playa Kalki

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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.

Kalki Beach

After having visited the hostile, lava-stone landscape of Watamula, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at nearby Playa Kalki, which proved to be decidedly more comfortable terrain.

A set of steps leads down from the parking lot to the beach. Kalki is famed as one of Curaçao’s best diving sites, with otherworldly coral formations that have led it to be called “Alice in Wonderland.” The beach is smaller than nearby Grote Knip and more developed, due largely to the presence of the Kula Hulanda Resort on the cliffs above.

The first time we went snorkeling at Playa Kalki, we left disappointed, having seen nothing particularly stunning. But we simply swam in the wrong direction. On our second trip to Kalki, we went to the right, underneath the rope and alongside the cliffs, and found an unforgettable underwater seascape. Hundreds of fish and huge coral formations which might have been born in Lewis Carrol’s imagination — now we understood why it’s called Alice in Wonderland!

After swimming, you might want to stay on Playa Kalki all day long… although that will depend upon the people around you. This beach is small, and can get very crowded, thanks to the adjacent lodge. Our first time there, a group of American girls stationed themselves next to us, and started blasting Adele out of their portable speaker. “I literally love this song to death. Oh my god, those two guys are totally staring at us. They think we’re, like, so hot.” No, girls, we don’t think you’re hot. This is a look of annoyance. We want to strangle you, and not in a sexy way.

But we shouldn’t knock Playa Kalki for the presence of obnoxious tourists; that can happen anywhere. Overall, the beach is lovely, and the snorkeling is some of the best on the island. There are plenty of chairs and shade, a dive shop. There’s also a restaurant, although we recommend packing your own lunch, as both the food and the service are substandard.

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Kalki Beach
Kalki Beach
Kalki Beach
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December 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm Comments (3)
Intrepid Explorers Discover Playa Hunku We carefully made our way along an overgrown path, which, according to my calculations, had last been used by the Arwak Indians sometime in the late 1400s. Our mission was to find the legendary Playa Hunku, a place rumored about in whispered conversations across the island, but which no living man or woman had yet laid eyes upon. Our expedition was fraught with danger (cacti! mosquitoes!) but after a wearying trek of twenty entire minutes, we saw it: the fabled beach of Playa Hunku. And it was ours... all ours!!
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