Curaçao is internationally well-known for its clear blue sea. The tourist, who wants to enjoy this, has at his disposal an extensive choice of no fewer than 50 beaches and bays. So there will definitely be a beach that seems tailor-made specifically for each visitor.
A number of beaches like Kontiki Beach, Mambo Beach and Sea Aquarium Beach have exquisite possibilities for swimming, eating and of course shopping. These beaches with their magnificent ambiance are found on one single strip at the southern part of the island. Because of their alluring charm, many tourists have found their way to these Caribbean pearls.
Jan Thiel, also located down south, offers great facilities as well. A few years ago this beach was transformed in a real Oriental gem with cement quays near the large open bay. Just a little further into the deep blue sea many types of fishes can be admired, which makes Jan Thiel a paradise for snorkelers. A small entrance fee is levied for these beaches, in order to maintain the facilities in great shape.
Other beaches with extensive facilities can be found in different hotels like Avila Beach. Avila Beach is a beautiful quiet, superbly comfortable beach. The great thing about this beach is that it’s just two minutes out of town which is ideal for cruise ship tourists who are just visiting Curacao for a few hours. The fact that all of a sudden you may stumble upon royal Dutch highness won’t hurt either; it is a public secret that the hotel near the Avila Beach is the local pied-à-terre of the Dutch Royal family.
The ones who would rather take pleasure in hanging around the locals to make new exotic friends, or simply want to experience the unique feeling of being on a private beach, need to travel a little more up north.
The ride to this part of Curaçao in itself is marvelous. As you drive up north, you gradually leave the inhabited world and merge right into the impressive wilderness typified by green and rocky hills. In between that exciting nature you will find jewelry beaches, each with its own distinctive charm.
Curaçao has a variety of intimate bays, the romantic and rocky ones with the clear, blue-green water the island is best known for. The confiding high rocky hills surrounding the beaches makes you feel very well sheltered.
One beach that certainly resembles these characteristics is Playa Kenepa. This is right on top of the island’s list of most popular beaches. Playa Kenepa has nice soft white sand and is partly shaded by manchineel trees, which forms a perfect cover for the many locals who put up camp in the untouched nature next to the beach during weekends and holidays.
Another beach where local people love to spend their days is Boca Sta. Cruz.
This beach looks quite different from the other ones. It has an exceptionally wide sandy strip with towering palm trees here and there. The dense inland lagoons are well suited to observe birds. At Sta. Cruz you can also meet Captain Goodlife who will gladly show you around the area in his water taxi.
Playa Kenepa and Sta. Cruz are just a few of the many public bays located all along the sheltered south. They may have a limited number of facilities, yet they are always open, are easy to find and levy no entrance free. This just proves that the best things in life are truly free, because irreplaceable is the genuine feeling of peace that overcomes you, after observing humble fishermen bringing in their catch of the day in the late afternoon, after spending a whole day on the sea, working to provide for their family.
At the more remote beaches, like Playa Jeremy and Santu Pretu, the nature is intact, which means that no facilities are available. Depending on the vegetation, little shade can be found. But one thing is certain: you will be pleasantly surprised with a quiet crystal-clear water beach and magnificent landscapes. The best way to discover these beaches is to drive along the coast, using a map to pick the name of the smaller beaches you want to visit. However, you will be dependent on your adventure streak to go on a discovery journey, since most of these beaches are accessible only through bumpy dirt roads, with few or no signs at all showing the way.
Interesting is the background of the Curaçao beaches. History plays an important part role in their formation to what these are today. The history of the Curaçao Sea, beaches and bays can be traced all the way back to the ice age. The development of the Curaçao beaches with white sand began 30,000 years ago. Parts of the coral reefs was sanded by the mechanism of the rough sea, only to be thrown back on the coast, where it lays up till now, forming this splendid shore covering we all have come to adore.
But also the more recent history is well reflected in some beaches, beautifully linking an adventurous past to the present, thereby testifying that in a recent past, beaches were never used for leisure purposes. On the contrary, their use was for quite serious matters. Around 1824 many of these areas were used as ports, around which fortifications were built for protection against assaults by foreign adversaries. Until today, some of these fortifications can be seen, a few still in their original state, whereas of others only bits and pieces of a heroic past remains. These remainders of 17th century fortifications can be seen at Daaibooi and Playa Forti.
Daaibooi is a wide sandy beach, highly appreciated by both locals and tourists. On one side of the beach there are rocks and small fishing boats and on the other side you may find beach visitors barbecuing or relaxing under the new palm leaf covered huts. This certainly is a fun beach that can get very crowded in the weekends.
Playa Forti, unlike most beaches on Curacao, has brown sand mixed with small and medium size smooth pebbles instead of white sand. The only spot where a little shade can be found is close to the huge rock at the right side of the beach. From the beach there is a beautiful view on small fishing boats.
Must-see Boka Tabla
For visitors who like to experience the roughness of the sea at close range, Boka Tabla is a must-see. This electrifying site is located up north, and is known for its huge waves thundering into an underground cavern. Boka Tabla is part of the area of what is popularly called Shete Boka (Seven Inlets). The sea at these Bocas is powerfully wild and for us, the merely humans, just next to impossible to swim in. Which makes it even more fascinating to see how turtles come ashore at this very spot to lay their eggs. This is why Shete Boka has become a protected breeding area.
In conclusion it is safe to say that the dynamic mechanism of nature, intervention of man and history has greatly contributed to the development of the sea, bays and beaches on Curaçao, providing for many distinctive experiences for visitors with all types of interests. Multifaceted as they are, the Curaçao water and shores offer great diversity: something unquestionably unique in the Caribbean area.