I didn’t go to Curacao for the beaches: although I knew it was in the Caribbean and that the island has miraculously good weather year-round, I was more enamored with the Insta-dream of colorful buildings. But as soon as I arrived, I was blown away: the water was crystal clear, and it was such a stunning shade of turquoise that I could hardly believe it was real. And while I generally shy away from swimming in the ocean because of big wave breaks, all of these beaches seemed to be gentle lagoons protected by a shore break. The sand was sandy, and the water was refreshing without being freezing.
In short: the beaches are perfect. And the good news is there’s plenty to go around for all locations and budgets: private and public, expensive and free, east side and west side. Here’s a round-up of the beaches I visited, and I can honestly recommend each and every one.
Without a doubt: my favorite place in all of Curacao. I can’t even explain how perfect this water is: we arrived in late afternoon (aka after peak sunshine and turquoise time), and it was even more brilliantly colored in person. And the clarity is just phenomenal–I feel like you could practically snorkel without a mask! It’s basically on the other side of the county from Willemstad and the more developed southeastern lagoons–so it’s much, much less crowded than many other beaches. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Willemstad, and there are public buses (with Wifi) available. I think it’d be super fun to rent a car and head to Kleine Knip, and stop at tiny beaches and coves along the coast–a day of beach hopping!
Located on the northwest coast, Cas Abao is in a fairly remote part of the country–and it would be a must-see stop on a beach-hopping day of the western beaches (it’s about 30 minutes from Kleine Knip). It’s about a 45-minute direct drive from Willemstad and there’s a bumpy, curvy, dirt road that leads to the parking lot. It costs about $5 a car to enter (for up to four people), and chaise lounges are about $2.50 to rent for the day. There’s a restaurant, bar, lockers, toilets and even a masseuse! It’s a really great affordable option that still gives you some options to upgrade your experience. And holy moly, the water!
Lions Dive & Beach Resort
I stayed at Lions Dive & Beach Resort, and the beach was one of my favorite parts about it. The hotel is located right on a lagoon: my balcony looked out over the ocean, and I walked out the door and down the stairs and onto the sand. The grounds are scattered with chaise lounges, swaying palm trees, friendly iguanas. Hemingway’s, the resort restaurant, is right on the water–so you can drink coffee or sip mojitos while listening to the gently lapping ways.
Even if you’re not staying at Lions Dive, you can basically hang out at the same beach by visiting BLVD: Curacao Beach Boulevard is located right next to the resort. You can rent a chaise lounge, and go swimming in the ocean or the Mambo Beach pool. One of the nice bonuses is the wide array of food and drink options at Bvld–and a drug store, so you can easily pick up sunscreen or a bottle of water if you need one! I splurged on a massage ($70 for an hour of deep tissue), and it was SO fantastic: nothing beats being able to listen to the sound of waves as you relax!
Baoase Luxury Resort
And if you have something to celebrate: go to Baoase. It’s a five-star resort not too far from Lions Dive and BVLD, but as soon as you enter, it feels like you’re in a different world. It’s so luxurious! For $50 entry, you get a chaise lounge, beach towel, ice water all day, a fruit snack in the morning (I had this coconut mango deliciousness that was SO good) and a beach bite in the afternoon, and free use of kayaks and snorkel gear–just be sure to reserve in advance. The little lagoon itself is just gorgeous, and because the numbers are kept down, you almost always feel like you have the whole place to yourself. The perfect place to enjoy a birthday or anniversary, even if you don’t want to totally splurge on accommodation!
Have you been to Curacao? What was your favorite beach? If not, which beach would you most like to visit?