If you’re wondering what the beaches on Curacao are like, they won’t disappoint. A small island tucked away in the southern Caribbean and just 30 miles off the coast of Venezuela, the ‘C’ of the ABC islands may not be the most famous island in the Caribbean for its beaches, but there are still some stunning sandy gems to be found. Find out which the best beach in Curacao is for you in this handy guide!
Curacao island is long and thin, with the eastern coast regularly battered by trade winds and storms, and a jagged, rocky coastline. Instead it’s on the island’s west coast that you’ll find the best beaches in Curacao with sandy shorelines, secret coves, and turquoise waters.
While some of the best Curacao beaches are private and accessible only to paying visitors, the good news is that there are several public beaches Curacao has, which are open to all – which is handy if you’re staying somewhere that’s not on the beach and are looking for the best free beaches in Curacao to visit.
Each of the top beaches in Curacao listed here has something different to offer – whether it’s easy access, beautiful clear water, good snorkeling, or a great range of facilities and places to eat, I’ll help you to work out which beaches in Curacao should definitely be on your shortlist.
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST BEACHES ON CURACAO
When it comes to beaches, Curacao keeps some of its best gems tucked away, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Curacao take a little more travel time to reach them (but are worth the drive).
The Curacao best beaches found below are spread along the west coast of the island, but it’s worth knowing up front that some of the most beautiful spots are in the north, which is furthest away from the cruise terminal and Willemstad. If you do have some extra time to drive up the coast and explore, you won’t regret it – in my opinion the northern beaches on Curacao are the best.
However, if you’re looking for the best beaches in Curacao near cruise port, there are still some decent options. Many of the beaches near cruise port in Curacao are man made and are surrounded by rocks to protect the imported sand and create a more calm swimming area, but they are still beautiful. The more southern beaches are also great if you’re looking for entertainment, beach bars and/or a party scene.
If you’re in search of the best snorkeling beach in Curacao, you’ll have plenty of choice, and you’ll see several of my Curacao island beaches below have good spots for snorkeling – whether it’s the chance to swim with turtles or good reefs off the beach.
Read More: Best Snorkeling in Curacao
CURACAO BEACHES MAP
Click on the map of Curacao beaches below for more details.
10 BEST BEACHES OF CURACAO
My list of best beaches Curacao runs from North to South along the west coast of the island, so if you’re only looking for the best beaches near Willemstad, Curacao, scroll down. I’ve also included my recommendations for where to stay near each beach, too, if you’re looking for the best beach hotels in Curacao.
Read More: Best Places to Stay in Curacao
Playa Kenepa Grandi / Grote Knip
Possibly the best beach in Curacao island, Grote Knip is definitely one of the prettiest, with picture-perfect natural white sand and stunning turquoise waters.
About a 45 minute – 1 hour drive north from Willemstad, Kenepa beach Curacao (the local name for the beach) is a great place to spend a few hours relaxing and swimming in the beautiful water, and is home to some of the best snorkeling in Curacao under the cliffs at either end of the beach.
The beach is one of the most popular public beaches in Curacao among locals, so it can get busy on weekends and public holidays – if you prefer to avoid the crowds, come on a weekday for a quieter experience.
There isn’t much in the way of amenities here, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you. There’s a small snack bar which offers refreshments at better prices than many of the other beaches, however it’s not always open so it’s best to come prepared with a few snacks just in case.
Playa Kenepa Chiki / Klein Knip
Amenities: Sunbeds & Umbrellas for rent
Access: Free parking, Free entry to beach
Where to Stay: Sol Patch at Jeremi
If a small quiet beach is what you’re looking for with clear water and white sand, then Klein Knip is a great option to consider.
Located just south of Grote Knip beach (above), this is a small cove which gets great sunsets and also has good snorkeling just off the beach – it’s another of the most beautiful beaches in Curacao and is perfect for those who aren’t looking for a beach with lots of facilities and entertainment.
To a lesser extent than Grote Knip, this beach is also popular with locals, especially on weekends.
You’ll need to bring what you need for your time here as there are no facilities to speak of – there’s sometimes a food truck, but this may or may not be there during your visit so it’s best to bring plenty of water and snacks. You can usually rent sun loungers and umbrellas for a small fee.
Amenities: Diving School, Sunbeds & Umbrella rental, Restrooms & Showers (Sundays only)
Access: Free parking, Free entry to beach
Where to Stay: Condo overlooking Lagun Beach
Another of the top beaches Curacao has to offer is Playa Lagun – this small little cove is tucked away at the southern end of Lagun town, further south again from the Kenepa beaches.
One of the best beaches in Curacao for swimming and snorkeling, if you’re after some great Curacao beach pictures for Instagram, you’ll love it here. Not only are the waters clear and pristine and the sands white, but there are also often turtles in the cove who are happy to swim along with you as you snorkel (a better experience than Playa Piscado). You may also see iguanas on the beach.
Up the stairs at the top of the beach there’s a nice restaurant with great views out. Facilities on the beach are limited with the shower & WC block open only on Sundays and there’s no snack bar, so as with the other small beaches in this area, it’s best to bring your own snacks and provisions.
Playa Santa Cruz
Amenities: Restaurant, Restrooms, Sunbeds & Umbrellas for rent, Boat trips
Access: Free entry to beach & parking
Where to Stay: Oceanfront Villa near Lagun
If you’re looking for a beach in Curacao with more facilities and things to do, but without being completely built up with resorts and bars then Playa Santa Cruz is well worth a visit. This is one of the best beaches in Curacao for snorkeling too, as you can take a boat trip from here to the Blue Room, which is a beautiful underwater cave – but you’ll need to bring your own snorkel gear as it’s not available for rent here.
Another option is to hike to the Blue Room cave along the top of the cliffs, where a short 10-15 minute hiking trail will take you along the headland to Santu Pretu (black beach) and along to the Blue Room. This way you can see the cave for yourself without taking the boat tour, but you’ll need to jump from the rocks into the water at the Blue Room.
Coming back, you can either climb out of the water and back up the rocks (requires some athletic strength) and hike back, or snorkel your way back along to Santu Pretu beach and do the short hike back to Playa Santa Cruz from there.
Playa Cas Abou
Amenities: Showers, Restrooms, Snack Bar, Sunbeds & Umbrella rental, SUP rental, Massage
Access: Paid entry to beach & parking
Where to Stay: Villa Trupial
Another of the nicest beaches in Curacao is Playa Cas Abou (also called Cas Abao beach – local name).
Located about halfway up the west coast of the island, this is a bit closer to Willemstad than some of the far north hidden beaches Curacao has, but it still has beautiful clear turquoise ocean – perfect for swimming.
Since this is a paid beach (the entrance fee is 10 ANG which includes parking), it’s much less crowded than some of the other free public beaches in Curacao, and there are plenty of facilities too. Sunbed and Umbrella rental is in addition to the entrance fee. There’s a snack bar with decent food, and if you want to explore further you can rent a stand up paddle board, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage on the beach.
Playa Porto Marie
Amenities: Snack bar/restaurant, Showers & Restrooms, Massage, Sunbeds & Umbrella rental
Access: Paid entry to beach
Where to Stay: Coral Estate Luxury Resort or Villa Seashell
When people ask me what are the best beaches in Curacao, another of my favorites I like to recommend is Playa Porto Marie beach.
This wide sweeping beach has beautiful white sand and clear waters, and is a perfect option for swimming and snorkeling. Since the slope down to the waters edge is gentle and sheltered, this beach makes for a great choice if you’re looking for the best beaches in Curacao for families.
Another notable feature of this beach is its swimming pigs! You may have seen the famous pigs in the Bahamas, but Curacao has its very own version, too. Pigs walk and swim along the beach, although they do so on their own schedule so they may not always be here.
The beach has basic facilities including a snack bar / restaurant, showers and restrooms, beach massage, and there’s also a diving school here. There are handy lockers you can rent if you want to go for a longer snorkel. The Seru Mateo hiking trail is located just behind the beach if you feel like some more strenuous activity.
If you’re looking for the best snorkeling beaches in Curacao, then Playa Porto Marie is well known for its double-reef.
Blue Bay Beach, Curacao / Blauw Baai
Amenities: Showers & Restrooms, Restaurant, Bar, Massage, Diving School
Access: Paid day pass for Blue Bay beach, includes parking
Where to Stay: Bayside Boutique Hotel
When looking for the best beaches in Curacao, Blue Bay will often come up top – much loved for its wide arc of beautiful sand and clear water and great selection of facilities, this is one of the most famous Curacao beaches.
Blue Bay beach is located along the central west coast of Curacao and is just 15 minutes drive north west from Willemstad.
A private beach managed by Blue Bay beach resort, there’s an $8 (USD) Blue Bay beach Curacao fee to get in, which includes access to sunbeds and restrooms. There are a choice of restaurants and bars on site as well as a diving school – although if you’re coming for snorkeling, there are better places in Curacao.
The bay is sheltered and calm thanks to the rocky outcrops that have been built to protect it, and there’s a shallow descent to the water’s edge making it another of the best beaches in Curacao for kids.
If you want to stay close to the beach, you could consider staying at the resort here, which is one of the best beach resort Curacao options around.
Amenities: Beach bars, Restaurants, Resorts, Restrooms, Sunbeds & Umbrella rental, Diving School
Access: Free beach access, Free Parking (1-2 block walk)
Where to Stay: Van Der Valk Kontiki Beach Resort
If you’re looking for the best beaches in Willemstad, Curacao then Mambo beach is a popular choice, especially for those looking for the best beach bars in Curacao and plenty of things to do.
Located just south east of the Pietermaai area of Willemstad, Mambo beach is the place to come for a livelier beach scene and great nightlife. You can stay right on the beach at any one of the resorts or hotels here, and you’ll find that many hotels have areas of the beach closed off for private use by their guests.
There is public access to the beach, and free access to restrooms, but one of the best things about Mambo beach is hopping from bar to bar for sundowners.
Like many of southern Curacao’s beaches, Mambo beach is man made, and protected by a rocky wall to provide a sheltered swimming area – you wouldn’t necessarily know it though, and the beach is still attractive.
Jan Thiel Beach
Amenities: Beach bars, Restaurants, Resorts, Showers & Restrooms, Diving School, Sunbeds & Umbrellas
Access: Paid beach access & parking
Where to Stay: Papagayo Beach Resort
Located just south of Mambo beach and also within easy reach from Willemstad is Jan Thiel beach. This is a great beach if you’re in search of beaches in Curacao near the cruise port or in town. There’s plenty of action going on here with lots of different restaurants, bars and resorts, but it’s more family friendly than Mambo beach (above).
Also home to some of the best bars in Curacao and some beautiful beach resorts, there is no free beach access to Jan Thiel, with an entry fee of $8 USD per person. If you’re staying at one of the resorts on the beach here then access to the beach is usually included.
Jan Thiel is perfect for when you want a day of being spoiled at the beach, as you can order food and drinks direct to your sun lounger, take a visit to the spa here, or just enjoy swimming and snorkeling from the beach.
Amenities: Restrooms, Shade
Access: By organized boat tour only- most leave from Caracasbaai/Spanish Water/Jan Thiel area
Where to Stay: Sandals Royal Curacao
Last but not least on my list of top Curacao beaches is Klein Curacao. ‘Little Curacao’ is an island located 1.5 hours away by boat to the south west of Curacao and is a popular beach to visit for a day while you vacation in Curacao.
Access to the island is only available as part of a day tour and it’s not possible to stay overnight on the island. Amenities are basic, with small shelters / beach houses available that belong to tour companies. Food is either provided as part of your tour or you may need to bring your own.
Klein Curacao is home to sweeping white sand beaches and there is good snorkeling to be found here with many turtles here to swim with. There are also some interesting shipwrecks to explore. It’s often recommended as one of the Curacao best beaches for snorkeling (although there are arguably options that are as good in northern Curacao itself).
The island itself is abandoned and there are some ruined churches and other buildings that you can go on a short hike to see.