Compared to the other islands in the Caribbean, the beaches on Curacao are much less well known. The entire island of Curacao is not known for its beaches, but rather for the great snorkeling and scuba diving among other things. If you are looking for a mile-long powdery white sand beach, you won’t find that on this island. The majority of the beaches on Curacao have rough, coral sand and very small beaches. Not to say that you can’t still have a great day at the beach on this island. I have had the pleasure of spending the past 3 months living on Curacao and exploring all of it. In this Curacao Best Beach Guide, I’ll be going over my top picks and why. So let’s get into it.
12 Best Beaches on Curacao
Most of the beaches on Curacao are small with rough sand. One of the main things that draw people to the beaches on Curacao is snorkeling. This island is super unique in that you can see lots of gorgeous coral reefs and fish just by a quick swim from the beach. On many other islands, you would have to take a boat out to the coral reefs. But here in Curacao, even the least advanced swimmers can see the beautiful ocean life.
I have only been to a handful of Caribbean islands but the sea life on Curacao is the best I’ve seen. There are lots of turtles, fish, eels, and so much beautiful vibrant coral. Coral reefs all over the world are slowly disappearing, but there is still plenty to see on this island. So always be sure to bring your snorkel gear to these Curacao best beach options because you never know what there is to see in the waters. So here are my top picks for the best beaches on Curacao.
1. Grote Knip
Without a doubt, my absolute favorite beach on Curacao has to be Grote Knip. This beach has basically everything you could want. Beautiful white sand, beach chairs for rent, gorgeous crystal clear water, and plenty to see when snorkeling. The color of the ocean water here is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. If you happen to come on a clear day, the water is more clear than a swimming pool. I swear I could see for miles underwater. There is really great coral and large schools of fish. You may even see a sea turtle.
The beach itself has to be the Curacao best beach in my opinion. You can rent beach chairs here, but be sure to bring your own food and drinks. I think there are small options but nothing like a full restaurant. Depending on the time of year you visit, this beach can fill up very fast. I suggest coming early in the morning that way you have a good chance of getting a good chair. Along with all the great swimming and snorkeling here, this is also a popular place to cliff jump into the ocean. You can jump in on either side of the beach, and one side even has a rope to climb up the cliff. Just be careful of other swimmers below.
2. Playa Porto Marie
My second favorite beach on Curacao has to be Playa Porto Marie. The lovely beach is famously home to a few wild pigs. They are all too adorable and fun to see. The beach itself is really nice and there is again a lot of ocean life just a few feet from the shoreline. This beach is a bit more equipped, with a full-service restaurant and bar directly on the beach with pretty good food. Don’t expect anything incredible but the food is definitely not bad. There are usually plenty of chairs available for rent and this beach is usually less crowded. The ocean water here is also crystal clear and absolutely beautiful.
3. Playa Kalki
The northernmost beach on this list, Playa Kalki is definitely worth the drive. There is so much to see under the water here. The big reef area is a bit more of a swim out than other beaches on Curacao on this list, but definitely worth it. This beach is typically not too crowded as it seems not many people know about it. There are lots of beach chairs for rent as well as a scuba diving rental place right at the entrance. There is no restaurant, but there is a snack stand that also sells drinks. I personally like to just put my stuff on the rocks at the far end of the beach and then you don’t even have to pay at all. Definitely one of the Curacao Best Beach options.
4. Mambo Beach
If you want to party, then Mambo Beach is the place for you. This is easily the most vibrant and touristy beach on the entire island. There are endless bars, restaurants, beach clubs, and shops. Also if you are looking for a beach night scene, then this is also the area for you. The water itself here is nothing special and there’s not much to be seen as far as ocean life. But this is the place to come and have fun. It’s not personally my style of beach, but I know lots of people love to party here. Some of the beach clubs here even have live DJs from all over the world come and entertain. There is a small shopping complex at the foot of the beach with everything you could ever want from cuisine to shops of all kinds.
5. Tugboat Beach
While Tugboat beach itself is nothing special at all, this beach is all about what’s under the water. Just a few hundred feet from the beach is an old sunken tugboat that is just brimming with life. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many fish before in my life. I only wish I had brought an underwater camera to be able to show you. There are some places on the beach to get some food and drinks as well. This isn’t really the type of beach to spend the whole day on though. It is more of a beach you come to snorkel and then leave. Be sure to check out Fort Beekenburg which is nearby as well!
6. Playa Lagun
The lagoon beach of Playa Lagun is one of the best beaches on Curacao. But be aware that this beach fills up very quickly because of how small it is. There is a residential community just above the lagoon and you can stay here on Airbnb. The views are truly beautiful and the lagoon is lovely. There is even a restaurant that overlooks the entire lagoon that I highly recommend called Bahia Beach Bar. The food isn’t anything special but the view makes it all worth it. If you have the opportunity to come to this lagoon, you definitely should!
7. Playa Santa Cruz
If you are looking to hike to Blue Room Cave, which you should, you’ll start off at Playa Santa Cruz. From this beach, you’ll hike for about 30 minutes to get to the cave. The beach itself is nothing special but there are lots of covered picnic tables if you want to bring your lunch. There is also a place to rent kayaks at the end of the beach if you wanted to kayak to Blue Room Cave. As far as snorkeling here, there really isn’t very much to see.
8. Daaibooi Beach
This is actually a pretty underrated beach in my opinion. Daaibooi Beach is not super flashy and doesn’t particularly have any amazing snorkeling. But it’s just a pretty chill place. There are lots of big thatch huts that you can get some shade under and the sand is some of the softest I’ve seen on the island. This is another beach where it’s best to bring your own food and drinks though. There’s really not that much to say about this beach. It’s definitely not the best beaches on Curacao, but again it is worth a visit.
9. Playa Santa Pretu
If you are looking for extreme seclusion, Playa Santa Pretu is going to be a good choice for you. This beach is one of the only black sand beaches I’ve seen on the island. You won’t find any amenities on this beach and it is somewhat challenging to get to. I only stumbled upon it during my hike to Blue Room Cave. There is hardly ever anybody here. The waves are a little rough and the sand is very rocky but if that’s your thing, then go for it. This would be a great place to bring a picnic if you want some real isolation from the big crowds on the tourist beaches.
10. Jan Thiel
Jan Thiel Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island. There are lots of huge resort hotels here. Aside from Mambo Beach, this is probably the second busiest tourist area on the entire island. The beach itself is quite small and extremely crowded, but you are in one of the main tourist spots. When I visited, the whole area kind of smelled like sewage and I didn’t really enjoy it that much. But if you are the type to want to sit in a beach chair and have lots of drinks and be able to the beach from your hotel, this is probably a beach for you. There are lots of places to get drinks, food, and there are even several volleyball courts on the beach.
11. Cas Abao
If you know anything about Curacao, you’ll probably be surprised that I put Cas Abao so low on this list. When most people think of beaches on Curacao, they think of Cas Abao. But I personally was not the biggest fan of this beach. It is one of the few beaches that you have to pay to go onto, and I just didn’t think it was that worth it. It is a very touristy beach and gets insanely busy when there are cruise ships in port. It’s definitely not a bad beach and sure lots of people will enjoy it. Simply, it’s not my favorite but still worth a visit if you have the time. Just be aware that this is one of the busiest beaches on the entire island.
12. Playa Piskado
If you want to swim with sea turtles, come to Playa Piskado. This beach is well known on the island for having the most sea turtles. It is a working fishermen’s access point. When the fishermen come in with their fish loads from the day, they sell fish right from the dock. They also end up throwing any wish guts into the water which supposedly attracts all the sea turtles. The beach itself is not very nice but you will see some sea turtles.
Be aware though that the water smells absolutely disgusting like fish guts and you will smell like fish guts after you swim here. It can be really cool to swim with the turtles but just be prepared for that. When I came, I only saw a few turtles but I know people who have seen dozens before. I think it’s all about coming at the right time, which I clearly didn’t. It still deserves a spot on this Curacao Best Beach guide though.
Curacao Beach Clubs-Best Beaches on Curacao for a Day at a Beach Club
Along with these beaches on Curacao, the island also has many beach and pool clubs. At these clubs, you can pay to rent a chair or cabana, order food, and drinks, and sometimes enjoy live music. I have only been to a few of these and they are usually pretty nice but can get crowded due to the small sizes of the beaches. It is also very easy to spend a lot of money at the beach clubs so keep that in mind. While I personally prefer to bring a lunch and drinks and stay on the beach for free, it can be nice to treat yourself to a beach club experience.
- Here are some of the best beach clubs on Curacao:
- Cabana Beach Curacao-Located on Mambo Beach, Cabana Beach Club is without a doubt my favorite beach club I visited on the island. They have cabanas for rent that are over the top of the ocean with beautiful views. They also have great food and cocktails. You can even see some ocean life when snorkeling in the ocean here.
- Koraal Rooftop Terrace– Not a beach club but a pool. Koraal Rooftop Terrace is a restaurant at the Coral Estate Resort. Guests of the resort have free access to the pool but visitors can either pay to enter or spend a minimum balance. The pool is lovely and this area is very quiet compared to the busy areas of Jan Thiel and Mambo Beach. This is a great way to spend a day here in Curacao.
- Saint Tropez Ocean Club-The Saint Tropez Ocean Club is attached to a boutique hotel but is open to the public for a fee. Contrary to the name, you don’t actually have access to the ocean but instead to a nice size pool overlooking the ocean. This is a chill place with food and drink service.
- Mood Beach Curacao– Mood Beach is also a beach club that is in the Mambo Beach area. This is mostly a restaurant but they do also rent out chairs and even cabanas over the ocean. The food here is good and the service is very friendly.
Curacao Best Beach Guide Conclusion
So as you can see, there are lots of different beaches on Curacao to choose from. And you can find just about every kind of beach vibe you want. Whether that is a party beach, a secluded beach, a snorkeling beach, or just somewhere to relax. There really is something so naturally calming about the ocean and hearing the waves on the beach. When I first came to this island, I had no idea what to expect. And I can confidently say that I absolutely love Curacao after my time here. Admittedly, the beaches on Curacao are not my favorite in all of the Caribbean such as St. Martin or St. Barths. But there is certainly something very special about this island.
Thank you so very much for checking out my blog. I hope that you found this Curacao Best Beach Guide to be informative and helpful. Let me know in the comments what your favorite beach on the island is after your vacation. If you enjoyed this content, please consider subscribing to my email list to be notified when I post new blog posts. Also, be sure to follow me on social media to stay up to date on all of my travels. Thank you again for coming to my website and have fun on your next trip!