Cruise and Beach Destinations
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Best Curacao Beaches for Cruise Visitors

Curacao photo
Curaçao beaches are popular for diving and snorkeling;
© Curaçao Tourist Board
Curaçao beaches near the cruise port are few in number compared to other Caribbean destinations. They are an attractive part of the island, but they aren't the main reason why people go there.

Antigua claims 365 beaches or one for every day of the year. Curacao has 17 of them, which may be why most of them require a fee for access unless you are staying at a resort.

In fact, a group of four people came into the lobby of the hotel where we were staying.

They told the front desk clerk that they were members of the hotel chain's elite club, they were on the island because of a cruise stop, and they wanted to use the beach.

The clerk said it would cost them $25 apiece to use the hotel's beach. So much for the elite club.

Most of the beaches are concentrated on the southeast coast of the island, which is the location of Willemstad and most of the major hotels.

Note that it is illegal to sunbathe topless on Curaçao beaches, but some visitors do it anyway.

Beaches Near Cruise Docks

Blue Bay beach
Blue Bay beach. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Unfortunately, we could not find a beach within walking distance of the cruise terminal, unlike a place such as Philipsburg.

Cruise shore excursions tend to take guest to Cabana, Mambo, Blue Bay and Jan Thiel beaches. Most often, the excursions include other activities such as sightseeing to get to the beaches.

Cabana and Mambo are about four miles away. Blue Bay is six miles from the terminal and Jan Thiel is seven miles.

So cruise visitors will either have to take a taxi, rental car or excursion bus to get to any of them.

Cabana and Mambo Beaches are within walking distance of the Curaçao Sea Aquarium. Together they make up what is called Seaquarium Beach. It has shops, bars and watersports and is popular with families and young couples.

Blue Bay Beach near the village of Sint Michiel is a shady beach with soft sand. It has quite a few facilities but charges for access.

The Curaçao Tourist Board recommends Jan Thiel Beach for snorkeling and diving.

Other Beaches

Kenepa has two beautiful coves that are among the island's most popular beaches. Pergolas are available for shade. The beaches have only a few small snack bars. There is no entrance fee.

Klein Curacao has the longest and whitest beach. It is located on Klein Curacao, an uninhabited island eight miles off the Curacao coast. It is a popular spot for boat charters and dive or snorkeling excursions.

Cas Abao is a white sand beach will full facilities. It is good for swimming and has restaurants, shops, restrooms and other facilities. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Daaibooi Baai is a small bay also located close to Willemstad. It has shading, a snack bar and is good for snorkeling.

Beaches for Snorkeling and Diving

Curacao is known for snorkeling and diving. Beach access is common, but these beaches usually have coarse sand and are mainly used just for access.

Kokomo Beach is one of them. Its location near Willemstad makes it a good option for cruise visitors.

Caracasbaai also has coarse sand and is popular because it is part of the island's underwater park. It has several small restaurants and free admission.

Playa Kalki is a small cove with a diving platform. Facilities include a snack bar, dive shop and a nearby restaurant.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020
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