Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Curaçao Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Grote Knip beach
Grote Knip Beach is one of the best beaches on Curaçao, but it is 50 minutes northwest of the cruise port. Credit: Depositphotos

Curaçao beaches near the cruise port are few in number compared to other Caribbean destinations. But four are popular with visitors.

Antigua claims 365 beaches or one for every day of the year. Curaçao has 17 of them, but quality matters more than quantity. Unfortunately, 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 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 on the southeast coast of the island, which is the location of Willemstad and most of the major hotels. Even though Willemstad is the cruise port, it doesn’t mean the beaches are near it.

Curaçao Beaches Near Cruise Port

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.

So cruise visitors will either have to take a taxi, rental car or excursion bus to get to the nearest ones: Cabana, Mambo, Blue Bay and Jan Thiel. Most shore excursions that include beaches also go to other sightseeing attractions and therefore cost more money.

Taxi rates are mostly flat fees, according to the Curaçao Tourism Authority. One source quoted $20 for a group of four people from the cruise port to Mambo Beach, which is fairly expensive for a Caribbean island and such a short distance.

So cruise visitors have two choices:

  1. For the maximum amount of beach time, take a taxi or rent a car.
  2. For the best value for the money, take a shore excursion that includes a beach plus other attractions.

Beach Shore Excursions

Cruise shore excursions tend to take guests to Cabana, Mambo, Blue Bay and Jan Thiel beaches. Cabana and Mambo are about four miles from the cruise port. Blue Bay is six miles away and Jan Thiel is seven miles.

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.

The following links go to a major national excursion company that provides more details on each package.

One excursion operator offered a five-hour package tour of the flamingo park, Hato Caves and Mambo Beach for $67 per person.

Another operator has a half-day package that combines Grote Knip Beach and swimming with sea turtles with prices starting at $95.

A seven-hour package that combines Hato Caves, Jan Thiel, Porto Mari Beach and swimming with sea turtles with prices starting at $75.

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 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 close to Willemstad. It has shading, a snack bar and is good for snorkeling.

Beaches for Snorkeling and Diving

Curacao photo
Curaçao beaches are popular for diving and snorkeling. © Curaçao Tourist Board

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.

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

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
December 12, 2023

Best Times to Visit Curaçao

Curacao landscape
The best times to visit Curaçao are almost any month of the year -- except for the final three.

Curaçao Cruise Port Guide

The Curaçao cruise port offers something special with shopping and dining at Handelskade.

13 Top Curaçao Attractions

Curacao Sea Aquarium
Curaçao attractions range from the beautiful Willemstad to aquariums, parks and caves.

Best Curaçao Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Historic Willemstad Tour: Great Views, Dining and Shopping

Curaçao Monthly Weather Averages: Rain, Temperatures

Curaçao Travel Tips, Hotels, Attractions, Weather

Curaçao Ostrich Farm Excursion