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Curaçao

Best Curaçao Beaches Near the Cruise Port

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. 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 any of them. 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.


    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.

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

    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.

    One tour operator offers a four-hour shore excursion to Playa Porto Mari, which is about a 40 minute drive from the cruise port. The cost was $150 per person.

    Other Beaches

    Seaquarium Beach Map

    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.

    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.
    October 21, 2021

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