By: Louise Fayet
Curaçao is a 171 square mile Caribbean island just North of South America. The Dutch Caribbean island is known for its beaches, tasty creole food and colorful houses.
The island was never on my bucket-list, but after traveling to Curaçao to visit family, I dream of taking another trip! Click play below to see why.
To start, the easiest way to get to Curaçao from Anguilla is to fly from Sint Maarten. Airlines like Winair fly direct. The flight is approximately 2 hours.
Once you're there, rent a car. It's the best way to get around the island. Roads in Curaçao are straight forward. With a map app you cannot get lost. If you can't find your way, ask a local! Most of Curaçao's population is bilingual - speaking Papiamentu, Dutch, English, and/or Spanish.
All set? Let's explore Curaçao's best beaches.
Coming from Anguilla, who would have thought that another island's beaches could impress me? ;-)
Curaçao has around of 37 beaches. Some are easy to get to, some are tucked into hidden and private coves, most all are breathtaking.
Let's start with my top 8. Crowned with first place...
Cas Abao Beach
Welcome to Cas Abao, voted one of the "21 best beaches" in the world by National Geographic. Is it hard to see why?
I Fell In Love Upon First Glance
It is no surprise that this beach is normally packed with visitors as it is one of the most popular beaches in Curaçao. The color of water is enchanting, similar to the blues of Shoal Bay East. With the calm sea and clarity, you can almost see every grain of sand.
There is a small beach bar and lounging chairs and palapas for rent in the middle of the beach. The middle of the beach is busier, however if you venture to the far right of the beach sometimes you have it all to yourself.
Look at That Clarity!
Cas Abao is clean. No trash, no bonfires and environmentally friendly practices are exercised here. The result? Healthy coral reefs rich with marine life! Do not forget your snorkeling gear.
On my next visit to Curaçao, Cas Abao will be my first stop! I discovered new shades of blue at Cas Abao. Truly an unforgettable experience.
Note: The beach has a security booth, opening hours and a small fee to get through.
My 2nd favorite Curaçao beach...
Grote Knip (Kenepa Grandi)
When you search for best beaches in Curaçao, this is one of the first beaches to pop up. It has been named the best beach in Curaçao by many.
Other than the blue, calm and clear water, the highlight of this beach has to be the locals...
You thought I meant people? Nope - this beach is inhabited by the cutest, friendliest and most curious pigs.
Get there early, the beach fills up quickly! I arrived by 9am and there were still a few seats and umbrellas available to rent.
Next up at #3?...
Playa Porto Marie
This was by far the busiest beach that I visited.
Don't let the crowds deter you, though!
The water here is bluer than blue! From the sky, the colors of the water just take your breath away...
The Porto Mari restaurant is the only building here, serving cool cocktails and food all day long. This beach is also home to beach pigs! Willy and Woody are a main attraction at Playa Porto Marie.
Lastly, this beach is one of the top spots for a magical sunset on Curaçao.
Next, holding #4 on my Curaçao beach list...
Playa Kalki is located on the Western end of the island. The name Kalki translates to limestone, inspired by the beautiful cliffside that hugs the beach.
Mostly rocky with pockets of white sand, this small, pretty beach is loved for its snorkeling. For those interested in exploring this top rated dive site visit Go West Diving - a full service PADI dive operation right on Playa Kalki.
What's left to do after diving? Basking in the sun and admiring the many shades of blue.
All Iguana Do is Have Some FUN!
In 5th place...
Hello Playa Lagun!
This picture perfect beach is surrounded by high cliffs and bright-colored apartments. The protected bay brings in gentle waves and is booming with wild marine life.
Postcard Perfect Playa Lagun
Frequent with fishermen and colorful fishing boats, Playa Lagun can get crowded but it is definitely worth a visit!
Next up, 6th on the list, Playa Grandi (aka Playa Piscado).
This beach was recommended by a local as his favorite beach in Curaçao. He did not disappoint!
As I was driving, I spotted the blues of Playa Grandi from the road. They immediately caught my eye - needless to say I had to pull over. The water here sparkles like diamonds and the shade of blue is unlike anything I have ever seen.
The beach is known for its thriving population of turtles. Stand on the pier for just 5 minutes and you will spot peaceful turtle after peaceful turtle swimming through the sea!
Bringing your snorkeling gear is HIGHLY recommended. Please remember to respect the wildlife when visiting this gem of a beach.
Tip: The shoreline can get a bit congested with tourists. Head towards the end of Playa Grandi where it is quieter.
On to #7...
Playa Santa Cruz
This wide, rocky beach can be found between two mountains in the West of Curaçao. Tall coconut trees, picnic tables and palapas spread out across the beach making it perfect for an afternoon of family fun. Favored by the locals of Curaçao, Playa Santa Cruz is quiet, especially on week days.
Last but not least, #8...
Welcome to Mambo Beach
I spent almost every evening at Mambo. This man-made beach is lined with mouth-watering restaurants, bars and boutiques. It is the perfect beach to eat, shop and unwind at night. You can and should spend a full day here!
Restaurants serve up appetizing plates for lunch...
... and flavorful, juicy dishes for dinner.
Everything I ate was so fantastic, it was hard to dine anywhere else.
Want to relax and cocktail the evening away?
Cheers to Mambo Beach!
Mambo has the perfect sunset view.
No visit to Curaçao is complete without visiting the capital, Willemstad...
Willemstad is the largest city in the Lesster Antilles. It is known as the Amsterdam of the Western Hemisphere. The influence from the Netherlands is evident throughout Willemstad. Colorful, pastel-painted buildings line the streets - making everywhere you turn picture perfect.
During the day local markets and stores invite you to shop, restaurants dish up a true taste of creole cuisine and museums welcome you to learn the island's history.
After sundown the town lights up! The most popular attraction at night? The floating Queen Emma Bridge. Walking the 548ft bridge at night is surreal. Rings of colorful lights are overheard as you walk across. The atmosphere is nothing short of magical.
Willemstad at Night
From sun up, to sun down...
With beautiful beaches and unique cacti-dotted landscapes all around...
There is so much to love about this gem of a Caribbean island.
Can't wait to sea you again, Curaçao!