Life may take you down many paths, but my favorite ones lead to the beach. A day at one of the free beaches in Curacao is a day well spent. Nothing beats a lazy afternoon swimming in crystal blue water and lounging in powder-white sugar sand.
The best free beaches in Curaçao are located in the western part, known as Banda Abou. Notable among them are Playa Grandi, Grote Knip Beach, and Playa Lagun. On the eastern coast, Tugboat Beach and Directors Bay stand out as excellent options for snorkeling.
The island offers a wide variety of beaches. From vibrant commercial beaches to cozy deserted paradises- and everything in between. Many free public beaches in Curacao are among the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Feel free to bring your own food and drinks. In fact, it’s quite common for visitors to bring along a cooler and have a barbecue.
The majority of public beaches boast cream-colored sands, particularly those located near Westpunt and Bandabou.
In this blog, we’ll introduce 15 best free beaches worth exploring in Curacao, each offering its own unique vibe and particular characteristics.
Grote Knip beach
Grote Knip stands out as one of the most renowned free beaches in Curacao, its picturesque bay view often featured in travel magazines and Instagram posts.
Boasting creamy-white sands and a turquoise sea, Grote Knip is a true paradise on earth. While it tends to get crowded on weekends and during the high season, i still consider it a must-visit. Even if it’s only to enjoy the view from the top of the cliff.
Various vendors offer snacks and refreshing drinks, or you can bring your own cooler. Grote Knip provides all the essentials for an affordable day out with family and friends.
Did you know that nestled just a few minutes away from the bustling Grote Knip is a serene cove known as Kleine Knip Beach?
This public free beach offers an off-the-beaten path escape, situated in an intimate small bay with soft sands. True to its name, “Kleine” translates to small or little in Dutch, capturing the essence of this hidden gem.
If the vibrant atmosphere of Grote Knip feels a bit too lively for your taste, Kleine Knip provides a quieter alternative where you can enjoy the peaceful embrace of sun, sea, and sand.
Playa Jeremi, one of the most tranquil free beaches of Curaçao, holds a special place in the hearts of locals.
Unlike more commercialized beaches, Playa Jeremi doesn’t boast umbrellas or vendors selling food and drinks, maintaining its authentic charm. The cove’s crystal-clear waters create an ideal environment for snorkelers.
Playa Jeremi stands out as a hidden gem, inviting visitors to dive into the simplicity of nature and enjoy the serenity of this unspoiled coastal paradise.
The atmosphere at Daaibooi beach is incredibly friendly, creating a welcoming vibe that keeps drawing me back.
As someone who loves to explore the underwater world, the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters at Daaibooi is a highlight, especially around the rock formations.
What sets Daaibooi apart is the chance to make it a personal affair – bringing your own grill and enjoying a barbecue session as the sun dips below the horizon. This is one of the perks of visiting the free beaches of Curaçao.
Playa Grandi, also known as Playa Piskadó, stands as Curacao’s renowned turtle beach, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.
To fully enjoy the unique experience of swimming with sea turtles, it’s advisable to arrive early in the morning, steering clear of the crowds and ensuring a more intimate encounter with these curious marine creatures.
From Playa Grandi you can drive easily to one of the other free beaches in the area. It will be a great starting point for a beach hopping adventure.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, Playa Forti is an absolute must-visit. This free beach challenges those who dare to take the plunge – quite literally.
Next to the Playa Forti restaurant, on the precipice of a cliff, you’ll discover a thrilling plateau where local daredevils and adventurous tourists gather to go cliff jumping.
For those who prefer a more laid-back vibe, the beach itself offers a relaxing spot to unwind and take in the breathtaking views.
It’s worth noting that cliff jumping is at your own risk.
Looking for an unspoiled gem away from the tourist crowds, Playa Kalki, located at the most western point of Curaçao, is the perfect hidden beach waiting to be explored.
It’s advisable to come prepared with provisions, packing a picnic of your favorite snacks and drinks to spend your day in this calm and unspoiled corner of Curaçao.
There are palapas and trees providing plenty of shade. Ideal for those who are likely to get sunburned. The free beaches of Playa Forti, Playa Grandi and Grote Knip are just around the corner.
Playa Wachi (Snake Bay) stands as a charming, small public beach situated at the heart of the island of Curaçao. Just a convenient 15-minute drive from Willemstad, this centrally located gem is a testament to the island’s diverse coastal offerings.
It’s one of those hidden free beaches that you would like to visit after work and watch the sunset. It’s a local spot to unwind and socialize in the fishing town of Boka Sami.
Playa Wachi promises serenity and the chance to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand without the hustle and bustle of a typical tourist spot.
Boka Sami beach
Not far from Playa Wachi you can find Boka Sami beach. The two free beaches are a few minutes away from each other, so it is very nice to visit both. Boka Sami Beach has a relaxed and laid-back vibe. You will get to know the real Curacao atmosphere.
There are some restaurants, terraces, and a Snek nearby. Spending a day at Boka Sami makes you realize that the best things in life are in fact for free.
Playa Lagun is breathtakingly beautiful. This free beach is located in a picturesque cove with one of the most beautiful views you have ever seen. This is the only bay in Curacao where the water is a kind of greenish-turquoise.
Playa Lagun is a great place for snorkeling. The marine life is particularly well represented along the cliff edge. You may even encounter a sea turtle during your swim.
All the reasons above make Playa Lagun one of my favorite free beaches in Curaçao.
Playa Santa Cruz
Between two mighty mountains and many rocky outcrops, one can find the sandy beach of Playa Santa Cruz. The public beach is cozy and easy accessible for anyone who wants to spend a pleasant day at the beach.
Playa Santa Cruz is the home of Captain Goodlife. He has a cabin on the left side of the beach. Here you can eat, drink and go on excursions to the deserted beaches of Playa Pretu and Playa Hulu.
It is also possible to visit the Blue Room. Don’t forget to take your snorkel. There is plenty to see below the surface.
Playa Santu Pretu
I would like to introduce you to the most unique public beach in Curacao: Playa Santu Pretu. The literal translation immediately reveals why this beach is so special. Playa Santu Pretu means The Black Sand Beach.
The bay is mostly deserted, and the sand is rugged and black. Wild nature at its purest. It is a beautiful place to ease your mind. Playa Santu Pretu can be reached on foot via Playa Santa Cruz.
Speaking about unique beaches: Tugboat Beach should not be missed. A sunken tugboat can be found in a shallow and calm bay surrounded by tropical ocean life.
It’s about a 10-minute swim to the tugboat wreck, which is located on the left side behind the rocks. I can also recommend snorkeling around the dock close to the beach.
Insider tip: You can find plenty of sealife around the pillars of the dock on the right side of the beach.
For sunbathers looking for a quiet retreat near Willemstad, Directors bay is the place to be. This public beach offers a get-away-from-it-all atmosphere while still delivering the fun and vibrant island spirit.
The main reason to visit Directors Bay is the underwater world. The shallow waters are home to many colorful fish and corals. There are no facilities available, so bring your own food and drinks.
From this beach, you can also swim to the Tugboat wreck. The surrounding reef offers a great underwater spectacle.
When you arrive at the Caracas bay peninsula, you can find the beach of the same name on the right-hand side. This public beach is loved by locals. Not only for swimming during the day but also to celebrate and party in the evening.
There are few facilities, but most people bring their own beach chairs and cooler. For a meal and a drink , you can take a seat at Pop’s place (Brisa do Mar) where kome krioyo (local food) and the catch of the day is served.
Caracas bay is the perfect beach for the real Curacao experience. To gather with friends, have a drink and simply enjoy life.
The Best Free Beaches in Curaçao
As a tourist, you want to take the maximum amount of joy out of your trip. So are you planning on visiting one of these free beaches in Curacao, but finding it difficult to make the right choice? This would be our top 3:
- Grote Knip
- Tugboat Beach
- Playa Lagun
The best free beaches in Curaçao are in the west part of Curaçao. Visit gems like Playa Grandi, Grote Knip Beach, and Playa Lagun for an unforgettable beach experience where you don’t have to pay any entrance fee.
And if you’re into snorkeling, don’t miss the free beaches of Caracas Bay, Tugboat Beach and Directors Bay on the east coast.
Oh, and here’s a neat thing – you can bring your own food and drinks. Lots of folks bring a cooler and even have a little barbecue on the beach.
In conclusion: if you love beaches with a mix of beauty, choices, and a touch of freedom, Curaçao is the place to be. Even after all those years, I still discover something new every visit.