Looking for the best beaches in Curacao for snorkeling? Then you are not alone!
One of the biggest upsides of Curacao beaches in regard to snorkeling is, that the reefs are super easily accessible from the shore, which makes it not only a great island for snorkeling professionals but also for beginners.
Most of Curacao’s best snorkeling spots are located on the west side of the island, which is nicely protected from the trade winds.
Since there are so many different beaches for snorkeling in Curacao, it can be quite a challenge to find the best ones in a limited time. I have stayed on the island for many months, and snorkeled in every single spot there is.
Therefore I have created this list with the best beaches for snorkeling in Curacao to help you out!
Let’s dive in! (pun intended)
Table of Contents
- Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao – at a Glance
- Curacao Snorkeling Map – Best Snorkeling Beaches
- Before You Go Snorkeling in Curacao
- 1. Playa Lagun
- 2. Klein Curacao
- 3. Tugboat Beach
- 4. Cas Abao Beach
- 5. Playa Forti
- 6. The Blue Room Cave
- 7. Grote and Kleine Knip
- 8. Playa Kalki
- 9. Playa Porto Mari
- 10. Daaibooibay
- Best Time to Go Snorkeling in Curacao
- What Snorkel Gear Do You Need in Curacao?
- Conclusion: Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao
- FAQ: Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao
- About the Author
Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao – at a Glance
If you just want a quick overview of where to go snorkeling in Curacao, look no further.
For more detailed information about the reefs, the beaches and the marine life, look below. Here are my 10 favorite beaches for snorkeling in Curacao:
- Playa Lagun – Best Snorkeling Beach for Sea Turtles
- Klein Beach – Best Curacao Beach for Marine Life
- Tugboat Beach – To See a Shipwreck
- Cas Abao Beach – Best Curacao Snorkel Beach for Beginners
- Playa Forti – Amazing Marine Life and Sea Turtles
- Blue Room Cave – Best Adventure Snorkeling
- Grote and Kleine Knip – Great Beginner Snorkeling
- Playa Kalki – Great Secluded Snorkeling Beach
- Playa Porto Mari – Famous Double Reef Beach
- Daaibooibay – Famous Cliffside Snorkeling
Curacao Snorkeling Map – Best Snorkeling Beaches
I have created a small Curacao snorkeling map to help guide you to all my favorite beaches for snorkeling in Curacao:
Before You Go Snorkeling in Curacao
Before you head out on your snorkel trip there are a couple of things you need to know. Make sure to come well prepared so you can enjoy the beauty of Curacao’s marine life to the fullest.
- Most snorkeling beaches in Curacao are pretty far away from the touristic part of the island with all the hotels, so you might need a rental car in order to check them out. A bit later in this post, I will recommend my favorite snorkeling tours for everyone without a car.
- Most of the beaches in Curacao are sandy. This makes them easily accessible without any extra equipment. If you have sensitive feet, I would recommend bringing water shoes nonetheless, since there are loads of dead corals on some beaches that make walking into the water a bit of a challenge.
- If you do not have snorkeling gear, you can buy some almost everywhere on the island. Most beaches have dive and snorkel shops so they got you covered. Most snorkeling tours offer free use of equipment.
- Consider trying Scuba Diving in Curacao as well
1. Playa Lagun
Beginner-friendly snorkeling, directly from the beach, chance of sea turtles
This special place is a small, non-touristic beach on the west of the island. Playa Lagun is very famous among snorkelers and divers because the marine life there is simply stunning.
In Playa Lagun I had my very first time of snorkeling with sea turtles and it was simply amazing.
Playa Lagun is a small bay that is enclosed by cliffs on both sides, which makes it a very calm and protected space to snorkel, even for beginners.
Make sure to swim out on either one of the sides of the bay alongside the cliffs, you will already be able to see lots of fish and corals close by the shore. You can spot eels, parrotfish, pufferfish, and big schools of silver juvenile fish.
Lagun is also one of the rare places where you can regularly spot sea turtles. We have already seen them twice on this beach and both times it was a great experience, especially since there are very few tourists to block your view. Try to go in the morning, since this is your best chance of spotting a turtle.
2. Klein Curacao
Stunning beach only reachable with boat, beginner and advanced snorkel spots, chance of sea turtles
Klein Beach on Klein Curacao is without a doubt the most stunning of Curacao’s beaches. The only way to reach the small island of Klein Curacao is with a boat trip in Curacao.
Klein Curacao is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Curacao. There is a huge reef right there on the shore, you can regularly spot sea turtles and the marine life is amazing.
Because the island is uninhabited, nature there is completely untouched. Additional to the sea turtles, you have a chance at spotting the sergeant major as well as the bluehead wrasse.
Most of the tour operators offer snorkeling tours as well as free use of snorkeling gear. This is a great opportunity to learn from a professional. Day trips will cost around 150 USD p.p. but is in my opinion well worth it.
3. Tugboat Beach
Shipwreck snorkel spot, for advanced snorkelers only
As the name already suggests, snorkeling at Tugboat Beach will give you the opportunity to see a sunken shipwreck. This is one of the coolest snorkeling spots in Curacao.
Tugboat beach is located close by Willemstad, in an area called Caracasbaai.
The shipwreck is just a couple of minutes of swimming away from the beach itself, so it can be easily reached without a tour. There is a small dive shop at the beach that sells gear as well as refreshments.
Apart from the shipwreck, you can discover a nice reef as well as a lot of beautiful fish. Make sure to watch out for boats that hover around there during their tours.
It is about a 10-minute swim from shore until you actually reach the shipwreck. I would not consider this a beginner-friendly snorkeling experience.
4. Cas Abao Beach
Beginner-friendly, shallow water snorkeling spots
This most beautiful place is a white sandy beach southwest coast of the island. Cas Abao is definitely one of my favorite beaches for snorkeling.
The water is super shallow around the cliffs on both sides of the bay and it is easily accessible. This makes it an especially great snorkeling place for beginners.
On both sides of the shore, you can see colorful fish. Since the water quality is so good there, the underwater world is especially beautiful. The dive shop on the beach has you covered with all kinds of gear in case you need to grab something.
There is a small entrance fee to the beach, since it is privately owned. This is one of my favorite beginner snorkeling beaches in Curacao. The fee is therefore well worth it.
5. Playa Forti
Stunning sand-pebble-beach offering beginner friendly and advanced snorkeling spots
This magnificent beach is located in a beautiful bay close by Playa Piskado. Playa Forti is a mixed sand-pebble beach close by the village of Westpunt. The beach is quite big and the view is super picturesque. You can see the endless blue ocean with small fisher boats floating away.
On the close by beach Playa Piskado, the fishers dump all the fish leftovers after selling and cleaning them on the beach. This attracts plenty of sea turtles.
In my opinion, this is not a pretty way to spot them, so I would not recommend Playa Piskado. However, since Playa Forti is so close, you have a great chance of spotting them there as well.
Snorkeling around Playa Forti gives you a great chance to see different sponges underwater. Since this is not really a sandy swimming beach, the marine life there is wonderfully untouched. This is definitely one of my favorite snorkeling spots in Curacao.
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6. The Blue Room Cave
Underwater cove, advanced snorkel spot, hard to reach
The blue room cave is a very famous snorkeling spot in Curacao.
It is an underwater cove, where you can witness a special nature phenomenon, where the sun makes the water seem deep dark blue.
You can either reach the blue room by hiking from Santa Cruz, with a canoe or with a guided tour.
From personal experience, I can tell you that Curacao hikes can be quite daunting because there are all kinds of cacti and plants that block the way. Better invest in a snorkel tour.
7. Grote and Kleine Knip
Beginner-friendly snorkel spots, frequented by locals
Grote Knip beach is, just like Kleine Knip (playa kenepa chiki) beach located in the western part of the island and are very popular snorkeling spots among locals.
Both beaches are pretty close to each other and are operated by the same company. This makes it an ideal option for some beach hopping. You can pay for beach beds and umbrellas at one beach, but use it for both of them on the same day.
Both beaches are excellent snorkeling spots, since both beaches are protected by cliffs on both sides. This makes for super family and beginners friendly snorkeling.
Both beaches offer a great and diverse marine life, you can expect to see Elkhorn corals, schools of sweepers and maybe even spot a barracuda.
8. Playa Kalki
Secluded beach, beginner friendly, chance of sea turtles
Playa Kalki is a small secluded beach close to Westpunt. It is an amazing spot for snorkeling and diving. There is a diving school right up the stairs, so it is a very popular spot for divers.
There is a big coral reef, that can sadly only be discovered with diving gear. However, there is still plenty of beautiful fish and some coral close by the surface that is ideal for snorkeling.
This is definitely one of the more quiet and hidden beaches for snorkeling in Curacao, since it is not very touristy in that area.
9. Playa Porto Mari
Stunning beach with double-reed, advanced and beginner-friendly snorkel spots
Playa Porto Mari is a very large, natural beach. The waters are very calm, which makes it a great place for swimming and snorkeling.
Playa Porto Mari is famous for it’s double reef. It can be seen from the surface, but I suggest doing a dive to enjoy it properly.
There have been attempts at the past to restore some damaged coral reefs on this beach, so there are plenty of new coral formations on this beach. It is also privately owned, so there is a small entrance fee.
The beach offers many amenities and is one of the best snorkeling beaches in Curacao, so I definitely recommend going! As a small bonus, you might even spot one of the pigs that live on the beach taking a swim with you!
Last but not least one of my favorite snorkeling beaches in Curacao, the Daaibooibay.
Daaibooibay is nestled in between two huge cliffs, which not only make for a stunning view but also great snorkeling spots. The water is crystal clear and light blue.
Especially the left side of the bay is great for snorkeling. The water is quite shallow and you will see a whole lot of beautiful fish and corals there.
The beach is right next to Playa Porto Mari, so you can do some beach hopping and explore both of them on one day.
Best Time to Go Snorkeling in Curacao
There is no bad time for snorkeling in Curacao. Curacao has a pleasant climate year round, as I will explain further in my Curacao Travel Guide.
However, you can get the most out of your Curacao snorkel trip by following my tips for the best time to go snorkeling in Curacao.
The best time of year for snorkeling in Curaçao is during the dry season, which runs from February to May.
During the dry season, the weather is typically sunny with calm waters and good visibility, making it ideal for snorkeling.
The water temperature is warm year-round, ranging from 78°F (26°C) to 84°F (29°C). In theory, you can enjoy snorkeling comfortably at any time.
It’s important to note that Curaçao is located outside of the hurricane belt, so it is less prone to hurricanes and tropical storms compared to some other Caribbean destinations.
However, keep an eye on the weather forecasts before planning your snorkeling trip in Curacao, as weather conditions can vary.
As for the time of day – I suggest going snorkeling in the morning. The sun is not as strong and the beaches are less crowded.
What Snorkel Gear Do You Need in Curacao?
Here are my favorite things I used on a daily basis in Curacao for snorkeling:
GoPro Hero 11 (amazing for super stable pictures under water)
GoPro Dome (for these Instagram shots where you are half in and half out of the water)
Underwater Phone Case (if you don’t have a GoPro)
Conclusion: Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao
These were my top 10 favorite beaches for snorkeling in Curacao. One thing is for certain: no matter which ones of these you pick – you will have the most amazing time.
The marine life in Curacao is enchanting. There is so much to see and many pristine reefs to explore. Caribbean snorkeling is one of my favorite things to do – and I hope you will love it just as much.
Make sure to bring the right gear and prep well for your snorkeling in Curacao expedition.
If you are looking for some more make sure to check out Shete Boka National Park.
Hungry after snorkeling? Head over for my favorite restaurants in Curacao.
FAQ: Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Curacao
Yes, Curacao is good for snorkeling. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, it is a paradise for snorkelers. Popular spots include Klein Curacao, Tugboat Beach, and Playa Lagun. Snorkelers can encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and even shipwrecks. The island’s warm climate and pleasant water temperatures make it a fantastic destination for underwater exploration.
Playa Lagun, Playa Forti and Klein beach are the best beaches to snorkel with turtles in Curacao. While technically they are seen often at Playa Grandi, I dislike snorkeling there because the fishermen throw all the intestines and dirt of the fish in the water there. This attracts the turtles, but it is also disgusting.
Yes, you can snorkel from shore in Curacao. The island boasts numerous beaches with accessible snorkeling right off the beach. Playa Lagun, Porto Mari, and Cas Abao are popular choices offering vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life just a short swim from the shore. With clear waters and well-preserved reefs, Curacao provides excellent opportunities for shore snorkeling and exploring its underwater wonders.
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.
She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.