Caribbean,  Curacao,  Experiences

10 Best Beaches in Curacao for Snorkeling (Including Free Map)

Looking for the best beaches in Curacao for snorkeling? Then you are not alone!

Curacao is a tropical island in the Caribbean sea and forms together with Bonaire and Aruba the ABC-islands. According to Curacao officials, there are around 40 different beaches on the island. It can come as no surprise then, that snorkeling in Curacao is one of the most exciting activities to do!

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. Most of these snorkeling spots have amazing marine life, from different tropical fish to corals and sea turtles.

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! Also, not all beaches in Curacao are easily accessible, so I have also compiled a list of best excursions for snorkeling in Curacao.

Let’s dive in! (pun intended)

Table of Contents

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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.

  • The sea in Curacao is never colder than 26 C/ 79 F. This makes it a great island for snorkeling year-round. There is no bad time to visit Curacao since the climate is very stable all year. However, during the rainy season from October to November, there can be small showers during the day.
  • The daily average temperature is around 29 C/ 84 F, make sure to bring sun-protective clothing and reef-friendly sunscreen! You might not notice how strong the sun was until you are burnt already!
  • 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

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:

Curacao Snorkel Map

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

1. Playa Lagun

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.

There is free parking, no entrance fee to the beach, and a small dive store where you can buy gear. Make sure to eat a snack at Bahia Beach Bar upstairs, since it’s one of the best restaurants in Curacao with an amazing view of the bay!

Playa Lagun is considered one of the best beaches in Curacao for snorkeling. If you don’t want to drive all the way out west to Playa Lagun yourself, consider taking a boat trip to the west.

Sea turtle in Playa Lagun

2. Klein Curacao

Klein Beach on Klein Curacao is without a doubt the most stunning of Curacao’s beaches. Since it is not on the main island, but rather on a small uninhabited island off the coast of Curacao, it can be a bit of a hassle to get there. The only way to reach the small island of Klein Curacao is with a boat trip in Curacao. I recommend booking a day trip to the beautiful small paradise.

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.

There are a couple of providers offering day trips to the island. The boat drive takes roughly 1 – 2 hours and is usually a whole lot of fun. We have previously booked our trip with Miss Ann Boattrips since this is the only provider offering trips with a yacht and a great beach house on the island. Make sure to check beforehand which amenities the providers offer, since there are no public amenities on the island.

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. Check more tours here.

3. Tugboat Beach

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.

Many private Curacao Tours offer snorkeling at Tugboat Beach as well.

Drone shot of a boat underwater
Sunken shipwreck at Tugboat Beach

4. Cas Abao Beach

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 and above all that a nice spot to spend a beach day. The fee is therefore well worth it.

5. Playa Forti

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

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.

I recommend visiting this spot with one of the Curacao snorkeling tours, so you can also check out some other spots while you are already in the area. From personal experience I can tell you that Curacao hikes can be quite daunting, because there is all kinds of cacti and plants that block the way.

snorkeling in Curacao underwater

7. Grote and Kleine Knip

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 pretty much untouched, there are not a lot of amenities there and the atmosphere is really chill. 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.

Grote Knip beach Curacao

8. Playa Kalki

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

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!

10. Daaibooibay

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.

How to Get to Curacaos Snorkeling Beaches

The best way to get around Curacao and to the beaches for snorkeling is with a car. It is not possible to reach all of these snorkel beaches with public transport.

We usually rent our car at HATO airport and keep it for our entire stay.

We always book our rental car with DiscoverCars. They are cheap and super reliable – we never had any problems.

If you are arriving in Curacao with a Caribbean Cruise, make sure to check my One Day in Curacao Itinerary for the best snorkeling beaches near the cruise port.

Where to Stay in Curacao for Snorkeling

There are many amazing areas to stay in Curacao that are perfect for snorkeling.

Staying farther out in the west, like in Playa Lagun or in the Koraal Estate will give you access to many fabulous reefs and beaches within a few minutes of driving.

The area around Willemstad, Mambo Beach and Jan Thiel is also great for more beginner-friendly snorkeling.

My favorite hotel with a big private beach for snorkeling is Sunscape Curacao.

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.

Overall, the dry season in Curaçao offers the best conditions for snorkeling, but you can still enjoy this activity throughout the year due to the favorable climate and warm waters.

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:

Snorkel Glasses and Fins

Water Shoes (quick drying)

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)

UV Protection Swimming Shirt

Non-toxic DeFog spray

Best Curacao Snorkeling tours

Check out the following links for my favorite Curacao snorkeling tours. All of these tours include snorkel gear to borrow and some of them even include meals.

Make sure to book your Curacao snorkeling tour to see all the best spots!

4 -5 hours Swimming with sea turtles and Grote Knip (with gear)

Full day Catamaran Snorkeling trip to Klein Curacao

Tugboat and Reef Snorkel Tour

Private beach hopping and Snorkeling tour (5-7 hours)

Snorkel and beach adventure tour

For more inspo on Curacao Snorkel Tours check out my 10 favorite Snorkel Tours in Curacao.

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 fun things to do in Curacao, 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

Does Curacao have good snorkeling?

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.

What is the best beach to snorkel with turtles in Curacao?

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.

Can you snorkel from shore in Curacao?

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.

best beaches in curacao for snorkeling
Best beaches in Curacao for snorkeling
blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. 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.

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