Explore 5 Breathtaking Beaches & Bays on the West Side of Curaçao in One Day
By: Joyce Meursing (@justlikesushi)
When you’re talking about Curaçao you will definitely know all the well-known features that lock visitors from all over the world to this ultimate Caribbean destination. Long white beaches with the coolest beach bars, palm trees that can be spotted on every corner and the most breathtaking nature can be found here. But this island has more to offer than only this list. With the rich history and nature all over the island it shows that there’s so much more to explore on the nicest island in the Caribbean.
With partly my roots coming from this island I’ve always been intrigued by the variety of everything here on this Caribbean island. One of the things I notice when I’m here is that I tend to live more by the rules of nature. I feel more of a connection with nature elements when I’m living on Curaçao in comparison to when I’m living the city life in The Netherlands. Here I wake up when the sun goes up, I tend to hike and walk more often and the ocean is my favorite playground.
Instead of going to the more well-known beaches like Playa Kenepa Chiki (Kleine Knip) and Playa Abou (Grote Knip), I decided to hop on the road to Westpunt and go on the hunt for the most natural and unique spots on the island to shoot amazing pictures - because that’s also what Curaçao is known for. Westpunt, is the western most point of the island of Curaçao and is mostly known for being surrounded by beautiful nature, scuba diving, and shores. Besides finding more unique places you’ll also find more culture and historic details during this kind of trip which makes it even more special and a day to remember. Personally, I’m also more attracted by the rugged side of the island. In my opinion, the mix of all of this makes the island Curaçao so unique!
While driving on ‘Weg naar Westpunt’ (Road to West Side) I put the AC off and go for driving around with the windows down. Meanwhile, I feel the sun shining on my skin and the wind floating through my fingers. I try to focus on the road but I also notice all the characteristics and unique buildings on the side of the road. I always like to let my imagination go and think about who lives there and which story that person has to tell. Is that something you do too?
Santa Martha Bay
For my first stop, I headed to Santa Martha Bay. This is located near the village of
Soto and is thé area to spot one of the most amazing views of the island. Just before you’re heading to this bay you also have the option to visit ‘Landhuis klein Santa Martha’ which is an old country house that’s a restaurant and hotel now. It’s the perfect location to have lunch with a view, which I’ve done many times before. It’s the perfect spot when you’re more into a calm and remote place to relax. After a short stop, I continued the road trip and with a little detour, I headed to the first location. While driving uphill you’ll quickly notice a viewpoint that gives a beautiful wide view over Santa Martha Bay. I knew this spot from a few years ago and I noticed the viewpoint has been improved which makes it more suitable for kids and people with physical disabilities. With the green mountains, the clear blue water, and all the little details it’s a view that will get printed into your mind.
The viewpoint of Santa Martha is perfect to use a wide lens and capture the impressive view and all the details. The pictures you’ll shoot here will be filled with many details. Besides using a wide lens you can also choose to zoom in a bit more and capture all the details on it’s own. The viewpoint is situated in between a lot of greens so you can use that too to create a scene with more depth.
I don’t know what it is but even only hearing the name of this beach, Playa Lagun, created a tropical scene in my head without even visiting it. This beach is hidden in the village Lagún and it’s a local beach and an oase for snorkelers, divers and fishermen. The beach is situated between two cliffs and on top of them (on both sides) you’ve got (holiday) houses and apartments. It’s definitely a dream to be able to wake up by this amazing view!
While arriving there just before noon I already saw groups of people enjoying their time off at this narrow bay and the beautiful blue water. This place is mainly known for its beautiful underwater world. The water is so clear at this bay that people call it like swimming in an aquarium. What a dream, right!
Playa Lagun is personally one of my favorite beaches to shoot because it ticks all the boxes I look for in tropical scenery. Because of the narrow bay, you don’t have a lot of beaches to shoot at but that doesn’t limit you in any way. Of course, the cliffs are a gem to shoot in combination with the blue ocean and white beach. On the right side of the beach, you can also find stairs that go up and give you an amazing lookout over the bay. I arrived here just before noon but I definitely want to go back for an early visit and shoot again with better light circumstances.
When I arrived at Playa Forti I immediately noticed that it’s much more crowded in comparison to the other beaches. Probably because of the two restaurants that are situated on the edges of the cliffs. These restaurants give you the perfect view that you’ll never forget. What I noticed at first was that this beach is slightly less idyllic than the other ones. I suppose it’s because of the darker sand on the beach that feels a bit coarser and there’re fewer spots with shadow to be found. But this doesn’t make it less interesting to visit in my opinion. Immediately you’ll notice the bright-colored stairs that lead you to the beach. Personally, I would choose to go early or late afternoon for the less harsh light over this beautiful scenery.
This is a beach like you can find on a postcard, cliffs on the side, perfectly filled with fishing boats, and a panorama view. So there are many possibilities to capture this wide view and that’s why I would choose again a wide lens so you can accentuate that. With this view, you can also play with the horizon, the angle of shooting, and work with something in the for- and/or background.
While driving further during this Curaçao road trip I arrived at Playa Piskado. I already noticed the big amount of cars that are parked around this beach and I know the reason why: sea turtles. The popularity of this beach has grown very fast lately because of the amount of sea turtles you can find here. But there’s so much more to see! I decided to drive a bit further and stop at a parking spot where it’s less crowded. While looking around I noticed a beautiful yellow church, St. Peter Church, that’s full of details. When it’s open and you have time left, definitely walk in and check it out. On my left I already spotted the ocean and the wide view over the beach. Fisherman boats were floating on the water, locals were trying to get some fresh fish and food and I saw a lot of tourists that were interested in the underwater world.
I got interested too, walked down the stairs to the beach and headed to the jetty. This spot gave me a great view over the beach and when I looked down into the ocean I got a clear view and lots of fishes were easy to spot. Not long after that I spotted my first sea turtle and I noticed that these animals always have something magical over them. So peaceful, so independent. That’s why it’s important to share that it’s forbidden to touch or feed the sea turtles. It’s all about respect and taking care for nature around ud. For this time I’m not heading into the water but I will definitely come back soon to see them up close.
At first, this beach truly looks very idyllic and I would start shooting from above to get a nice overview over the beach and all the interesting details. It’s a real postcard where you’re looking at. When you have the possibility to shoot under water I would advice to do it at this place. The variety of underwater elements are in abundance here so you will end up with a lot of footage. However, be aware and have respect for the underwater life. For example, the sea turtles and coral are a protected species, so always behave as if you are a guest in their living environment.
While driving further around the West Side of Curaçao I noticed a small parking lot. I know the ocean is on my left side but there’s no beach to be seen. But according to Google Maps, I’m directly on the spot where I need to be. At the end of the parking lot there are steep stairs and I already hear the waves of the ocean. At the same time, I noticed a sign saying I need to watch out for some poisonous ‘fruit’ that falls off the trees there. After some research, it seems to be the Manchineel Tree with little green ‘apples’ that are extremely poisonous.
After the stairs, you’ll get to the Kalki Beach Bar & Grill. The entire restaurant is made of wood and all the colorful details makes it a perfect spot to enjoy your lunch with the most fantastic view. When you walk a bit further you’ll get to the actual Kalki beach. This beach is perfectly secluded to chill and definitely ticks all of the checks with the white sand, blue ocean, and big rocks. Not only above water it’s breathtaking but underwater it’s, even more, an experience you’ll never forget. You can spot a diversity of fishes and sometimes you can even spot sea turtles here.
And this is not all, because through the beach of Playa Kalki you can find an even more unique spot that’s a bit more hidden - Buraku di Tomasito’. It’s a small natural waterhole and with a bit of a walk, you’ll find something magical. Via the beach, you can walk up the Kura Hulanda terrain and keep walking left. You probably stumble up to some other stairs on your left - at this point, you go more into the right. You’ll walk more into the ground of the hotel and a bit further you will get to the waterhole. With the water so crispy blue and the natural color of the stone it creates an almost surreal scenery.
Because Playa Kalki is more secluded you can create a diversity of images. With the white beach, beach beds, and rocks on one side, the restaurant in the middle, and a jetty on the other side this beach is the perfect spot to shoot a different kinds of images. Let your imagination and creativity go free and see what you’ll end up with. Besides that, the Tomasito cave is also a beautiful and unique natural element that you have to capture.