Curacao Part 2: The Beaches

I love the sun, I love the heat (preferably between 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit please) and I love beaches. Well, I should say that I love beaches for the most part, because sand annoys me to no end. Sand is an annoyance I put up with for the sun, water, and golden brown tan.

In Northern California, some say that we have beaches, but I like to call it the coast, as it is usually very cold and windy, it has rough rocky sand and the water is freezing, so to me it’s unswimmable. I never enjoyed going to the coast/beach, in fact I refused, until I realized that not all beaches are the same. There are amazing beautiful beaches in this world, and Curacao has some of them.

I am not going to rate the beaches, because each person has a different desire for their beach time. I just want to give you my opinion and the facts on the beaches we visited and you can decide for yourself.

(Just a side note here, all the prices I am going to give are in US dollars, which every place on the island are equipped to use, but I would highly suggest getting and using their currency, the guilder, because often times we had people give us change in guilders for our US Dollars and had some people try to give us the incorrect change or exchange rates. The exchange rate is 1.75 to $1.)

Mambo Beach (Officially Sea Aquarium Beach)

The Entrance to Mambo Beach

The Entrance to Mambo Beach

This was the beach that we most frequented. Located just a five minute drive from our house, and next to the Sea Aquarium, it had ample parking and many different amenities. The $3 charge for adults to use the beach and facilities was well worth it, in my opinion. There was also a way onto the beach that was free, just go through the shopping area that is currently under construction if you want to skip the entrance fee. This beach had everything and the prices were reasonable. They have covered beach beds ($9, can fit many people on one covered bed) and lounge chairs ($3 each) for rent, although most days no one came up to ask us for payment and we used the lounge chairs for free the whole day. There are four or five different colors of chairs and each color has a person that comes and collects the money, it is hard to know who to pay, unless they come up and ask you for the money, so I didn’t feel like we were cheating anyone.

There are plenty of shady areas for those that do not enjoy direct sunlight and sun filled areas for those that don’t mind a little color (which for me at first was a garish lovely shade of brick red).

There are public restrooms near the entrance that are clean and well supplied.

Now to the really important amenities, the bars and food. There are three bars along the beach (which are all about a 1 minute walk apart). As far as I could tell, all the drinks at each bar are the same prices, cocktails $7 and beers $3-4. I honestly do not know the prices of the non-alcoholic drinks, but they must be less than the alcoholic ones right? The first bar as you come in the entrance is a large hut that has a real hippie feel to it. The lady bartenders that work there are the nicest and most helpful on the beach. They also make one delicious long island iced tea. They also have snacks such as nachos (like just chips with nacho cheese on them-not our amazing northern California taqueria nachos, don’t be fooled!) and chips and such.

The next bar along the beach is a modern looking all white bar that is next to a shallow swimming pool (for those that don’t want to go in the ocean 10 feet away) and plays european house music loudly all day. They also have an espresso machine and food such as sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, etc. I did not try their food or drinks, as they always seemed very busy with the single crowd and it kind of felt like a meat market to me.

The last bar on the beach looks like it was just quickly put up with Polar beer aluminum signs as half-walls and is pretty bare bones. The one time I tried to get a drink there, there was a unhelpful jerk gentlemen that was obviously experiencing short mans complex a rough day and I didn’t go back again after being treated disdainfully for having too large a bill for him to give change for. Chad ended up going there when there were different bartenders and his experience was fine.

mambobeachbar

We found the cheapest, yummiest food on the island at this beach! The Aloha Beach Bar served hamburgers, sandwiches, amazing beef and chicken satay, and some Dutch favorites that I can’t remember the names of, but they were delicious!

This beach has sand that was fine and fun to play in and didn’t stick too badly so I wasn’t horribly annoyed by it. Zoë loved playing in the sand and water. It was nice and clean, so I didn’t worry much about her digging and playing in the sand. She is definitely a little beach bum.

Lions Dive and Beach Resort Private Beach

This was a stolen beach for us. We didn’t plan on going to this beach, but after our long walk and getting lost for a bit on our second day on the island, we decided just to go for it. When we tried walking from our house to the beach this is the resort on the very end of the street. I went and asked for directions and was told that we could go through their resort to Mambo beach. On our way to Mambo beach, we saw that they had a beach side restaurant called Hemingway. With Chad being a writer and all, we had to eat there, and although I think that Hemingway is a flowery and overly-descriptive writer, this restaurant was a nice straight forward little place to have a snack.

Anyways, we decided to have a dip in the water on their beach (which I guess you can pay a nominal fee to use too) without asking and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The beach was clean and quiet. If I was to go back to Curacao, I would consider staying at Lions Dive Resort because of their beautiful beach a few steps from the rooms.

Cas Abou Beach

Zoë Loves to be Buried in the Sand

Zoë Loves to be Buried in the Sand

This is a beach that needs to be driven to no matter where you are staying, and it is worth the drive. Cas Abou beach is a pristine white sand beach where the sand is literally as fine as flour. It is absolutely wonderful sand to play in, the texture of it begs to be touched (even by me!), until you try to get it off of you. This is the beach that Zoë discovered the fun of being buried in the sand, and although the sand stayed on her, I looked past it. How can you stop an adorable little girl from doing something that makes her laugh so much? Luckily this beach has showers that you can use, you can buy a token for it at the bar I think. We didn’t end up using them because there were a bunch of bees wanting the fresh water, and me being a wuss cautious person, ran screaming like a little girl before we could use them.

This exquisite beach is toward Westpunt, which is northwest of Willemstad, and is well worth the drive. It costs $6 a car for the day to use the beach and $3 per lounge chair. The beach is nice enough to just lay on with a towel though if you do not want to use a chair. There is a bar/snack bar on the beach, as well as very nice public restrooms. I did not get a drink or food here, but it was nice to have the option.

We played on this beach for half a day and loved it. I would recommend that you get there early to take advantage of the whole day on this little piece of paradise. Also, just a note, you are able to bring your own food/drinks onto this beach (most of the beaches that is a big no no) so live it up and bring some eats!

Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach

This was one of my least favorite beaches, well if you could really even call it a beach. It was a cemented area covered with rocky sand that was dirty and busy. It cost $4 a person to enter the beach.

This was a sun-bathers paradise though, with numerous lounge chairs for rent ($3 per chair) and a couple of bars/restaurants available for your enjoyment, but it was over-priced and if you want to play on the beach, this beach is not for you. It has a very small little beach area that is rocky and over-crowded. There is very little area for children to play in the sand, as most of the area is cement with what looks and feels like kitty litter laid shallowly over it. There is a staircase into the deep part of the ocean a little over from the beach as it seems that all people do here are sunbathe or snorkel.

In all honesty, I do not snorkel or dive, so this may be a great destination for those that do. Or for a couple/person without children. But for me, who wanted to play with my daughter in the sand and water, this is not the beach for me. Not only that but it was $15 for an appetizer at the restaurant which I believe was called Zanzibar. It all comes back to the food for me. The drinks, not even worth trying because I began to feel as though I was being ripped off.

All in all, if you have money to spend and feel like getting a great tan and maybe snorkeling or diving, this “beach” is for you.

 Caracasbaai Beach

The Huge Machine Thing

The Huge Machine Thing

This beach was a local beach that was marred by a huge piece of transformer looking machinery very close to the beach. It did have a lovely little local eatery that I thoroughly enjoyed (ham and cheese sandwich was very good and not as expensive as other places), except for the smell of oil in the air. This beach was a bit rocky, but it was free to use and had some public restrooms and a few tables and shaded areas for you to use (if you get there early enough to save them).

The water looks beautiful, but does smell like petrol. We chose not to not go in the water, but many others did it seemed. The overall smell in the air turned our stomachs and made it a bit uninhabitable. It also was a bit rocky instead of sandy as far as the beach went. I probably wouldn’t recommend this beach unless your olfactory senses arent working, then it might be a pleasant time.

Playa Lagun

This beach was one that we actually didn’t get to partake in, but we did stop and check it out on our last day on the island. This beach, near the town of Lagun on the northern tip of the island, is a hidden gem. I wish that we would have found it earlier in our trip. Playa Lagun (which must be reached by car-I think a taxi would have been EXPENSIVE) is a little cove. The walls are petrified coral that is very cool to explore. I think it would be amazing to snorkel or dive off of this beach, if my claustrophobia would let me wear a snorkel. Yes, I am that weird person that cannot wear snorkel goggles, its embarrassing but I am working on it.

Playa Lagun has white sand and the water is warm. The beach is free to use and you can rent beach chairs for $2. There are a couple of huts that give shade if you need it. This is a very small and secluded beach but it has a stairway to a restaurant and bar that seemed cool, too. I really wish I could have spent more time here. If you have been here or end up going here please leave a comment because I would love to know more about it.

Chad and I did not visit every beach on the island (there are so many), but I wanted to let you know about the ones that we did. If you have been here and want to tell about a beach you have been to thats not listed here, please leave a comment! I am sure other travelers would love to know!

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3 thoughts on “Curacao Part 2: The Beaches

  1. It is great that you took the time to explore different beaches. There is so much variety in the beaches. Like you mentioned, “everybody have a different desire for each beach”. One thing that is always important to pay attention to in Curacao is the difference between Public and Private Beaches. Private beaches tend to be more groomed, costly, and “touristy”. Whereas Public beaches are free but sometimes not very well kept. More about it here: http://bit.ly/12sgtel
    I find that Lagun kind of fits in the middle. Since you can still rent a beach chair if you like. Great post.

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