Playa Kalki

Playa Kalki is the island’s northernmost beach that is readily accessible by road and that has facilities for day visitors. If you are staying in hotels elsewhere on the island and have a car rental, you can get here quite easily. Playa Kalki Beach Curacao is located in the town of Westpunt (meaning West Point) about 30 miles northwest of the capital city of Willemstad. Other beaches in this area (moving south) are Westpunt Town Beach, which is where the local fishing boats put in; Playa Kenepa Grandi (Big Knip Beach) and Little Knip Beach; and Playa Jeremi, which is known for its spectacular sunsets.

It is the snorkeling and diving from Playa Kalki for which this beach is best known. It is also an excellent sunbathing and swimming beach, with a good stretch of soft sand, shade trees, a dock for small boats, and a roped off swimming area with a large platform moored offshore. Playa Kalki is also very picturesque, as the little inlet is framed by dramatic limestone cliffs (kalki is the Papiamentu word for limestone).

One of the major reasons that the diving from Playa Kalki is so excellent is that the waters along this stretch are protected by an almost unbroken coral reef. This is one of the top ten dive sites on the island, whimsically nicknamed Alice in Wonderland, and you will find a true underwater wonderland here. A variety of colorful tropical reef fish are abundant. There are also green moray eels, forests of coral fans, massive mushroom coral, lobsters, and much more. There is also excellent snorkeling quite close to shore, although the entrance into the water is fairly rocky. When diving from Playa Kalki with your own gear, you will have to lug it all down steep steps from the parking lot to the beach area. Alternatively, you can rent gear from a good dive shop located on the beach. Other facilities include toilets, changing rooms, a beach bar, and dining spot.

There are not many Playa Kalki Beach Curacao hotels, but you will find a number of villas, apartments, and other vacation rentals in the area. Additionally, one of the island’s resorts is located at one end of the beach. The Kura Hulanda Lodge—affiliated with the Kura Hulanda Museum and hotel in Willemstad—is located on the cliffs above one end of the beach. This Playa Kalki lodging is is an excellent place to stay if you don’t want to spend the 45 minutes necessary to drive here from Willemstad. The lodge has three restaurants and a beach bar, and you can rent sun beds even if you are not a guest.

Playa Kalki Beach Curacao offers access to the wild northeastern point of the island, which is virtually uninhabited. Here is Christoffel National Park (home of the highest point on the island, Mount Cristoffel) and Shete Boka National Park, a wild and rugged landscape full of birdlife, shy Curacao deer, iguanas, and cactus. You can book guided hiking tours or tours on horseback, mountain bikes, and four-wheel drive vehicles. Along the routes, you will find lovely pocket beaches in small coves and inlets where leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles nest, blowholes in the volcanic cliffs, and beautiful scenery. If you climb to the summit of Mt. Christoffel (1,227 feet), you will be rewarded with views of the Venezuela mountains in the distance, the highest mountain on neighboring Bonaire, and the fabulous landscapes of Curacao. This area is also part of the island’s history, as there are several old plantations here. One of the oldest plantation homes in Curacao, Landhuis Savonet, serves as the park headquarters.

Image: Tikus | Tijs (flickr)

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