Latest update: 17 February 2023
Sint Willibrordus in Curaçao is not exactly a big crowd puller, but there is a good chance that you will pass it a few times during your holiday on the Caribbean island. When you go to the Christoffelpark, for example, or to Westpunt or the Cas Abao beach, but don’t just tear past Sint Willibrordus, make a stop too. In this blog, you will discover what the area has to offer.
Sint Willibrordus in Curaçao
You can reach Sint Willibrordus by turning off the Weg naar Westpunt to the Weg naar St Willibrordus. Sint Willibrordus is in the northwest of Curaçao. If you look at the map, Curaçao becomes somewhat thinner in the middle, and as soon as it widens again, Sint Willibrordus is on the left. The village is not very interesting, and you’ll pass it on the main road in no time. So slow down and check the six tips in and around Sint Willibrordus.
Spotting flamingos in Curaçao
You can see flamingos in two places on Curaçao: at the Sint Michielsbaai and at the salt pans of Jan Kok in Sint Willibrordus, also called the saliña of Rif-Sint Marie. Unfortunately, the flamingos are very far away at Sint Michielsbaai. So unless you have a very good zoom lens or binoculars on you, your chances are better in Sint Willibrordus.
The salt pans are right next to the road. It is easy to recognize by a sign and a watchtower, and of course, the flamingos. On the other side of the street, at the bus stop where men regularly play a game of domino, you can park your car for free.
Until the 1960s, people extracted salt in this area near Sint Willibrordus. Now the salt pans are no longer used, and flamingos live here undisturbed. The flamingos of Curaçao get up early: between 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM, you have the best chance of seeing large groups. It’s quite a vast area, so if you don’t see the flamingos on the way there, try again on your way back. I’ve seen them both in the middle of the day and at the end of the afternoon. Not always from up close, because, well, the flamingos do and go as they like. By the way, you are not supposed to feed or touch the flamingos. Sounds logical, right? But you never know what people get up to – not you and me, of course!
Slave Revolt Memorial 1795
A small watchtower has been made near the salt pans at Sint Willibrordus so that you have an excellent overview of the area. There is also a white statue of a hand with a broken iron shackle. It was created in memory of the slave revolt in 1795, during which slaves led by Tula fought against the plantation lords. If you are keen to know more about that, check out Wikipedia.
Nena Sanchez Art Gallery – Landhuis Jan Kok
After the cheerful pink flamingos, take a look at the country house (landhuis in Dutch) of Jan Kok (or Jan Kock). It’s one of the oldest country houses in Curaçao. Jan Kok was a slave master in the 18th century. Today the mansion serves as a studio, art gallery, and shop for the colorful works of Nena Sanchez.
You can see Nena’s work all over the island. She paints cheerful landscapes and still lives. Fun fact: Nena was once Miss Curaçao!
In the store, we meet a friendly employee who immediately gives us a handful of tips for good restaurants, cheap sneks (the food trucks of Curaçao), and more. You can also take a tour of the gallery and the rooms but call in advance to make arrangements. There are no fixed tour times.
The Williwood sign is, as you probably guessed, inspired by the famous Hollywood sign – but now in Sint Willibrord. It is located right next to the salt fields with the flamingos. Stop, take a picture, and continue exploring Curaçao!
This is the Google Maps location.
Church of Saint Willibrord
The church of Sint Willibrordus is beautifully situated on a hill and is enormous. It has been there since 1888, and construction took about four years. Meanwhile, the church has been given a new lick of paint, but it is somewhat deserted. It stands at a lonely height, with only a few goats bringing some life to the area. There are services on Sundays, but the church is closed on other days.
To the beach near Sint Willibrordus
Clear blue water, lovely soft sand: you can say that about almost every beach in Curaçao. So what makes the beaches around Sint Willibrordus special? I can tell you it’s not the bumpy access roads. Those are all over the island. So do make sure you have a sturdy rental car, for example, via Sunny Cars or EasyTerra.
Fries with mayonaias on the Cas Abou beach
Cas Abou, also called Bon Bini Beach, is a lovely wide beach with beach chairs everywhere you look. Rock-hard beach chairs without cushions, quite disappointing, I must say. You pay 5 guilders for entrance and 5 guilders per chair. It is a popular beach where you can order fries with mayonnaise and a frikandel speciaal (a fried sausage with mayonnaise, ketchup, and onions – it’s a Dutch thing; sorry, not sorry) at the snack bar on the beach, use the wifi and take a shower. Some consider this an advantage; others hate it because it’s too Dutch and touristy. It’s up to you to decide!
Cas Abou on Google Maps
Slightly more low key beach bumming at Daaibooi bay
Daaibooi bay, or Playa Daaibooi, is a popular beach among the locals. It is located in a beautiful bay surrounded by rocks. There are quite a few stones scattered over the sand, so be careful where you put your feet.
Location Daaibooi bay on Google Maps
There is a simple beach bar, but you can also have a barbecue party yourself. It can get quite busy on weekends, but it has less of that “touristy feel” of Cas Abou. There are a few permanent palapas on the beach, and the palm trees provide some shade. And: no entrance fee. Of course, you do pay for the use of beach chairs.
Beach at Coral Estate
Coral Estate is a holiday park where you can rent holiday homes, but there is also a nice restaurant, a bar, and you can go to the beach. Enjoy a drink at Coral Rooftop Terrace and jump into the infinity pool (I feel that the picture is more beautiful than the real thing, sssst!). You will arrive at Karakter Beach Lounge if you continue to the beach. It’s a restaurant on the beach with a good menu. As in so many places on Curaçao, there is a carpaccio on the menu: here at Karakter, I highly recommended ordering it – it’s tasty and large!
Coral Estate on Google Maps
Pigs on the beach: Playa Porto Marie
Many people think you can swim with cute little pigs in Curaçao. Sorry to disappoint! These piglets mainly stay on land. And these pigs on the beach of Playa Porto Marie are not that cute either. They are two large, sturdy ones. Willy and Woody regularly visit the beach (#porkomarie), and everyone wants to have their picture taken with them. The two even have an Instagram account, although it hasn’t been updated for a while.
Please note that Willy and Woody are real pigs, not stuffed animals. People being funny and hugging them for a selfie are put in their place with a big snarl by the pigs. Rightly so. When I’m there, the pigs of pig beach Playa Porto Marie show up at the end of the day to snack on ripe fruits from the trees and chill in the sand. Sometimes, they want to relax by the water; sometimes, they don’t. Both are fine; just let them be as they are.
There is an endless supply of beach chairs that you can rent on Playa Porto Marie’s beach. Parking is free, but you pay an entrance fee for the beach, including the use of the toilet and shower. It is 5 guilders for entrance and 6 guilders for a bed. You can also arrange a massage, go diving or order a refreshing Amstel Bright at the beach bar.
At the top of the beach, near the parking lot, is a watchtower. Climb it around sunset for a nice picture. If you arrive early in the morning, when the sun starts to heat up, you can also follow a walking trail from here. The Seru Mateo route is about 3 km long. Count on a thirty-minute walk.
You can find Playa Porto Marie here
More Curaçao travel tips?
Useful links for your Curaçao trip
- Travel guides. There is plenty of choice at Bol.com and Amazon. Happy reading and traveling!
- Flights. Compare all your options! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
- Accommodation. All-time favorite: Booking.com. Book hostels via Hostelworld.
- Money. Your bank cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel.
- Activities. Book the best tours and activities at GetYourGuide, Caribbean Tours, and Viator. And for bike tours, try Baja Bikes.
- Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
- Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
- Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? Too many options to mention. Here are a few for my Dutch readers: ANWB vakanties, Corendon, Tui, D-reizen or Vakantie Discounter?
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission.
First published: February 2021. Updated since.