Latest update: 10 May 2021

Celebrating a holiday in Curaçao is tiring. All those beautiful beaches you have to visit, restaurants where you have to eat, turtles you have to snorkel with… Pffff. You have definitely earned a mini-break. Off to Klein Curaçao!

Klein Curaçao is barely two km2 in size. It is 1.9 km long and 1.1 km wide. Klein Curaçao is a tiny island; a day excursion is enough to see everything. A tour to Klein Curaçao is incredibly relaxing since there are only four sights: the lighthouse, the shipwrecks, the beach, and the underwater world.

A piece of Klein Curaçao history

The rock island was first put on the map in 1871. It was probably discovered long before that, but its exact history is pretty unclear. We do know that the Dutch West India Company used it as a quarantine island for slaves in the previous centuries.

Mother Nature then took over the island. Or rather: the birds took over the island. They used it as a breeding ground. And as a place to shit! Thanks to all that shit, Klein Curaçao was a phosphate-rich island. I immediately think of the Islas Ballestas in Peru, where tens of thousands of birds still breed. My guide there proudly proclaimed that Peru had the most expensive poo in the world. You can make fertilizer from the bird poo, and that – apparently – makes good money.

Although the smell in Peru was unpleasant – to say the least – you won’t notice anything like that on Klein Curaçao. The birds have flown, and the poo was extracted and sold in Europe in the late nineteenth century. The result: a barren, bare plain. A bit like Klein Curaçao is nowadays, although the local nature organization is doing a lot of work to make the island a bit greener again.

An excursion to Klein Curaçao (day trip)

You can actually only visit Klein Curaçao with an excursion: a boat trip. Unless, of course, you have a boat of your own or friends with a boat (always handy, such friends 😉). Most boats leave from the Spanish Water harbor, and from there, it is about two hours by boat. Be prepared for a challenging crossing. The waves are intense, and you won’t be the first (and last) to get seasick. So make sure you have something for motion sickness, such as a wristband or pills. By the way, the way back is a lot quieter because you are sailing with the waves – it’s also about half an hour faster.

The boat sails by Curaçao’s coastline, so you have a nice view, and once on open water, you can spot flying fish and maybe even dolphins. So pay attention!

Lighthouse of Klein Curaçao

When you arrive, you immediately see the highlight from Klein Curaçao: the lighthouse. From the beach, it is a short ten-minute walk to the lighthouse. Getting lost is impossible.

Arrival at Klein Curaçao: part of the island seen from the boat.

The lighthouse is officially called the Prins Hendrik lighthouse, but everyone actually knows it as the lighthouse of Klein Curaçao. A lighthouse was built in the 19th century to prevent ships from not seeing the island and getting shipwrecked. The lighthouse did not survive a hurricane, so in 1877 another lighthouse was built on Klein Curaçao. It was renovated in 1913 and again in 2017.

Do not expect a beautifully finished, plastered, and painted lighthouse. The lighthouse has mainly been reinforced, and care has been taken that it does not fall into complete disrepair, it still has its ruin-like look – although I understand there are plans to refurbish it even further. Nowadays, you can climb the lighthouse again via the very narrow stairs. Once at the top, it is not a pleasant place for people with a fear of heights, I can tell you. So maybe – if heights aren’t your thing – you better take the climb for granted.

Photogenic shipwrecks on Klein Curaçao

If you continue the path towards the coast and cross the island in width, you will arrive at shipwrecks. In the 1980s, the oil tanker (the Maria Bianca Guidesman) ran aground here, and the wreck was never recovered. Off the rugged coast, the shipwreck is rusting away. On the beach, you will find lost ship’s pieces and also a small sailing yacht. It has only been there since 2007. It’s, unfortunately, a bit less impressive than the oil tanker.

By the way, I advise you not to walk to the shipwrecks and the lighthouse barefoot. There is a hiking trail, but you inevitably also walk on the rocky parts, which have sharp points. Wear flip-flops and (sustainable) sunscreen! The sun is treacherously intense here, and you quickly forget that when there is a nice breeze blowing through your hair and cooling off your skin.

Sunbathe and snorkel on Klein Curaçao

If you have ticked off the two sights, you can fully enjoy your beach day. Because Klein Curaçao has hardly any vegetation, I advise you to book your day excursion to the island with an organization that offers beach houses or umbrellas. Because: shade = awesome. I visited Klein Curaçao with Mermaid, and they have a large, fully-equipped beach house.

Take a walk on the beach and keep an eye out for a turtle nest. They are neatly marked with a sign so that no one damages the nest. The turtles must also be regularly in the water here. Unfortunately, I did not find any during my snorkeling moments, but I did see them later from the boat. But by then, we were already leaving. Discover here where I did get to snorkel with turtles on Curaçao.

Actually, I didn’t find snorkeling that interesting here either. There is very little to see; maybe I just did not find the right place, of course. The crew of Mermaid throws bread into the water after lunch to lure the fish, which is very successful. Then, of course, you are in the water with many people simultaneously, so it is not very idyllic.

By the way, check whether you get snorkeling gear with your day trip. Usually yes, and at Mermaid, the snorkel gear looked good too. I don’t know how that is with the other companies. If you want to be sure of good stuff, bring your own snorkel mask along.

Boat trip to Klein Curaçao with Mermaid

I chose a Klein Curaçao excursion with Mermaid. Mainly because they also have a beach house, so you can look up a beach bed with a little shade. But also because they have good reviews and I could find discount codes online. Try the Mermaid discount code VAKCUR10 or CTG10. Hopefully, they still work when you book.

Early in the morning, the Mermaid team will pick you up from your accommodation. With a limousine! In other words, the trip starts well – very well. Mermaid’s boat is nice and big and sturdy. The friendly Dutch crew welcomes us and points us to coffee and tea. We have to wait a while for breakfast as we will have that on the island. Very sensible, considering the risk of seasickness.

When we dock at the island, the daredevils are allowed to jump off the boat’s top floor. For me, the first floor is already sufficient. Those who prefer not to are brought ashore in a smaller boat. A brief explanation of the daily schedule follows in the Mermaid beach house. Not that there is much to plan though: breakfast, lunch, and departure. Right next to the beach house is a watchtower that you can climb on to get a good idea of how big (or small) Klein Curaçao is. Here you can also see good areas of greenery coming up again.

Top view of Mermaid Beach House: beach with large umbrellas and in the background the Mermaid boat in the water

Breakfast consists of ham and cheese sandwiches and fruit. There is a BBQ lunch with spare ribs, burgers, chicken, bread, salads, and fruit in the afternoon. All well taken care of. Non-alcoholic drinks are included in the price, beer, wine, and rum you have to pay a little extra for.

All providers Klein Curaçao day trips

In addition to Mermaid, there are other providers of Klein Curaçao excursions. The prices are all around € 90 to € 100. For the Mermaid trip, I found the discount codes: VAKCUR10 or CTG10. Hopefully, they still work!

When you book, pay attention to what exactly is included in your package. For example, an open bar at one provider also includes rum punch, and at the other, it is only non-alcoholic drinks.

Find your trip! BreezeBlueFinn CatamaranBlueFinn MotorjachtIrie ToursMermaidMiss AnnPowerboat
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