Warning: This Caribbean Island May Cause Temporary Loss of Reality

Klein Curacao Island with Tropical beach at the Caribbean island of Curacao Caribbean.

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Klein Curacao, also known as Little Curacao, is a desert island spanning 2/3 square miles, located six miles off the eastern coast of Curacao. Despite its turbulent history, the island has transformed into a serene paradise.

Embark on a visual exploration of this intriguing tropical destination to see if this little slice of heaven is calling your name.

Port at Barbara Beach Marina

Boarding the Miss Ann with Island Routes Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

A journey to Klein Curacao begins at the beautiful Barbara Beach Marina, about a 30-minute drive east of Willemstad. Since we were Sandals guests and booked our excursion through Island Routes, we only had to walk down to the docks from the lobby to board Miss Ann. If you’re staying in Willemstad, pick-up service is available from most hotels.

Scenic Boat Ride

Ed at the boat's bow on Island Routes Miss Ann to Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Sandals guests board first, so we chose outdoor seating on the bow sundeck. In no time, we had pulled out of port and were on our way.

The crossing over to the island was highlighted by schools of flying fish jumping out of the bow wave, and the return voyage featured rum drinks served by the crew. In about 45 minutes, we could see the outline of Klein Curacao on the horizon, and 15 minutes later, we had set anchor and started boarding tenders to reach land.

Crystal Blue Water

Crystal blue water off Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The first thing you notice is how clear the water is and its distinctive shade of turquoise. Caribbean Blue is more than an Enya song; it’s our backdrop for an extraordinary beach day. The more we looked, the more nuances revealed themselves, like the darker blues of corals that we knew were teeming with colorful fish.

Prettiest Beaches in the Caribbean

Klein Curacao aerial
Photo Credit: Canva.

The outboard motor of the tender sputtered to a stop, and we splashed onto what many consider the prettiest beach in the entire Caribbean. Empty white sand stretched out in both directions, and we could hardly wait to start exploring. The island has no permanent inhabitants and little vegetation apart from a few coconut palms and salt grasses.

Plenty of Seating and Shade

Beach chairs under palapa on Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Despite the desolation, there was a quaint, charming beach house with a beach bar, ample shade, swings, sunbeds, toilets, and a freshwater shower. We claimed our patch of shade under a palm-frond-covered palapa and laid our towels out on the beach chairs. Even though we were miles from civilization, the attentive Miss Ann crew was there to pamper us.

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Food and Drinks

Breakfast on Klein Curacao with Island Routes
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

They serve a continental-type breakfast with scrambled eggs and breakfast meats.

By the time lunch rolled around, we could smell the cookout before they announced it. We had our choice of chicken with Thai peanut sauce or burger with a side of juicy fresh fruit.

The crew distributed souvenir plastic cups for your drink selection. We started with the complimentary soft drinks because we had our eyes on diving. However, we enjoyed a blended mango mojito or two after our last dive. Usually, this would be a paid extra, but it was included as part of our Island Routes excursion since we were Sandals guests.

Historic Lighthouse

Historic lighthouse on Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

A trail leads from the picnic shelter towards the island’s interior and the historic 1879 lighthouse. You could imagine a time when a lonely lighthouse keeper handled this structure, but today, the light is powered by an automatic solar LED. The 66′ tall tower still keeps wayward sailors off the rocky coast, but the masonry building is slowly returning to nature.

Maria Bianca Guidesman Shipwreck

Old shipwreck on Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Beyond the lighthouse sits the island’s angry eastern shore. Watching the waves crash, you realize why the crew warned us not to enter the ocean here and the lighthouse’s vital role. However, not every ship heeded the warning.

The Maria Bianca Guidesman is an oil tanker that ran aground in the 1980’s. She’s the island’s most famous wreck but not the only one. Other wrecks and debris dot the ragged shoreline, including a French sailing yacht, the Tschao. Our crew said the captain was sloppy drunk when he ran ashore. All the sailors made it back safely, but the captain’s return voyage was in handcuffs.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Snorkeling was prohibited on the eastern shore, but the western beach held plenty of crannies to explore. We picked up a snorkel set at the beach bar and were free to explore. Some guests reported seeing turtles and reef fish on their solo trips. However, the crew took no chances. They led a guided dive that included fish feeding and made sure everybody had a chance to see the underwater world.

Scuba Diving

Diving Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Even though we spent a week diving at Sandals as an included activity, we couldn’t resist paying the small upcharge for a one-tank dive at Klein Curacao. We debated it briefly, but we’re so glad we pulled the trigger.

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The reefs were amazing, healthy, and full of life. We saw turtles, eels, and the biggest puffer fish ever. Our DM, Mieke, was delightful, and with only three experienced divers and close boat support, we had almost as much bottom time on our one-tank dive as two tanks with Sandals.

Open Air Massage

Massage area on Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

You might ask how anything could be more relaxing than sitting in the shade on a deserted island. The answer would be an open-air massage. What we loved about the setup was that they occupied a second-floor space, so you could see the beach, hear the waves, but remain sand-free.

Just What is Klein Curacao’s Dark Past

French sailing yacht, the Tschao wreck on Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

This little island wasn’t always a paradise. The Dutch West India Company brought many slaves from Africa to Curaçao and used Klein Curacao to separate the sick, dead, and dying. The remains of the first quarantine building can be found in the northwest of the island, and unmarked graves dot the southern shore. The Dutch West India Company also hunted the now-extinct Caribbean monk seals on Klein Curaçao. From 1871 till 1886, so much phosphate was mined from the island that it sank far enough into the ocean to cause an ecological collapse. Feral goats and cats wiped out what remained of the fragile web of life.

The goats were eradicated in 1996, as were feral cats by 2004. The CARMABI Marine Research Station is leading a reforestation effort, and the island was designated as a protected Ramsar site in 2018. With ecotourism as a backing, the island is beginning to recover and again become an important nesting location for both seabirds and sea turtles.

Easy Booking With Island Routes

Klein Curacao
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Every Sandals guest (and even non-Sandals guests!) should consider booking with Island Routes, whether it’s a boat trip to Klein Curacao, a tour of Willemstad, or a beach-hopping journey to Westpunt. Their service was perfectly integrated into the Sandals experience, with a lobby storefront and well-practiced departures from the property.

With how well Island Routes executed our trip and the professionalism shown throughout, we have every confidence that any of their excursions will be professionally run, and you will have a great time on the journey!

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Hi! We are Ed and Jenn Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.

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Meet Ed & Jenn

Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, and together we are Coleman Concierge. It is our goal to inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard.

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