Playa Knip is really two beaches: Groot Knip (aka Kenepa Grande) is the size of a football field, while Klein Knip (aka Kenepa Chiki) is, well, small. Both have brilliant white sand, shady shelters, azure waters, places to rent snorkeling gear, and snack bars. Avoid weekends, when half the island shows up for a dip. Knip is just down the hill from Landhuis Kenepa.
Caracas Bay Island
Amid the upscale homes dotting the curving and gnarled coast and hills around Spaanse Water is Caracas Bay Island, a little isthmus dividing the inland water from the ocean. The beach may be rocky but it attracts a huge crowd at weekends. One draw is Windsurfing Curaçao, which is right on the smooth yet breezy waters of Spaanse Water.
Kleine St Michiel
About 6km north from Otrobanda, Kleine St Michiel is a traditional fishing village on a tiny bay. The small ruins of a 17th-century Dutch fort are on the cliffs above the water. There are a few beachfront cafes and bars. On weekends there is usually a live band playing a heady mix of Curaçaoan Creole. The place jams.
There are scores of beautiful beaches hidden in coves along the west coast. To head to the north end of the island via the northwest coast, take the main road, Weg Naar Westpunt (literally, ‘road to Westpunt’), 8km from Willemstad to Kunuku Abao, where you turn west onto Weg Naar St Willibrordus.