Klein Curacao, a Caribbean pearl
Klein Curacao is located 13 kilometers from Curacao and it might be even more beautiful than its big brother. Crystal clear water, magnificent reefs and corals, endless beaches and priceless views. All the ingredients for the ultimate Robinson feeling. The beaches were voted by Lonely Planet to be one of the most beautiful in the worl. Those who have had enough of the hustle and bustle around Willemstad, Punda, Otrobanda, Sharloo and Pietermaai can book a trip to this little paradise. The mystical beauty and rich history of Klein Curacao have been renowned among the locals for centuries. The Caribbean pearl is a true dream destination for those who love nature, tranquility and adventure. Snorkelers, divers and sunbathers will find what they are looking for here. If you look closely at the flag of Curacao, you will see a large and small star. The small star stands for Klein Curacao. The total area of the island is only two square kilometers. Klein Curacao is literally ‘klein’ or tiny, but it is lovely. In about two hours you can walk around the entire island. Of course you can also relax on the beach, enjoy a delicious barbecue, spot crabs and other animals and swim in the crystal clear sea. But there is much more to do on the island.
Visit the iconic lighthouse
The eye-catcher on Klein Curacao is absolutely the 22-meter high lighthouse, located right in the middle of the island. The lighthouse and the two accompanying pink mansions are now dilapidated, but they give a good idea of what it used to look like. The Prins Hendriktoren, as the lighthouse is officially called, has been here since 1849. The monumental structure was painted bright red at the time to contrast well with the blue sky. Ships could clearly see the island and they would not be shipwrecked. Meanwhile, the red color has clearly faded. If you decide to walk towards the lighthouse, try to go as early in the day as possible, when it is still relatively cool. Also make sure you have closed shoes with you. There are several prickly plants growing around the tower. You can enter the lighthouse, but caution is advised. The government has been busy renovating the structure. Thus, the stairs, the roof and the second floor have already been partially restored. But the building is still very dilapidated for the time being, which of course somewhere contributes to its charm. It is an absolute must-see on Klein Curacao.
Snorkeling with the sea turtles
Klein Curacao is the ideal place for snorkeling. The water is a perfect swimming temperature and clear. If you dive into the water with a snorkel, you are guaranteed to meet countless colorful fish and turtles while swimming. A magical experience! Some turtles are up to sixty years old and 1.5 meters in size. So keep your eyes open while snorkeling. Important advice: do not chase the animals and do not touch them. Human bacteria are dangerous fort the animals and can make them very sick. So treat nature and the animals with respect. Klein Curacao is a popular nesting place for these turtles. Every year hundreds of sea turtles, born on the island, return to their roots to lay eggs and breed. The island also serves as a nesting site for the American bighorn tern (bird species), hawksbill turtle and soup turtle. During your stay on the island be sure to spot the striped anolis, an introduced tree lizard. The water around Klein Curacao is so clean and clear that you can admire the corals and other marine life. Underwater visibility is up to 30 meters. Keep your eyes open for the many pelicans that live on and around Klein Curacao. You will often find them floating on pieces of wood in the sea. Every now and then they dive into the water to catch a fish. Seeing a pelican dive into the water after a prey is an amazing spectacle.
The impressive shipwreck of an oil tanker
To complete the 'desert island' feeling, you can take a nice picture with a huge, rusty shipwreck, which is located on the northern side of Klein Curacao. You can see it from a distance, a fabulous and remarkable sight. As you will notice, Klein Curacao is a relatively 'flat' island, which makes it difficult to see it from the bridge of a ship. There is also often a strong northeast wind, which sometimes makes it difficult to go past the island as a captain. For this reason, things have occasionally gone wrong in the past. The wreck of the oil tanker Maria Bianca Guidesman has been here since the 1980s. You can clearly see what kind of damage the sea inflicted, as large parts of the ship have already completely decayed. Several pieces have been swept away by storms and the remains of the boat have rusted to a reddish-brown color. From all over the island, you can easily walk to this place. Along the way you will also encounter the old lighthouse. Along the shipwreck you will see coral and washed up shells. A little further on, there is a smaller wreck of a French sailing yacht that was shipwrecked in 2007.
A piece of history
Klein Curacao was used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the Dutch West India Company. It served as a quarantine place for sick slaves. Those who did not survive their isolation were buried on the island. A sad and tumultuous history. Klein Curacao only grew to its current grandeur in 1871, when mining engineer Joh Godden began mining phosphate. These phosphate minerals were left behind by birds that used the island for breeding. At the time, phosphate was in great demand as a constituent of food for animals and fertilizer. Around 1970 the first boats with tourists went to this wonderful bounty island and a visit to Klein Curacao has become the most popular activity during a vacation on Curacao.
By boat to Klein Curacao
The only way to visit Klein Curacao is by boat. You can choose between different options. You can take a luxury yacht or a catamaran to the island. Departure is from Jan Thiel, Santa Barbara or Caracasbaai, depending on which trip you choose. The crossing to Klein Curacao by luxury yacht takes about an hour. Those who travel by catamaran to Klein Curacao, take a little longer. Around one and a half hour. Keep in mind that the boats often sail against the waves on the way there. On some days, especially on the catamarans, this can make you experience seasickness. On the yacht, you have little or no problems with this. On the way back you always sail with the current which makes sailing very smooth.
When the boat has docked at Klein Curacao, you will get into a small motorboat that will take you to the island. If you want to, swimming to the island is possible. The crew will take your belongings to the beach. The trips usually leave early in the morning. So you have a full day to fully experience Klein Curacao. Each trip includes an extensive BBQ lunch, an open bar and the use of diving goggles and a snorkel.
A wonderful day with a lot of fun guaranteed!