Today we are making a little road trip, driving from the Lodges to Westpunt and back.
Jan Kok Lodges is located centrally, in the middle of the island. When you drive East, you will go to Willemstad and further on to (more touristc) Jan Thiel. When you drive to the less crowded and less tourist West, you will experience a very different landscape. With different vegetation, mostly more greener and there are also more hills compared to the East. Also here, from Jan Kok Lodges to Westpoint, you will find beautiful beaches. Departing from the Lodges, we will take the main road, the road to Westpunt (which says it all 😊) and returning to the Lodges, we will take the coast-road, so you actually will not cross the same road twice.
Our first stop is at the Weg naar Westpunt at the Kunuku House or Kas di pal’I maishi. A small historical museum with objects and lots of info on the rural population of Curacao. If you want you can attend workshops and participate in a tour – for this, however, check their facebook page before your visit.
After this educational break we continue and drive further to Westpunt. On the way, we enjoy the colorful houses and pass Landhuis Dokterstuin and Landhuis Ascension, which we will visit some other time. At Westpunt we stop at Playa Kalki for lunch. We park along the road (no need to park at nearby hotel Kura Hulanda, where you will be charged a parking fee) and take the steps down to the beach. You enter a shady wooden terrace with a diving school at your left and a cute little informal restaurant at your right. Sitting here in the shadow, overlooking the blue sea, enjoying a cool drink and some food….we doubt whether there are any better places to be at. The reef in front of Playa Kalki is known as Alice in Wonderland and is a gorgeous shore dive. But for now we resist diving in and continue our trip.
We make a short stop at Playa Kenepa Chiki, or Kleine Knip, a sweet white sandy bay between rocks, popular for long BBQ afternoons. Next to Kleine Knip is Grote Knip, or Playa Kenepa Grandi, a beautiful lagun between high rocks. You will definitely be amazed by the blue color of the sea. There are plenty of sunbeds available and there is a simple bar where you can get drinks, smoothy’s and something to eat. Here we stay a little longer, the snorkeling is always great! There is a big change you will meet some sea turtles and manta rays here.
Then it is time to drive back to the Lodges, but not before we make a stop at San Juan, a wonderful spot if you want to get off the beaten path. You enter the estate via a gate near the main road. Following is a dirt road, which eventually ends right before the ruins of landhouse San Juan. You will be greeted by a representative of the family that owns the estate and he will collect 10 Nafl entrance fee. Beyond the landhouse is a dirt road leading to 4 beautiful beaches. Note that the dirt roads in dry season can be a challenge. During wet season you need a four-wheel drive to get around. If you find the roads too challenging (and important: do not have the right car insurance which allows you to drive on dirt roads) – don’t worry, wondering and exploring the ruins of the landhouse is already an adventure. Make sure to leave the estate again before 6 PM, when the gate will be closed (and we are actually not sure whether there is somebody checking whether there are still visitors around).
Approx 15 minutes later we are back at the Lodges, a wonderful day it surely was.
Kas di pal’i maishi, open from 10 AM tot 2 PM. Entrance fee Nafl 10 per person. More info on facebook Museum Kas Di Pal’i Maishi. Playa Kalki, the restaurant is open daily and closes around 4.30 PM. Grote Knip and Kleine Knip free entrace. San Juan, open daily till approx. 6 PM (ask the guard), entrance fee 10 Nafl per car.
Grab your swimwear, towel, sunscreen and snorkeling set and off you go, to Playa Porto Mari. Within just a couple of minutes drive from Jan Kok Lodges, taking the road leading along the salt ponds with flamingo birds, you will reach the private estate of Plantages Porto Mari.
Porto Mari beach is perfect for families with little ones. The sea is calm and easy and there are not many rocks, so with a little one on your hip you easily walk in. But also everybody else, with or without children, will fall in love with the white sandy beach and the turquoise water. And once in the sea you can swim to the raft and just sit there, overlooking the shore, with your feet in the clear blue see….that comes pretty close to paradise.
Back on the beach, there are plenty of sunbeds, which are situated in a way that you have enough space and privacy and there are also sunscreens offering enough shadow (which you need!). There is a restaurant, serving good coffee and shakes and the lunch menu is pretty good, offering healthy sandwiches and salads and also warm dishes. Next to the restaurant you find Porto Mari Sports, where you can arrange your dive lessons and rent snorkel gear. Porto Mari is well known for its unique double reef and thus a popular diving spot. There are two snorkel trails you can follow, get more info about these in the shop.
Open daily from 9.30 AM to 18.30 PM. Closed on 31 December and Carnival Sunday. Entrance fee Nafl 5 per person (children do not pay entrance fee). Parking is free and there are always enough spots available. For the sunbeds and screens you pay a small fee.