Widely considered as one of the most beautiful beaches of Curacao, Playa Porto Mari is right out of a postcard. With its white sand shaded by manchineel trees and its turquoise sea, it is one of the most visited of the island. Playa Porto Mari is famous with divers for its unique “double reef”, which is unfortunately too deep to be fully enjoyed from the surface of the sea. Playa Porto Mari is still nice to snorkel, especially along the cliffs and around the “reef ball” clusters laced in the bay.

Playa Porto Mari snorkeling map, Curacao

How to get there?

Playa Porto Mari is located on the northwestern coast of Curacao, some 20km north to Willemstad. If you have your own rental car, drive north on Weg Naar Westpunt. Just before Daniel, turn left towards Sint Willibrordus. The road to the beach is then well marked. It is possible to reach the beach by taxi (approx. $45 each way from city center or cruise terminal), but arrange your return trip as there are no taxis waiting there. Some island tours also include a stop at Playa Porto Mari.

The beach is open daily from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. Beach entrance fee is Nafl. 5.00 /$3 pp. Check the latest news about Playa Porto Mari on the beach official website. If you don’t have your own snorkeling equipment, it is possible to rend mask and fins at the dive shop set in the beach.

Reef balls at Playa Porto Mari, Curacao

Water entrance

We recommend you to enter the water from the beach, on the left side of the wooden dock. From here, you will easily reach the two recommended snorkeling areas described below.

Exploration

Playa Porto Mari’s reef have been widely damaged by hurricane Lenny in 1999, particularly in the shallowest areas (less than 20ft/5m). In an attempt to restore the reef and encourage coral growth, 280 concrete reef balls have been laced in the bay. With a minimum depth of 18 to 21ft (6 to 7m), the “double reef” is not well suited for snorkeling, unless you free dive.

Coral cluster at Playa Porto Mari, Curacao

We recommend you to focus on these two areas:

  • The edge of the cliff bordering the south end of the bay. This area is not too deep (2-10ft/1-3m), mainly made of a sandy seabed with some rocks and coral clusters (including massive and incrusting coral, as well as gorgonians). Sergeant major, trunkfish, reef squid and grunt are commonly seen here.
  • The reef ball clusters set in the bay, especially along the sandy drop-off extending approximately 150 meters from the beach. These artificial structures provide shelter, habitat and breeding places for marine life. The reef balls have been placed in the bay in 2001-2002, and are now overgrown with corals and sponges, including staghorn coral. Many juvenile fish can be observed around the clusters, especially bluehead wrasse, parrotfish, blue tang and French angelfish.

Playa Porto Mari beach deck, Curacao

Restaurants and accommodation

Playa Porto Mari is a full facilities beach, with beach bar and restaurant.

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth18ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsBeach entrance fee (Nafl. 5.00 /$3 pp.) + parking
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.