We love snorkeling Little Knip Beach. It has a lot going for it. Near the west end of Curacao, the beach is beautiful, rural and undeveloped.
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Curacao Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
The signs directing you to this beach and the sign on the beach call it Playa Kenepa Chiki. The maps often call it Klein Knip which translates to Little Knip in English.
There is an area on the left side of the bay where the snorkeling is great; you will find healthy corals and quite a few fish. Even the right side, which is mostly rock, still has a good number of fish and great water clarity. And even in the shallows in front of the beach we saw fish, an octopus, and a huge group of squid.
A group of squid is usually called a shoal or a school. We decided we would call it a squidron. So we had a great time with a squidron of squid snorkeling Little Knip Beach.
This is a busy beach with palapas and umbrellas and a place to rent snorkel gear. There was a security guard keeping an eye on the parking lot when we were there.
Like most of Curacao's beaches, this is made of nice soft sand with coral rubble at the entrance to the water, and a small shelf to step down once in the water. There are some rock shelves in the shallows so be careful when you are walking in the water. The entrance should be OK barefoot unless you have tender feet or have balance problems. The beach is not very wide, so you can enter anywhere and swim to either side of the bay or both if you choose.
The best snorkeling Little Knip Beach area is on the left side of the bay. You need to swim out to the point, and between it and the next point, there is an amazing variety of healthy corals, unique sponges, and fish, including some fantastic Elkhorn Corals. This stretch of reef is some of the healthiest and most visually interesting we found on this end of the island.
But, there is quite a bit to see on the way out to those points on the left side too. Stay near the rock wall and you will find fish, some nice sponges, some small corals and maybe a squidron of squids like we did.
The right side is worth the swim too, though there is not much coral. There were some fish around the boulders which had some interesting other creatures living on them as well.
The depths along the rocky cliffs on both the right and the left range from five to fifteen feet.
And also, right in front of the beach around the rock shelves in two to three feet of water, some fish hang out and we found an octopus hiding here to. It is worth checking out.
Right next to the beach the visibility is a little low, but just a ways out on both sides it is crystal clear water.
The reef drop off is too far out for snorkelers to bother with, and too deep, starting in 40 feet of water.
We saw a good amount of fish in decent variety including massive schools of tiny silversides in the shallows. Also the reef on the far left side is healthy and there were many interesting sponges and other creatures too.
1. Drive on the main road, Weg Naar Westpunt, toward Westpunt.
2. Pass Grote Berg on the right, the first major road to Sint Willebrordus on the left and Tera Kora on the right and then turn left where the big green signs point to Soto and Lagun.
3. When you reach the first major intersection, stay right, don't turn to Sint Willebrordus. This road is called Weg Naar Santa Cruz.
4. You will be on this road a long time, passing through San Juan, Santa Martha, Soto, Santa Cruz and Lagun.
5. After Lagun, you will need to go left when the road comes to a T. Playa Jeremi is just past this intersection on the left.
6. Keep driving over some large hills and watch for the brown sign to Playa Abou and Playa Kenepa Chiki and just past that a green sign for Knip and Westpunt. Go left here just before the Landhuis Knip (picture at right).
7. Follow this road past the empty security shack. When the road comes to a T, turn left for Little Knip Beach/Playa Kenepa Chiki.
There are palapas and umbrellas for shade, some with picnic tables and trash cans. Some trees on the beach provide shade too. There are no restrooms, showers or water. You can rent snorkel gear here though.