Snorkeling Little Knip Beach
Swim Past the Rocky Points

We enjoy 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.

Snorkeling Little Knip Beach - See Elkhorn Corals

The signs directing you to this beach and the sign on the beach call it Playa Kenepa Chiki. The maps call it Klein Knip and you might hear it called Little Knip Beach in English.

School of Blackbar Soldierfish at Playa Kenepa Chiki

This is another beautiful rural, undeveloped beach toward the west end of Curacao, with parking right next to the beach. The left side of the bay has some good snorkeling; you will find some corals, quite a few fish and some fun big boulder topography. The right side also has good snorkeling with a good number of fish and corals too, if you swim around the point a ways. And even in the shallows in front of the beach we saw fish, an octopus, a huge group of squid, and a baby French Angelfish cleaning station.

The orientation of this beach compared to the common wind direction makes it calm most of the time.

This is a busy beach with free-to-use palapas, some with picnic tables. The business at Playa Abou, the next beach north, rents beach lounge chairs and umbrellas on this beach too. You can apparently also rent snorkel gear from them for use at this beach. The snack on the beach looked to be out of business.

Water Entrance - Snorkeling Little Knip Beach

Water Entrance for Snorkeling Little Knip Beach

Like most of Curacao’s beaches, this one's 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. Put your fins on once you can float. The beach is not very wide, so you can enter anywhere and swim to either side of the bay or both if you choose.

Where to Snorkel

Interesting sponges in many varieties decorate the rock on the left side of the bay at Playa Kenepa Chiki.

The best snorkeling Little Knip Beach area is on the left side of the bay. Shortly after you enter and swim along the left side of the bay, there are some big boulders with sea life to see, including a number of Elkhorn Corals, colorful life on the rocks, and a good number of fish. As you round the point there are more corals, hard and soft, including many more wonderful Elkhorns, many colorful and unique sponges, and fish. Nearly all the life is on or near the rock wall edge of the bay. Offshore from there is primarily a sandy bottom. We swam about 800 feet from the beach and then headed back. The depths along here range from the surface down to about 25 feet past the point.

A small Elkhorn Coral on the right side has many fish hanging around it.

The right side is worth the swim too. Like the left side it is best to stay near the rocky edge of the bay, as this is where most of the sea life is. A short swim from the beach there were many schools of fish around the boulders, including large schools of sweepers. Then, when you get past the rocky point, there are lots of soft corals and a few more Elkhorns, and fish too. We saw a couple of baby Green Sea Turtles here too. We snorkeled about 800 feet out from the beach on this side too. The depths on this side reach up to about 15 feet.

Honeycomb Cowfish at Little Knip Beach

Right in front of the beach around the rock shelves in two to three feet of water, some fish hang out, a few at a cleaning station, and we found an octopus hiding here too. It is worth checking out when snorkeling Little Knip Beach.

We saw many more fish on our early morning snorkel (before 8 am) here than we did on a late morning (around 11 am) one, so consider getting here early to see more fish.
   
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 deep, starting in 40 feet of water, for snorkelers to enjoy, and a 700 foot swim from the beach.

On our last visit there was a pair of hand-line fishermen on the rocks above the left side of the bay. We needed to be careful not to get entangled in their lines. Watch for this when snorkeling Little Knip Beach.

What We Saw Snorkeling Little Knip Beach

Intermediate phase Yellowtail Damselfish in front of Elkhorn Coral.
A curious Smooth Trunkfish who demanded to have his picture taken at Little Knip Beach.

This is a great spot for seeing many fish in good variety in the early morning hours. Highlights we saw were many Spotted Drums, Redlip Blennies galore, an eel, schools of Glassy and Shortfin Sweepers, and schools of Doctorfish. We saw great soft corals, many healthy Elkhorn Corals, many sponges, Long Spined Urchin, and baby Green Sea Turtles, too.

Fish:

  • Angelfish: French, Rock Beauty
  • Barracuda, Great
  • Blenny, Redlip
  • Butterflyfish: Banded, Foureye
  • Chromis, Brown - many schools
  • Cowfish, Honeycomb
  • Damselfish: Bicolor, Dusky, Longfin, Sergeant Major, Yellowtail
  • Drum, Spotted
  • Eel, Goldentail Moray
  • Filefish: Orangespotted, Scrawled
  • Goatfish: Spotted, Yellow - schools
  • Goby, Goldspot
  • Grouper, Coney
  • Grunts: Caesar, Cottonwick, French - schools, Smallmouth - schools, Tomtate
  • Hogfish, Spanish
  • Jack: Bar, Palometa
  • Lizardfish, Sand Diver
  • Mojarra: Mottled, Slender, Yellowfin
  • Needlefish: Flat, Keeltail
  • Parrotfish: Princess, Queen, Redband, Redtail, Stoplight, Striped - schools, Yellowtail
  • Porcupinefish, Spotted
  • Puffer, Sharpnose
  • Snapper: Mahogany, Schoolmaster
  • Soapfish, Greater
  • Soldierfish, Blackbar - school
  • Surgeonfish: Doctorfish - school, Ocean
  • Sweeper: Glassy - large schools, Shortfin - school
  • Tang, Blue
  • Tilefish, Sand
  • Trumpetfish
  • Trunkfish, Smooth
  • Wrasse: Bluehead, Clown, Puddingwife, Slippery Dick, Yellowhead
Spotted Drum surrounded by small corals at Little Knip Beach.
Sampling of hard and soft corals you can see while snorkeling Little Knip Beach.

Corals:

  • Brain: Grooved, Knobby, Maze, Symmetrical
  • Corky Sea Finger
  • Cup, Orange
  • Elkhorn
  • Encrusting Gorgonian
  • Finger
  • Fire, Blade
  • Golfball
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard Hill
  • Sea Fan: Common, Venus
  • Sea Rod: Bent, Black, Knobby, Porous, Slit Pore
  • Sea Whip, Grooved Blade
  • Star: Great, Lobed, Mountainous
  • Starlet: Lesser, Massive

Other Creatures:

Colorful sponges and other life are a treat to see at Little Knip Beach.
  • Anemone, Giant
  • Crab, Tidal Spray
  • Feather Duster Worm, Social
  • Fireworm, Bearded
  • Octopus, Common
  • Sea Cucumber, Three Rowed
  • Sea Whip, Grooved Blade
  • Sponges: Black Ball, Bowl, Branching Tube, Branching Vase, Brown Clustered Tube, Brown Vase, Ircinia, Lumpy Overgrowing, Pitted Tube, Purple Tube, Rope, Row Pore, Yellow Tube
  • Squid, Caribbean Reef
  • Tube Worm, Christmas Tree
  • Turtle
  • Urchin: Long Spined, West Indian Sea Egg
  • Zoanthid: Mat, White Encrusting

Driving Directions

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 blue signs point to Soto, Lagun, and Knip.

3.  When you reach the first major intersection, stay right, don't turn to Sint Willebrordus.

4.  You will be on this road a long time, passing by San Juan, Soto, Santa Cruz, and Lagun.

Road signs pointing you to Playa Kenepa Chiki - Little Knip Beach.

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 Kenepa Chiki and Playa Abou and just past that a blue sign for Westpunt and Knip (picture at right). Go left here just before the Landhuis Knip.

Empty security shack on the last road to the Knip Beaches.

7.  Stay left at the first intersection. Going right takes you up to the Landhuis. Then, follow this road past the empty security shack. When the road comes to a T, turn left for Playa Kenepa Chiki. Parking is at the end of the road near the beach.

Umbrellas for rent on Little Knip and in the background the free public palapas, some with picnic tables.

Facilities
There are palapas for shade, some with picnic tables, and trash cans. The business based on Playa Abou rents beach chairs and umbrellas. They apparently also rent snorkel gear, but we think you have to go to the other beach to pick it up. There are some trees on the beach that provide shade too. There are no restrooms, showers, or water. The snack on the beach seems to be out of business.


More Snorkeling Little Knip Beach
Pictures in the Gallery

There were many Redlip Blennies at Little Knip Beach.
White Encrusting Zoanthid
Walls of color like this are seen at Little Knip with Orange Cup Coral.
Beautiful Little Algae & Hydroids
Fossil Coral Cliffs


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