We chose this beach because of the promise of white sandy beaches, snack shops, easy accessibility, and large pigs! Yup – pigs.
Playa Porto Mari is in the heart of Williwood (complete with a Hollywood lookalike sign on a small hill). The area has a rich history – it was instrumental in defending the island and was also home to discussions between Tula and Pastor Schink during a slave uprising in the 1700s.
When you arrive, there is ample parking. At this point, no one will ask for money. However, once on the beach, an attendant will come by and ask how many people are with you. It was NAF 5 ($3 US) for each of us, except Rhys since he was a day away from turning 13! Kids up to 12 are free.
While on the beach, you can rent loungers for NAF 5 each. There is a long stretch of trees creating tons of shade for many beachgoers. However, I’ve been on this island for about four months and I have seen one too many “tree chickens” (aka iguanas) fall from the trees!! While I don’t mind the little creatures, I surely don’t want to be surprised by one falling on me. But, you can make that call yourself. We chose to get our shade under the umbrella and not under the trees. We opted for three chairs only, since the kids would be swimming most of the time. The middle
punk kid decided to make a point by sunbathing on the sand.
While we did not bring a cooler, there wasn’t a sign saying not to and we saw many people who did. Next time, we will probably bring a small cooler with us. We just tucked some chips and pretzels into a beach bag on this trip.
On the beach, you can also scuba dive, snorkel, and mountain bike. All rentals are right there on the beach. We are not scuba divers (yet), but this beach has a double reef, so it is a favorite for divers. There is also a massage area, restaurant and bar, and a little shop.
The Beautiful Beach
The beach was stunning, just as advertised. The water was clear, crystal blue, the sands were white and soft, the view was spectacular. Similar to Kokomo Beach, this one has a platform as well. My boys love swimming out to the platform, hanging out and jumping off.
This trip, my mom was with us. We got her to lean on our boogie board and we dragged her out to the platform. While sitting on the platform, I leaned over and saw a beautiful bluey-purple fish about the size of my hand. Amazed, I called out, “look at the pretty fish!” When I finished this sentence, Rhys quickly pulled his legs from the water. Then my mom FREAKED out. “A what??? A fish??? Get me out!” HA! I tried to explain to both Rhys and my mom that they were in the ocean, and did they think this ocean didn’t have any sealife!?!??! Then an older woman who had swum out, heard us talking. She started hollering in Dutch and paddling around to get up on the platform. While I don’t speak Dutch, I’m fairly certain she said something very similar to my mom. Rest assured, the fish was uninterested in all of this commotion and eventually swam away.
On the day we were there, the waves were small and soft. As you enter the water there is a section of of coral and rocks which are hard on bare feet. However, once you get past that small section, the bottom is nice and sandy. I do think my mom wishes she had brought water shoes for the small rocky bit.
Restaurant and Bar
Right on the beach, under a much-needed cover, is a bar and restaurant. We like to “hide” from the sun between 11 and 2. The rays are super strong during this time. So we get in the shade of the umbrella to read or play cards as well as eat and have a drink (or two).
The restaurant had a wide assortment of food to choose from. There were sate choices, local selections, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Rhys opted for the apple and cinnamon Dutch pancake (which, for us, is a crepe). He thoroughly enjoyed that “lunch”. Mom had a panini. Cole, of course, had a burger, as did Jack and Cody. Cody got a bit of a surprise when he used the yellow squeeze tube and mayonnaise came out instead of mustard. This, just another gentle reminder you are on a Dutch island. 😆
Overall the food was enjoyed by all. A live band played in the afternoon, which was an added bonus. The music was enjoyed in the restaurant and on the beach.
OH! And the PIGS!
We were told that there were big pigs on this beach. We went anyway. There are signs all over asking you not to feed them. However, we spent the better part of the morning on the beach without one sighting of a pig. Towards the late afternoon, Cody and I were relaxing and soaking up the sun while the kids played in the ocean. Cody was talking to me, and I turned to him, to find a ginormous pig behind him!! Not going to lie, it startled me. However, the pig ignored all human life. It was only interested in human belongings (it did rummage through some lady’s bag). Eventually, the employees chased it off. It was quite a sight though.
We will be back! This is one of my favorite beaches in Curacao so far. Perhaps a bit more pricey than some others, but really enjoyable. The boys enjoyed the lookout tower and view as well. See you soon Playa Porto Mari!