This small, soft pocket of sand graces Curaçao's rugged northwest coast. Lodge Kura Hulanda's beach bar stands by with cold drinks and casual eats, and local underwater expertise – along with snorkel, scuba and kayak rentals – is available on the beach at Ocean Encounters West.
Scuba divers know Playa Kalki as Alice in Wonderland, an allusion to the reef's forest of mushroom-shaped corals. The main reef lies not far from the end of the boat dock, and it's a great spot to get an aerial view (the reef crests at 25 feet then falls straight to 100). There's also plenty to see in shallower areas, reports Julie Cannegieger of Ocean Encounters West: "You will find all manner of sea life - fish, eels, turtles - by swimming to the right, along the cliffs. We've also been seeing lots of dolphin, with large pods coming through; our snorkelers and divers have the chance to encounter them underwater."
WHERE TO STAY
Beach Club Cliff-top cool overlooking Playa Kalki, with 74 rooms, suites and studios; three restaurants; dive shop.
From $180 in low season ($199 high); kurahulanda.com/lodge; 877-264-3106