Once you have experienced the Caribbean in winter, you definitely will get hooked! It’s a luxury problem, but when you are a surf and foil addict it is one to love. With temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius and water that’s almost as warm, this means boardshorts and bikinis all day, both in and out of the water. After some previous travels to islands like Barbados and Guadeloupe for windsurfing and SUP, this would be our first wingcation in the Caribbean. We decided to pay the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao a visit! A family holiday with the 2 year old child, and hitting the water when that one would be a sleep! 😉
Is it always windy in Curaçao?
Curaçao is close to coast of Venezuela and are part of The Leeward Antilles (Dutch: Benedenwindse Eilanden). In the Netherlands it is known for good weather, beaches , happy hour and snorkeling, and that it is always windy (supposedly)! After doing some research I relearned why I never went there to windsurf. There are no breaking wave spots. However, there should be a nice windswell and of course flatwater action. Both good if you are into wingfoiling! Also, you should avoid the island during the rainy season from October until December. This season is a wind killer. Outside this season there should not be a lot of rain. When we had a stopover on Curacao a couple of years ago we only noticed cactus plants and dirt. That’s not because it rains a lot.
Escape the winter, wing and family time
We really needed to get away from winter and decided to go a couple of days before New year’s until the end of January. After a direct flight of almost 11 hours from Amsterdam, upon arrival we directly noticed how green the island was! From what we heard it rained a lot more than previous years. The rainy season was also longer than normal. Something we noticed as we had some rain showers during our whole stay until the end of January. This is not a problem, as they are short, (even warm) but powerful showers. But they do mess up the wind upon arriving. Also they produced a lot of mosquitos. I think we never experienced any other destination where they would dine on you the whole day. The best thing you could do was stay in the wind! 😉 Although we hand wind almost every day, this could be challenge if you were just chilling on the beach. Most touristic beaches didn’t have that much wind as they were a bit sheltered by building or by the terrain. To get out on the water meant paddling out on most of the spots first. After 50 meters or so you will be outside the sheltered area and able to get up on the foil. Of course this was different for each spot. So I will describe the ones I tried a bit further.
Probably 90% of the people going on holiday to Curacao are Dutch. That’s certainly something you won’t get around. Most people visiting are on holidays anyways, Curacao is known for its beaches and underwater world. You can drive from one side of the island to the other in a hours’ time. This makes Curacao very appealing to families and people that just want to have a good time. Most accommodation is situated around the main city that is called Willemstad. Most spots are nearby this area as well. Staying at places like Jan Thiel and Mambo beach does mean you will like happy hour, but it also means the next person to you is only 20cm away on the next paid for lounger. But it is possible to wingfoil at both. However, if you like nature, the best beaches and a bit more peace of mind I would recommend to stay on the west part of the island. If you like to hit the Caribbean ocean only, I would recommend to stay in an area called Piscadera, as that has the best spot in town, called Parasasa Beach.
We ended up staying in 3 different places. Blauwbaai, Piscadera and in the west and from these places we explored most of the island.
The local Wingfoil scene on Curaçao
As I have the shop Wingsurfer.nl I’m actually very happy I had an order from Curaçao just a couple of weeks before we travelled here. I got in touch and in the end we are probably wingfoil budies for life after sharing many great sessions together. The scene is really small in Curacao although it has so much potential! When foiling on the lakes you will probably meet other wingfoilers. On the ocean there are some that do it, but not many. If you see one, don’t let go of them! 😉
Wingfoil spots on Curaçao
For wingfoiling I’d say the whole South-West coast of Curacao has possibilities to have fun! The wind can be perfectly sideshore, but it can also be offshore. In the general, the more west you go on the island, the more offshore the wind becomes. On the North coasts you will find one surf spot called Playa Kanoa. But there are just too many rocks to have a safe wingfoil launch. The waves and currents can be quite brutal on the North coast and there are no other beaches or places to get in or out of the water. If you like flatwater you should go to either Spanish Point or Sint Joris Baai which are both protected waters from the ocean.
If I had to pick the best wing spot in Curacao this would be it. It’s a beach where the locals hang out and it is situated right next to the Marriot hotel in an area called Piscadera. It has a large parking lot right at a little bay where you head out. The vibe is very different than most of the beaches in Curacao, with families gathering in the weekends doing large family barbeques. Not a lot of tourists go to this beach. Although people here generally have a bit less to spend, I don’t think much happens here. But people tend to take care of the place less. There will be garbish lying around and you have to be careful for glass. For your feet and your wing. Once you in the water you can get up on the foil pretty quick if you float enough and your foilmast isn’t too long. I had to swim out of the little bay first before getting onto the foil. This beach seems to get a lot of wind. Even when offshore, the wind would still work. But if the wind was really on it would be perfectly sideshore.
The stronger the wind gets on the ocean, the bigger the windswell would become. In front of the bay and also way out the back nice windswell would appear that could be ridden by foil. It is actually the only spot on the ocean I met (2) other wingfoilers.
A popular spot for tourists. To enter the beach you have to pay an entrance. You do get the most beautiful toilets on a beach ever seen though, haha. If you are just going to foil there just play the local and you probably don’t have to pay for entry. At the start of the bay there is almost no wind. You will really need to get out paddling. Outside the bay the wind is very gusty. Probably also because of some new apartment developments. The wind seems to be very gusty most of the time. All the way out there are lot’s flying fish. Overall it’s a nice spot to chill with the family, and head out from time to time and ride some minor windswell. A larger floaty board will help. Make sure you stay upwind enough. If you have trouble you can paddle back in to the bay. After this bay there is a lot of rocky coastline.
Situated more towards the west of the island. It is free to enter the estate after showing your ID. You head down to a restaurant called Karakter. The food and drinks here are great!And you can sit right next to the ocean. Wingfoiling here is possible. However the wind is very gusty. Only when you go really far out the wind becomes more stable. But the windswell is different here, it’s more steep and actually quite a lot of fun to ride! A shame as the wind is just so mega gusty!The launch is easy, as men made steps take you right in the ocean.
Santa Matha Bay
The furthest west I have been wingfoiling on Curacao. All spots more the west the wind seemed too much offshore. The drive towards this bay is already worth it! The surroundings are beautiful! The bay itself is a bit deserted. Some tourist find their way here. At the moment not much going on here. But it seems in a couple of years there might be a large resort/hotel. Currently it is one of those beaches you don’t want to be at as the last tourist around on sundown.
For wingfoiling this spot was fun! Although the wind was very offshore here, the wind was hauling. Gusty wind as well, but it was easy jumping here. It seems on days when the wind was more offshore, this spot would actually work when others didn’t.
One of the more popular tourist beaches on Curaçao. I never went in the water here. But checking it out it should be possible close to the Aquarium. Once you’re out, this place does catch a lot of wind it seems.But it’s a long walk from the parking lot.For an easy launch it is probably better to try the entries a bit more to the west of this beach. While doing a downwinder this area had some great windswell to ride!
The hotspot for Dutch holiday people. After looking at brochures I definitely avoided this place. However, if you find a cheap flight with accommodation. A big change you end up in this area. While doing a downwinder I did notice it is possible to wingfoil here. From the beach you will need to pladdle out. Not sure they leave you any space to pump up your wing though. It’s sun lunger heaven here! 😉
A nice spot to launch for a downwinder. By road it’s one of the spots most East accessible by road.On the water I have never seen so much flying fish as in this area. Really, thousands and thousands of flying fish!
Wingfoil Curacao spot tips
- Are surfboots needed?
All the spots I have been where without surfboots. However, everywhere in the ocean Coral does grow. You need to stay aware of that when heading out.
- Scuba divers and snorkelers
Be aware for scuba divers and snorkeling people. They don’t do well on foils. Most scuba divers have a buoy floating around them. But sometimes they don’t…
- Avoid hot pavement
Avoid pumping your wing on concrete and stones. This really gets hot!!!! And the pressure in your wing will get larger.
- Avoid fishing nets
Little fishing boats. When a boat passes by with locals. Most times they have fishing nets behind them. Most times they do try to warn you.
- Don’t go alone on the water
Find yourselfs a local wingfoiler to team up with for your next session. Currently the scene is still very small. The guys around are happy to meet with you so they also are not alone on the water!
Bringing your own gear or rent wingfoil gear on Curacao?
Flying from Amsterdam with TUI, it only cost €50,- one way to bring 30kg of equipment. If you like to learn to wingfoil there are 2 options on the island, both are in a protected bay / lake. Both are described below. If you like to explore spots, hit the blue and (very clear!) Caribbean ocean and be flexible you should really bring your own gear.
Spaanse Water – here you will find Windsurfing Curacao that also gives wingsurf lessons and you can probably rent gear. Other than the occasional wingfoiler, you will mostly find windsurfers here. In the weekends it can be quite busy with other boats aswell. The wind was quite gusty here coming from behind some mangroves. But it’s flat water and it’s quite deep very quickly. Also when you with your family they can chill at the surf school that has a bar and has a nice chill area. It had a good vibe to it.
Sint Joris Baai – Here you will find NIX Kiteboarding Kitesurfing School Curacao. I did see a sign they offer wingfoil lessons, but I have not been on the water here or spoke to any of the crew. It’s the main spot for kitesurfing on Curacao. That’s probably also the reason why guys wingfoil here that first started kiting. Beautiful views here, but to me this spot felt less appealing to hit the water for some reason. From what I heard and could see, you have to walk a bit more before it’s deep enough. The chill area was chill with the full breeze on you while being in the shade, but you will need to bring your refreshments.
Which Wingfoil gear to bring to Curaçao?
I’m 85kg and brought just one board, 2 wings and 1 foil with 3 frontwings. The board I brought along was a KT Wing Drifter 5’4 with 56 liters in volume. It’s a volume board I’m also comfortable on when the wind does dropa bit. I did swim a bit more during my stay then I normally do. A bit more volume to stay a float does help on some days. Depending on forecast I wouldn’t bring to small.
I brought a 6 and 4.3 meter wing with me. If you can just bring one wing, I would probably bring a 5 meter wing. That one would worked on almost all days aswell.
For foils I brought the AXIS foils ART 1099 / 999 / and 899. Mainly I have used the ART 999 and on a couple of occasions the ART 1099. Foils with a surface area of around 1000 work good for most days. If you less experienced take larger foils with you.
Family friendly wingfoil destination
While you are out on the water. Your partner, with or without kids can chill on the beach or a at a bar. Curacao is known for it’s underwater life. I have too say I must agree it’s a really good island to do so. The water is very clear and there are even close to the shore lot’s of fish to be seen. This blog isn’t about everything you can do on Curacao and the culture it has. But one thing you should really do, that’s is wingfoil! 😉