Playa Forti, Curacao
Cliff jumping, gentle waves, and the bonus of a small hidden beach make a stop at Playa Forti a refreshing excursion for the family while on your Curaçao vacation.
Playa Forti, a small beach with three restaurants close by, near the town of Westpunt, is one of three beaches on Westpuntbaai (Westpunt Bay), the other two being Playa Grandi and Playa Kalki.
Playa Forti is best known for cliff jumping. A 12 meter (40 foot) plunge into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean is appealing to both residents and visitors. For those adventurous enough to take the plunge, look for a narrow path extending from the parking area between a restaurant and the cliff edge. Walk to the end of the path and take the leap! Jumping into the water, is of course, at your own risk. There are no lifeguards here.
For people who feel safer with their feet solidly on the beach and prefer to wade in the water, Playa Forti is worth a visit. A good sized parking area to the left of the beach doubles as the parking area for two of the restaurants. Steep, concrete steps lead down the 12 meter cliff to the beach and water’s edge. The beach consists of coarse sand, tiny pebbles and some broken coral.
The gentle waves, with the sand and pebble beach make Playa Forti an excellent place for a family swim in the Caribbean. Though few people would come here for diving, the snorkeling along the cliff on the left side is quite good. You will need to be careful how far along the cliff you snorkel if cliff jumping is taking place. From Playa Forti it is an easy swim over to Playa Grandi and the sea turtles.
Other than the restaurants on the cliff, there are no facilities at the beach. As Playa Forti is a quiet beach used primarily by residents of Curaçao, it is not generally crowded. You can expect that weekends and national holidays will be busier. Other than several palm thatched shelters, Playa Forti offers no shade.
On the right side of the beach are large rocks that separate Playa Forti from Playa Grandi. These “rocks”, with a height of about 6 meters (20 feet), offer people who are “somewhat adventurous” an alternative to the larger cliff jump.
Hidden behind these rocks, and something few visitors to Playa Forti experience, is a secluded beach. A narrow, sandy passage leads around and behind the rocks, opening onto a tiny beach hidden from everything around. Though water enters around the base of the rocks, the only way in and out is the narrow passage.
As with all the beaches on Curaçao’s south side, sunsets are spectacular. The fishing boats anchored off Playa Grandi add local character to your sunset photos.
Another photo opportunity is the point of land where the cliff jumping takes place. A panoramic view of Westpuntbaai includes: Playa Forti; the neighboring Playa Grandi; fishing boats and the steeple of the local church in the background.
If you are coming from the east side of the island, the simplest way to arrive at Playa Forti is to take Weg Naar Westpunt past Christoffel and Shete Boka National Parks. Drive through the town of Westpunt, following back to the east through a dip in the road (and the entrance to Playa Grandi), passing the church on the left and watching for the beach and parking area just beyond the Blue View Sunny Terrance Restaurant.
If you are coming from the east side of Curaçao, a good day trip is to go to Shete Boka National Park in the morning; then out to Watamula in the early afternoon and on to Playa Forti for a refreshing swim.
Historical Note: Historical archives describe a small fort or battery with seven embrasures (openings for cannons) at this location. The intent was to provide protection for Westpuntbaai, however the document admits that the cannons could not cover all of what is now Playa Grandi and it was recommended a new battery be built at that location. Though we do not know where the fort was, it makes sense that it was likely located close to the restaurant and cliff jumping point.