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The Kenepa Plantation – Where history merges with nature

Kenepa Plantation – A Storied Landhuis

Are you looking for the perfect place on Curaçao to get away from it all?  Then you should discover the Kenepa Plantation.  This sprawling area, located on the West side of Curaçao, is the perfect place to get lost in nature and spend a relaxing day on the beach.

History Merges with Nature in Curaçao

Welcome to Landhuis Kenepa.   This Plantation, located in the western part of Curaçao, is named after the fruits of the Kenepatree and is an expansive country estate constructed in 1693.  In 2005, its buildings were fully restored by the government’s Monument Foundation.

The Kenepa Plantation was once one of Curaçao’s largest and wealthiest plantations that produced divi-divi seed-pots and sheepwool. However this location is best known in the island’s history as the place where the seeds of slave emancipation first took root.  Though slavery was not officially abolished on Curaçao until 1863, the road to emancipation began right here at Landhuis Kenepa.

In 2007, Landhuis Kenepa (Museo Tula) was established as a museum. Today you can discover wonderful pieces that display rituals, customs, history, and culture from an Afro-Curaçaoan point of view. The enlightening permanent and revolving exhibits can be viewed independently or with a guide for groups. Also, on site you will discover a gift shop with local crafts and the Creole Kitchen, a unique café featuring Creole-Caribbean-African cuisine. Guided eco-tours of the surrounding countryside, including a 17th-century garden, are also available.

Kenepa Plantation in Curacao | Dive Travel Curacao
Photo courtesy of the Tula Museum, Kenepa Plantation

“Echoes of the past now resonate loud and clear where aspirations of freedom were once reduced to hushed tones and secret drumbeats…” wrote Susan Campbell

Discover the Beaches of the Kenepa Plantation

The Playa Kenepa beaches are two of the most popular beaches located on Curacao. Playa Kenepa Grandi (Grote Knip) and Playa Kenepa Chiki (Klein Knip) are regularly visited by both tourists and locals because the natural beauty and serenity that they exude.

How to Get There

Driving from the historic Kenepa Plantation Landhuis you will first encounter Kenepa Chiki.

Kenepa Chiki is one of the prettiest beaches on the island.  It is a small cove with lots of shade and white sand. This is a hidden treasure for beach-goers, snorkelers, and scuba divers alike.  With an easy shore entry from the beach, you can head out to the drop-off along the cliffs, where you discover a beautiful abundance of bio-diversity including gorgonians, orange cups corals, schooling fingerlings and some small caves.

Playa Kenepa Grandi (“big beach”) is a much larger beach further along the road. Following the road, you will realize that it is located in an isolated and practically deserted region of the plantation. However, this does not mean that the place is not crowded. On weekends, residents of Curaçao migrate to enjoy this “one of a kind” public beach.

When you drive down the barren road from Kenepa Chiki you will first encounter the parking lot. But it is the water that captures your attention first. When it starts to come into sight you will immediately be awestruck by the intensely vivid turquoise sea that lies beneath the surrounding cliffs.

With the sun’s rays reflecting off the white sandy sea floor, the many shades of blues to come to life. This enticing fact alone drives you to dive in, to immerse yourself into the warmth of these Caribbean waters by enjoying a breath-taking snorkeling or scuba diving experience.

Playa Kenepa Grandi | Dive Travel Curaçao
Kenepa Grandi - photo courtesy of Gail Johnson Photography

Dive in at Kenepa and Feel it For Yourself

The Kenepa Plantation is the perfect place on Curaçao to get away from it all. This area allows you to get lost in nature and spend a relaxing day on the beach with an aquatic wonderland just a few foot-steps away, across the sand of these magnificent beaches.

Since both beaches are public, there is no entrance fee. But there are beach beds and umbrellas available for rent, along with snorkeling gear, transparent kayaks and paddle boards. For more information, please contact Playa Kenepa or a recommended Curaçao Dive Operator.

Special thanks to our friend, Susan Campbell, for the excerpts from her story – Storied Landhuis, published in Curaçao Nights.

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1% of Dive Travel Curaçao’s net annual proceeds are donated to Reef Renewal Curaçao so they can re-invest it in restoring corals for the future of Curaçao

Updated:  article originally published May 7, 2019.

Thank you to our partners for all the photography and videography: The Curaçao Tourist Board, Naturepicsfilms and Gail Johnson Photography.

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