A Storied Landhuis
“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
Welcome to Landhuis Kenepa. This Plantation, located in the western part of Curaçao, is named after the fruits of the Kenepatree and is a sprawling country estate constructed in 1693. In 2005, its buildings were fully restored by the government’s Monument Foundation. Although it was once one of Curaçao’s largest and wealthiest plantations, producing divi-divi seed-pots and sheepwool, this location is truly 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, a museum displaying rituals, customs, history, and culture from an Afro-Curaçaoan point of view was established at Landhuis Kenepa called Museo Tula. 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.
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.
Driving from the historic Kenepa Plantation Landhuis you will first encounter Kenepa Chiki, one of the prettiest beaches on the island, which 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, in an isolated and practically deserted region of the plantation. However, this does not mean that the place is not crowded, especially on weekends, when residents will enjoy this “one of a kind” public beach.
Driving down the barren road from Kenepa Chiki you will first encounter the parking lot and then the water starts to come into sight where you will immediately be awestruck by the intensely vivid turquoise sea that lies beneath the surrounding cliffs. The sun’s rays reflecting off the white sandy sea floor causes the many shades of blues to come to life, enticing you to dive in and immerse yourself into the warmth of these Caribbean waters by enjoying a breath-taking snorkeling or scuba diving experience.
The Kenepa Plantation is the perfect place on Curaçao to get away from it all, 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 required. 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 CHATA Dive Task Force member.
Special thanks to Susan Campbell for the excerpts from her story - Storied Landhuis, published in Curaçao Nights and to NaturePics for providing the videos and header image.