It is not know exactly when Klein Curacao was first discovered. Officially it was first put on the map in 1871 by a British mining engineer named John Godden. Godden discovered that there was a rich amount of phosphate on the island, left behind by wild birds that used Klein Curacao as their breeding ground. In these days, phosphate was in popular demand being used in Europe as an ingredient for cattle food and fertilizer. In fifteen year’s time over ninety tons of phosphate was harvested and exported to Europe. This lead to major changes in Klein Curacao’s landscape, leaving it a barren and uninhabitable island.
In the 17th and 18th century the island was used by the West Indian Company as a place to quarantine slaves. Before being brought to Curacao, sick slaves were placed on Klein Curacao. The ones that didn’t make it were buried on the island.
In the past some hurricanes hit Klein Curacao and destroyed the first lighthouse in 1877. It was quickly decided to rebuild the lighthouse but this time in the middle of the island.
Klein Curacao is a well-known place for turtles to breed. Every year sea turtles return to their birthplace to place their eggs in the sand. So, the chance of encountering a turtle during your snorkeling trip is real.
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The strong winds from the northeast and currents around the island already in the 19th century led to the wish to build a lighthouse. In 1849 the Prince Hendrik Lighthouse was built. But in 1877 this lighthouse was completely destroyed by a hurricane. Because of its importance, the lighthouse was rebuilt immediately in that same year. In 1913 the lighthouse was rebuilt again, after which it was left to the elements to become the ruin it is today. In 2008 the lighthouse was fitted with a solar powered LED-beacon to ensure the safety of ships at sea. The LED lights flash twice every 15 seconds.
In 2017 a beginning was made with the renovation of the lighthouse. The first phase is already finished: the roof has been renewed and the first floor has been replaced. The next phase will start in 2018. The purpose is to return the lighthouse to its full glory.
The lighthouse is one of the main attractions on Klein Curacao and can be easily reached by foot from the beach.
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Due to the northeastern winds and strong currents around the island, many ships shipwrecked on the shore of Klein Curacao. The most famous is the oil tanker ‘Maria Bianca Guidesman’ that ran ashore in the sixties of the 20th century. The by now completely rusted wreck is slowly disappearing by the elements.
In 1934, a German freighter called “Magdalena” got stuck. The massive ship was stuck on the island for weeks, but eventually was dug out and pulled back to sea.
The most recent wreck is a French yacht called “Tchao”, washing ashore in 2007. All 4 people aboard could be saved, but the ship could not because of extensive damage. It was left behind on Klein Curacao. The shipwrecks make some nice photogenic sights on the island and sure are worth a visit.
Boat Trips to Klein Curacao
Because of enormous popularity of the Klein Curacao trips we advise you strongly to book your trip way in advance and not wait until you arrive at Curacao. The chance that trips are sold out on short notice is 99% and it will be very disappointing when you find out that you cannot join. And why wait? Klein-curacao.nl is proud partner of a large Dutch online ticket company which enables you to book your Klein Curacao boat trip easily online. Go ahead, click here book this trip and make sure your spot is guaranteed! And, its guaranteed that you will pay the same price or even less than on location. How cool is that?