Curacao

 

Country: Curacao

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Curacao in a Nutshell

Curacao has a little of everything which is why it's a top choice for many divers. Not only does it have easy and beautiful diving, but it also has great topside activities/views as well.

 

Dive Overview

Curacao has a mixture of all sorts of diving, so whatever your preference you'll find it here! It has a fringe reef surrounding the island. With calm waters and great visibility, you can see the healthy corals, macro life, and abundance of marine life. One of the most popular events occurs in September and October with coral spawning. The event happens 7 days after full moon and is quite spectacular to see! There are also some wrecks (most known, the Superior Producer), a protected marine park covering the southern areas, and some great wall dives at Klein Curacao a small nearby island.  

 

 

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Diving Information 

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Marine Life

Like Bonaire, this is a “macro” island, so Shark and Manta sightings are rare. You can find Frogfish, Longlured, and occasional Occelated that can be great subjects for wide-angle close-ups. Other creatures include Pigmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi), Flameback Angel, Gobies and Blennies, Clinging, Cryptic, Neck and Speck Clawed crabs, Banded Coral, Scarlet, Red Night shrimps, and Red Banded Lobster. Pederson and Spotted Cleaner Shrimps can be found on every dive. The Lettuce Sea Slug is the easiest Nudibranch to spot and comes in three-color phases.

 

Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperatures: In the mid-80s in summer, to high 70s in winter.
  • Visibility: 50 - 100 ft.
  • Average Depth Range: 16 - 262 ft.

 

Best Dive Sites

  • Watamula - Probably one of the top dive sites on the island. Often a drift dive, an hour on this site is like going to an IMAX movie. Large coral heads extend from 30 ft. to 80 ft. and large bait balls are often encountered. Turtles are common and there has been a rare whale shark sighting here.
  • Elvin's Plane Wreck - Named after a sunken fuselage, there is always something different to see here. Many locals call this their favorite dive. Like Watamula, this is primarily a boat dive (it can be done with a guide from the shore) but is only a few minutes from All West dive shop.
  • Alice in Wonderland - A great site for shallow macro work but the reef drop off from 30 to 100 feet offers a chance to find turtles, rays and large schools of bait fish. This is an easy shore dive and can be two or three sites in one.
  • Mushroom Forest - Gets its name from a maze of large coral heads that have taken on the shapes of giant mushrooms. A long boat ride from the East End, but only 20-30 minutes from the West end. Most dive magazines call this the signature dive of Curacao.

 

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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

There are multiple direct flights a day from Miami, Holland and several weekly charters from Toronto. Flights land at Hato International Airport (Curacao International Airport).  

 

How to Dive Curacao

The vast majority of “upscale” hotels and lodgings are near Willemstad and the east end of the island. Diving is primarily by boat through several dive shops associated with the hotels.

 

Best Time to Dive

Diving is pretty much good all year round.

 

Topside & Non-Diving Activities

The capital of the whole Netherland Antilles, Willemstad is located on Curacao. It is well worth a visit with over 700 historic buildings. Sights worth seeing include some of the numerous museums, the floating market, and the Queen Juliana Bridge. Coves and caves surround the island, the Hato Caves for example, cover an area of 4,900 meters squared. It holds romantic pools, waterfalls, limestone formations, and the famous Madonna statue - and keep a lookout for the long nose fruit bats!

 

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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG)
  • Main Airport Code: CUR
  • Electricity: 127V
  • Time Zone: UTC-4
  • Vaccines: Please check the CDC website for updated information on vaccines, health concerns, etc.
  • Visa: Generally tourists holding a valid passport may enter Curacao without a written permit and remain for a period of up to 90 days.
  • Language: The official languages in Curacao are Papiamentu, Dutch & English.

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