Curacao

scuba diving curacao

 

Scuba diving in Curacao

 

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Check here for the latest travel advisory to Curacao in the light of the current coronavirus outbreak.


Curacao DIVING highlights

Curacao has a mixture of all sorts of scuba 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 the 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. Curacao offers also some of the best diving in the Caribbean

 

 

Intro to Curacao

Curacao is part of the the three western most islands in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean sea and together with Aruba and Bonaire they are named as the ABC islands. Known for its beautiful pristine beaches, this Dutch Caribbean paradise island offers plenty for scuba divers. 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 scuba diving, but it also has great topside activities/views as well.

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Diving Information 

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Marine Life

The marine life in Curacao is very colorful and you'll find many great underwater photography subjects. 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. Moreover, from the bigger marine life barracudas, turtles, moray eels, sting rays and eagle rays can be spotted. 

 

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 CURACAO Dive Sites

Curacao has more than 60 dive sites from which the majority are diveable from the shore. We have rounded up some of the best sites and here are the top 10 dive sites in Curacao. 

  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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 the All West dive shop.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. Booby Trap - This is one of our favorite sites for beginner divers with just a mild current, easy access, and great visibility. It provides a variety of soft and hard corals and sponges. The dive site is also great for macro.
  • 6. Paradise - It is an excellent dive site for all the scuba divers that love cave diving.  The cave has spectacular reef and is home to many turtles. The best part about the dive site is that it barely has other divers or boats there. This is how the dive site likely got its name.
  • 7. Superior Producer - While Booby Trap is great for beginners, Superior Producer is a wreck dive suitable only for advanced divers. At the depth of 100ft (30m) this wreck is one of the best in the Caribbean that has grown beautiful coral attracting lots of marine life. One of wreck divers' favorite part is the wheelhouse that can be explored closely.
  • 8. Tugboat - The tugboat lies at shallow depths which is also good for beginners and great for long dives. Not only is the boat a highlight of the dive, but the nearby pier has lots of marine life hiding there. You can spot seahorses, octopus, tarpons, and many others. 
  • 9. Klein Curacao - Meaning the Little Curacao, this site is a long boat ride away but definitely worth the visit. The little island is uninhabited, which is why the marine life is amazing and the waters crystal clear. You can even spot some incredible species like Mola Molas and hammerhead sharks!
  • 10. Snake Bay - Though you might expect to see a lot of sea snakes, the dive sites name actually comes from the multiple morays and eels living in the spot. It is very rich in marine life and even some bigger pelagics like turtles and dolphins can be spotted.

 

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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).  

 

CURACAo DIVE RESORTS & dive shops

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. Nevertheless, Curacao is also great for shore diving with easy access and thus making it a great dive destination for independent travellers. 

 

Best Time to Dive

Diving is pretty much good all year round. Most of the year is the dry season and a very small part, during October to December, is the rainy season. Thus, the diving conditions and visibility are generally very good all year. If you want to witness coral spawning, then September and October are the months to visit. Similarly to the other Caribbean islands, the high season in Curacao is from mid-December to mid-April. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, it is best to visit during the rest of the year. 

 

OPTIONS FOR COMBINATION TRIPS

Its neighboring islands Aruba and Bonaire are very close to Curacao. Their collective nickname is the "Netherlands ABC Islands". Aruba is a great party island with many casinos, and Bonaire is known as the shore diving capital of the world. Bonaire has a lot of dive sites to choose from and thus crowds are not really an issue. It offers some healthy corals, shipwrecks, and a variety of marine life. Scuba diving in Aruba is great for wreck divers but also has some very beautiful coral reefs. 

 

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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