Diving and Snorkeling in Curacao


While so many diving & snorkeling destinations require boat trips out to barrier reefs, almost all of the diving & snorkeling on Curacao is easily accessed from beaches and there are plenty of beautiful sandy beaches to choose from.

The Curacao Underwater Park stretches along 12 miles of the southern coastline.


Photo by: Turtle & Ray Productions

Curacao offers spectacular underwater treasures when it comes to marine environments, with healthy reefs and good visibility.

Stretching along 12 miles of Curacao's southern coastline, the Curacao Underwater Park features steep walls, shallow wrecks, gardens of soft coral, and more than 30 species of hard coral.

Diving

Enjoy more than 60 dive sites, underwater visibility to 100 feet, mild currents, lush coral gardens, and wall, wreck, and shore dive options.

No wonder Curacao is ranked among the world’s best diving spots!

Many of the best diving spots are within swimming distance from shore.

Tour companies and dive shops offer all-inclusive dive packages, so all you need is your certification.

The two most spectacular dive sites are the Mushroom Forest and Sponge Forest where oversize coral heads and sponges abound.

Two good wreck dives are the Superior Producer, a sunken vessel near Willemstad Harbor, and the tugboat near Caracas Bay.

Dramatic vertical drops abound and can be explored at Kenepa Grandi and Blue Bay

Curacao dive operators are some of the world’s finest, offering the full range of experiences ranging from shore and reef diving to extreme extended depth and duration dives.

Reserve a Curaçao dive package to enjoy one of the best diving experiences of your life.


Photo by: Brigit Dijkhoff

Snorkeling

There are some great snorkeling opportunities in Curacao, where you will encounter many fishes and find some healthy coral reefs.

The shoreline access in Curacao is very easy with sandy beaches.

The vast majority of the beach snorkeling on Curaçao is in ideal depths for snorkelers.

Very often you will be snorkeling alongside limestone and fossilized coral cliffs, exploring the sea life that grows on the sides.

The sea floor does not often get much deeper than 20 feet close to shore.

Despite all the sandy beaches, most Curacao snorkeling is in crystal clear water.

At most locations if you stick to the left side of the bay you will find good underwater visibility.

This is because the wind and wave direction is normally from left to right, so sand from the beach clouds the visibility on the right.

For the same reason, sea life tends to be better on the left side of the bays because when the wind kicks up it normally pounds the right side of the bays, doing damage to the corals.

Curacao is close to the equator, and the water stays very warm. Generally, from December through March, the water temperatures are just below 80°F, and they can get as high as 84°F from April to November.

The trade winds in Curacao normally blow from the east. So even when the winds are blowing strongly you can expect to find lots of calm snorkeling spots.

Because of this you can commonly get in more snorkeling during a trip compared to islands that are more exposed to the winds and weather. You still have to be careful though; wind conditions can change and even switch directions.

Some favorite Curacao snorkeling spots are:

  • Tugboat - Likely the most visited and well-known snorkel location on Curacao, Tugboat is wonderful. If you book a snorkeling boat tour, this is where they will probably take you. But you need not pay to access this great spot unless you love a boat trip because it's accessible by car.

  • Kenepa Chiki- If you are looking for a gorgeous west end Curacao beach with great snorkeling, look no further. You will swim with the fish and explore live coral reef. And you could be lucky enough to see a large school of squid or catch a glimpse of an octopus hiding in a hole, like we did.

  • Klein Curacao - Some of the best snorkeling available from Curacao is on this small island. Klein Curacao lies six miles southeast of the main island. Of course you must take a boat to the island, but it makes for a great day to a beautiful destination.


Photo by: Louish Pixel (https://www.flickr.com/photos/louish/15161319797)

The Windward Side

Never consider getting in the water on the windward side of the island!

There are essentially no beaches on the north east shore and no snorkel spots.

The east shore takes the brunt of the trade winds and waves and the shoreline is full of bluffs and cliffs.


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