Curacao is a unique, southern Caribbean, Dutch influenced island that has quickly become a popular dive destination. We’ve witnessed this islands popularity increase among scuba divers; especially, within the last 5 years, as a variety of dive sites have been discovered.
Counting down the 10 Must Do Dives is no easy matter! How can you choose just TEN amazing Curacao dive sites? We needed a little help, so we asked two of Curacao’s leading dive operators, Jnolo Ambrosi of Ocean Encounters and Bryan Horne of Go West Diving, which of the 60+ dive sites made the cut.
Of course, we all have our favorite spots but after careful consideration of all factors (and some wine), we picked 10 sites every diver can enjoy. They’re the best combination of diving experiences from fringing reefs to shore diving, plateaus, wrecks, and more – all along Curacao’s coast and an off shore island.
To be extremely fair (and we also couldn’t choose which goes where) we decided to list these destinations in ABC oder for your reading (and diving) pleasure.
Alice in Wonderland at Playa Kalki
Alice in Wonderland is the beautiful house reef of Go West Diving and is located just 100 feet straight out from the pier. This is a great choice for an afternoon dive after a busy morning on the boat. Either direction offers a varied dive experience. Look for a concrete hand at 10-ft, about 50 yards right of the pier, and don’t forget to say hello to Donatello, the house turtle. A reference rope runs from the end of the pier down to the coral reef and beyond 100-ft, but the best diving lies between 35-ft to 80-ft. Green morays, lobsters, lettuce sea slugs and sharp tail eels also make their home here.
Farthest East dive site with a mooring 5 miles before east point. Mooring is at 27-ft and the slope drops to 180+ ft. Very large star and boulder coral. Staghorn and elkhorn coral are abundant in the shallows, and there is a better chance of seeing large green morays, rays, sharks, turtles (bigger stuff). 20% of the East coast of Curacao is owned by one family. The family has yet to develop the area; therefore, there are no hotels, roads, beaches, houses, or people for that matter. This means that the coral formations are extremely healthy, and are exactly as nature intended it.
Drift from Blue Bay Wall West to Snake Bay
A wall dive to 132 feet. This wall dive is accessible only by boat. The wall is lush with coral, and there is a better chance of seeing larger fish and big schools along the wall. One of Curacao’s only true walls, coupled with nutrient rich currents, provides a spectacular show as you cruise along the pristine reef.
The point past Newport along the South East Coast. A plateau from 12-ft to 28-ft and then drops off to 120 feet. This site is a drift dive beginning near smokeys and heading west. There is a small wall from 27-ft to 50-ft with lots of cracks and crevices for critters to hide in. At the beginning of the dive there is a brain coral the size of a mini cooper. Anytime you have a point along the coast, this creates nutrient rich currents making the reef and marine life both healthy and abundant. Plus, it makes for a nice relaxing drift dive.
Located 18 miles southeast of Curacao. This is a shallow plateau dropping to 120+ feet. Everything is bigger at Klein Curacao. Ocean triggerfish are abundant and seeing 5 turtles on 1 dive is not rare. Fish life is uninhibited with the absence of local fisherman. This and other uninhabited islands away from the mainland will invariably make for phenomenal diving. Especially when the conditions are right and you can drift the windward side of the island.