Bon Bini! (Welcome!)
Where’s our next stop on our virtual tour of beautiful beaches, resorts, and dive destinations?
Curacao! (But you knew that already though, you cheated and looked at the title!)
One of the Caribbean’s hidden treasures and part of the “ABC Islands,” Curacao is famous for its vibrant culture, gorgeous beaches, and almost untouched marine life (which is pretty much everything we LOVE about a destination).
But what really gets our fins perked?
Spectacular dives! And let us tell you, Curacao’s at the TOP of the list. Voted as one of the top 3 locations for ‘Best Snorkeling’, ‘Best Shore Diving’ and ‘Best Macro Marine Life’ by the readers of Scuba Diving Magazine, it’s a given (and must-go) for divers of any level.
So, what’s it like diving Curacao?
We thought you’d never ask.
Much of Curacao’s dive sites are on the east side of the island, many of which are only accessible by boat. Since mainly divers and some locals (who respect the ocean and marine life) venture to these sites, the reefs are preserved and pristine.
We encourage photo-ops.
Spot and snap shots of turtles, eels, angelfish, barracudas, seahorses, lobsters, and plenty more. Divers have also recently reported spotting manta rays as well as nurse sharks on the East Point.
You can expect some mild currents and drift dives, which are easy enough for beginner and experienced divers alike. Most dive sites are reef dives with a gentle slope, nice overhangs, and even canyons at times.
Basora: This site is abundant with as many species of coral and fish as you are likely to find in one place, it’s the most eastern dive site on Curaçao. And because it is on the point, the currents can shift quickly and the wave action is unpredictable.
Hell’s Corner: For our advanced diver looking for some adventure and challenge, this could be the perfect dive site for you. Hell’s Corner has no protection from the open ocean and large waves crash against the rocks on the shore, hence the name Hell’s Corner.
Here you’ll find brain corals, tube sponges, mushroom heads, large gorgonians, abundant fish life, schooling jacks, barracuda, sea turtles, lobsters, and spotted and green morays.
Superior Producer Wreck: If you travel outside cruise ship season you can dive the Superior Producer Wreck, offered by Lions Dive & Beach Resort. This is definitely a must-do as the ship is a colorful 240-foot long feast for the eyes. Corals, sponges and micro-life cover the ship as fish and barracudas swim about.
Curacao can provide a wide range of accommodations from full service and all inclusive resorts to boutique and small properties. There are many good dive operators and with the proximity of the dive sites, divers have the opportunity to dive and experience a large number of sites like Mushroom Forest, Klein Curacao, Tugboat and many more from most hotels.
Other must-do dives include: Klein Curacao, Airplane Wreck, Kabes di Baranka/ Beach Point & Caracasbay Lost Anchor, Vaersenbay Car Wrecks, Halfway, and much more.
If you’re in the mood to shop, the historic capital city of Willemstad is a place to visit. There you can also find great restaurants, nightlife spots, and of course its world-famous sherbet-colored buildings and floating bridge.
Still into sea-life even outside the water? Us too.
So, a visit to the Seaquarium and Dolphin Academy is a must. The Seaquarium has several aquarian and interactive programs with sea lions, turtles and sharks! Experienced divers can even partake in a special dolphin dive. (We know that isn’t really topside, but we’re divers – we can’t help it.)
It’s also well worth the effort to rent a car and explore the other end of the island where you’ll find spectacular beaches amongst the cliffs and magnificent aqua blue waters.
Curacao has a mix of over 50 different cultures, so food here’s going to be varied and we love that! A variety of influences from Dutch, Spanish, Creole, Indonesian, and more can be found at Curaçao’s famous old market, Marsche Bieuw in downtown Willemstad. We can’t get into all the delicious dishes so we’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself. But don’t leave without trying: fried plantains, kokada, bami, sate, and kònkòmber!