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Diving in Curaçao

Featuring easy shore access to most dive sites, independent divers and boat diving enthusiasts both will love the healthy coral reefs, sloping walls and shipwrecks of Caribbean Curacao.

Highlights

The Superior Producer

One of the best wrecks in the Caribbean, the Superior Producer sits upright at 100 feet (30 meters) with a penetrable wheelhouse and cargo holds.

Shore Diving in the Northwest

Although boat diving is most popular, the dive sites on the northwest side of Curacao are easily accessible from shore, perfect for independent divers.

Mushroom Forest

A good example of Curacao’s healthy coral reefs, Mushroom Forest is defined by its mushroom-shaped hard corals and abundant colorful marine life.

Diving in Curaçao

Quick facts

Like its neighbors, Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao is home to plentiful diving opportunities. This Caribbean island features amazing coral reefs, walls and sunken ships. The island’s dive sites are protected from strong currents, there is little river runoff to hinder visibility and the waters are warm year-round, making this is a great place for those just blowing their first bubbles or learning a new skill. Most of Curacao’s dive sites are accessible from shore, and most resorts have gorgeous house reefs to explore. However, boat diving is the method of choice for dive operators on the island. Do note that Mushroom Forest is one of the only dive sites where a boat dive is necessary.

Recommended training

Take the PADI Deep Diver and Digital Underwater Photographer courses to get the most out Curaçao diving along with PADI Wreck Diver if you plan to visit the Superior Producer.

When to go

Curacao enjoys consistently good weather year-round. April to June has the calmest weather, while January to March see an occasional winter squall. Trade winds keep the average temperatures between 26-30°C 80-86°F. It may be a bit hotter in the summer and if it rains, it will be from October through February. Curaçao is at the far southern edge of the hurricane belt and is usually unaffected during the Caribbean’s hurricane season. The warm waters of Curaçao have an average temperature of 25°C/78°F in winter and 27°C/82°F in summer. Plus, the island boasts clear water with average visibility ranging from 16-30m/60-100ft.

April to November

Curacao’s dry season lasts from about April to November. During these months, the island will be extremely dry and sunny, experiencing consistently calm weather. Sea conditions remain steady throughout the season with sea temperatures at 85°F (29°C) and air temperatures at approximately 89°F (31°C). The dry season is recommended for those who value both beach time and dive time.

Finally, remember that while other Caribbean islands are suffering through hurricane season during these months, Curacao is located on the far southern edge of the hurricane belt and is rarely at risk of these massive storms.

December to March

The rainy season on Curacao begins in December and lasts until March. These four months will bring a brief daily downpour to the island. You can expect only slightly cooler temperatures both in and out of the water. Air temperatures average 85°F (29°C) and water temperatures drop to 79°F (26°C). The only disadvantage to visiting at this time of year is the increased trade winds which blow from January through April.

If you don’t mind the wind, travel to Curacao during the rainy season. This is the low season, so you’ll find better deals on both diving and accommodation.

When it comes down to it, any time is the best time to dive in Curacao. The marine life is unchanged between seasons. You can feel comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll experience great diving during any month of the year.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

The majority of dive sites are located along the southwest coast of Curacao. Advanced divers should head to the north when conditions permit.

    Snorkeling in Curaçao

    Because Curacao has very little river run-off, the visibility of its waters is excellent, creating ample opportunity for snorkeling. Alice in Wonderland is a favorite among divers and snorkelers. You’ll see healthy reefs and plentiful fish. If you’re lucky, you might even come eye-to-eye with a sea turtle!
    * Playa Kalki (Alice in Wonderland) – A mini-wall reaching down to 18 metres/ 60 feet lies only a few minutes swim offshore from the cove’s beautiful sand beach. Snorkelers can also enjoy this spot while divers explore below. The mushroom-shaped coral formations that host a wide array of colorful reef fish give this site its “wonderland” name. * Porto Marie (The Valley) – The “valley” is actually the open sand area that runs between two parallel reefs. The first reef is at 15 metres/50 feet, and the second starts at 18 metres/60 feet. Easily reachable from shore, you can enjoy sightings of nurse sharks, turtles, lobsters and abundant coral. * Superior Producer – The 60-metre/200-foot Superior Producer is considered one of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean. Sitting upright on the bottom at 30 metres/100 feet, you can visit the wheelhouse at 24 metres/80 feet or enter the open cargo holds. Expect to see plenty of anemones, as well as frequent visits from large grouper and schooling barracuda. * Tugboat at Caracasbaii – Because the tugboat sunk just offshore near a drop off, this site combines wreck diving and wall diving. Explore the wall that reaches down to 30 metres/100 and finish your dive checking out the morays, reef fish, and tube sponges around the encrusted tugboat at 5 metres/15 feet. * Snake Bay – This is a fish-lover’s site that allows you to see a large variety of different reef fish as well as a few pelagics. If you’re lucky, you might see dolphins, sea turtles, rays and large jacks cruise the reef edge. * Watamula – Located on the northern tip of the island, this site allows you to peer into tunnels and swim through a garden of waving sea fans and gorgonians. Drift among huge stands of healthy corals of many different species and colors, but don’t forget to look for turtles swimming by.

    What to see

    You can see pilot whales, dolphins, rays, and even turtles during your dives on Curacao. Keep an eye on small nooks and crannies, and you may luck out to see a tiny seahorse, a highly camouflaged octopus, a frogfish or a mantis shrimp. Nurse sharks and lobsters lurk under large corals and boulders. Morays, and anemones inhabit the wrecks nearby. Barracudas cruise by in the blue. Of course, you’ll also encounter more colorful reef fish than you can hope to log. The coral and sponges off the coast of Curacao are worth mentioning, as well. There is one sponge near Boca Sta Martha that is referred to as “the double bed” because of its tremendous size. Also, look for orange elephant ear sponges and tube sponges in vivid colors and star corals.

    Calendar

    For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

    Country

    Found just 60 kilometers/37 miles off the northern shore of Venezuela, this vibrant nation is known as the “C” of the “ABC Islands” of the Dutch Caribbean. Curacao only recently received its autonomy from the Netherlands in 2010, although the island was likely inhabited by the Arawak people for hundreds of years before explorers made their claims. As Europeans arrived in the Caribbean, they enslaved the native people and called the land their own. Over the next several centuries, pirates and slave ships cruised the waters surrounding Curacao, often leading to bloody disputes. Today, Curacao is a diverse nation, a melting pot of Dutch, Caribbean, Jewish and Asian cultures. You will hear all different languages and sample an astounding variety of cuisines while exploring the island. Along with incredible diving, Curaçao offers cultural experiences and Willemstad, the capital city, is a World Heritage site.

    Other attractions

    Besides the lovely beaches and other seaside attractions, you should spend some time sightseeing the interior of the island. Curacao’s capital city, Willemstad, is lined with stunning buildings of bright blue, orange and yellow. Be sure to visit the numerous museums, the Floating Market, the tall Queen Juliana Bridge and the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. Then head to Punda for excellent shopping and cuisine. In the Christoffel National Park, you’ll see Indian cave paintings, numerous species of iguana and, if you’re very lucky, the small, white-tailed Curaçao deer. The panoramic views of island and sea from the top of the mountain are stunning. The lighthouse on Klein Curacao is also a quaint sight and the perfect setting for unique topside photography.

    Getting there

    Curacao International Airport is the primary entry and exit point. This airport receives flights from cities around the world every day. On the other hand, additional options exist for adventurous travelers. Yachts and private boats dock here frequently. Unfortunately, there are no available ferry services between the ABC islands. However, a rental car is useful for getting the most out of your holiday on this Caribbean island.

    UTC-04:00

    Time zone

    ANG

    Currency

    +599 9

    Calling code

    127 V

    Electric volt

    C, 

    F

    Plug type

    CUR

    Main airport
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