Official Guide to Scuba Diving Curacao


Guide Index

The best dive sites
Critter highlights
How to get to Curacao
Visa information
Best times to visit
Where to stay


Diving in paradise

Anyone that has dove it for themselves, knows that in the Caribbean, you can’t really get too much better when it comes to incredible scuba diving, then in Curacao.

Scuba diving in Curacao offers chances to see the normal highlights of the Caribbean such as tons of sea turtles, dolphins and schools, but also white sand beaches and beautiful top-side beauty.

But we are also aware that sometimes planning the PERFECT dive holiday can be somewhat stressful, with the lack of useful information online.

But it doesn’t have to be.

In this guide, it is my goal to show you all of the best dive locations in the country, how to get there, what to expect, who to dive with, visa information and more.

There are a ton of options when it comes to diving here, so I will tell you what makes each one unique and special, and once you decide where you want to go, I’ll give you all the information you’ll need to make it happen.

Without the stress of not knowing what to expect, and letting you plan every detail.


Dive sites to explore in Curacao

moray eel in caribbean

The Mushroom Forest: This is another popular Curacao diving spot. Over the course of time, its coral formations have grown to resemble mushrooms, which is where it gets its name. All of them have an abundance of marine life living underneath them.

The Blue Room: Divers frequently visit this site along with the Mushroom Forest. This shallow, underwater cavern practically glows with an eerie, blue light. The inside is filed with various forms of macro life, including a school of glassy sweepers.

The Valley: In this case, “The Valley” refers to a valley in between two parallel reefs. This area is absolutely teeming with a wide variety of marine life, some of which is difficult to find anywhere else. It’s a good place to find nurse sharks, parrotfish, groupers, and many other tropical species.

Alice in Wonderland: Also known as Playa Kalki, this is one of the most popular diving sites in Curacao. It’s aptly named, as the site features many mushroom-shaped coral colonies, and contains a number of different species of fish and rays. This dive is appropriate for beginning and advanced divers and is also a great place to do some night diving.

curacao iguana

Beacon Point: This site has a depth of 30m and features the largest pillar coral formation in the entire Caribbean Sea. This is a good place to see some barracuda, groupers, and jacks. Please be aware that the currents here make it a spot for intermediate and advanced divers only.

Smokeys: This site isn’t visited as often as some of the others on this list, but it’s definitely worth checking out. This is one of the rare places in Curacao where you’re likely to see sharks and stingrays. Its out of the way location also means its reef is as close to virginal as anything you can find.

Hell’s Corner: Don’t let the name scare you. This dive site is appropriate for divers at all skill levels. It was named for the strong current that was present at its original location. This is a good place to find tube sponges, brain corals, mushroom heads, barracuda, and sea turtles.

No Way: Because of the strong currents present at this diving site, it’s a spot for experienced divers only. If you feel up to the challenge, you can find an underwater cave at 24m. Nurse sharks can sometimes be found inside of it. Again, please be aware of your skill level before attempting this dive.

Seldom Reef: This site was originally named for the fact that divers rarely went there. This is a bit of an ironic name nowadays as it’s becoming more and more popular in recent years. It’s a very deep dive that features a sheer 90 degree wall. The depth of this site makes it suitable for intermediate and advanced divers only. As I said, the scuba diving in Curacao offers a little of everything.

tugboat in curacao
Tugboat, courtesy of Dive Curacao, photo by Turtle & Ray Productions HD

The Tugboat: This is another well-known wreck dive. As you might it expect, it features a sunken tugboat lying at a depth of only 5m. Like the Superior Producer, it’s also covered in sponges and corals. You can also find a shallow reef on one side of it, which is home to a wide variety of macro life.

Rolling Stones: Sometimes referred to as the 18th Hole. Part of the fun of this dive is its close proximity to the Blue Bay Golf Resort. This means you can search for lost golf balls while also swimming among barracudas and huge schools of fish. This dive is appropriate for both beginners and advanced divers alike.

Barracuda Point: Also known as Punt’i Piku, barracudas are known to follow divers at a distance at this spot. This is also a great place to find sea turtles and jacks, along with beautiful coral formations. This site is especially good for intermediate divers.

Saba: This wreck dive features a tugboat lying in less than thirty feet of water. Even though parts of the boat itself are falling apart, a number of critters have made it their home over the years. These include blue chromis and rock beauties, among others.

This is just a taste of some of the great place to explore while scuba diving Curacao. When you arrive in Curacao, your dive center or resort will tell you the best sites to dive, based on what you want to see.



Critter highlights:

caribbean green turtle

Curacao is considered to be one of the best places in the Caribbean for photographing macro life. More than likely, you’re not going to see any sharks in these waters.

However, you are going to see a plethora of tiny critters that will be difficult to find anywhere else. Here’s a small sample of what you can expect to see on your Curacao diving holiday.

a sea turtle in curacao

Frogfish: These guys like to hide, so keep your eye out for them.

Arrow Crabs: Can be identified by their long, spider-like legs.

Seahorses: They can be hard to find, but you’re likely to see at least a few of them.

Lettuce Sea Slugs: A gorgeous nudibranch that can be seen in three different color phases.

Spotted Snake Eels: Likes to bury itself in the sand with only its head showing.

Gobies: See if you can get a picture of these little guys.

Pygmy Angelfish: Gorgeous, sapphire-colored fish.

Moray Eels: The largest of all eels.

Blennies: Tiny fish that are fun to photograph if you can.

Many different species of shrimp: You’ll find several different kinds on nearly every dive.

Along with many other species of fish. Again, Curacao is a dream come true when it comes to macro life. If you enjoy photographing the smallest critters of the sea, then you won’t be disappointed.


Curacao Travel Information

Getting to Curacao is a very simple process. You can fly there from virtually anywhere in the United States and many other countries. You can also get a direct flight from places such as Miami, New York, Amsterdam, and Newark.

No matter where you’re coming from, you’ll be arriving at Curacao’s Hato International Airport. This is located just outside the capital city of Willemstad. From there, you can get to any resort, diving spot, or any other point of interest fairly easily.

The island is only 38 miles long, so getting where you want to go should never be an issue.


How to get to Curacao:

Getting to Curacao is a very simple process. You can fly there from virtually anywhere in the United States and many other countries. You can also get a direct flight from places such as Miami, New York, Amsterdam, and Newark.

No matter where you’re coming from, you’ll be arriving at Curacao’s Hato International Airport. This is located just outside the capital city of Willemstad. From there, you can get to any resort, diving spot, or any other point of interest fairly easily.

The island is only 38 miles long, so getting where you want to go should never be an issue.


Visa info for Americans:

Visiting Curacao is pretty easy if you’re American. If you’re staying for less than 30 days, you won’t need a visa. All you’ll need is your passport and a return ticket back home. This can be extended for up to 90 days if you decide you can’t get enough of this island nation.

To get an extension, all you need to do is visit an immigration embassy in Willemstad. That’s really all there is to it. If you do decide to apply for a visa, you can do so at any embassy representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Best times to be visit:

People typically arrive for Curacao diving all year round. It lies outside of the hurricane belt, which means its weather is largely unaffected by the seasons. In fact, the weather changes very little throughout the year. Even its rainy and windy seasons bring very small variations to the climate.

In general, the best time to visit Curacao is during the months of May to November. This has nothing to do with the weather itself, but simply because Curacao can be extremely busy during the holiday months.

You won’t have to fight as many crowds during the offseason. You’re also likely to find lower rates on hotels and airline tickets during this time.


Other Things to See and Do in Curacao:

houses in curacao

There are many things to do in Curacao, besides scuba diving. One thing you should definitely check out is the capital city of Willemstad. The fascinating design of its buildings are reason enough to give it a look.

The buildings here are traditional Dutch-style architecture, but they’re painted in bright, colorful ways that really make them stand out. You can also find a lot of artistic murals painted on many of its buildings.

Plus, there’s plenty of quirky, little bars and restaurants you can find while wandering its streets.

Curacao is also a beach lover’s dream come true. It has an astounding number of beaches for such a small island, with 35 in total. These range from popular go-to spots like Playa Knip to more intimate, out of the way locations. If you’re looking for the latter, you might want to give Playa Lagun a look. You can also visit one of the island’s two national parks. Christoffelpark is the place to go if you’d like to do some hiking. Or you can go to Shete Boka National Park if you’re in the mood to see some of nature’s rugged landscape.

Here, you can see waves crashing against rocky caverns, which truly gives you a feel for nature’s awesome power.


Where to stay:

If you are here for diving, you are in luck. There is a huge scuba industry in the country, so you will easily find a great dive resort or operator for any of the locations above.

For each individual location you can click the guides above for information on where to stay at each specific place, but if you need to find a hotel at the best rate CLICK HERE.


Related articles

Here are all of our articles related to Curacao. Click the links below! Want to write for us? Hit us up at Justin@artofscubadiving.com

 

More articles coming soon!


Curacao geography information

Curacao is one of the ABC islands together with Bonaire and Aruba. The total area is 444 km2 (171 sq mi) and with a population of approximately 160,337.

Curacao is said to be like a little piece of Europe at the edge of the Caribbean with hidden beaches perfect for snorkeling and diving. It has a rugged landscapes and lots of fun in the sun.

Capital city of Curacao: Willemstad

Closest neighbors to Curacao: Neighboring countries are Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Aruba, and Venezuela.

Best times to visit Curacao: You can go whenever you want except for September to December where it rains a lot even though Curacao is outside the hurricane belt.

How to get to Curacao: It’s easy to get to Curacao, there are direct flights from the US and Europe to Curacao’s Hato International Airport.

Visa requirements for Curacao: Visa is not required to visit Curacao although you need a valid passport good for 30-60 days and a return ticket.

Currency of Curacao: Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG) is the currency of Curacao.

Official Language of Curacao: Official languages of Curacao are Dutch, English, and Papiamento.

UNESCO World Heritage sites in Curacao

There is 1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Curacao.

  • Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao

Scuba diving safety tips

Keep these rules of thumb in mind whenever you are on or by the water:

  1. Think safety at all times. Planning reduces risk and gives you more worry-free fun.
  2. Bring the necessary equipment. It should be in good condition and easily accessible.
  3. Respect the sea and the weather. Only go out with your boat when it is safe.
  4. Follow the rules of the sea, and make sure you know what they are.
  5. Wear life jackets or other flotation devices.
  6. Make sure you are rested and sober. Do not drive a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Be considerate, and remember that safety, the environment, and the well-being of everybody is a common responsibility.

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