Shore Diving in Curacao
In a sport where you often must charter a boat to see the best of the underwater world, Curacao is a unique shore diving haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule. So, if you are looking for an alternative to popular shore diving destinations like Bonaire, then you should consider diving in Curaçao.
Why? Read on to start planning your next Caribbean shore diving adventure in Curacao!
Curacao Shore Diving Sites
Curacao is laid out in a way that makes the southern side of the island almost perfect for shore diving. Thanks to the geographic location, the winds in the area come from the Northeast, meaning that almost the entire southern shoreline is protected from heavy sea winds. The lack of strong winds means that divers can get their feet wet almost any time of year, and the diving from shore is calmer and safer.
On the south side of the island, the fringing reef in most cases is within 60-feet (20m) from the shoreline which leads to incredible drop offs that allow divers to venture a little bit deeper into the aquatic wonderland. Of the seventy popular dive sites the island has available, over half of them are reachable from the shore.
Top 10 MUST DO Shore Dive Sites
Nearly all these shore dive sites are clearly marked along the road way because Curaçao knows they have great shore diving. They have gone out of their way to accommodate adventurers, like you, looking to take advantage of the matchless wonder.
Playa Kalki in Westpunt
Playa Kalki in Westpunt or Alice in Wonderland is the number one shore diving site in Curaçao and it is the house reef of GO WEST Diving. There is no clear way for us to explain why this incredible Curacao dive site is the number one shore dive other than to say it is “mind-blowing”!
But we assure you that, once you get your feet wet and experience it for yourself, you will come to appreciate why!
This shore dive is aptly named as Double Reef because of the smaller, shallower reef, followed by a sandy area and a larger reef plateau, but it is the second reef holds most of the action. Take the time to look in every nook and cranny, including the sand in between the two reefs here.
In doing so, you’ll be rewarded with the crazy eyes of gobies and blennies, the bustling work of cleaner shrimp, tiny crabs, cute baby and juvenile boxfish, hiding eels, lurking lionfish and more.
Now with roughly a half of a century of growth, the MV Superior Producer is an amazing artificial reef site and an advanced shore dive. It is home to numerous colonies and different species of corals, sponges, gorgonians and sea whips.
Because of this, it is a natural attraction for schools of predatory fish such as Tarpons, Barracudas, Snappers and Jacks.
Playa Porto Mari
The Valley or double reef at Playa Porto Mari is a very unique and an incredibly diverse shore dive that is easily accessible for the beautiful white sandy beach inside a sheltered bay.
You will often see fish here that are rarely spotted at other dive sites – such as pairs of cornet fish, nurse sharks and large schools of creole wrasses. Keep your eyes open for spotted eagle rays on the sandy valley floor and at the top of the reefs.
Famous Tugboat in Caracasbaai
The famous Curacao Tugboat wreck, located next to Directors Bay, lies in just 5 meters (15ft) of water below the steep facing cliffside leading up to the infamous Quarantine House. Purposely wrecked just a few yards offshore of Tugboat Beach, in Caracasbaai, this site is absolutely perfect for divers as well as snorkelers.
Accessing this site is easy but be prepared to be overwhelmed by a plethora of critters such as seahorses, octopus, lobsters, napping scorpion fish and the odd nudibranch if you can find it!
Cas Abou Beach
Cas Abao Beach, also spelled Cas Abou, has been proclaimed to be the most beautiful beach of Curacao and is also in the top 5 of most beautiful beaches of the world.
With its clear turquoise water, waving palm trees and white sandy beach, Cas Abao is a true paradise. Located at the northwest coast of Curaçao, the beach is and ideal spot for shore diving, snorkeling, and swimming because of the spectacular shallows leading to the healthy fringing reef.
San Juan Plantation
The main draw of the San Juan area are the beautiful and undeveloped beaches that exist on the fringes of the plantations coastline. Although many sources only refer to three beaches, there are in fact four in total.
From west to east these include a small cove, next to Boca Grandi called Playa Chikitu, then the known beaches of Playa Manzaliña, Playa Shon Mosa, and Playa Largu.
But if love snorkeling, shore diving, hiking or just simply want to chill out on the beach, we can assure you, the San Juan Plantation is the perfect place to disappear into nature!
Kokomo Beach at Vaersenbaai
An easy spot to spend the day, Vaersenbaai is home to Kokomo Beach Club, where restaurant and bar, public restrooms and showers are available.
The Kokomo Beach house reef is a very nice and pretty reef dive that is easily accessible from shore.
The Car Wrecks, on the other hand, are located east of the Kokomo Beach house reef. Divers wishing to independently shore dive this site should check in with the on-site dive shop and be prepared for a bit of a surface swim.
The Wall at Blue Bay Beach
Blue Bay Wall is located at Blue Bay Curaçao – Golf Club and Beach Resort. Here you can enjoy not only The Wall, but also the house reef and ‘The Garden’. Overall, we think you will be impressed by turtles, barracudas and numerous other fish species.
The Wall is literally a vertical wall from approximately 10 meters to below 30 meters which makes it very impressive and worthwhile to explore. Moderate your depth and pace on this dive so you can have more bottom time especially if you want to explore the part below 25 meters.
Director's Bay in Caracasbaai
Directors Bay is an historic Curaçao landmark, located between the famous Tugboat wreck and Small Wall – perfectly suited for divers, snorkelers and beach goers alike.
Diving here left (east) along the vertical wall towards Small Wall extends to a depth of about 15 meters and is home to most amazing underwater creatures, including sea horses, frogfish, eels, flounders and many more. A large octopus calls the rubble his home as well.
Directors Bay truly is a great dive site for macro photography on Curacao. Going right (west), you can also reach the Tugboat but make sure you have arranged transportation back due to air limitations.
ShoreDiving.com Rates Curacao
According to ShoreDiving.com, Curaçao has thirty-eight dive sites accessible by beach that have an average diver rating of 3.8 out of 5.
“Given the average vacation is seven days, including one day in between diving and flying home, you have six world class shore dives you can hit every single day of your trip… each site is unique and shore diving in Curacao offers no shortage of exploration opportunities.”
Night Shore Diving Adventure
For those divers who like a little more adventure, and know that some of the coolest sea life comes out at night, the abundance of shore dives on Curaçao means that you have ample opportunity to jump in the water for a moonlit night dive.
The reef takes on a completely different personality at night, and offers the best night-life anywhere is the world. Rays, sharks, squid, and octopuses all await the night time diver.
Travel Tip: If you want a totally psychedelic and mind blowing experience, then you really need to try a Fluorescent night dive on Curaçao!
Dive Shops in Curacao
Part of the Curaçao Tourist Board selection is based on a strong commitment to quality, safety & sustainable tourism where many, in fact, have joined the Project AWARE “Adopt A Dive Site” Initiative. They have committed to conserve and protect these sites from marine debris by conducting monthly Project AWARE “Dive Against Debris” clean-ups.
Use the Curacao Dive Travel Guide and ask to see the “Curaçao Tourist Board Approved” quality check, to ensure when visiting the Island, you dive with only the best!
These Curaçao Dive Shops also offer dive guided services too. Whether you are a new diver, or a well saturated veteran, a dive guide is always a good decision.
The Curacao Dive Guides know the area, and add an additional element of safety to your dive trips. They also know the hiding places of the critters you came to see.
Dive Shops in Curaçao will also have access to special types of dives and animal interactions that you will not be able to experience on your own.
Are you ready to Shore Dive in Curacao?
Start thinking of packing your mask, fins, dive computer, certification card and your thirst for adventure as you travel to Curacao. Because this Dutch Caribbean gem is a unique shore diving haven. The the only bad dive will be the dive you don’t go on!
Visit Dive Travel Curacao to start planning your next unlimited shore diving adventure to Curaçao.
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Special thanks to Torben Lonne, the Editor-in-Chief at DIVEIN.com, for collaborating with Dive Curacao – to create the Curacao Shore Diving Guide – as a Guest Contributor. We sincerely appreciate you, Torben, as one of our best global diving buddies!!
DIVEIN.com was started in 2009 by two brothers with a huge passion for scuba diving and ocean protection.
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Special thanks to our partners: Photography courtesy of In Curaçao, Turtle and Ray Productions HD, The Dive Bus, Ocean Encounters and GO WEST Diving. Video produced and edited for Dive Curaçao in collaboration with NaturePicsFilms.