If you are thinking about planning your next Caribbean dive vacation then you should be considering the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao! Why? Because Curaçao was once again voted as one of the Best Overall Dive Destinations in the Caribbean and Atlantic region in Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2023 Readers Choice Awards that ranks the World’s Best Diving Destinations!
Curaçao is one of the Best Dive Destinations in the Caribbean
Every year, Scuba Diving Magazine asks their readers to pool their collective knowledge by ranking a variety of categories, like destinations and operators, on a 1 to 5 scale.
Scuba Diving Readers’ Choice Awards for Curaçao
According to Scuba Diving Magazine, “Our survey asked readers to evaluate dive destinations they’ve traveled to in the past two years across several categories.” The top destinations were then “rated excellent by survey respondents (in order based on the number of votes and percentile of score).”
Once again in the 30th Readers Choice Awards, our Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao was named as one of the Caribbean’s Best Overall Dive Destinations for 2023. In addition to this incredible acknowledgement, Curaçao also ranked as a Top 10 Dive Destination in the following categories: Best Shore Diving, Health of Marine Environment, Best Snorkeling, Best Macro Life, Best Wreck Diving, Best Photography, Best Advanced Diving, Best Wall Diving and Best Big Animals!
Shore Diving in Curaçao
In a sport where you often must charter a boat to see the best of the underwater world, Curacao is a unique shore diving and snorkeling haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule.
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, and nearly all these shore diving and snorkeling sites are clearly marked along the roadway. Curaçao knows they have great access for shore diving and snorkeling, and they have gone out of their way to accommodate adventurers looking to take advantage of the matchless wonder.
Is Curaçao a better shore diving destination than Bonaire? This is the most common question and comparison that is heard all the time! The answer is, we recommend diving both islands. Why? Because each island has it’s own unique character however, it must be said, there is far more variety and things to do in Curaçao.
Pristine and Healthy Marine Environment
Sustainable Dive Tourism in Curaçao is of immense importance to conserve the 104 square kilometers of fringing coral reefs that surround the island. Equally important is the real commitment between the public and private sectors to collaborate on environmental legislation and ISO Standards that is required for our island, located in the heart of the Dutch Caribbean.
Our island’s subaquatic life is one of the many things that sets Curaçao apart from the other islands in the Caribbean. The real commitment, of Dive Travel Curaçao and our sustainable tourism partners, to support Reef Renewal Curacao, Green Fins, and the PADI AWARE Foundation initiatives are first steps in sustaining and spreading environmental awareness of our island’s life below the waterline.
With the assistance and teamwork of the entire community we need to create change in order to provide future generations an opportunity for a healthy and sustainable environment, both above and below the waterline.
“Marine tourism plays an important role in Curaçao’s economy and as the industry grows, it is critical to establish practical approaches to protect the marine environment. By adopting Green Fins, dive operators are taking vital steps in ensuring Curaçao’s dive market is sustainably managed to increase corals and marine life’s resilience to wider global threats and protect the valuable marine ecosystems for future generations.”JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation
One of the Best Caribbean Destination’s for Snorkeling
Snorkeling in Curacao is a dream for anyone who loves the combination of amazing beaches and the mind blowing diversity that exists along fringing coral reefs. The beaches in Curacao are absolutely ideal launching points for snorkeling because, within a few fin kicks, they provide easy access to the near by reefs that are teaming with colorful life.
While snorkeling in Curaçao it will not unusual to see large bait balls, schools of colorful parrotfish, tangs, Sargent Majors and of course sea turtles, to name a few – and you will of course be guaranteed to see unique coral formations like brain coral and giant sea fans.
Palagics are not a guarantee on any snorkel or dive trip but you might be just lucky enough to encounter rarer marine species such as stingrays, eagle rays, or even a giant manta ray!
If snorkeling around shipwrecks, such as the famous Tugboat, is more your speed – no worries! Curaçao has a few wonderful wrecks to discover that lie on white sandy plateaus. Here you might see scurrying crabs, branching corals and colorful sponges plus possible schools of garden eels sticking their heads out the sand.
Whatever you may be looking for, generally you will find it all under the water in Curaçao.
Curaçao is a Best Destination for Macro Life and Photography
Are you an underwater photographer? If you are then you should discover Curaçao. This Dutch Caribbean island is a fantastic alternative to Bonaire and it is consistently rated as one of the 5 Best Places For Macro Scuba Diving and underwater photography in The Caribbean & Atlantic regions, according to Scuba Diving Magazine.
Shark and Manta sightings are rare which makes the encounters very special. But all the photogenic small stuff is here. Some of fan favorites are the Frogfish, Longlured and occasionally Ocellated (I think they are easier to find in the winter months). These can be great subjects for wide-angle close ups and of course Seahorses are for the sharp eyed. Also, if you are good with your camera and buoyancy, the dive masters are more likely to share their little secrets.
World Class Advanced and Wreck Diving
When you think about wreck diving or snorkeling around wrecks, your immediate attention turns to shipwrecks. Right? It’s true! What bubbles to the surface is a combination of speculation and an excited fascination because wrecks are simply cool plus they also offer nature new habitats as incredible artificial reefs sites.
Here in Curacao, the variety and the depth of the wrecks to snorkel or to dive is quite vast. Not only is there shipwrecks to explore, but there are also cars, trucks, and even airplanes!
In fact – whether you are a snorkeler, a recreational or advanced diver, a technical diver, or just a land lover interested in wrecks – here in Curacao, there are wrecks for everyone to discover that even includes a deep exploration dive in a mini-submarine.
So, if you love wrecks keep reading as we dive into the 10 famous wrecks of Curacao!
Curaçao is an Unknown Best Destination for Big Animals
“Since discovering Curaçao in the winter of 2006-2007, I can honestly say that it’s never the same scene twice since arriving here. Whale Sharks, Dolphins, Giant Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Hammerheads, Sea Turtles, a Mola Mola, and even a few Humpback Whales have all wandered into my path over the years. That’s the beauty of diving around Curaçao: it’s natural biodiversity.”Bryan Horne, Dive Curaçao
Some of the Best Wall Diving in the Caribbean
Curaçao has over 70 world class diving sites that line the southern coastline. But, did you know that Curaçao has some incredible vertical walls that plunge down more to more than a hundred feet or thirty meters?
Dive sites such as Blue Bay Wall, Beacon Point, Director’s Bay and Black Coral Garden are a few examples where the reef walls vary in size from just a few meters on a part of the reef to walls that drop dramatically down for hundreds of meters and more.
Start planning your 2023 scuba diving vacation to Curaçao!
Start thinking of packing your mask, fins, dive computer, certification card and your thirst for adventure! Consider adding Curaçao to your dive vacation list and discover the “best kept secret in the Caribbean”.
Whether you are individual divers, a dive group, or a family; contact us to Dive Curaçao and to customize your Sleep and Dive (and Drive) package with the Best Dive Resorts and Dive Shops in Curaçao!
The Dive Travel Curaçao personalized approach maximizes your value, while maintaining a high level of quality and safety that will enhance your overall Curacao dive vacation experience.