Curaçao Dive Travel and Vacation Guide
Are you thinking or planning for your next Caribbean diving vacation? Then read our Curaçao Dive Travel Guide! This guide contains essential dive vacation tips and local advice that will help plan your scuba diving holiday to Curaçao.
The truth is, this is why I founded Dive Curaçao in the first place and as a resident, I am positive that even if you cannot find the answer you are looking for here in the Curacao Dive Travel Guide, I think I may know a few people to ask.
Have you ever asked: Where is Curaçao?, Why should I dive in Curaçao versus Bonaire?, How do I pronounce Curaçao?, Is there things to do on Curaçao?, then keep reading the Curaçao Dive Travel Guide!
- Where is Curaçao Located?
- How do I pronounce Curaçao?
- Scuba Diving in Curaçao
- What are the Best Dive Resorts in Curaçao?
- Best, Non-diving, Things to Do in Curaçao
- The Authentic Blue Curaçao Experience
- Private Boat Trips
- Private Sailing Trips
- Curaçao Island Tours
- Golfing in Curaçao
- Explore Curaçao on a Harley Davidson
- Submersible Yacht Excursions
- Cruise Ship Excursions
- Curaçao Events and Annual Festivals
- Why Rent a Vehicle in Curaçao?
- Dive Travel Guide for Restaurants in Curaçao
- Culinary Delights and the Top 10 Restaurants in Curaçao
- Lionfish in Curaçao: A Sustainable Industry and a Delicious Dish
- Dive Travel Guide to the National Nature Parks in Curaçao
- Dive Travel Guide to the Top 5 Beaches in Curacao
- Frequently Asked Questions about Curaçao
- How to start planning your Curaçao dive vacation
Where is Curaçao Located?
Curaçao is located 43 miles (70km) off the North Coast of Venezuela, outside of the hurricane belt in southern part of the Caribbean. Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands and, together with Aruba and Bonaire, it constitutes the “ABC” islands. Curaçao is considered part of the Dutch Caribbean that also includes St. Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius, also known as Statia.
Located at just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao’s consistently warm and sunny climate creates the perfect scenario for year round tourism.
That coupled with the average temperature around 27°C (81°F) plus the cooling winds blowing constantly from the east (strongest in the spring months) provide excellent conditions for scuba divers, snorkelers, adventure seekers and beach goers alike.
How do I pronounce Curaçao?
The name starts with a hard ‘C’, while the ‘ç’ (c-cedilla) is pronounced as an “S”. So, this means that Curaçao is pronounced as ‘Cure-ah-souw’.
No one is sure how Curaçao got its name, but one theory is that it comes from the Portuguese word that means “heart”, since the island was the center of commerce in the seventeenth century. Although the name has remained, Portuguese is only one of the languages that you will hear on the island of Curacao: Papiamento, Dutch, English and Spanish are the others.
Traveler Tip: Language of Curaçao – Papiamentu for tourists
Scuba Diving in Curaçao
Curaçao is surrounded by more than 104 sq. km (40 sq. miles) of some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean, but has remained off radar for most diving enthusiasts.
When it comes to diving in Curacao, your experience should not be limited to either the East or West because there is so much incredible magic that is happening just below the waterline.
Why Dive in Curaçao?
With over 70 world class diving and snorkeling sites to choose from that lie along the southern coastline, you will be hard pressed to find a bad one, whether it is a shore dive or a boat dive.
But, to truly uncover this “best-kept secret of the Caribbean” you will need to prepare yourself to be overwhelmed by the intense amount of life and color when you plunge yourself into the warm turquoise waters.
These healthy fringing reef systems are attracting all kinds of marine life visitors, and hopefully more human visitors now too.
That is why Dive Curacao developed the useful Curacao Dive and Snorkel Guide with an interactive map because it allows you to easily map out your Curacao dive travel and vacation adventure! To make it even simpler, check out the Top 10 Dive Sites in Curaçao.
Boat Diving in Curaçao
Boat diving in Curaçao offers an unforgettable underwater adventure in the Caribbean. With crystal-clear turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, divers are treated to a kaleidoscope of marine life. Dive sites like the Mushroom Forest and the Blue Room are renowned for their beauty and diversity. Guided by experienced dive operators, explorers can encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, and even shipwrecks. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced diver, Curaçao’s boat diving experiences are sure to leave you in awe of the underwater wonders that abound. Learn more about boat diving in Curaçao including multi-day boat diving packages.
Shore Diving in Curaçao
Curaçao offers exceptional opportunities for shore diving, making it a diver’s paradise. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, this Caribbean island is a haven for underwater explorers. From the moment you step into the warm, inviting sea, you’ll be greeted by colorful fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional octopus. The accessible shore dive sites, such as Alice in Wonderland and Directors Bay, offer breathtaking underwater landscapes, making Curaçao an unforgettable destination for divers of all levels. Learn more about shore diving in Curaçao plus multi-day shore diving packages that include: Drive and Dive packages and; Sleep, Drive and Dive Packages.
Dive Shops in Curaçao
The Dive Shops in Curacao and retail scuba stores are owned and operated by passionate divers who have dedicated their lives to creating responsible businesses.
By shopping at Curaçao’s dive shops and retail stores, you will ensure that you will always have the best service, expert training, excellent travel opportunities, premium rental equipment and the advice you want and need as diver when on vacation.
What are the Best Dive Resorts in Curaçao?
Planning a diving vacation to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, but wondering where to stay? Accommodation is a prominent part of the travel experience which is why Dive Travel Curaçao, together with the BEST Curacao Dive Resorts and Apartments, offers you a combination of dive vacation packages.
Whether you are a boat diver, a shore diver or want a combination, keep reading the Curacao Dive Travel Guide to explore the different options available. If you, your dive group or your family would like something completely personalized then please contact us directly.
Best Dive Resorts
Explore the endless possibilities for Dive Vacation Packages with the Best Dive Resorts in Curaçao.
Best, Non-diving, Things to Do in Curaçao
Scuba Diving in Curacao is the number one thing to DO – but of course there are plenty of things to do in Curacao and no right way to experience any of them. If you love adventure, hiking, biking, sailing, shopping, exploring or just simply want to chill out on the beach, we can assure you, Curaçao is a Caribbean destination that has it all… and maybe more!
We assure you, there is no shortage of hidden gems to see, or friendly locals eager to share them with you.
The Authentic Blue Curaçao Experience
Blue Curaçao is a bright blue liqueur made from the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit, which is native to the island of Curaçao. Visiting the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery offers a unique opportunity to learn about the history and production process of this famous liqueur, as well as to taste and purchase different flavors and varieties.
Private Boat Trips
Private boat trips in Curaçao offer an exclusive and intimate way to explore the island’s pristine waters and stunning coastline. With customizable itineraries and personalized service, visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, fishing, and beach hopping. Private charters also provide the opportunity to discover secluded coves and hidden gems that may not be accessible by land.
Private Sailing Trips
Private sailing trips in Curaçao offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the island’s stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters. With the freedom to customize your itinerary and the privacy of your own yacht, you can soak up the sun, swim and snorkel in secluded coves, and enjoy a personalized experience tailored to your preferences.
Curaçao Island Tours
Curaçao Island Tours offer a great way to explore the beauty and diversity of this Caribbean gem. From historic Willemstad to stunning beaches, visitors can experience the island’s culture, cuisine, and natural wonders. Activities include snorkeling, diving, hiking, and exploring national parks. Professional guides provide an informative and memorable experience.
Golfing in Curaçao
Discover golfing in Curaçao because it is a unique experience that combines stunning Caribbean scenery with challenging courses. The island boasts two championship-level golf courses, both with ocean views and unique features such as coral rock formations and cactus-lined fairways. With consistent warm weather and a relaxed atmosphere, Curaçao is a golfer’s paradise.
Explore Curaçao on a Harley Davidson
Exploring Curaçao on a Harley Davidson is an exhilarating way to experience the island’s stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. With its winding coastal roads and vibrant towns, riders can enjoy the freedom of the open road while discovering the island’s hidden gems. From pristine beaches to colorful architecture, Curaçao offers a unique and unforgettable adventure for motorcycle enthusiasts.
Submersible Yacht Excursions
Substation Curaçao offers unique submersible yacht excursions that allow you to explore the underwater world in a comfortable and safe manner. With a state-of-the-art submersible, you can descend up to 1,000 feet (300 meters) below sea level to discover the vibrant marine life of Curaçao. An experienced crew ensures a memorable and educational adventure.
Cruise Ship Excursions
Curaçao is a popular destination for cruise ship excursions, offering a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the vibrant capital city of Willemstad to snorkeling in crystal clear waters, there is something for everyone. Other popular excursions include visiting historic landmarks, shopping for local crafts, and sampling traditional cuisine.
Now dive in to the Top 25 essential things to do while visiting Curaçao. Of course there are more experiences available too, so please contact us for more information.
Simply, it is your choice to experience it all, but it is also a perfect choice to do nothing at all too!
Curaçao Events and Annual Festivals
Dive right into a year long schedule of incredible Curaçao Events and Festivals where you will discover authentic tastes combined with a colorful history and diverse cultural heritage are the perfect mix to make your mouth water.
- Punda Vibes
- Curaçao Carnival
- BlueSeas Jazz Festival
- Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
- Pride Festival
- King’s Day
- Flavors of Curaçao
- Curaçao International Film Festival
Travelers Tip: Discover Punda Vibes’ every Thursday night. The mission of Punda Vibes’ is to make you fall in love with our dushi Punda.
Why Rent a Vehicle in Curaçao?
Curaçao is the epitome of an idyllic holiday in the sun and you would be remised if you did not explore our beautiful Dutch Caribbean island. Whether you are a hiker, a foodie, a history buff, a beach lover or an avid shore diver – renting a vehicle is an inexpensive way to discover the endless possibilities that Curaçao has to offer.
Economy Car RentalDaily Rental Rate (Min. 3 Days): $45.00
Intermediate Car RentalDaily Rental Rate (Min. 3 Days): $67.00
Mid-size Truck RentalDaily Rental Rate (Min. 3 Days): $78.00
SAVE MORE on your vehicle rental when you combine it with our Sleep and Dive Packages!
Dive Travel Guide for Restaurants in Curaçao
Curacao is a foodie paradise that has tasty menu selections and an ever growing list of fantastic venues to visit! So keep reading the Curaçao Dive Travel Guide as we explore some of the best mouth watering options available.
Curaçao has emerged as the newest Foodie Mecca in the Caribbean, offering a diverse and eclectic cuisine that reflects its multicultural history. Click here to read more about the island’s signature dishes, seafood delicacies, and vibrant dining scene that will tantalize your taste buds.
Culinary Delights and the Top 10 Restaurants in Curaçao
Discover diverse culinary delights and learn more about the Top 10 Restaurants in Curaçao!
Lionfish in Curaçao: A Sustainable Industry and a Delicious Dish
The Lionfish Industry in Curaçao is helping to reduce the impact of lionfish on the local ecosystem. Click here to learn more about how Lionfish are also inspiring chefs to create delicious and unique seafood dishes, plus local artisans are designing beautiful handmade jewelry.
Visit Kome in Pietermaai
Kome is a modern American eatery. Inspired by global cuisines, local ingredients, and memories of home, our chefs create menus influenced by their many adventures through the years. KOME means EAT in Papiamentu, the language of the beautiful ABC islands.
Dive Travel Guide to the National Nature Parks in Curaçao
The CARMABI Foundation manages several national parks in Curacao, including: Curacao National Marine Park, Christoffel National Park, Shete Boka National Park and Curacao Rif Mangrove National Park.
Eastern Curaçao is known to locals as “Banda Ariba” and this area is truly an unspoiled and largely still an unexplored sanctuary inside of Curaçao’s only National Marine Park.
This preserve has amazing sheer walls covered with extensive healthy coral and sponge colonies while the shallow plateaus are overrun by magnificent examples of Elkhorn, Staghorn and Pillar coral communities.
Inside the Curacao National Marine Park boundaries you can explore more than 11 fascinating scuba diving and snorkeling sites!
So dive in and start discovering these pristine Dutch Caribbean reef systems. We assure you that these scuba diving sites will leave you breathless upon surfacing!
Boka Pistol at Shete Boka National Park
Christoffel National Park – this is the largest and most biodiverse park on the island!
In the park you can find stunning nature, the Christoffel Mountain, beautiful birds, the national white tailed deer and wonderful hiking trails. They offer tours, guided hikes on 8 different trails, and seasonal activities. Inside the park you can find the Savonet Museum that offers insight to a unique cultural and historical experience, not to mention a complete perspective on plantation life on Curaçao.
Shete Boka National Park – Follow the main road from Willemstad towards Westpunt until you see the Shete Boka National Park sign along the road. It’s quite a long way (26 miles), but you’ll see some great scenery as you go, including Mt. Christoffel. Shete Boka National Park is located on Curacao’s north coast and it is an absolutely amazing place with breathtaking views. To enter, there is a small fee but it is well worth it.
The three bokas (translated: mouths) that are protected sea turtle nesting grounds include the sea cave at Boka Tabla, Boka Pistol with its crashing powerful waves, and Boka Wandomi with its very impressive landscape. Also, take the time while there to see the impressive natural bridge and do not forget to carry water with you as you explore the area as there is little shelter from the sun.
Travelers Tip: Start your trek into the Parks early in the morning and ensure you pack plenty of water for hydration. Additionally, think about wearing appropriate foot wear and avoid using sandals or flip flops.
The Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park is the first and only city park in Curaçao. The Park is very unique because the park consists of Mangrove trees, boardwalk, guided walking tours, guided kayak tours, and much more.
Mangrove areas are diverse and important ecosystems. Diverse underwater life, consisting of algae, sponges and other animals and plants, can be found on mangrove roots. A variety of marine fauna, including fish, crabs and lobsters, can be found in between and on these roots.
Thanks to the Gobièrnu di Kòrsou and the Carmabi Foundation, you are able to visit and learn more about the conservation and environmental importance of mangrove forests at the new Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the new nature parks in Curacao!
Dive Travel Guide to the Top 5 Beaches in Curacao
According to USA Today, Curaçao is a “Beach-hoppers’ paradise”!
Because, “If you’re looking for a long stretch of beach lined with resorts, you’re on the wrong island. Curacao’s coast is dotted with small coves, where you can sit back on a curve of sand surrounded by cacti-covered hills while gazing out onto the endless turquoise water ahead. Beach-hopping between coves, never knowing quite what the next one will look like, is a perfect way to spend a day.”
Kenepa Plantation – The Playa Kenepa beaches are two of the most popular free public beaches located on Curacao. Playa Kenepa Grandi (Grote Knip) and Playa Kenepa Chiki (Klein Knip) are regularly visited by both tourists and locals because the natural beauty and serenity that they exude. The overlook is breathtaking, and the water is calm and clear. If you are adventurous, there are a couple of spots to jump off the stone cliffs. Just be careful! The best snorkeling is at the wall on the left side.
The Kenepa Plantation is the perfect place on Curaçao to get away from it all, to get lost in nature and spend a relaxing day on the beach with an aquatic wonderland just a few footsteps away, across the sand of these magnificent beaches.
Playa Cas Abao
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.
According to Forbes: Cas Abao is one of the “Best Caribbean Beaches” – “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. Runners-up include Kenepa Grandi, Playa Kalki, Playa Porto Mari, Klein Curacao, and Kleine Kenepa.”
Playa Porto Mari
Playa Porto Mari – Located inside the historic Plantation PortoMari is one of Curacao’s more beautiful fully equipped beaches, about an eight-minute drive from Willibrordus church. The Valley at Playa Porto Mari (also called Porto Marie) is not only unique and diverse, it is also one of the top 10 sites on Curacao.
Kokomo Beach in Vaersenbaai is an ideal beach to enjoy a quiet day with the whole family, have a great lunch, try one the delicious cocktails or just fall in love with the crystal clear water!!
There are beach lounge chairs so you can relax, read a book, or just hang out with an ice-cold beer! Kokomo has no entrance-fee and they probably have the best beach chairs on the island. Kokomo Beach Club, is a full service beach where you can find a beautiful restaurant and bar plus there are public restrooms and showers available.
For scuba divers and snorkelers, Kokomo also has an on-site dive center that can provide you with excellent advice or guide you around the amazing underwater world of Kokomo Beach.
The Kokomo Beach House Reef is a very nice and pretty reef dive that is easily accessible from shore. The Car Wrecks, is located east of the Kokomo Beach House Reef at Vaersenbaai.
Mambo Beach Boulevard
Mambo Beach Boulevard has more of the ambiance of a beach party than that of a conventional shopping mall. It features some 20 restaurants, bars and stores, including souvenir retailers and boutiques selling swimwear (as well as everything else you might need for a day in the sun).
The Stella Maris Reef – located adjacent to Mambo Beach is the house reef of LionsDive Beach Resort & Ocean Encounters Diving.
This wonderful stretch of beach is ideally located inside the Curaçao National Marine Park where Reef Renewal Curaçao has several coral nurseries due to the abundant health of this beautiful fringing reef.
Learn more about Reef Renewal Curaçao and how you can “Dive for a Purpose” to help with the ongoing coral restoration projects to restore Curaçao’s vital fringing reef systems.
Frequently Asked Questions about Curaçao
The Dive Curaçao database of frequently asked questions about Curaçao is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about this beautiful island destination. With a wide range of topics covered, including everything from the best dive sites to the top restaurants and cultural attractions, the database offers a wealth of information that can help visitors make the most of their time on the island. Whether you are planning your first trip to Curaçao or you are a seasoned traveler looking for new experiences, the Dive Curaçao database is a valuable tool that can help you get the most out of your visit.
How to start planning your Curaçao dive vacation
If you’re planning a scuba diving vacation in Curaçao, working with Dive Travel Curaçao is a great way to ensure that your trip is both enjoyable and hassle-free. Here are a few tips to help you get started with planning your Curaçao scuba diving vacation with Dive Travel Curaçao.
- Research your diving options – Curaçao offers a variety of dive sites that cater to divers of all levels. Before booking your trip, research which dive sites you’re interested in exploring and determine what level of certification is required to dive there.
- Contact Dive Travel Curaçao – Once you have an idea of what you want to do and where you want to dive, contact Dive Travel Curaçao. Our team of experienced dive travel specialists can help you create a customized diving itinerary based on your interests and preferences.
- Determine your travel dates – It’s important to determine your travel dates early on in the planning process. This will allow you to book your flights, ensure that we are able to secure you accommodations in advance, and a spot on any dive trips you’re interested in.
- Book your accommodations – Dive Travel Curaçao offers a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, resorts, and apartment rentals. Consider the location, amenities, and price point of each option before making your final decision.
- Book your dive trips – Once your accommodations booked, work with Dive Travel Curaçao to book your dive trips. We offer a variety of options, including boat dives, shore dives, and night dives.
- Prepare for your trip – Before you leave for Curaçao, make sure you have all of the necessary gear and documents. Dive Travel Curaçao can help you create an eco-friendly packing list and make sure you have all of the required travel documents, such as your passport and dive certification.
By following these tips and working with Dive Travel Curaçao, you can ensure that your Curaçao scuba diving vacation is an unforgettable experience. Contact us today and start planning to Dive Curaçao!