Porto Mari Beach and Plantation
Located inside the historic Plantation PortoMari is one of Curacao’s more beautiful fully equipped beaches – including PortoMari Sports, a full service PADI dive shop. 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.
The “Valley” is a unique double reef system that is directly accessible from the beautiful sandy beach. Here you can cruise through the large schools of blue tangs and curious trunkfish who are exploring the man-made habitat balls in the shallows.
Traveler Tip: “Playa PortoMari is one of the many secluded natural bays of Williwood surrounded by untouched nature. The lovely white sandy bay with shallow and calm water has a unique Caribbean atmosphere. It is conveniently facilitated with a lounge chair rental, beachbar/restaurant, restrooms, parasols and you can even book a massage. Showers, changing rooms and lockers are provided; all to make sure you will have no worries at all (at least for a day).” Click here to find out more.
Shore Diving at Playa Porto Mari
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.
A mooring buoy has been placed in the center of the bay for boat dives; this is a good reference point to begin shore dives from. Minimal current or wave action is present; visibility is usually very good, over 30m (100 ft). At the buoy the depth is about 9m (30 ft) sloping to the first nearby reef, which is at 15m (50 ft). Swimming straight out will take you over the first reef, then to a sandy bottom, and finally to the second reef which starts at about 18m (60 ft).
The valley is home to lots of colorful reef life: angelfish, parrot fish, groupers, brown chromis, yellow tail snappers, trigger fish, trumpet fish, cornet fish, sea turtles, lobsters and stingrays. Coral coverage is abundant and healthy.
Dive Site Recommendations
- Dive Type: Shore
- Snorkel Site: Yes
- Experience Level: Open Water (Min)
- Depth: 40 -120ft (12-36m)
Due to recreational & commercial boat traffic, an inflated surface marker buoy is mandatory when shore diving. Consult PortoMari Sports or a recommended Curaçao Dive Operator for additional details and local advice.
Location of Playa Porto Mari
More 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 haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule. So, if you are looking for more world class Caribbean shore diving sites in Curacao then click here!
Additional nearby locations you might enjoy include Cas Abao, Daaibooi and Rif Sint Marie.
History of The Plantation Porto Mari
The Plantation PortoMari covers an area of 594 hectares. It’s history that can be traced back to 1684 when the government first gave permission to raise livestock there. The Porto Mari Landhouse (or country house) was built in the second half of the 18th century, but in the 1930’s it was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground.
From the very beginning of Dutch rule in Curacao, the sheltered bay at Playa Porto Mari was considered to be of strategic military importance for the defense of the island. In the 18th century a fortification was built on the top of Seru Caballe, a hill on the east side of bay.
Rebuilt in 1742 as Fort PortoMari, it was equipped with 10 cannons, both 12 and 18 pounders. During the British invasion of Curacao in 1805, the fort was by no means up to strength.
The English captured the fort, threw the only remaining cannon in the sea, plundered the power-house and devastated the battery. Thus the curtain fell for Fort PortoMari.
PortoMari played an important role in the slave uprising of 1795. It was here that slaves gathered and the famous discussion took place between Tula and Pastor Schink. CLICK HERE to learn more about 1795 Curaçao Slave Revolt.