10 Reasons Scuba Divers Love Curaçao
Divers Guide: Average. Water Temp: From 78 to 82 degrees F. What to Wear: 3 mm in summer, 5 mm in winter. Average Viz: From 60 to 100 feet. When to Go: Year-round, with calmest weather from April to June. Operators: Go West Diving, Ocean Encounters Curaçao, West End Divers.
1) Mushroom Forest
You can feast your eyes on some of the healthiest coral reefs in the Dutch Caribbean at this popular west coast boat dive. Fungi-esque piles of star coral that are eroded underneath create the illusion of a forest full of ’shrooms. And it’s magical, indeed, with schooling yellow snapper, turtles, spotted morays and much more sharing the reef.
2) Den Paradera Herb Garden
Curaçao’s famous herbalist, Dinah Veeris, created a healing oasis at her history-filled herb garden, where you can learn a lot about the island’s wellness traditions that have been passed down by elders. Browse the shop for herbal salves to go.
3) Superior Producer
Float like a butterfly and fin with care as you penetrate the wheelhouse and cargo holds of Superior Producer, which sits upright at 100 feet outside the port of Willemstad. Easily accessed as a shore dive with a guide, this is a deep dive patrolled by grouper and barracuda. Cruise ships interfere with availability, so check with your guide before planning a trip.
4) Klein Curaçao
It’s well worth booking a day trip to dive this small island (klein means “small” in Dutch) located southwest of Willemstad. The reefs on its eastern side are the most beautiful, with forests of soft and hard corals, and good currents that bring in schooling barracuda and snapper.
5) Landhuis Chobolobo
See where the island’s famous liqueur, Curaçao, is distilled at this historic 19th-century mansion. Liquors made from the island’s laraha citrus fruit have been distilled here since 1896. Take a self-guided tour and enjoy a free tasting.
Named after the Dutch word for “water mill,” this adrenaline-charged boat dive off the island’s west end comes with currents that might be flowing north to south, south to north, or swirling in a circle all around you. Settle in for a fabulously fun drift dive and a spectacle of schooling chubs, ocean triggerfish, rays and turtles.
7) Luke’s Cocktail Bar
Craft cocktails in the Caribbean? Why not. Perfectly chiseled ice cubes, cocktails that get set aflame, and some innovative twists on your usual mojito or mule are the order of the day at this bar in the trendy and historic Pietermaai District.
8) Director’s Bay
Macro fans go gaga at this popular shore dive where frogfish and seahorses are commonly seen, and a large octopus dwells in the rubble. A shark fence (said to be placed here as protection for directors of the Shell oil company who used to frequent the beach) is decaying but is covered in sponges and corals. You can fin to the nearby Tugboat wreck from here too.
9) Beacon Point
Currents sweep this site on the western tip of Caracas Bay, bringing with them a good chance of spotting barracuda, jacks and grouper off in the blue. The main draw is the chance to see some pretty pristine pillar corals, said to be the largest formation in the Caribbean.
10) Hofi Cas Cora
The brunch-only menu at this farm-to-table restaurant in Willemstad features organic ingredients grown right on property, with egg dishes, waffles, scones, wraps and more on the menu. Yoga classes are also taught on-site.