Both Aruba and Bonaire are known as diving and snorkelling paradises, but Curaçao is just as beautiful. Many of Curaçao's best spots are very accessible; the coral reef lies very close to shore and is only a short swim from the beach. Just put on your snorkel and mask or bring your oxygen tank and dive into the Caribbean Sea to explore the amazing underwater world of colourful coral and bright fishes.
Compared to the dry and rugged landscape on shore, Curaçao’s underwater scenery is surprisingly colourful and diverse. The waters are teeming with dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, moray eels, parrot fish, yellow tail snappers and harmless nurse sharks. The warm and calm seawater often boasts more than 30 metres of visibility; it’s a real treat to dive into the ocean – especially with all those coral gardens and shipwrecks. Below follows a list of Curaçao’s top 3 snorkelling and diving locations that are all within an easy swimming distance from a tropical beach.
The limestone cliffs and white beach of sand and coral grit are wonderful, but Playa Kalki’s nickname ‘Wonderland’ refers especially to its spectacular underwater world. Like a modern Alice in Wonderland, you will uncover a world filled with surprises. Only a 3-minute swim from the beach, the many mushroom-shaped coral formations are home to sting rays, turtles, moray eels and lobsters. The small beach can be reached via a staircase from the Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club. Diving or snorkelling equipment is available for rent at Go West Diving (www.gowestdiving.com
Playa Kalki, Westpunt, Curaçao
Thirty years ago a small tugboat sank off the rocky coast in Caracasbaai. Overgrown with coral, the shipwreck lies at a depth of only 5 metres and has become a popular destination for divers and snorkellers. There are hardly any waves or currents so you can float gently above the moray eels, trumpet fish, angel fish and tube coral. Divers can swim out a little further and explore a steep coral wall that descends to a depth of 30 metres. You can reach the tugboat wreck by swimming from the beach or book a seat on a boat at Down Town Diving (www.downtowndiving.info
Tugboat, Caracasbaai, Curaçao
Cas Abao is a private beach with white sand, swaying palm trees and crystal clear blue water. The beach offers excellent facilities including a beach restaurant, sun chairs, showers, toilets, safes for your personal possessions, and even massages. Get into the water to admire a variety of hard and soft corals, sea sponges, parrotfish, stingrays, moray eels, puffer fish and sergeant majors. With a bit of luck you may even encounter sea turtles and sea horses. To access the beach, enter through the gate of the former plantation Cas Abao. Equipment can be rented at the dive shop on the beach (www.casaboudiveandwatersports.com
Playa Cas Abao, Banda Abou, Curaçao