Like its neighbors, Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao is home to plentiful diving opportunities. This Caribbean island features amazing coral reefs, walls and sunken ships.
Underwater, Curaçao is home to one of the most biodiverse coral reef systems in the entire Caribbean. It is estimated that up to 70 per cent of all Caribbean coral species are found around the island, together with around 400 different species of fish. Although the reefs were impacted by the 2015/16 bleaching event, they were not as severely impacted as others. Curaçao’s shape and location mean that almost the entirety of the southern coast is sheltered from the storms that form in the Caribbean Sea to the north. The water is mostly calm at the surface, and if there is any current at all, it is usually less than moderate.
The island’s dive sites are protected from strong currents, there is little river runoff to hinder visibility and the waters are warm year-round, making this is a great place for divers of all skill levels. Most of Curacao’s dive sites are accessible from shore, and most resorts have gorgeous house reefs to explore.
Boat diving is the method of choice for dive operators on the island even though Mushroom Forest is the only dive sites where a boat dive is strictly necessary.
Divers could easily check off many boxes on their wish lists with a single trip to Curaçao. Calm conditions? Check. Good visibility? Check. Healthy reefs? Check. Macro life? Check. Unlimited shore diving? Well, let’s just put it this way: the entire island is a shore diver’s dream. Because Curacao — part of the former Netherlands Antilles — is surrounded by a fringing reef created by geological events long ago, dozens of dive sites are within steps of the road. Plenty of major rental car agencies at Hato International Airport and near the cruise ship terminal in Willemstad stand ready for you to pick up your ride and then drive and dive.
Some of the standout shore dive sites include Playa Lagun, Playa Kalki (Alice in Wonderland) and Cas Abao, where only a minimal parking fee is required. There are also a number of house reefs at the island’s dive resorts. While you must rent tanks from them, you don’t have to be a guest to dive those reefs.
For boat diving, there are a myriad of sites all within easy reach of resorts. Watamula, with its mushroom-shaped coral heads and Porto Marie, a double-reef system (which can be dived from both the shore and from a boat), are treasure troves of small life such as yellow seahorses and Pederson cleaner shrimp. Classic can’t-miss dives include Mushroom Forest and the Superior Producer wreck.
The dive site Seldom was named because it was rarely visited, but it’s now become more popular. Boats can’t moor there due to the proximity of the drop-off to the nearby cliff, so instead, divers make a drift dive over untouched corals on a vertical wall
Curacao’s dry season lasts from April-November. During these months, the island will be dry and sunny, experiencing consistently calm weather. Sea conditions remain steady throughout the season with sea temperatures at 29°C and air temperatures around 31°C.
You can expect only slightly cooler temperatures between December-March, both in and out of the water. Air temperatures average 29°C and water temperatures drop to 26°C.