Curaçao is located in the southern part of the Caribbean, just a 2.5 hour flight from Miami, Florida. Set in between Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao is the largest of the Dutch Antilles islands. Curaçao make up the “C” of these so called ABC islands, and is best known for its European atmosphere. Nowhere else in the world outside the Netherlands are there so many exquisite 17th and 18th Century Dutch colonial buildings. Curaçaos population of 150 000 is made up of 55 nationalities. This diversity extends throughout the islands culture, environment and activities.
The famous “Mushroom Forest” has turned Curaçao in to one of the most appreciated diving sites for beginners as well as professionals, and Curaçao is considered one of the top dive spots in the world. The wide range of sites-wall, reef, and wrecks provides an extraordinary experience for everyone. While the majority of diving is done from boats, shore diving is available as well. Curaçao is attractive for the less experienced divers as well, since there are several shallow coral reefs close to the beach that can be accessed by those not used to deep water diving.
Curaçao has been surrounded by reefs for millions of years and the eco system is as intricate as it is beautiful. The wall slants vary between 45 degrees and 90 degrees, and since the sunlight is falling diagonally through the water you can often experience very oddly shaped corals here. In addition to the corals, you will be able to spot gigantic sponges – some of them several centuries old and with a diameter of 3 meters or more.
Curaçao has over 60 identified sites of which 44 are equipped with chains. The shore diving sites are usually easily accessible and can be reached in less than an hour. The visibility ranges from 25-50 meters (80-150 ft) and water temperatures stays at comfortable 25-27 degrees C (77-82 degrees F). Only the western half of the leeward coast is sheltered from the trade wind, and you can expect a moderate chop along the southeast part of the island. March, April and May are considered windy, while September to January is the calmest period. Diving is however practiced all year around.
The Curaçao Underwater Park stretches from Breezes hotel to the eastern end of the island. The park was established in 1983 and includes some of Curaçaos finest reefs. It covers a total surface area of 600 hectares of reef and 436 hectares of inner bays. Since Curaçao is such a popular dive site, conservation is extremely important to preserve the reefs. The preservation work includes elimination of destructive activities through legislation and control, as well as education, research and increased awareness.
Finding a diving instructor or trip arranger at Curaçao is easy, since most of the hotels have their own diving centres and equipment rental. There are several diving schools, most of them member of the CDOA - Curaçao Diving Operators Association. In addition to diving, you can spend you time windsurfing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and sailing. You can also visit ocean orientated attractions, such as the Curaçao Sea Aquarium.