By Wouter

Ocean Encounters Update: Coronavirus on Curaçao

Ocean Encounters Update: Coronavirus on Curaçao

Dear past, present and future friends of Ocean Encounters,

Update as of 25 January 2021 – Where can you get PCR tested inside and outside Curaçao?
For those traveling to Curaçao, please check this website to help you find a testing center in your country.
For those traveling back home from Curaçao, a PCR test can be requested by all our divers at the location of LionsDive Resort (also for those not staying there). Some countries require a PCR-test upon return home (The Netherlands no longer requires it). We can organize it at your request!
Update as of 13 January 2021 – We are happy to say that Covid-19 measures have been relaxed due to a large decrease in numbers of active cases , including that you will be allowed to drink a glass of wine, beer or have a cocktail again when outside the resort that you are staying at. Yay! Boats must still operate at half capacity, and Ocean Encounters has a Covid-19 policy in place, but for the rest it is diving and snorkeling to your heart’s content!
Update as of 1 January 2021 – Happy New Year! The borders have opened up for all tourists wanting to come to Curaçao to soak up some sun! People from countries with a lower Covid-19 risk than Curaçao, may enter with the regular entry requirements. People from countries with a higher risk in addition have to provide a negative test PCR-test within 72 hours of traveling. For more information, click on the government travel portal.
Update as of 18 December 2020 – We are open & operational and hope to see you soon! Our boats depart every morning at 8:30 AM from our facility at LionsDive Resort with a pick-up at our facility at Sunscapee Resort if you are staying there. Please let us know you are joining via WhatsApp. Return is around 12.30 in time for lunch!
Please check-in at 8:00 AM!
Update as of 29 June 2020 – As the borders of Curaçao are slowly opening up to countries with stable or decreasing amounts of Covid-19 cases, please rest assured the health and safety of our divers, adventurers and staff are paramount to Ocean Encounters.
We have thereto implemented a Covid-19 policy to clarify towards you what you can do, as well as an internal protocol for our staff on how they will handle the new norm; from how to sanitize to contact tracing measures etc.
We look forward to a full opening up of the borders and welcoming everyone back!

16 March 2020 – We hope this message finds you all happy and healthy during these uncertain and challenging times. Please continue to take care of yourselves and look after one another!

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and subsequent world-wide pandemic has impacted all of our lives. Till now, the Caribbean region has not been heavily affected and our “Dushi” island of Curaçao has only 3 confirmed cases. The most up to date situation is available via this link: Coronavirus situation.

Here at Ocean Encounters, we want to re-assure you that we are taking Coronavirus seriously and that we want to do everything we can to keep you and our island community safe. Therefore, we are urging guests to practice good personal hygiene, frequently wash hands, sneeze or cough into your elbow, and avoid shaking hands. If you feel you have any symptoms before traveling to Curaçao, please consult your doctor immediately.

Ocean Encounters has always taken a great deal of pride in providing a quality service and “ultimate dive experience” to our guests, while ensuring their safety, and the safety of our employees, always. With this in mind, we have amended our standard health and safety procedures to include a more stringent protocol, as follows:

  • Employees & guests are reminded to wash hands frequently. Signs have been placed in the bathrooms, kitchens, and water stations as friendly reminders.
  • Hand sanitizer placed at all shop counters – upon availability.
  • Rinse tanks cleaned and disinfected twice daily.
  • Mask buckets removed from all boats.
  • All counters cleaned & disinfected 3 times daily.
  • Guest sitting areas are cleaned & disinfected twice daily.
  • All rental equipment is sprayed with disinfectant when given out.
  • All rental equipment is placed in large buckets filled with bleach and disinfected upon return.

It is important that our guests have peace of mind because we want you to feel comfortable and confident while enjoying our services. However, be assured that we do understand that cancellations may occur due to change of travel plans, travel restrictions, or personal choice. Therefore, we are offering free rescheduling and gladly welcome you later.

 Once again, we want to reassure you of our dedication to ensure a safe, healthy, and quality dive or snorkel experience. Thank you for your continued support and loyalty. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Ocean Encounters soon.

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By Wouter

Options for Cruise Ship Divers in Curaçao

Options for Cruise Ship Divers in Curaçao

Coming to Curaçao on a cruise ship and want to dive? Ocean Encounters is conveniently located at the Sea Aquarium Beach and we have various options available for however long you are on the island.

Boat Diving

2-tank boat dive

With a 7:00 AM docking time, you’ll be able to reach our shop just in time for our 2-tank boat dive for some of the best diving on the island. Most sites we visit are only accessible by boat!

Offered daily || check-in Between 8:00 – 8:15 AM || departure at 8:30 AM.

2nd morning dive

If your ship dock after 7:00 AM on a day that our boat comes back between dives, you can join the second morning dive. You can still do two dives by joining the 1-tank in the afternoon.

Check-in before 10:30 AM || Upon availability & request. Ask for more information

1-tank boat dive

Join our 1-tank boat dive to Tugboat or Director’s Bay in the afternoon. Coming with your family? They can join too! These two sites are also famous as one of the best snorkeling sites on the island.

Offered daily except Wednesdays || check-in at1:45PM || departure at 2:00 PM.

Lionfish Scuba Dive

On Wednesdays, we’ll take you on a special trip to hunt Lionfish! Learn all about the lionfish invasion, practice shooting, and hop on our boat for a thrilling hunt. Enjoy a fresh sashimi sample at the end of the trip!

Offered on Wednesdays || check-in at 1:30PM || departure at 1:45 PM.

Night Boat Dive

As the sun sets, get ready to drop into a whole new world and watch it come to life under the glow of your dive light when joining our Night Boat Dive. You’ll have a chance to see octopuses, lobsters, crabs, all sorts of shrimps, nocturnal predators and more. Equipment and dive light not included.

Offered on Wednesdays || check-in at 6:00PM || departure at 6:30PM.

Shore Diving

Do a fun shore dive at our house reef “Stella Maris”, home of the Coral Restoration! Rent tanks, weights, and equipment at our shop and one of our dive masters will give you a dive briefing so you can enjoy a nice shore dive together with your buddy.

Guided Shore Dive

Want a guide? We offer guided shore dives at our house reef in the afternoon.

Offered on request || check-in at 1:45 PM || departure at 2:00 PM.

FAQ

Do you pick up at the terminal?

No, we are not allowed to pick up guests at the terminal. A taxi can take you to our shop. It’s a 15 to 20-minute drive from the cruise terminal.

My ship is docking after 7:30, can I make it for the two-tank boat dive?

It can take about 1 hour from docking time to disembark and get to our dive shop (a 15 to 20-minute drive). If you dock after 7:30, you will not be able to join the 2-tank morning dive, which departs at 8:30AM (check in at 8AM)

I’m thinking of leaving my equipment back home. Can I rent?

Yes. Whether you are leaving all of your equipment behind or just bringing a couple of items, we have plenty of equipment available for rent.

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By Wouter

Top 5 Reasons to visit Curaçao | Feel it for Yourself

Top 5 Reasons to visit Curaçao | Feel it for Yourself

Many refer to the group of islands off the coast of Venezuela – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – as the “ABC Islands”. But often, Aruba and Bonaire eclipse the “C”, Curaçao. No one is sure how this curious island got its name, but one theory is that it comes from the Portuguese word that means “heart”, since the island was the center of commerce in the seventeenth century. Although the name has remained, Portuguese is only one of the languages that you will hear on the island of Curacao: Papiamento, Dutch, English and Spanish are the others.

 

Traveler Tip: Language of Curaçao – Papiamento for tourists

 

As soon as the plane lands on the islands dry, flat land you will realize that Curacao is not a typical Caribbean island. Dive in for the top 5 reasons that you need to visit this vibrant island, to “Feel it for Yourself”.

# 1: It's not your typical Caribbean island

Although the history of Curacao has many different European influences, the island has been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since it was colonized by the Dutch. You will notice it even before leaving the airport: blue and white porcelain dishes and delicious Dutch snacks are sold throughout the island as souvenirs, and the capital, Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features a recognizable Dutch architecture of gabled roofs and curved eaves.

Curacao has a population of approximately 160,000 inhabitants and a modern infrastructure, including the highest bridge and the largest shipping port in the Caribbean. Many natives of the island take advantage of their European passport and travel throughout Europe and attend university in Holland if they can. You will also see many Dutch working, living or vacationing on the island.

Like other Caribbean islands, Curacao has a mega cruise terminal, but you won’t feel like it’s in Disneyland wherever you go. The pier is adjacent to the historic Rif Fort and the Renaissance Mall, which offers cruise ship passengers an easy option to experience the history of Curacao.

# 2: The island is a big party

Any night of the week and at any time of the year, you can find some kind of nightlife in Curacao. Nightlife is one of the best things to do in Curacao, with annual festivals such as Carnival and King’s Day among the biggest and funniest.

Music festivals, such as the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, arrive on the island frequently, and many of the beaches such as Mambo Beach have become popular sunset gathering areas where happy hours are offered at the bars and restaurants which include include DJs and live music. There are also many discrete lounges and bars, especially in the historic Pietermaai District.

# 3: It has been a "gastronomic city of fashion" for decades

Curacao has a lot to offer when it comes to your culinary experience. The restaurants on Curacao have a variety of local dishes, but the international cuisine is also well represented on the island.

Dive In & Taste it for Yourself… because eating is an important part of Antillean culture, and it would be a shame if you didn’t enjoy it. One of the nicest things about vacation is discovering new dishes from the local kitchen. Lunch is just as important on Curacao as dinner. There are plenty of restaurants and eateries on Curacao, but where is the best place to go? Here is the top 10 of the best – and sometimes less well-known restaurants for lunch and dinner on Curacao!!

# 4: Any type of traveler will love it

Cruises, families of all ages, divers, adventure travelers, couples and groups of friends can find things to do in Curacao, and accommodation offers range from five-star resorts to hostels.

There is something for everyone with activities ranging from restaurants to shopping, street parties and beach clubs. In addition, with more 70 pristine dive sites and 40 beautiful beaches on the island, you will have no trouble finding your own personal paradise.

# 5: Curacao is the diver's paradise

The fringing reefs of Curaçao are some of the healthiest and most bio-diverse in the entire Caribbean region, so it is no surprise that this Dutch Caribbean island is one of the Top 10 dive and vacation destinations in the World.  Whether you are a snorkeler, a novice diver or if you have an open water certificate, you will find a perfect dive site for your level.

The Tugboat wreck, as an example, is a dive site located in only five meters of water and is feasible as a diver or snorkeler; You can also do a dive along the wall and explore an underwater cliff. Other major dive sites include the MV Superior ProducerKlein CuraçaoMushroom Forest, and of course, The Blue Room which is an essential Curaçao experience!

Under the water and depending on the time of year, you will see an incredible array of life and colour which will include sea turtles, rays, dolphins, sharks, eels, lion fish and species of fish that are exclusive to Curacao.

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By Wouter

5 Things to do in Curacao for Non-Divers

5 Things to do in Curacao for Non-Divers

We love diving! As much as we’d love for everyone to join us in exploring the underwater beauty of Curacao, we are well aware that diving is not for everyone. Are you looking for things to do in Curacao while one of your loved ones is diving with Ocean Encounters? Here are our top 5 things to do in the area of Mambo Beach Curacao

Life is a Beach

What better way to spend your Caribbean holiday than at the beach! We are located at the LionsDive Beach Resort right next to the Mambo Beach Boulevard. A long beach strip awaits you for a relaxing day of soaking up some sun and swimming at the beach.

Sip & Bite

There are various restaurants and bars in the area. Right outside our dive shop you’ll find Hemingway which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have an international menu so you can rest assured you’ll find something of your taste. Other restaurants within the LionsDive Beach Resort are Piazza, Chill Beach Bar & Grill, and Nemo Restaurant. There are also several options available at the Mambo Beach Boulevard fit for any budget.

Bonus tip: If you want to get in touch with some locals, check out “Coco Guy”, a local coconut vendor. You’ll find him by the Mari Pampoen Recreational Area at the speedbump across from the former Miramar Restaurant. Stick around, after you finish your coconut water, he’ll crack open your coconut so you can eat the fresh fruit later!

Feeling Adventurous

If you’re feeling up to a little for adventure, you can find Eric’s ATV Adventures right around the corner offering Curacao tours. Their ATV’s are suitable for experienced and inexperienced drivers. All you need is a normal driver’s license and you are ready to go! They have various tours available varying from 1.5 hours to up to 6 hours. Minimum age for passengers is 5 years.

Exploring Sea Life

If you want to learn more about Curaçao’s marine life, the Curaçao Sea Aquarium is a great way to do that. Just a 1-minute walk from our shop! The Sea Aquarium is known for having created natural habitats for all its marine creatures without using sophisticated technical equipment. Due to an open-water system all the aquaria are in immediate contact with the open sea.

Afternoon Snorkeling

If someone in your party is diving with us on the afternoon boat, you can join too! We take both snorkelers and divers on our afternoon boat trips. We will take you to two of the most popular snorkel sites on the island, the Tugboat and Director’s Bay.

The tugboat is a cute little wreck that is over a quarter century old and sits in just 17ft/5m of water.

Director’s Bay is home to some amazing creatures like seahorses, frogfish, a large octopus and more. At Director’s Bay you’ll also see some of the corals that have been out-planted by the Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao.

We also offer a weekly trip to the west! Join our full day trip to snorkel the famous Mushroom Forest & the Blue Room with lunch included.

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