Lying below the hurricane belt, Curaçao’s unique airplane wing shape creates and ideal environment for marine life to thrive. With most of the dive sites located on the southern coast, Ocean Encounters is perfectly situated to visit a number of these sites during our weekly schedule. Below we summarize some of our favorites.
Located at the very eastern tip of Curaçao’s National Marine Park, this is a MUST DIVE!!
Only accessible by boat, this site is largely one of the most pristine and unblemished fringing reef systems on Curaçao, if not the entire Caribbean. Lush gorgonians cover the site, together with hard corals and sponges. A large school of tarpons inhabit the underwater bridge, a natural bridge that was formed by coral formations throughout time.
Sharks, eagle rays, large barracuda, and turtles have been spotted at this wonderful Curaçao diving location that has seen very little human impact.
Often this spectacular dive becomes a drift dive where you literally “fly” east from Smokey’s and end with an amazing finish at Kathy’s Paradise.
These immaculate Curacao dive locations with large dense corals overhangs lead to sharp drop offs, and this coupled with great visibility provide you with a 360-degree experience that will leave you wanting more upon surfacing! Sharks and stingrays are often seen here too.
This is the perfect Curacao dive site to work on sponge identification: all types of sponges cover the sloping drop off. On the plateau, the rubble has some big coral heads: a nursery for juvenile fish.
On the east side of the Santa Barbara Plantation Beach and Golf Resort Curacao, and just underneath its award winning “Pete Dye” Old Quarry (18-Hole) Golf Course, we find this amazing dive site.
The sandy plateau is perfect to spot little critters and rays can be found while collecting golf balls. The sand channels and big hard coral formations alternatively fill form the steep drop off.
Barracuda Point, also called Punt’i Piku, is just across the channel from Barbara Beach and near the mouth of Spanish Water. A favorite Curacao dive, covered in dense coral formations, gorgonians and boulder corals. Turtles are spotted often on this dive site, as well as jacks and barracudas.
Located close to Directors Bay. A sandy plateau brings you to the drop-off, a steep wall going down beyond recreational diving limits. There are many crevices where moray els, shrimps and lobsters hide. This Curacao dive site is located on the peninsula next to Caracas Bay (Caracasbaai). The sites in the underwater park offer sloping drop offs & walls that tend to be more dramatic with lusher coverage because of the constant fresh supply of nutrients being brought in with the currents from the open sea.
Director’s Bay is an historic Curacao landmark and it is located between the famous Tugboat wreck and Small Wall. Starting in the early 1900’s until departing in 1985, it was a private beach exclusively used by the Directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group and the Dutch Royal family. Now, the beach and surroundings are for public use. Perfectly suited for divers, snorkelers and beach goers looking to relax, this site includes an old decaying surge protection fence (or what locals say, a shark fence) which is now encrusted in many beautiful corals and sponges. Dive here left (east) along the vertical wall, which extends to a depth of about 15 meters is home to most amazing underwater creatures, including sea horses, frogfish, eels, flounders and many more. A large octopus calls the rubble his home as well. Director’s Bay truly is a great dive site for macro photography on Curacao. Going right (west), you can also reach the Tugboat but make sure you have arranged transportation back due to air limitations.
Director’s Bay is a Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao out-planting location. Please respect the hard work of many volunteers and do not touch any of the coral structures.
Located in just 5 meters (15ft) of water, this famous Curacao tugboat was wrecked just a few yards offshore in a protected bay of Caracasbaai. This site is perfect for divers as well as snorkelers. Easy to access and easy to find a plethora of critters such as seahorses, octopus, lobsters, napping scorpion fish and the odd nudibranch if you can find it! The tugboat is overgrown with tube sponges and coral and is home to a variety of colorful reef fish too. The resident Majestic blue Parrot Fish and Yellow Tail Snappers guard this site.
A favorite Curacao Dive Site, bright and colorful. Beautiful lush wall covered in gorgonians and sea fans. Dense coral growth hides an anchor chain that keeps on going forever. The dive finishes on a shallow where sea horses like to hang out. Great dive for macro photography.
Currents make this site an intermediate to advanced dive. Located at the western tip of Caracas Bay you will find the largest pillar coral formations in the Caribbean and some amazing drop-offs. In the blue you’ll see large jacks, grouper, and barracuda chasing after their lunch.
Divers Leap is a steep wall dive, perfect for deep dives! Look for sea horses near the mooring, and large areas of pillar coral with lots of small reef fish swimming about on the terrace. The wall has excellent coral coverage with an abundance of deep-water fish. A hat shaped rock is located on the cliff behind Piedra Sombre (“Stone Hat”), which at one time was used by divers to pinpoint the site. At this dive site you may have the possibility to do a great drift dive, flying while enjoying the reef scene in front of you.
Located at Jan Thiel beach, with easy access to get in and out of the water, this is a typical Curacao diving and snorkeling site starting at a sandy plateau going down on a sloping reef. The best treat at the end of the dive will be the curious school of squid looking directly into your eyes. Outside of the Jan Thiel Bay, you will find a beautiful reef with steep slopes. The reef has a lot of corals and fishes. Very often you will see turtles. The reef is hilly and slopes down gently. You find a big variety of hard and soft corals, donkey dung sea cucumbers and long spined black sea urchins. Inside the bay, lies the Strea – a wreck of a sailing boat which is a very nice ending to your dive or snorkeling experience.
Sandy’s Plateau is a large shallow plateau, which extends out to the coral covered wall. Gorgonians and hard corals, and everything in between. An excellent dive site to spot Caribbean Spiny Lobsters under the overhangs and crabs hiding in the large barrel sponges.
In less than 30 feet of water not far off the coast of Curacao sits the Saba, a tugboat that sank quite some time ago. The wheel house is gone and the deck is deteriorating, but it provides reef structure and home for a wide variety of marine life. Blue Chromis, Rock Beauties and other fish have made the Saba their new home.
Cornelius Bay is nestled into beautiful undeveloped bay next to the Curaçao Sea Aquarium Park between Shipwreck Point and Saba… and this is one of the reasons why sites like this are so special! These “boat dive only” reefs have remained unchanged for more than 50 years because they are found in the remote areas of the Curaçao Marine Park along the southeastern side of the island. Large coral colonies and coral species currently listed as threatened in the wider Caribbean can still be found in large numbers at these remote locations plus interesting sea life such as Sea horses. Look for them around the many gorgonians along the wall.
This is like diving inside an Aquarium! Oddly enough, this incredible fringing reef is the house reef of the Curaçao Sea Aquarium and it is one of the healthiest reefs around Curacao. And it’s all because it’s located at a point, with loads of fresh saltwater and currents are constantly merging. At the mooring, divers will find anchors, a shaft and propellers. This is a MUST DIVE!
The Superior Producer is one of Curaçao’s most popular dive sites, and one of the Caribbean’s top wrecks. Dive in for a look at the history of this iconic shipwreck, and how it came to meet its untimely end. Read more on DiveCuracao.info
Double Reef can either be a boat or shore dive. Located next to the MV Superior Producer, shore access is close to the Water Plant in Otrabanda. The first reef bottoms out at approx. 45 ft; the top of the outer reef starting at approx. 60 feet and dropping off deep. This is a beautiful dive site but stay shallow if the current is strong.
One of the most famous dive sites in Curaçao. Over time, hard coral formations have grown in such a way that they resemble mushrooms, hence the name. Underneath each one of these coral formations an abundance of marine life awaits to be looked at, admired, and photographed.
Mushroom Forest can be disorienting and throw you off, so a compass can come in very handy. High cliffs that rise out of the water protect the area, making it an ideal spot for intermediate divers who are not yet experienced enough to handle really rough currents, as well as beginners who are gaining more experience.
Along the cliff side is a large cave called The Blue Room, where you will often spot schools of fingerlings, and from time-to-time a nurse shark can be found sleeping under the ledge.
Visibility averages 26m (85 ft), wave action is calm and sometimes the current can be strong; the depth is from 12m (40 ft) to 18m (60 ft). Numerous species of fish and coral can be observed here; flower corals, giant brain corals, anemones, sea turtles, porcupine fish, smooth trunk fish, yellow tail snappers, parrot fish, groupers, spotted drums, spotted moray eels, green moray eels, lobsters, and conchs.
Don’t miss it! You will love it!
If you could imagine a picturesque deserted Caribbean island surrounded by warm aquamarine waters, then welcome to Klein Curaçao. Located approximately 6.5 miles off the eastern tip of Curaçao, this is a very special trip for divers and for snorkelers alike. The locals say that the underwater habitats of Klein Curaçao is where everything is bigger and there is more of it with almost the guarantee of turtle sightings, ocean triggerfish and large groupers.
This tiny, rugged, desolate island of volcanic rock is located off the southeast coast of Curaçao – about one-and-a-half hours by boat.
This is a true Caribbean dive location which is pristine and unspoiled.
The Netherlands has designated Klein Curaçao as its 55th Wetland of International Importance. The Site (Ramsar Site no. 2355) consists of the small, uninhabited island and the surrounding sea.
Klein Curacao is part of a Sea Turtle Protection Initiative by Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao (STCC).
For all non-dive boat trips to Klein Curaçao visit KleinCuracao.Deals
This beautiful and pristine Curacao dive site is only accessed by Ocean Encounters. A beautiful slope with great star coral, brain coral, and soft gorgonians.
Eagle rays and turtles are spotted frequently.
A true underwater garden. Box crabs in the sand, octopus, and baby clusters of brain and star corals. On the slope gorgonians, large brain and star corals. Lots of cleaning stations.
Southern Rays and Eagle Rays are regular visitors to this fabulous dive site. Suited for diving and snorkeling.
If you want to be in the middle of a fish traffic jam, this is the dive site for you. Huge Jacks chasing bait balls, Caribbean Chromies, Creole Wrasses, Southern Rays, and Turtles.
Wild dolphins can be seen here as well.
Next to Hole 17 and 5 at Blue Bay Golf Course. These are 2 fun dive sites to search and collect golf balls during your safety stop.
Beautiful Caribbean Reef formations cover the gentle slope. You finish your dive on a nice and easy sandy plateau populated by schools of large and curious squid.