Ocean Encounters

Snorkeling Guide for Curacao

There are many beautiful places in the world where you can go snorkeling. One of the most beautiful places for anyone who wants to organize a snorkeling holiday is Curaçao. If you want to snorkel in Curaçao, it is not a bad idea to take the time to read this Snorkeling Guide for Curacao.

We have listed important information below that can be useful when snorkeling in Curaçao.

Snorkeling Trips and Private Boat Charters

Curaçao, a favorite holiday destination, is an exotic island in the southern Caribbean Sea and part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

The temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, the coziness of the island, the bays with pearly white beaches, the varied landscape and the underwater world ensure that the largest island of the so-called ABC islands is very popular.

There are more than 60 locations where you can dive and snorkel. The crystal clear water ensures that you have a view of more than 30 meters.

The water temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius all year round. The usually weak currents and calm waves allow you to enjoy the marine life and from the beach you can reach most snorkeling locations.

Arguably, some of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Curaçao are located in Bandabou, commonly referred to as the Southwest side of Curaçao. There you will find sheltered bays, coves, and of course – famous beaches like Cas Abao, Porto Mari and Playa Kalki!

The Best Snorkeling Sites in Curacao

The Famous Tugboat Wreck

More towards the middle of the island, is the famous Tugboat Wreck in Caracasbaai. This boat was tugging a bigger boat when the big boat threw out anchor on the tugboat upon which it sank instantly. The boat rests at about 5 meters of depth on the bottom and is a popular diving and snorkeling spot. 

The Tugboat can be reached by boat with Ocean Encounters with the 2-tank morning boat, the 1-tank afternoon boat or the afternoon snorkel trip.

Once there, you can see the wreck through the clear azure blue water. It is covered with corals and you can find moray eels, trumpet fish, angel fish and tube coral. If you succeed you can even spot the seahorse living there. The Tugboat is great to enjoy because it is in a protected bay with a weak current and a little wave action.

Mushroom Forest and the Blue Room

The Blue Room, located next to Mushroom Forest, is a cave along the cliffside. Because the sunlight shines through the entrance of the cave, it creates a beautiful blue glow. It is true underwater light show. You can encounter turtles, rays, nurse sharks, moray eels and lobsters.

An additional fact is that the cave is called Boka Flute by the locals. This is due to the whistling sound coming from the cave. 

Ocean Encounters organizes private charters to this part of the island. Snorkel gear is already included and additional discover (try) scuba dives for non-certified divers or dives for certified divers can be added on.

Diving and Snorkeling at Klein Curacao

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.

Dive into this true Caribbean island, a pristine location for scuba diving and snorkeling in Curacao, and feel it for yourself.

Snorkeling Guide for Curacao | Snorkel Boat Trips with Ocean Encounters
Photo courtesy of Frank Do, Playa Piskado in Westpunt, Curacao

Playa Grandi / Playa Piskadó

But, what about swimming with Turtles? Well, if that is what you are in search of, then you will need to head to Westpunt, a small fishing Village, and visit Playa Grandi, also called Playa Piskadó. At one time, this local fisherman’s beach was pretty quiet and not frequented by many tourists. 

However, over time, Playa Piskadó has become quite a famous location to swim with turtles. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you decide to swim or snorkel with Turtles in Curacao - Do Not Touch, Feed, or Harass these magnificent sea creatures. Please respect all life including sea turtles! It is important not touch nor feed the turtles, don’t chase after the turtles -  by respecting their natural environment, you are helping to protect, and ultimately conserve, this beautiful and unique Curacao experience for future generations.

Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao

Not far from Playa Grandi is a quiet and small beach called Playa Forti. The sand contains many pebbles. You can spot the same animals here as Playa Grandi. If you are a real daredevil you can jump off a 12 meter high cliff into the clear water.

Playa Kalki is in the vicinity. This is a narrow and beautiful white beach to the west of Curaçao. The name Kalki is characterized by the lime in the cliffs. The reef next to Playa Kalki is called “Alice in wonderland” because of the lush coral landscapes that form a maze.

Snorkeling in Curacao provides unlimited Enjoyment

Everyone can snorkel in Curaçao. Still, there are a number of basic helpful tips you can follow to increase your enjoyment while snorkeling the beautiful fringing reefs here in Curaçao.

The most important tip to remember is: Never touch the corals! Also very important is to have a mask that fits. For specialist advice, come to Ocean Encounters where we can fit one especially for you!

Here are some general tips and advice for fitting a mask and choosing the right snorkel.

  1. Hold the mask against your face. Make sure it fits comfortably around your eyes and nose and remove all hairs from the mask. Choose a different size if necessary. Inhale through your nose with the mask against your face. The vacuum created in the mask must ensure that it stays against your face when you take your hand away.
  2. When choosing a snorkel, you can choose from a dry vs semi-dry vs wet snorkel. A dry-snorkel has a valve that closes when the snorkel dips into the sea, preventing water to fill up the tube, a semi-dry snorkel has a splash protector, preventing waves to constantly fill up the tube, but this does not help when dipping the snorkel in the sea; and a wet snorkel which does not have any protection.
    • Note: Snorkels always have an air pocket and a purge valve. This small pocket of air in the bottom of the snorkel underneath the mouthpiece collects water that comes into the snorkel so that the collected water does not get into your mouth. With the purge valve, you can blow water out that way so you do not have to blow it all the way up the snorkel. That can be hard to do after diving down to take a closer look at a coral or fish.
  3. An alternative to a regular snorkel and mask is a full face snorkeling mask. The advantage is that it covers your full face, so you can breathe through your nose and mouth and because of the large window, visibility is amazing.
    • Note: Not all full face snorkeling masks are manufactured equal. Consult the Ocean Encounters Dive Team to explore the possibilities and to learn how to safely use full face snorkeling masks.
Snorkeling Guide for Curacao | Essential Trips with Ocean Encounters
Unlimited Shore Diving in Curacao | Ocean Encounters

Snorkeling in Curacao – what does it cost?

Snorkeling, generally speaking, is considerably less expensive than scuba diving.

But that is obvious right? Let’s face it, you only need a set of fins, a mask and a snorkel! So, anyone who wants to explore the “surface of the underwater world” and can swim – can snorkel! 

If you have now forgotten to bring your snorkeling set, as mentioned above, this will not have to be a problem – visit our fully stocked Dive Shop at LionsDive Beach Resort. Our professional Dive Team at Ocean Encounters can equip you with a choice of high quality gear from leading manufactures like Cressi, Mares, TUSA and Scubapro!  

What is the difference between Snorkeling and Freediving?

If you think freediving is just like snorkeling (but going really deep) – think again. Freediving is an entirely different way to experience the underwater world. You’ll dive deeper, stay down longer, and feel part of the ocean itself.

Freediving can also be a competitive sport. Divers around the world train for years to set world records in static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving.

Diving into deep waters on one breath and without any breathing apparatus is referred to as ‘freediving’. Freedivers use inward control, discipline and power to descend into the ocean while holding their breath until they resurface. Freediving is both a recreational and competitive sport, with many freediving competitions being held regularly around the world.

If you are interested in Freediving while in Curacao – the best place to start exploring this incredible experience is at Cas Abao Beach with Freediving Curaçao!

Their professional team of instructors can safely introduce you to this sport and expand your skill set at your own pace.  Want to know more about Freediving before you dive in? CLICK here to find out more information!

When is snorkeling in Curacao ideal?

Snorkeling is possible 365 days of the year in Curaçao. Located 12 degrees north of the equator, Curaçao is an arid island that has warm and sunny climate generally cooled by easterly trade winds – except during the months of August and September. The average air temperature is around 27 ° C

There are occasional showers during the rainy season however the average yearly rainfall is less than 22 inches or 55 centimeters – this period lasts from October to January.

Snorkeling versus Diving in Curacao

Snorkeling in Curacao is amazing.  But if you have reached this point then you certainly need no more convincing of the fact that snorkeling is an essential experience when visiting our Dutch Caribbean island! However, there is a depth to Curacao that simply cannot be appreciated unless you dive in and experience it for yourself. 

If you would like to dive in to “try scuba diving” or start exploring the possibilities of becoming a certified PADI / SSI diver, then click here to discover the scuba diving courses offered by our professional Dive Team here in Curaçao.

Why Dive in Curacao?

Our good friend Bryan Horne from Dive Curaçao sums it up best!

“Largest of the ABC (including Aruba and Bonaire) Islands, Curaçao is home to some of the most bio-diverse reefs in the Caribbean.  The sheltered southern coast is rich in coral, and suitable for divers of all levels, with little in the way of adverse conditions at any of the popular dive sites.  Divers and snorkelers never seem to be able to stop talking about the beauty of scuba diving Curacao.  Let us assure you, this is with good reason.”