The Caribbean has no shortage of awe-inspiring views and vacation destinations, but the real majesty of this region that is nestled to the west of the central Atlantic Ocean, is found below the surface of her azure waves. These naturally clear turquoise waters provide ideal habitats to thousands of species of corals, fish, crabs, turtles, rays, sharks, and more which in turn attracts divers & snorkelers alike from all over the world.
One of these prime destinations in the Caribbean is the island of Curaçao. Sitting 43 miles (70km) off the North Coast of Venezuela, this southern diamond is a reward in and of itself to any who are willing to make the trek. The coral beaches along the southern coastline give divers access to incredible diving. In a sport where you often must charter a boat to see the best of the underwater world, Curaçao is a unique shore diving haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule.
Easy Shore access
Curaçao is laid out in a way that makes the southern side of the island almost perfect for shore diving. Thanks to the geographic location, the winds in the area come from the Northeast, meaning that almost the entire southern shoreline is protected from heavy sea winds. The lack of strong winds means that divers can get their feet wet almost any time of year, and the diving from shore is calmer and safer.
On the south side of the island, the fringing reef in most cases is within 60ft (20m) from the shoreline which leads to incredible drop offs that allow divers to venture a little bit deeper into the aquatic wonderland. Of the seventy popular dive sites the island has available, over half of them are reachable from the shore, and nearly all these shore dive sites are clearly marked along the road way. Curacao knows they have great shore diving, and they have gone out of their way to accommodate adventurers looking to take advantage of the matchless wonder.
Dive Operators – Committed to Quality, Safety & Sustainable Tourism
The only thing better than easy shore access, is having knowledgeable & responsible dive operators available to take care of your every need. “The Curacao Dive Task Force members are comprised only of Curaçao Tourism Board (CTB) approved dive operators, selected for their strong commitment to quality, safety & sustainable tourism.” At a good number of the popular sites along the coast you will find a dive shop serving that area. Many of them in fact have joined the “Adopt A Dive Site” Initiative, committing to conserve/protect these sites from marine debris by conducting monthly Project AWARE “Dive Against Debris” clean-ups. Use this locator guide to ensure when visiting our Island, you dive with only the best!
These Dive Operators also offer dive guided services. Whether you are a new diver, or a well saturated veteran, a dive guide is always a good decision. Guides know the area, and add an additional element of safety to your dive trips. They also know the hiding places of the critters you came to see.
Shops will also have access to special types of dives and animal interactions that you will not be able to experience on your own.
Plenty of diving
According to ShoreDiving.com, Curacao has thirty-eight dive sites accessible by beach that have an average diver rating of 3.8 out of 5. Given the average vacation is only seven days, and you need one full day in between diving and flying home, you have six world class shore dives you can hit every single day of your trip. On top of that each site is unique, so shore diving Curacao offers not shortage of exploration opportunities.
Day and night adventure
For those divers who like a little more adventure, and know that some of the coolest sea life comes out at night, the abundance of shore dives on Curacao means that you have ample opportunity to jump in the water for a moonlit night dive. The reef takes on a completely different personality at night, and offers the best night-life anywhere is the world. Rays, sharks, squid, and octopuses all await the night time diver.
So, pack your mask, fins, dive computer, certification card and your thirst for adventure as you travel to Curacao, a unique shore diving heaven. Down here the only bad dive is the dive you don’t go on.
Photos courtesy of Turtle & Ray Productions HD