At a glance, the Caribbean islands can seem very similar. Curaçao has everything you might expect – the sand, the sun, and the colorful cocktails – but much of what makes the Dutch Caribbean paradise unique is below the surface: namely, some of the best free and scuba diving in the world.
No diving experience is necessary for an underwater adventure – tropical fish color the ocean, with turtles, rays and lobsters completing one of the healthiest marine animals cultures in the Caribbean. Yet for experienced divers, Curaçao has many activities that go far beyond exploring the depths. SeaBob Curaçao has debuted personal underwater propellers to help divers swim alongside sea turtles and schools of fish.
Also new on the island is the Lionfish Hunt: a two-tank dive at East Point, a pristine reef on the island’s eastern tip that’s home to tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles. Once the divers resurface, the guides teach participants how to clean their lionfish, which can then be sampled at The Pier, a restaurant in the Jan Thiel area.
Still, you don’t have to be scuba-certified to see some of the most spectacular underwater sights. Substation Curaçao’s Shark Deep Dive brings travelers 1,000 feet below sea level in a mini submarine – you’ll see species of fish and coral that divers can’t reach. You’ll even see that most coveted of sights for any diver: a shipwreck.
Curaçao’s most famous shipwreck is actually only 100 feet below the surface – accessible for advanced divers – and, conveniently, the ship barely made it out of the harbor. In 1978, the Superior Producer was a merchant ship bound for Venezuela when its overstuffed hull capsized just offshore – a joyous site for local divers, who quickly supplied Curaçao’s markets with new clothing and spirits. The occasional bottle is still said to rise to the surface, but all scuba divers can explore the ship now colorfully coated with marine life.
If the beach is more your speed, Curaçao has you covered – and if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, you’ll never feel cramped or chaotic. Nestled into a cove on the opposite side of Christoffel Park, Playa Kenepa is as spectacular as any beach in the Caribbean; just down the shore, the breathtaking cliffs of Playa Forti are must-see. In all there are over 35 beaches around the island – but wherever your journey takes you, you’ll know you haven’t seen the same old Caribbean.