Scuba Diving in Curacao – Ultimate Guide (With Map)

Are you planning on going Scuba diving in Curacao and need some more info? Then I got you covered!

Curacao is not as famous for diving as its little sister island of Bonaire, but there is still a lot to see underwater.

I have spent almost a year in Curacao recently, and I know all the ins and outs of diving in Curacao.

If you have some trouble planning your diving vacation in Curacao or finding the best dive resorts on the island or the most magical dive spots – then I got you covered!

Find in this post everything you need to know about scuba diving in Curacao!

Let’s dive in!

picture of a scuba diver under a school of fish in deep blue water with a flashlight on in curacao

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night diving curacao
💶 Currency: ANG
⏱ Time Zone UTC -4
🪫 Voltage 127 V
🛫 Airport: HATO
🏖 Languages: Papiamentu, Dutch

Scuba Diving in Curacao – What You Need to Know

Scuba diving in Curacao can be an amazing experience. The beautiful Caribbean island has stunning underwater landscapes, diverse marine life, and crystal-clear waters. It is one of the best activities in Curacao.

Before you go scuba diving in Curacao, there are a few things you need to know to ensure safety and enjoyment:

  • Certification: To scuba dive in Curacao, you need to be a certified diver. You need to bring a valid scuba diving certification (PADI, NAUI, SSI, or CMAS). Of course, it is also possible to get your certification in Curacao from a trusted provider.
  • Water Temperature and Visibility: The water temperature in Curacao remains relatively warm throughout the year at 78-84°F (25-29°C). Visibility is usually excellent. You can mostly see up to 100 feet (30 meters).
  • Conservation: Avoid touching or disturbing marine life, and be cautious not to damage coral reefs.
  • Currents: Curacao’s currents can vary from gentle to strong. Check the current conditions before diving. Visit only the dive sites that match your skill level.
  • Emergency Contacts: Be aware of the local emergency contact numbers (912 for Ambulance) and the nearest decompression chamber location. Curacao has a hyperbaric chamber for emergencies.
  • Dive Insurance: Make sure to be getting dive-specific travel insurance
  • Curacao has many great dive resorts that offer package deals.

What Marine Life Can You See in Curacao

Here is an overview of what you can encounter on your dives in Curacao. Make sure to always be mindful of not disturbing marine life and avoid touching anything.

  • Coral Reefs: Curacao has beautiful coral reefs with both hard and soft corals
  • Tropical Fish: The ocean around Curacao is filled with different tropical fish species. You’ll encounter parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, sergeant majors, wrasses, triggerfish, and many others.
  • Turtles: Green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles can be seen on dives in Curacao
  • Stingrays and Eagle Rays
  • Moray Eels
  • Octopuses and Squid: If you’re lucky, you might spot octopuses or squid in the corals. But I have to warn you, they are great at camouflage
  • Lionfish: Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean. Although beautiful, they are a threat to the local ecosystem.
  • Grouper and Snapper: Larger reef fish like groupers and snappers can be seen in the deeper areas of the reefs. They are known to be quite curious and may come close to divers.
  • Shipwrecks: Curacao is home to several shipwrecks, such as the famous Tugboat wreck.
  • Sponges and Anemones
  • Coral Fish
sea turtle swimming in deep blue water

Curacao Dive Sites – Interactive Map

Check out my interactive map for all dive sites in Curacao as well as the best dive stores in Curacao:

Best Dive Sites in Curacao

1. Mushroom Forest

Dive Type: Boat

Skill Level: Drift – Advanced

Mushroom Forest is one of the most famous dive sites in Curacao. It is named after the large mushroom-shaped coral formations.

This site offers divers a unique underwater landscape. It is great for taking pictures!

Mushroom Forest is located inside the Santa Cruz Plantation.

colorful school of fish swimming along beautiful corals and sponges

2. Blue Room

Dive Type: Boat

Skill Level: Beginner

The Blue Room is a unique underwater cave in Curacao.

It is only accessible through a small opening. The cave is famous for its incredible blue hues caused by sunlight passing through the water.

This is a great site not only for scuba diving but also for snorkeling in Curacao.

a scuba diver underwater in curacao with a flashlight

3. Alice in Wonderland

Dive Type: Shore

Skill Level: Drift – Advanced

This dive site has often been rated as the Number 1 diving spot in Curacao. You can find it at Playa Kalki near Westpunt.

It is famous for its dramatic coral formations that look like they are straight out of a fairy tale.

The shallow reef area is full of colorful coral and you can see a wide variety of marine species there. There is a chance to find turtles and a large school of fish there.

4. Watamula

Dive Type: Boat

Skill Level: Open Water

Watamula is a famous boat diving site in Curacao. It is located near the town of Westpunt, and super close to the famous Elvin’s Plane Wreck.

Watamula is famous for its hard coral fields that are wedged in between beautiful and soft corals. There is also an insane amount of macro life on this Curacao dive site.

Make sure to check the currents ahead of time. They are especially unpredictable in this area.

Shete Boka National Park in Curacao waves crashing onto shore super high

Do you need travel insurance in Curacao? Yes, travel insurance in Curacao is highly recommended. Unsafe roads, water sports accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.

5. Elvin’s Plane Wreck

Dive Type: Boat

Skill Level: Drift – Advanced

Elvin’s Plane Wreck dive site is named after the wreckage of the Fokker Fairchild 27 wreckage that can be found underneath the ocean at this site.

The aircraft was blown there by a storm in 2008 and has been a beloved dive site ever since.

Turtles, barracudas, and lobsters can regularly be seen on this site as well.

picture of a scuba diver with a flashlight in front of the famous elvins plane wreck dive site in curacao with a fokker fairchild airplane underwater

6. Tugboat

Dive Type: Boat & Shore

Skill Level: Open Water

Tugboat is one of my favorite dive sites in Curacao. The sunken wreck of a huge tugboat lies only 5 meters (15 ft) below water.

The dive site is located in the Curacao Marina Park, close by the famous Director’s Bay.

The shipwreck itself is covered in beautiful sponges and many tropical fish swarm around the wreckage. You can see the famous Parrott fish on this dive site.

This is also a great beach for snorkeling in Curacao.

Drone shot of a boat underwater with a scuba diver next to it at tugboat beach in curacao

7. Klein Curacao

Dive Type: Boat

Skill Level: Drift – Advanced

While not exactly a site on the main island, Klein Curaçao is a small uninhabited island located only a short boat ride away.

Klein Curacao is famous for clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and the opportunity to see larger marine creatures such as sharks and turtles.

The easiest and only way to reach Klein Curacao is with a boat trip from Curacao or a private charter.

8. Superior Producer

Type Dive: Shore/Boat

Skill Level: Advanced

Superior Producer is a wreck dive. It is one of the most popular dives in Curaçao and one of the best wreck dives in the entire Caribbean.

The Superior Producer is located near Sint Anna Baai, close to the Double Reef.

The wreck of the Superior Producer, a cargo ship that sank in 1977, now serves as an artificial reef. It is covered in coral and home to a wide variety of marine life.

picture of the sunken cargoship superior producer and the front side is covered in beautiful coral and fish swimming

9. Director’s Bay

Type Dive: Boat/Shore

Skill Level: Open Water

Director’s Bay is an amazing dive site in Curacao located close to the famous Tugboat Beach.

This shallow site is great for macro photography and critter spotting.

You can find a variety of small marine species, such as seahorses, frogfish, and nudibranchs at Director’s Bay.

drone shot of a small secluded beach called directors bay with beautiful light blue and dark blue water and a diver swimming in front of it

10. Car Pile

Type Dive: Boat

Skill Level: Drift – Advanced

The Car Pile Dive Site is located close to the Sunscape Curacao Hotel Resort & Spa. The All-Inclusive Resort offers great Dive + Stay packages, in case you are interested.

Another unique wreck dive, the Car Pile is an artificial reef created by sinking old cars.

The cars are covered in coral and inhabited by a variety of species.

picture of a sunken wreck of a car underwater covered in corals on a car pile dive site near the sunscape hotel in curacao

Best Beginner Diving Experiences in Curacao

Author’s Choice
sea turtle in curacao
Private Discover Scuba Dive Experience
  • 3,5 hours
  • Pickup Offered
  • Small Group
  • Snacks
  • Equipment

Private Discover Scuba Dive Experience

🤩 5/5 Stars (10 Reviews)

This Private Discover Scuba Dive Experience is a great way to learn scuba diving in Curacao in a relaxed and fun way.

You will be picked up at your hotel and together with a small group brought to the dive site. The small group size ensures a lot of attention from your guide.

The experienced guide will give you a thorough introduction before helping you with your first dive.

The experience lasts about 3,5 hours and includes the use of equipment and snacks. All in all, this is a great chance to learn Scuba Diving in Curacao.

Discover Diving in Curacao

🤩 5/5 Stars (771 Reviews)

The 4-hour-long Discover Diving in Curacao Tour is another amazing choice for your first diving experience.

This dive will be done at the famous Tugboat Beach, and you will see the fabulous shipwreck on your first dive.

You will do one confined water dive and one open water dive on this tour.

Equipment is provided, and pickup can be arranged for selected areas as well.

Introduction Shore Dive with Scubaçao

🤩 5/5 Stars (75 Reviews)

The Introduction Shore Dive with Scubacao is another one of my favorite beginner tours.

This is a great way to try out scuba diving before committing to pay for a full course. In this 3,5 hour tour you will get a great first impression of what it is like in a relaxed manner.

Use of scuba equipment and small snacks are included.

The meeting point for this tour is in Willemstad, but you can also request a pickup if you stay in the Piscadera or Jan Thiel area.

Best Advanced Dive Tours in Curacao

Author’s Choice
beach and shore with blue water
Guided Shore Dive for Certified Divers with Scubaçao (2 tank)
  • 4,5 hours
  • 2 dive sites
  • Private Tour
  • Underwater Photos
  • Use of Equipment
  • Eastern Curacao

Guided Shore Dive for Certified Divers with Scubacao

🤩 5/5 Stars (91 Reviews)

This advanced Guided Shore Dive for Certified Divers is a great choice if you want to experience Curacao’s underwater world.

You will stop at two different dive sites that you can pick together with the experienced guides. The tour is private, so you don’t have to worry about other people’s wishes.

If possible, your guides will take some great underwater footage for you to take home to.

This 5-hour diving tour is a great choice for any diving enthusiast. Hotel Pickup can be arranged as well.

Night Diving at the Caribbean Sea

This Night Diving at Caribbean Sea tour is a super unique diving tour in Curacao for experienced divers.

Personally, I was a bit scared of diving at night, but it turns out to be a magical experience.

Your experienced guide will lead you into the underwater world at night for this 1,5 hour dive.

Lead and tank are included in the tour, sadly Scuba equipment is not.

This is a totally unique experience that everyone should try out at least once.

2-Tank Guided Dive (half-day)

🤩 5/5 Stars (8 Reviews)

Last but not least, the 2-tank guided dive half-day experience is something I recommend.

This dive is great if you want to experience two different dive sites in one day. The tour will take you to amazing sites, like Marie Pampoen, Jan Thiel Bay, or Director’s Bay.

Snacks are served in between dives. Sadly, Hotel pickup is not included in this tour.

All in all, this tour is a great choice for any experienced diver.

Best Dive Resorts in Curacao

Author’s Choice
sunscape resort in curacao
Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa & Casino 4*
  • All-Inclusive Resort
  • 6 Restaurants
  • Shore Diving
  • 4 Pools
  • Water Sports

Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa & Casino

Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa & Casino has been the first hotel we stayed in on the island. It is also one of my favorite hotels in Curacao for many reasons.

Sunscape has the biggest private beach in Curacao. And it is an amazing spot for diving. The famous Car Pile Dive Site is located right off the beach of Sunscape.

You can book a guided shore dive in their house reef with Ocean Encounters Curacao exclusively for hotel guests.

The rooms are super spacious and luxurious, and the 6 different restaurants will spoil you throughout the day with local and international delicacies.

The famous Mambo Beach is only a few minutes of walking away if you feel like exploring.

Acoya Curacao Resort, Villas & Spa

Acoya Curacao Resort, Villas & Spa is one of the best hotels on the island if you are looking for furnished apartments and villas.

Acoya has an amazing on-site dive center, the Epsilon Diving & Multisport Center. You can book Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue & Specialty Diving courses as well as guided diving excursions there.

The hotel is located close to Mambo Beach. This is one of the best areas to stay in Curacao for diving.

Another great feature of Acoya is that they can supply you with a rental car for your own diving excursions.

Scuba Lodge & Ocean Suites

The Scuba Lodge is one of the best hotels in Willemstad for diving. The hotel is quite famous on Instagram for its picture-perfect facade in stunning colors.

But it is also a PADI 5-Star IDC Resort – perfect for your diving holiday. They take out smaller groups for dives and are renowned for their expertise.

Apart from the great diving center, the hotel is also famous for its stunning pool and great rooms. It is only a few minutes’ walking away from the famous Handelskade in Willemstad.

Scuba Lodge is also one of the most instagrammable spots in Curacao.

Best Dive Shops in Curacao

Best Time for Scuba Diving in Curacao

The best time to go scuba diving in Curaçao is during the dry season. The dry season runs from April to October.

During this period, you will have the best weather conditions. There is minimal rainfall, calm seas, and excellent visibility underwater.

The water temperature at this time is warm and comfortable. You can expect temperatures from 78°F to 84°F (25°C to 29°C), which are ideal for diving and snorkeling.

Keep in mind that hurricane season falls within the wet season, from November to December. While Curacao is located outside of the hurricane belt, you still have more rainfalls and heavier storms during the wet season.

All in all, Curaçao is known for its constant good climate throughout the year. Diving is still possible outside the dry season.

Read about the best time to go to Curacao to plan the perfect vacation.

picture of paradise island of Klein Curacao perfect for diving and snorkeling

How to Get Around Curacao for Diving

By now you are probably wondering how you can reach all these amazing dive sites in Curacao that I recommended in this blog post.

If you want to go scuba diving in Curacao without a guided tour, you definitely need a rental car.

Beaches and dive sites are very spread out and hard to reach without a car. We usually book a car with DiscoverCars and pick it up at the airport upon arrival.

DiscoverCars is reliable and they offer great cars for amazing prices. I also love their cancellation policy.

If you want to know more about driving in Curacao, I suggest you check out my Ultimate Curacao Travel Guide for more information.

Of course, you can always charter a boat for a diving round-trip as well.

Things to Do in Curacao Besides Diving

  • Explore Willemstad: The colorful capital city of Willemstad is known for its vibrant architecture and colorful buildings.
  • Visit Shete Boka National Park: Check out the dramatic coastline, stunning caves, blowholes, and rugged cliffs at the national park. The Boka Tabla cave and Boka Pistol blowhole are must-see attractions.
  • Hike the Christoffel National Park: This park offers several hiking trails that lead to the highest point on the island, Mount Christoffel. The views from the top are breathtaking.
  • Relax on the Beaches: While you’re not diving, spend time on Curaçao’s beautiful beaches. My favorite beaches are Mambo Beach, Cas Abao Beach, and Grote Knip Beach. Of course, you should also visit the hidden Playa Gipy Beach.
  • Explore Hato Caves: These limestone caves are filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and underground pools. Guided tours take you through the fascinating history and geology of the caves.
  • Experience the Floating Market: Head to Willemstad’s waterfront to experience the colorful Floating Market. Boats from Venezuela arrive daily to sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. You can buy original Curacao street food there.
  • Tour a Distillery: Visit the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery to see how the famous blue liqueur is made. You can take a tour, participate in a workshop, and learn about the island’s liquor-making history.
  • Explore Klein Curacao: Take a day trip to this uninhabited island located off the southeastern coast of Curaçao. Enjoy its pristine beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and explore the abandoned lighthouse.
  • Head over to one of the best Curacao grocery stores for snacks and ice-cold drinks before your dive.
  • Check out my 1 week in Curacao itinerary for more ideas.

Directory of All Curacao Dive Sites

Conclusion: Scuba Diving in Curacao

As you have seen in this post, Scuba diving is a popular pastime in Curacao. Impressive sunken shipwrecks, car piles, and stunning coral reefs attract divers from all over the world.

There are many great dive sites in Curacao, for beginners and advanced divers. Make sure to book one of my favorite dive resorts to enhance your diving vacation in Curacao even further.

Be mindful of the environment and adhere to all the safety regulations for a great diving adventure in Curacao.

If you come to Curacao on a cruise, make sure to book a dive tour that picks you up at the cruise port.

If you are looking for more diving holidays in the Caribbean, you absolutely have to go to Bonaire, a snorkeler and divers paradise.

Of course, Aruba has just as much to offer in regard to marine life.

FAQ: Scuba Diving Curacao

Is Curacao good for Scuba Diving?

Yes, Curaçao is good for scuba diving. The island is boasting vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and crystal-clear waters. With numerous dive sites suitable for all skill levels, including wreck dives and stunning underwater formations, it’s a paradise for underwater enthusiasts.

When should I dive in Curacao?

The best time for diving in Curaçao is during the dry season, from April to November. The waters are calm, visibility is high, and marine life is abundant. However, be cautious of the hurricane season from June to November, which might bring occasional storms.

How much does it cost to dive in Curacao?

The cost of diving in Curaçao can vary depending on factors like the dive shop, location, and package chosen. On average, a single dive can range from $40 to $80, while dive packages for multiple dives might offer better value. Equipment rental, certification courses, and additional services can also influence the overall cost of your diving experience.

How deep is the diving in Curacao?

Curaçao offers diving experiences for various skill levels. Depths range from shallow coral gardens around 30 feet (10 meters) deep, perfect for beginners and snorkelers, to deeper sites reaching 100 feet (30 meters) or more, suitable for advanced divers. The island’s diverse underwater topography caters to a wide range of depths and preferences.

Is Aruba or Curacao better for diving?

Both Aruba and Curaçao offer great diving experiences with vibrant marine life and clear waters. Aruba’s diving is known for its wreck dives, while Curaçao boasts diverse coral reefs. The choice depends on your preferences; Aruba for wrecks and Curaçao for reefs. Both islands offer unique underwater attractions, so it’s worth exploring both if possible.

Do you need a wetsuit to dive in Curacao?

While the waters of Curaçao are generally warm, a wetsuit is recommended for prolonged dives to maintain comfort, prevent potential exposure, and offer protection against coral and marine life. A lightweight wetsuit (shorty or 3mm) is often sufficient, but it ultimately depends on your personal cold tolerance and dive duration.

Are there sharks in the waters of Curacao?

Yes, there are sharks in the waters around Curaçao. However, shark encounters are relatively rare, and most species found in the area are generally not aggressive towards humans. Divers might have the chance to see nurse sharks, reef sharks, and other types, enhancing the thrill of diving while maintaining safety precautions.

Is there a decompression Chamber in Curacao?

Yes, Curaçao has a decompression chamber available at the Curaçao Medical Center. This facility provides essential support for divers in case of decompression sickness or other diving-related medical emergencies, ensuring that divers have access to proper care and treatment when needed.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.