Underwater, Curaçao has much in common with its smaller neighbouring island, Bonaire, with a fringing reef running the length of the west coast. The island's location ensures year round diving in crystal clear waters. Curaçao boasts excellent reefs with an attractive range of wrecks and has been voted one of the top three places for shore diving in the world. Annual rainfall is minimal and diving conditions suit all levels of experience.
As well as the underwater attractions, Curaçao has much to offer above the water. The island's laid back charm mixed with a vivid cosmopolitan history, makes the island an interesting place to visit. Willemstad, the capital, has been awarded world heritage status by UNESCO for its unique Dutch Caribbean architecture and the island features many restored plantation houses.
There are numerous bars and restaurants and eight museums including the Maritime Museum and the Kura Hulanda, which documents the slave trade. All these make Curacao a great all round holiday destination for divers and non-divers alike.
The island has over 60 recognised dive sites, with around 40 of them accessible from shore. There are a number of excellent wrecks adding variety to the underwater scenery. The cargo ship Superior Producer sank just outside Willemstad harbour. Lying in 30m, the superstructure is covered in beautiful corals and anemones. A little further down the reef at Car Pile, old cars from the 1940s lie on top of one another, forming the base to a gently sloping reef. All of Curaçao's dive sites are well preserved and alive with marine life.
Ocean Encounters Dive Centre
Ocean Encounters is a supremely friendly, well-run PADI 5 Star Gold Palm IDC & National Geographic dive centre, offering great boat diving and unlimited shore diving to qualified divers and a wide range of courses. Many of the dive sites are located to the East end of Curacao and the reefs have been awarded as the best preserved reefs in the Caribbean. We highly recommend this resort and dive centre for active families and friends of all ages.
The dive centre is very well organised and training facilities are second to none, with boats leaving from their onsite jetty and a small house reef dive.
Options available include 3, 4, 5 and 6 days boat diving packages, plus an unlimited shore diving option. Please discuss your requirements with the Regaldive team, who will prepare a quotation suited to your needs.
A range of diving courses is available for those looking to learn to dive. Please enquire for details.
NB: Courses - Minimum 2 people per course, or a 25% surcharge applies. You may reserve the course on your own, and if there is no other person taking part in resort, a surcharge will apply, but this rarely happens.
Extras in Resort
Prices listed below are an indication only, and subject to change.
- Nitrox per fill: $10
- Special Trips e.g. Klein Curacao / Mushroom Forest: $60
Guideline Equipment Rental, USD per day. Pay in resort:
- Full Set: $45
- BCD: $15
- Regulator: $15
- Mask, Snorkel, Fins: $17
- Snorkel Vest: $5
- Kayak 1-seater - $20 per hour
- Kayak 2-seater - $25 per hour
- DIN tanks provided - it is recommended that you take DIN adaptors with you if needed.
- 10l and 15l tanks area available free of charge, but numbers are limited.
Local sales payable in resort:
Sales tax: 6%
Curaçao is part of the Dutch Antilles in the southern Caribbean. The largest of the Antillean islands, Curaçao has a population of approximately 150,000 people. The main city of Willemstad is a thriving well-developed port. The historic city centre with its many 17th and 18th century Dutch Colonial buildings has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Numerous bars, restaurants and shops give the town a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The coastline is dotted with discreet coves and some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, many of which are totally undeveloped. There are two national parks that attract ornithologist from around the world. Curaçao is an ideal destination for those wanting to relax and get away from it all and still have the option of numerous activities.
Curaçao is 4 hours behind GMT.
Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAG). £1 = 2.9 NAG approx
Euros, GBP & USD can be changed or USD travellers cheques can be exchanged.
The Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAFl.) is fixed at the exchange rate of 1.77 to the USD dollar. You can spend USD dollars everywhere, but will likely receive your change in guilders.
There are ATM’s in Willemstaad and ATMs close to the main resorts in the south. If staying in the north of the island without transport, please plan accordingly for cash. All resorts and dive centres accept payment for services at the end of you stay on credit cards.
Dutch is the official language, but English and Spanish are also spoken as well as their own unique blend, Papiamento.
Outside the hurricane belt, the annual rainfall is very low. Average temperature annually is 27.5°C. July/August is the hottest period reaching up to 30°C. Normally warm and humid with a fairly constant, cooling sea breeze.
One of the best ways to enjoy Curaçao is to hire a vehicle locally. There are a finite number of vehicles available for rental in Curacao. Should you be travelling over a peak period you should consider pre booking your vehicle prior to departure.
Guideline Car Hire Prices:
- Car: £25 per day
- Car: £150 per week
- Van: £34 per day
- Van: £200 per week
Collision Damage Waiver: c. $11 per day
Upgrade insurance: c. $19 per day
The main attraction for most visitors to Curaçao is the water sports. There are over 100 dive sites around the island and the fringing reef provides fantastic snorkelling. Conditions for sailing and windsurfing are excellent and boats are available for private charters.
There are scenic hiking trails in the Christoffel and Shete Boca National Parks. The Christoffel National Park covers 4,500 acres and is home to the Hato Caves where centuries old stalagmites and stalactites are still being formed.
Other outdoor activities include horse riding, canoe safaris and golf to name but a few. There are numerous well run Casinos, bars and restaurants. Wherever you go you are likely to find Salsa or some of the other local forms of dancing on offer.
There are numerous bars and restaurants and 8 museums including the Maritime Museum and the Kura Hulanda, which documents the slave trade. All these make Curaçao a great all round holiday destination for divers and non-divers alike.
Flights are with KLM via Amsterdam.
Regional Departures from London Heathrow & City, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Durham, Humberside, Norwich International, Cardiff - supplement may apply. The Amsterdam schedule to Bonaire or Curaçao does not always allow for convenient connection times on every single departure - please enquire for a quote.
Twin centres: We can easily add an internal flight from Bonaire to Curaçao, or vice versa.
Departure tax: $34 - If departing on an international flight on KLM, this is currently included in your ticket.
Passports & Visas
Passengers travelling to Curaçao must have six months valid on their passport from the date of return to the UK.
No visa required for British passport holders.
There are no compulsory vaccinations, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio. Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.
Lions Dive & Beach Resort
Curacao feedback - Lions Dive
As ever thanks for the superb efficiency of Regaldive - you are all so very helpful to deal with.
Curacao was wonderful, can thoroughly recommend it. The hotel was great, with good facilities, food and a fantastic 50m pool.
Ocean encounters were great, and very accommodating, letting us bend their rules a little and letting us take non diving children on board in the morning, once they realised they could swim and would behave themselves!
It was a great holiday, and we would definitely go back, roll on October, and the Maldives!
12 October 2012
Holiday in Carriacou
You may recall that we booked a Holiday with you to Carriacou. We have now returned and I thought I would drop you a line.
The holiday was superb, and the island (with its lack of touristy spots and hotels) was all that you and one of your colleagues said it would be... a really great break. Silver Diving were superb, as was the diving itself.
Green Roof Inn was relaxing and laid back, as were the staff. I would recommend Bogels Roundhouse for any meals, run by an English couple with a superb setting and a great standard of food.
One particular point I would like to make is that your local representatives, Insight Tourism, were really good - particularly the owner, Bentley Skeete. On our return trip he personally picked us up from the ferry and took us to a local hotel for a few hours break before we went to the airport later in the afternoon. He arranged the details with the hotel receptionist and was also very informative about Grenada and its various features. Travelling to and from the Caribbean (particularly with a family) can be difficult and tiring, but this was lightened by the kind and courteous attention of Insight who were always attentive and helpful.
We are looking for a possible break to the Red Sea in late October (half term dates)... do you have anything that you could recommend?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks and Kind Regards,
Gary Williams "
12 October 2012
"Just wanted to let you know that we had a great week in Carriacou.
Really relaxed and interesting diving. More sponges on one healthy busy reef than we've seen in years. Add in sizeable nurse shark, turtles, drum fish, quilled blennies and countless crabs, and lobsters on steroids together with all the usual suspects and it really stacks up.
Also Max and Claudia who run the Silver Reef Dive Centre couldn't have been more helpful and informative.
Would be great to combine an extra week in Grenada for the wrecks. Will definitely go again.
Andy and Caroline
12 October 2012