Curacao, famous for the amount of great shore dives. But there are so many! During your vacation, you probably don’t have time to see them all. Don’t worry! We created a little bucket list. These are our 5 favorite shore dives on Curacao. Thriving reefs, diverse marine life & even wrecks, all accessible from shore.
‘It’s sad, but at the same time beautiful to see how nature took over again’
This extraordinary dive site has an easy access by the beach of Marie Pampoen. The bay at Marie Pampoen is well protected by a wave braking rock formation, so you do not have to worry about rough water. Although the wrecks of Car Pile are between 14 to 50 meters / 45ft to 164ft of depth, this is also a dive site for beginner divers. The shallow reef and “Coral Garden” from the ‘Coral Restoration Program Curacao’ makes this dive all worth it.
This dive site is not only easy to get in and out, but the bay is also easily recognizable under water for finding your way back! First of all, when you leave the shallow bay, at the corner of the wave breaker there is a cylinder-shaped rock that you pass on your way out. A bit further in the center of the bay entrance stands a big barrel upright in the water at around 3mtr / 10ft of depth. This is easily seen from the shallow reef. To get to Car Pile you turn left. Only a few minutes out you will see the beautiful “Coral Garden”. This is a project that is active on multiple places around Curacao and helps to restore the reefs in the waters of Curacao. Around 15 minutes into the dive you will see the first big metal beam at around 15mtr / 49ft.
If you follow this down to around 25mtr / 82ft you see the scrap metal all around. From boats, cars, trucks, huge metal bars, pipes and many more. All this was thrown here around the sixties when the industrial area had to make room for new developments. Now dozens of years later this area is home to a big resort with casino.
Around the wrecks you can find a lot of fish. There are lots of Sergeant Majors laying their eggs on the wrecks. Also keep your eyes open for Barracudas, Tarpons and maybe even an Eagle Ray! When you turn around halfway of your dive, a suggestion is, slowly ascend to around 10 to 8mtr / 32 to 26ft and slowly continue ascending to 5mtr / 16ft. Which is perfect for your last part of the dive, your safety stop. Also, it is easy to find your way back into the bay at this depth.In these shallow waters you find such a beautiful reef with big stretches of pencil coral. The way back is a perfect opportunity for you to search for some nice macro between the beautiful corals.
Contact BLVD Divers Curacao to join on this dive!
#4 Alice in wonderland
‘It truly is a wonderland down here!’
Situated close to the most Western point of the island in the area Westpunt lays Playa Kalki or better known as Alice in Wonderland. The dive site located in westpunt at the idyllic white sand shores of Playa Kalki. The name Kalki is derived from the local “Papiamentu” word for white coral rock and limestone. Near the beach there is a big parking lot with security present. You will have the choice to set up your gear on the parking lot or by paying a small fee you can use the facilities of the dive shop situated next to the beach.
After walking down a small, but steep stair you can enter the water by walking in from this wonderful beach. From here you will start exploring the true beauty of the underwater world, which is practically revealed immediately. When swimming out you will see the buoy lines that are used to keep boats out of the swimming / snorkel area. These buoy lines are also great for navigation and determining your descent and ascent point. The lines are usually seen from the reef when doing your safety stop at the end of the dive.
The coral reef boasts huge coral formations and abundant wildlife, one of its most common inhabitants is the Lettuce Sea Slug. Where normally you will find green and white types, in this wonderland they are bright purple and pink. Being one of the most famous sites to dive in entire Curacao this spot never lets you down!
The shallow part of the reef is a plateau that gradually slopes down to about 7mtrs / 22ft of depth. This is where the drop off starts in either Western or Eastern direction which keeps dropping down further than the eyes can see. The current usually goes from East to West but normally this dive can be done in both directions. At the drop off you can find absolute colossal corals that nearly have the appearance of the famous dive site Mushroom Forrest. Beside and inside these abundant corals there are lots of holes and crevices where you can find all types of murrays, Lionfish and lobsters. Do not forget to look into the blue every now and then. If there is big sea life present, you will see it there. So, keep your eyes open for Tarpons, Barracudas and even bigger pelagic fish.
This dive site is just 20 minutes away from Coral Divers.
‘The colors on the wreck are amazing, so many fish!’
Photo credit: IG @eline.van.loon
Tugboat is perfect for both beginners and experienced divers. With its easy access from the pebble beach, you just walk in and out without a problem. You start the dive on a shallow (2 to 5mtr / 6 to 16ft) sandy plateau. When you follow the sandy bottom to the left you directly find bumps of coral with lots of life around it. When you pass the 3 massive pillars after around 5 minutes, you are almost at the Tugboat.
On your way you may have found the huge anchor that sunk the Tugboat! When you get to the Tugboat you directly see the colorful brain corals growing on the wreck. Because the wreck is shallow (4mtr / 13ft), the colors are amazing. There are a lot of fish around the wreck. When you turn right at the wreck and swim towards the drop off, you can follow the drop off to the left till you reach half tank. Maybe even a bit earlier because the end of the dive holds a surprise for you! When you follow the drop off you will find a beautiful wall with lots of corals and sponges on it. Keep you eyes out for Spiny lobsters at this part of the dive!
When you turn around you can follow the drop off (now on your right) all the way till you get to the last part of the dive, The Pier! This truly amazing part of the dive brings you in an entirely different world. With dozens of pillars full of corals, sponges and surrounded by fish, this area is out if this world.
At the back of the pier it is around 8mtr / 26ft of depth and in the front around 5mtr / 16ft of depth, so perfect for your safety stop. This is where you can search for lots of things like Scorpionfish, Frogfish, Arrow Crabs and also Seahorses! When you get back out from under the pier you are almost back at the beach again.
A perfect dive, easily to do by yourselves. But would you prefer a guided dive, do not hesitate to contact Jan Thiel Diving.
#2 The Wall
‘The wall goes so deep! I couldn’t even see the bottom anymore’
Photo credit: Dive Division Media
From the beautiful beach of Blue Bay, you can easily swim out to reach their house reefs. In the bay you have a beautiful sandy patch where you can start your search for underwater life. When you are swimming out you can look over the bottom searching for Yellow Goatfish, Peacock Flounders, Scorpionfish, Octopuses and many more! With almost no current most of the time, this dive is very easy for the less experienced diver, but just as adventurous for the more advanced diver!
At the center of the bay there is a concrete bucket on the drop off at around 9mtr / 29ft of depth. This is one of the best navigation points to recognize and find your way back into the bay. When you dive to the right you will get to dive site ‘The Wall’. Each side of the bay is very recognizable because of the wave breakers sticking out of the water. Around this rock formation you find lots of beautiful fish and corals. The moment you leave the bay you can follow the drop off for about 15 to 20 minutes before you reach The Wall!
On your way keep your eyes open for all kind of treats. We have seen almost everything here. You have a great chance to see Sea Turtles, Seahorses, Frogfish, Eagle Rays, Barracudas and many more! When you get to the steep wall, it goes over to 50mtr / 164ft deep at some points. It is full of corals, sponges and has lots of life around it. It can be very impressive! Maybe after your halfway point it is not a bad idea to have a peak on top of the wall.
Be careful with your ascend speed, always keep an eye on your dive computer and follow its instructions! A perfect dive, easily to do by yourselves or ask Blue Bay Dive to do a guided dive, they will point out all house reef inhabitants!
#1 The Superior Producer
‘What an adventure! I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world!’
If you are going to dive on the wreck Superior Producer, you are in for an adventure! The wreck is at 30mtr / 98ft of depth, so you need to be an advanced diver or have your deep adventure dive. These days you can enter through the entrance of the Mega Pier (do not forget your ID! No ID, no diving). After registering at the security, you drive all the way to the end of the docks. This is Mega Pier 2. This will be your entry and exit point. You must jump from about 1,5mtr / 5ft into the water. At the end of this small pier there is a ladder that you can use to climb up again at the end of the dive.
Once you are in the water you swim to the left corner of the mega pier. Depending on the waves you can decide if you do this under water or on the surface to save your air. From the pillar on the left corner you follow the slope down and you cannot miss the wreck. You dive right against the side of the Superior Producer! With its full upright position, it is a real majestic beauty sitting there on the bottom of the ocean. The almost fully intact ship is amazing to swim around. Around the wreck often schools of Tarpons are hanging around and watching your every move, making sure you do not damage the wreck 😉.
With the space between the horizontal metal crossbars, it is possible to lower yourself “inside” the wreck and swim under the crossbars.
The current can be none up to very strong and can go either way, so be careful with approaching the wreck. Nonetheless, a perfect dive! Since this is a deep dive, with possible strong current, it is advised to take a guide. Staying at Corendon Mangrove Resort? Awesome this is on swim distance of Groove Diving. Or contact Jan Thiel Diving, the shore dive specialist to discover this wreck.
I hope you enjoyed our bucketlist. These are the favorite shore dive on Curacao, of Maurice, Master Scuba Diver Trainer of Jan Thiel Diving. What is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!