Every year, Scuba Diving Magazine asks their readers to “pool their collective knowledge by ranking a variety of categories, like destinations and operators, on a 1 to 5 scale. An independent agency collected their responses in May and June of 2020, analyzing the scores to reveal what the best places the planet has to offer for everyone from wreck divers to beginner divers, and more.”
With nearly 6,000 divers “weighing in” for the 28th Annual Scuba Diving Magazine’s Reader Choice Awards, Curaçao was once again named as one of the Best Overall Caribbean and Atlantic Dive Destinations for 2021 ranking highly in the following categories.
Best Dive Operators – Quality
Ocean Encounters, with on-site facilities at both LionsDive Beach Resort and Sunscape Beach Resort, Spa and Casino, is committed to delivering the highest-quality dive experience. The facility is the biggest on island, catering to the highest number of repeat guests. Divers return to Curaçao and Ocean Encounters for a handful of reasons, starting with the lineup of famous sites, such as Mushroom Forest, Klein Curaçao, Eastpoint and Blue Room, where visitors can’t help but be wowed by the health of the reefs and the density of the fish schools flowing over top. Another big reason that divers get hooked on Ocean Encounters is the staff because they continually deliver above and beyond what is expected to ensure that every guest has the ultimate dive vacation.
As an alternative to Bonaire, Curacao is a macro scuba diving paradise. Shark and Ray (Manta’s, Stingrays, Mobula) sightings are rare but that makes those encounters incredibly special. But all the photogenic small stuff is here on Curaçao. Some fan favorites are the Frogfish, Longlured and occasionally Occelated, plus trunkfish, banded coral shrimps and much more. These can be great subjects for wide-angle close ups and of course Seahorses are for the sharp eyed. Also, if you are good with your camera and buoyancy, the dive masters are more likely to share their little secrets.
Whether you are a snorkeler or just beginning your diving adventures or are a seasoned advanced diver, you will be thrilled with the opportunities where you can dive into history on Curaçao. Most notably is Curaçao’s iconic shipwreck, the MV Superior Producer – an advanced dive, or the famous Tugboat of Caracasbaai – an excellent entry level dive or family snorkel trip.
Cavern, Cave and Grotto
Discovering “The Blue Room” on Curaçao is one of the coolest and most talked about experiences in the entire Caribbean and a perfect place for off-gassing between dives or for a wonderful snorkel trip. Once people started to regularly explore The Blue Room with scuba tanks, they discovered more than just the ethereal light. They found surfaces covered by orange cup coral, filled with micro wonders. And then they saw that images of the blue were complemented by a ﬂamboyant orange. Lurking in the shadows year-round you will ﬁnd copper sweepers, a small gold-bronze ﬁsh that looks like it is swimming upside down. And, in the late days of August through September, The Blue Room ﬁlls with silversides, which light up the cavern as they move and ﬂow like mercury. Now, more than just an afterthought, The Blue Room has become an essential Curaçao experience. And, that light… unforgettable.
Shore Diving and Snorkeling
In a sport where you often must charter a boat to see the best of the underwater world, Curacao is a unique shore diving and snorkeling haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule. On the south side of the island, the fringing reef in most cases is within 60-feet (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 diving and snorkeling sites are clearly marked along the roadway. Curaçao knows they have great access for shore diving and snorkeling, and they have gone out of their way to accommodate adventurers looking to take advantage of the matchless wonder.
The only thing better than easy shore access, is having a knowledgeable & responsible dive operator available to take care of your every need. At a good number of the popular sites along the coast you will find a Curaçao Tourist Board approved dive shop serving that area. Part of the Curaçao Tourist Board selection is based on a strong commitment to quality, safety & sustainable tourism where many, in fact, have joined the Project AWARE “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 the Curacao Dive Guide and ask to see the “Curaçao Tourist Board Approved” quality check to ensure when visiting the Island, you dive with only the best!
These Dive Operators also offer dive guided services too. Whether you are a new diver, or a well saturated veteran, a dive guide is always a good decision. The Curacao Dive 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.
Scuba Diving on Curacao is the number one thing to DO – but of course there are plenty of things to do on Curacao and no right way to experience any of them. All travelers can make the island their own experience while embracing its authentic, unforgettable spirit that clearly distinguishes Curaçao from other Caribbean and worldwide destinations.
Now… Start planning your next scuba diving vacation to Curaçao, located in the heart of the Dutch Caribbean!
Start thinking of packing your mask, fins, dive computer, certification card and your thirst for adventure as you consider traveling to Curacao, one of the best overall scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean and Atlantic region for 2021. WHY? Because we believe, like you, that Curaçao is an incredible Dutch Caribbean island that is a world class scuba diving and vacation destination! We invite you visit Dive Travel Curaçao and let us help you discover Curaçao so you can “feel it for yourself”!
Visit Scuba Diving Magazine today for Scuba Diving’s 2021 Readers Choice Awards where they rank a complete list of the World’s Best Diving!
Photography courtesy of Ty Sawyer, Naturepicsfilms and In Curaçao.