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Diving here on this island, a little north from the shores of Venezuela, brings new meaning to the phrase “Dutch treat.” Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles and is the “C” in the “ABC” island trio that also includes Bonaire and Aruba and features a colorful healthy seascape and a rugged landscape. Curacao was at the crossroads of sea commerce – legal and illegal – during colonial centuries and its legacy is a diverse mix of cultural influences, from Dutch and West African to Spanish and indigenous.
If you like mellow diving – by boat and by shore – with healthy, colorful coral reefs and plenty of small life to keep your eyes sharp and occupied, you’ll love Curacao. If you want to combine your diving with lively nightlife, or lazy days and nights on the beach, Curacao will be a dream come true.
Willemstad, instantly recognizable for its pastel-colored Dutch colonial buildings lining its harbor, is Curacao’s major city. It is a sophisticated and stylish port of call for cruise ships, so it offers no shortage of shopping, dining and entertainment options, from jewelry boutiques and world class restaurants to nightclubs and casinos. Divers who double as cultural anthropologists must visit Kura Hulanda, an award-winning museum with world renowned permanent exhibits on the African slave trade and Jewish immigration and how both are permanently etched in the island’s identity.
Curacao’s countryside is as tranquil as the city is bustling. You’ll find quiet sandy beaches along the shore, a flamingo reserve in a valley and charming villages in the hills. You may also want to spend an off-gassing day trading your fins for hiking boots and taking on the challenge of hiking to the summit of Mt. Christoffel, for a breathtaking view of the entire island.
With a fringing reef surrounding the island, scores of dive sites are mere steps from your resort or other parts of the shore, or only a short boat ride away. Curacao’s trademark underwater highlights include mushroom-shaped coral heads, seahorses, cleaner shrimp, schools of colorful tropical fish, the occasional spotted eagle ray and the wreck of the Superior Producer.
Scuba Travel Ventures can arrange your accommodation however you choose – from a high profile resort near the city, to a low-key one on the beach.