Although you can wade in and begin snorkeling at pretty much any beach in Willemstad, this destination is unique because there is a designated snorkeling park that spans 12 miles of coast where you can be certain you'll see something amazing.
The snorkeling park is called the Curacao Marine Park, and includes healthy reefs, shallow shipwrecks, steep calls, over 30 species of coral, ad millions of different types of fish – everything a snorkeler could hope to encounter under the surface of the sea.
But you don't have to visit this park to get in some good snorkeling. The waters of Willemstad are always between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, visibility ranges from 60 to 150 feet, and the currents often remain calm, making any area shallow enough great for poking your head under and looking around.
If you choose to head out on your own, you can typically rent a snorkel kit for between $10 and $20(USD). Most dive shops also let snorkelers accompany them when they take scuba divers out, so you can visit some of the area's deeper waters through this means.
If you're ready to explore what's down below you might enjoy. Although it is against the law to dive and snorkel at this site when there is a cruise ship in port, this wreck has been sitting at the bottom of the sea since 1996. Because it is relatively shallow, snorkelers can see it when the conditions are good. This snorkeling site is located in Willemstad.
is another place you might enjoy. A very healthy reef with a great deal of active marine life, this site is a good once when the conditions are right, but the current can be rough at times.
A third location to consider is. Almost a century old, this wreck allows snorkelers to catch glimpses of a barge sunk with a crane, cars, trucks, and telephones aboard. All of this can be seen as schools a tropical fish swim in and out creating their home here.
A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Jan Thiel Beach. Because it is a located off the shore of a beach club, you'll have to pay an entrance fee to snorkel here, but most agree it is worth the price. The reef system is healthy and swimming with sea life including seahorses and octopus. If you want to experience it for yourself, this site is found within southeastern Willemstad.
is a fifth site to consider. After a short swim, snorkelers have access to a reef with a nice amount of young, active fish. Although the site is thought of more as a dive location, it is shallow enough to make it worth it.
The chart below summarizes a few details regarding 9 of the most popular places where you can experience snorkeling in this area.
|0.8 mi. West of Downtown Willemstad|
|1.5 mi. Southeast of Downtown Willemstad|
|2.2 mi. Southeast of Central Willemstad|
|Jan Thiel Beach||Jan Thiel, 3.9 mi. Southeast of Central Willemstad|
|Sint Michiel, 5.2 mi. West-Northwest of Central Willemstad|
|Jan Thiel Beach||5.5 mi. Northwest of Central Willemstad|
|Sint Michiel, 5.8 mi. West-Northwest of Central Willemstad|
|Varsenbaai||6.3 mi. Northwest of Central Willemstad|
|5.0 mi. East-Southeast of Central Willemstad|
Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is located off shore.
If you're ready to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to check with Smallfield Adventures. Explore the island by boat and see just why these waters are so beloved around the world. Interested in snorkeling, fishing, or sailing into the sunset?
Another option to consider is Mermaid Boat Trips. Experience parts of Curacao that are otherwise inaccessible when you sign up for a sailing tour operated by one of the most hospitable tour groups around: Mermaid Boat Trips. They're located within Punda.
A third option is Pelican Boat Trips. Offering a different sailing excursion every day of the week except for Monday, you can sail every day of your getaway and experience something new every time.
Take a moment to look through the following table for a list of boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling opportunities.
|Mermaid Boat Trips||(599-9) 560-1530||Punda|
|Pelican Boat Trips||(999) 527-0747||Willemstad|
|Smallfield Adventures||(999) 663-4848||Willemstad|
If you're looking for a place offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you can check with Caribbean Sea Sports. Offering the full service watersports experience, this center invites you to explore the world underneath the surface with their guidance and instruction. They are located within western Willemstad.
A second place catering to snorkelers is Ocean Encounters at Lions Dive Hotel. Tag along on one of this operations daily afternoon scuba trips to get in a little bit of guided snorkeling of your own.
A third company worth contacting is Duikcentrum Van de Ven. One of the top scuba diving centers around also allows customers to rent snorkeling equipment to bring with the on their dive trips, or to head out on their own to explore the local underwater landscape. They're located within Willemstad.
Some key facts about 7 firms that provide services related to snorkeling are summarized in the chart below.
|Caribbean Sea Sports||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(599-9) 462-2620||Piscadera, 2.7 mi. West of Central Willemstad|
|Curious2Dive||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(999) 513-2265||Willemstad|
|Duikcentrum Van de Ven||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(999) 514-1267||Willemstad|
|Goby Divers||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(999) 662-2853||Willemstad|
|Ocean Encounters at Lions Dive Hotel||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(999) 461-1831||2.6 mi. Southeast of Central Willemstad|
|Snorkeling Tour Operator||(999) 461-8131||2.2 mi. Southeast of Central Willemstad|
|Scuba Store and More||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(999) 738-6640||Willemstad|
To learn more about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read this extensive discussion of snorkeling in the Caribbean.
With a seascape that is often acclaimed as one of the best in both the Atlantic and the Caribbean, Willemstad is one destination where making snorkeling a priority is a must.
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