All Curacao’s snorkeling spots are scattered along the southwestern side of the island, sheltered from trade winds. Here, the waters are safe, calm and crystal-clear, offering perfect conditions for snorkeling. The east side of Curacao, exposed to winds and strong waves, is not suitable for snorkeling. More than 350 species of fish and 65 species of hard and soft coral have been recorded on the fringing reefs of Curacao, and green sea turtles are common on some locations.
Curacao’s western coastline shelters over 35 beaches, but not all of them are suitable for snorkeling, especially when located close to mangroves areas (poor visibility). At some beaches, an admission fee is charged, sometimes including a beach chair. Car rental is by far the best option to reach the beaches, as the public transportation network is limited on the island. Boat tours, including snorkeling stops on several spots of the island, can be booked in Willemstad and most of hotels.
The closest snorkeling beaches north to Willemstad are the photogenic Playa Porto Mari and Playa Cas Abao. They offer a decent snorkeling, with mostly sandy seabed interspersed with coral patches. Both of them have a beach admission fee. Up north, Playa Lagun, a narrow cove adorned by rocky cliffs, is definitely the best snorkeling spot in Curaçcao to swim with sea turtles, even if they are visiting the bay randomly.
3km south to Westpunt, do not miss the two “Knip” beaches. Grote Knip (also known as Knip Beach or Playa Kenepa Grandi), is widely recognized as Curacao’s most beautiful beach. The view from above the bay is right out of a postcard, with a panorama on the turquoise sea and the fishing boats. Kein Knip (Little Knip Beach, or Playa Kenepa Chiki), the second of the two coves, is located 1 mile south. It is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island’s west end, where you will swim above patches of elkhorn coral.
Around Westpunt, the twin beaches of Playa Grandi (nicknamed “Alice in Wonderland”) and Playa Forti, where it is sometimes possible to see sea turtles, are good snorkeling sites options, as well as Playa Kalki, the northernmost snorkeling spot in Curacao.
You will surely enjoy Curacao’s northwestern shore snorkeling. But whether you are a beginner or an advanced snorkeler, do not leave the island without a visit to the Tugboat. This spot, named after a shipwreck sitting in a shallow and sheltered bay, is definitely the most popular of Curacao.
Snorkeling can be enjoyed throughout the year in Curacao. The island has a warm, sunny and windy climate year round. Short, occasional showers characterize the rainy season, from October to January. The average air temperature is around 80°F/27°C, with an annual rainfall average of less than 600mm (23 inches).
More than 170 spots have already been published on Snorkeling Report, but there are still many spots to be added! You too can contribute to populate the map by sharing your favorite snorkeling spots around the world. The more snorkelers will contribute, the easier it will be for you, and other snorkelers, to find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
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Frequently sighted at Playa Lagun and Klein Curacao; occasionally seen at Playa Grandi
Uncommon in Curacao’s shallow waters, try your luck at Klein Knip or Playa Porto Mari
Common on all reef spots
On all spots
On all reef spots
Common on all spots with sea fans
Large groups at the Tugboat
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