Trips for Divers
Oakland, CA 94602
510-638-3448 / 800-345-7159
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All West Apartments ◊◊
Habitat Curacao ☺◊
Kontiki Dive & Beach Resort ☺
Lions Dive & Beach Resort ◊
Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club ◊◊
Legends: ☺kids friendly (kids program or kids rates available); ✩ wheelchair accessible; ◊ internet access (◊◊ free)
|CURACAO, Netherlands Antilles
Curacao has been getting more attention from divers lately, although the diving here has been good all along. The island is stepping out of the shadow of neighboring Bonaire as a diving destination in its own right. The Curaçao water temperatures vary between 24° and 27° C. There is current at times, but it is usually mild. The west most dive site Watamula boasts to be one of the best coral reef in Caribbean. Most of the west dive sites start at 15-30 ft and gradually drop to 100 ft. Small reef fish, anemones, sponges are abundant, and squids and octopus are commonly sited. The north side of island can be only dove from August through October weather permitted and they are known to have bigger fish.
The quaint old town of Willemstad adds an old world cultural flare to the island. Most hotels in town have casinos and dancing, so although you can “get away from it all”, you can also go to town for some fun.
The island of Curaçao lies roughly 60 km off the coast of Venezuela. It is the largest island of the Dutch West Indies, six islands that have formed part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since the early 17th century. The other islands which together make up the Dutch West Indies are Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. Curaçao covers a total of 444 km2 and the highest point is the 375 m high Christoffelberg. The climate is semi-arid and average rainfall amounts to 570 mm 922 inches) per year. The central part of the island around the harbor of Willemstad is the most heavily populated. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, has lagoons with sea grass beds and mangroves, saline saliña habitat, home year round to the West Indian flamingo, and beautiful coastal woodlands.
The island hosts a total of 11 native breeds of mammals, which are the Curaçao White-tailed Deer, some field mice, small rabbits, and eight species of bats. The deer and bats are endangered species. Recent work has shown the key role bats play in the terrestrial ecosystem as the only principal pollinators of columnar cacti, which are a key food source for many species during dry periods. It is not uncommon to see goats or donkeys wandering the streets, particularly in the more rural areas.
Whether you are comfortably settled on a beach chair, strolling along the picturesque waterfront or trekking intrepidly through the underbrush, you're certain to come into contact with several of Curaçao's native birds. More than 168 bird species have been registered on Curaçao. At least 51 of these species are breeding birds, 71 are migrants from North America, 19 are visitors from South America and 19 are seabirds. The most common of the native birds include the Trupial, a black bird with a bright orange underbelly and white swatches on its wings, and the Cuchubi, the Caribbean mocking bird.
Parks and protected areas on Curacao
At the moment CARMABI manages 9 natural protected areas on the island of Curacao, with the principal goal of protecting and maintaining the natural, cultural and historical values they represent. CARMABI™s aim is to eventually add more areas that need protection to the list of managed areas. Moreover, it is important to have a balance between conservation and recreation. It is very important that the public is provided an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, but in a responsible way.
Located in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate year round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, which is between October and February, is usually marked by short, occasional showers, mostly at night, and continued sunny weather by day. Total annual rainfall averages only 570 mm (22 inches). Additionally, Curaçao is located on the outer fringes of the hurricane belt.
Citizens from most countries do not need a visa, and only require a valid passport longer than 3 months from the intended departure date. A return or continuing ticket is also required along with sufficient means to support yourself during your stay. Maximum stay: 14 days with the possibility of extending the visit to 90 days.
An airport tax of U.S.$ 32.00 per person for international flights, or less for inter-island flights is payable when leaving the island.
How to get there
American Airlines, Continental and Delta fly into Curacao.
Curaçao has daily non-stop air services from the U.S., and daily flights to Venezuela and from the Netherlands. Curaçao also offers flights to Surinam, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Domingo, Bonaire, Aruba and St. Maarten.
127/120 volts, 50AC. Most U.S. appliances will work on Curacao, though slowly.
The Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAFl.) is fixed at the exchange rate of 1.77 to the dollar for cash and 1.78 for traveler's cheques. Most stores and businesses exchange it at 1.75. You can spend dollars everywhere, but will likely receive your change in guilders. Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted.
No malaria risk exists in Curacao.