Guide to the best Snorkeling in Curacao
There are plenty of great spots to experience the best snorkeling in Curacao during your trip here.
And if you’re looking to try your hand at it but don’t know where to start, you have come to the right place.
I have been to Curacao a few times for work and I tried to make some time to explore the island and check out some snorkeling spots. In this post, I will highlight the top spots you can hit for the best snorkeling in Curacao.
But before beginning, let me talk about Curacao itself first, for those of you who don’t know much about Curacao, or are visiting it for the first time.
Curaçao at a glance
Curacao is one of the three islands located alongside the southwestern coast of the Caribbean Sea.
They’re also known as the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao).
The island of Curacao is home to an array of incredible snorkel spots and lots of fun activities.
From snorkeling or diving in its clear waters to relaxing on one of its beautiful beaches, travelers have plenty to explore while visiting this island paradise.
Additionally, with its vibrant culture due to influences from both Europe and Africa, there is plenty to learn and experience while on the island.
Tourists can also check out cultural attractions such as historical architecture or visit local restaurants offering delectable cuisine options that everyone is sure to enjoy.
That all being said, it’s time to delve into my list of the best snorkeling spots on this dreamy island. So let’s do exactly that!
The best snorkeling in Curaçao
Snorkeling in Curacao is a must-do activity for any Caribbean traveler. The beautiful, crystal-clear waters and colorful coral reefs of this Dutch Caribbean island make it one of the best places to explore underwater life.
So, if you’re looking for the best snorkeling in Curacao, here are some suggestions that will guarantee an unforgettable experience.
1. Kleine Knip Beach
Kleine Knip Beach, also known as Little Knip Beach or Playa Kenepa Chiki, is a gorgeous West End Curacao beach popular for its great snorkeling opportunities.
That’s why tourists flock to this beach for its pristine white sand, crystal clear waters, and abundant sea life.
Kleine Knip offers easy access to soft corals and a variety of marine life including coral reefs, sea turtles, and lots of fish—making it an excellent snorkel spot in Curacao.
With good visibility (up to 20 feet deep), it’s easy to spot the many marine creatures in the water.
What’s more, the beach itself is well-maintained with plenty of amenities like a parking space and rentals for lounge chairs, picnic tables, and snorkeling equipment, so it’s also a good place to spend an evening relaxing by the sea.
2. Playa Piskado
Piskado Beach (also known as Playa Grandi) is a pristine beach located in the quiet fishing village of Westpunt.
This beach offers an idyllic spot to take in the Caribbean Sea’s beauty. From crystal clear waters to healthy reefs and teeming sea life, you can expect an abundance of natural wonders beneath the waves.
The array of tropical fish and colorful coral gardens are sure to impress even experienced snorkelers.
There are plenty of facilities available on the beach, including restrooms and a snack bar, all of which you can use after paying a small fee.
The site also has an equipment rental to get your snorkel gear from. The snorkeling experience includes seeing cute sea turtles as well as the many species of fish found in the waters of Curacao.
If you’re looking for the best place for beginner snorkeling in Curacao, Playa Piskado is it.
3. Playa Kalki
Playa Kalki is famous for its coral formations resembling a mushroom forest, which also lends it the nickname “Alice in Wonderland”.
This gorgeous white sand beach is studded with white coral rock formations and rocky cliffs of limestone.
It’s located in a quiet area of the island in a narrow cove, and steep stone steps lead down to it. Facilities include a parking area and one shop with a snack bar and diving equipment rentals.
All in all, Playa Kalki is one of the best beaches in Curacao when it comes to an intimate-yet-unforgettable snorkeling experience.
4. Playa Porto Mari
Located at less than a 10-minute drive from Sint Willibrordus village, Porto Mari Beach is one of the most popular dive sites in Curacao where scuba divers show up from everywhere around the world.
What’s more, it’s also one of the best snorkeling locations on the island.
The beach is situated on a private plantage on the leeward side of the island. The shallow water and wealth of marine life as well as healthy corals in its underwater world make it a great spot for families with children.
5. Playa Lagun
Located along the northwestern coast of Curacao, in the small fishing village by the same name, Playa Lagun is a sheltered cove where you can enjoy a wonderful Curacao snorkeling experience even as a beginner.
This is where you will find lots of amazing marine life like snapper fish, eels, and turtles.
The beach is a very popular spot for snorkeling, so it’s best to get here early if you want to enjoy the best snorkeling in Curacao.
6. Klein Curacao
Though located about six miles off the coast of Curacao, little Curacao is a deserted island that you can visit with boat tours for a memorable snorkeling experience.
It will take a two-hour boat trip to get there, and once you’re on the island, you can explore the amazing snorkel spots as well as a shipwreck and the lighthouse of this island.
You will find plenty of tours here that include transport, snorkel equipment, and food if you want to avoid the hassle of arranging all those things by yourself. This a recommended experience if you’re looking for a unique location to explore.
7. Tugboat Beach
Speaking of shipwrecks, you don’t necessarily need to visit Klein Curacao to see one. There is a tugboat shipwreck off Caracas Bay and you can easily visit it from the island of Curacao.
The beach from where you snorkel to this shipwreck is named Tugboat Beach after its popularity.
The shipwreck is only a few hundred meters from the beach, which makes it easy to reach.
You will find lots of coral and fish living in the shipwreck, which make exploring the 30-year-old wreck an even more enjoyable experience.
8. Blue Room Cave
The Blue Room Cave is among the more mystical snorkeling spots of Curacao, making it perfect for an unforgettable unique experience.
The cave is called Blue Room because of its glowing blue hue and azure water, so you are guaranteed to find an incredible snorkeling experience here.
The cave is a 20-minute walk from Santa Cruz Beach, but the trail can be rough in places, so you can alternatively visit it via a tour as well.
9. Blue Bay Beach
Blue Bay Beach may not have the same blue glow as the famous Blue Room Cave, but it’s still one of the most stunning beaches on the island.
The beach is a modern snorkeling spot with lots of facilities. Apart from swimming with lots of fish, you can also explore the two famous barrier reefs — The Garden, and The Wall — located just a short swim from the shore.
The best snorkeling tours in Curaçao
➡️ Boat Trip to Klein Curacao
5⭐️ 757 Reviews
This highly-rated catamaran tour will take you to visit the charming uninhabited island of Klein in Curaçao.
During this full-day tour, you will enjoy the spectacular views of the Caribbean turquoise water, great snorkeling among shipwrecks, and colorful barrier reefs and cute sea turtles.
On the island, you will visit the iconic lighthouse. A barbecue lunch and open bar are included and divers are welcome (gear rental costs extra).
A delicious lunch and drinks throughout the trip are included and so is the snorkeling gear.
Divers are also welcome for an additional fee.
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend this trip. The crew was amazing and fun. The food was so so so delicious. The island is Klein was beyond breathtaking!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lynnette_R, Jan 2023
➡️ Swimming with sea turtles & Grote Knip Beach – Best island excursion
5⭐️ 379 Reviews
This tour will take you to one of the top beaches in Curacao. You will snorkel with the turtles in their natural environment and you will get free digital photos from a pro photographer.
Snorkeling gear and round-trip transfers are included.
You will also stop to check out the wild flamingos.
PRO TIP – This tour is recommended only if you are not comfortable with driving on your own, otherwise, you can rent a car and enjoy exploring the island including getting to this amazing beach.
Great swim with turtles⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Nigel_S, Jan 2023
Tour guides were awesome. Real history of the country, great stops and beautiful island. We already plan to go back again.
➡️ Happy Hour Sunset Sail
4.5⭐ 81 Reviews
The Caribbean Sea has a serene vibe no matter which part of it you’re sailing in. That’s why sunset sails are popular in Curacao, just like many other Caribbean destinations.
Going on one of these cruises means scenic views, tasteful drinks and snacks, and relaxing on the deck as the setting sun makes for a breathtaking backdrop to the picturesque views.
Beautiful sunset tour in Curacao⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Jaime_P, Jan 2023
Beautiful sunset cruise. Gorgeous trip Boat crew were so friendly and worked so hard Yummy appetizers and good cocktails Highly would recommend this excursion
➡️ Tugboat and Reef Snorkel Tour in Curacao
4.5⭐ 86 Reviews
Curacao has a lot to see and explore, and this tour is aimed at doing exactly that. It’s a 4-hour trip that takes you out to explore the coast on a tugboat, go on a reef snorkel, and even visit a historic fort for stunning views.
Beautiful Snorkeling! Great Guides. New Rides!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Marisela_M, Jun 2022
Do not let the photos fool you! The all terrain vehicle that picked us up was newer and the guide was super friendly and helpful! The ride was a bit bumpy but so much fun! They took us to 2 beautiful beaches with a certified guide for the swimming portion and the sites were just breathtaking! Would definitely recommend to all family and friends. We had a beautiful trip and will definitely book with them in the future!!!
Curaçao snorkeling FAQ
When is the best time of year to go snorkeling in Curacao?
Curacao is a Caribbean paradise that offers some of the best snorkeling opportunities in the world.
Whether you’re looking for stunning coral reefs and vibrant sea life, or just want to relax on a beach, Curacao has something for everyone.
But when is the best time of year to visit this tropical island?
The best time of year to go snorkeling in Curacao is generally dependent on personal preferences.
The island has tropical weather, so water temperatures are warm year-round. You can choose any time of year to visit here for snorkeling.
The high season (December-April) is when the majority of people visit the island because this is when the weather is generally at its best.
But that also means more crowds on the beaches. If you want to avoid crowds, any other time of the year is great for it.
Just make sure to plan outside the rainy season (June-November) when the weather is unpredictable and rain showers are prone to spoil your plans.
What is the average temperature of the water in Curacao?
The average water temperature in Curacao ranges from 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius).
The coldest water temperatures are featured in the month of February, whereas September has the hottest water temperatures of the year.
Which has better snorkeling Aruba or Curacao?
When it comes to snorkeling, Aruba and Curacao are two of the top spots in the Caribbean.
Both offer excellent snorkeling experiences, but which one has the better options? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at each destination.
Aruba offers some of the most incredible beaches and spectacular dive sites, making it a great place for snorkelers and scuba divers who want to explore the stunning coral reefs and enjoy some good wreck dives in crystal clear waters.
It’s definitely the first stop for thousands of tourists coming here from North America.
Curacao also offers an array of underwater adventures for all levels of snorkelers. The beaches here are beautiful as well.
But this is more of a hidden gem compared to Aruba, as the tourist activity is significantly less here compared to Aruba.
That being said, Aruba and Curacao have similar beaches and water experiences to offer, but their vibe is different and the best choice for you boils down to your preferences.
If you want to visit a popular snorkeling destination for a quick trip, Aruba is the place for it.
And if you want to see a stunning snorkeling spot with lots of exploration on your to-do list, Curacao is for you.
Where can you snorkel with turtles in Curacao?
With its crystal clear waters and plenty of wildlife, the island offers all kinds of opportunities for snorkelers, including the chance to swim with turtles.
One of the best spots for snorkeling with turtles is Playa Grandi. Located on the east side of the island near Westpunt, the shallow water and absence of strong currents here make it the best snorkel location for ocean encounters with creatures like sea turtles and stingrays.
For those who prefer a more lively spot, Kleine Knip Beach also offers calm waters perfect for exploring while swimming alongside turtles.
Which is better Bonaire or Curaçao?
Curaçao offers visitors diverse marine environments, spectacular underwater treasures, a beautiful coastline lined with stunning white sand beaches perfect for water sports as well as relaxation, and of course the best snorkeling spots in the region.
The culture and heritage of the island are also quite charming. And besides exploring the beaches and the authentic charm, adventure seekers can book tours that take them out to sea to swim with sea turtles or explore shipwrecks.
Bonaire, on the other hand, is known as one of the top diving spots in the world due to its protected marine park status and numerous dive sites located around the island.
It’s smaller compared to Curacao, and the number of beaches is also fewer here—not to mention some of those beaches are less accessible.
All in all, the experiences differ in Bonaire and Curacao, and the better option for you will depend on your preferences.
If you’re looking for a culture-filled destination with good snorkeling opportunities and lots of pristine beaches to explore, Curacao is where you will find it.
And if you want to go diving in one of the best diving sites of this region or meet lots and lots of wildlife, Bonaire is perfect for it.
Are there sharks in Curaçao?
There are definitely a few species of sharks off the coast in Curacao. However, these are rare to spot swimming around, and you might need to go on a dedicated diving excursion to see them.
Are there jellyfish in Curaçao?
Jellyfish can sometimes be seen swimming in the waters of Curacao. They usually show up when the wind changes directions, and when they do, they become the talk of the town.
So, if there are any jellyfish around, you will be sure to hear about them.
Are there dolphins in Curaçao?
Yes! Dolphins are plenty in Curacao, and swimming with them is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What’s more, they’re super friendly and will let you interact with them and pet them when you’re swimming with them!
What animals live in Curaçao?
The coastal areas of Curacao are home to exotic species of birds like peacocks, hummingbirds, geese, bananaquits, orioles, flamingos, egrets, and herons.
Not as many mammal and rodent species are found here as you’d expect from a tropical island, but monkeys, rabbits, and white-tailed deer are also commonly seen in Curacao.