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Hello everyone! I found a recommendation for this site from Trip Advisor and have enjoyed searching and reading all of your threads.
We just booked a vacation for Curacao next month and I've been trying to determine a dive operator. From what I've read on here I believe we'll probably go with Sunset, Habitat or Ocean Encounters. We will be staying at the Marriott for the week and have a rental car so we are free to discover the island. We are not doing All Inclusive so that we can try all the restaurants in town that I've been reading about
We've never done a shore diving vacation. We were thinking of doing probably 2 days or 2 tanks dives and then shore diving in the afternoon and maybe another 2 days. I have a question on how unlimited shore diving works. Can you check out only 1 tank at a time and then have to bring that back to get another to do another dive? Just trying to plan the logistics on which shop to choose in relation to the dive spots we want to dive and our hotel.
Any recommendations on dive spots and restaurants I would love. We've read a lot on the Mushroom Forest. Has anyone dove Klein Curacao?? I haven't read much on it here but I have on some dive operator sites. Some places say you got to dive there. I think it would be a fun "adventure" but was curious on how the diving actually is.
Thanks to all in advance! And I can't wait to hear back from ya!
One other question. We had been planning on reserving a Jeep/Jimny but have been told by both Avis and National that they no longer have those in their fleets. I've found a few others that do, but was wondering if there is a safty concern as to why the others are removing them from their fleet. Are there lots of break ins and such that I should worry about. Would anyone have a recommendation on a Jeep vs a car. There will be just the 2 of us but all of our dive gear
Welcome to the board.
I would suggest you try Cas Abo and Porta Maria as a couple of your dives. They charge around 3 to 4 guilders ($2-3 UDS) to enter for the day but are really nice places. They have rinse tanks, restrooms and fairly good restaurants. The exact procedure varies form place to place but all the places we have used don't have any problems with you taking a couple of tanks apiece. We would load up 2 tanks each, do 2 dives in the morning, eat lunch during a SI and do 2 more in the afternoon.
We rented 4dr diesel pickup trunk while on Curacao. They are prefect for shore diving and do pretty good on fuel. Mine was fairly new with AC.They were stick shift so you need to drive a stick. Like most other places, I would suggest you not leave anything in your car/truck unattended. We did not have any trouble but no sence in asking for it either.
We found a lot of good food near the Queen Emma bridge, both in the old fort and in the surrounding area. If they are still passing out goodie bags at the airport, be sure to take one of them. There was a lot of good info in there including a very good book on the area restautants.
Just returned from Curacao Wed. evening. Sunset Waters is EXCELLENT and the dive op - Sunset Divers is fabulous. Shore diving on the house reef is great and the available boat dives are really good. I'd go right back tomorrow, if I could. Big animals are not the norm but we did get to see a pod of Dolphins playing tag with our boat as well as a couple of Spotted Eagle Rays enjoying the buffet at the Garden Eel sand flats near Mushroom Forest. If you know where to look, there is a lot to see in amongst the corals and rocks. Enjoy - Curacao is now one of my favourite dive locations!!!!!
Great help guys! Thank you sooo much! I'm dying to get back into the water. We were in Costa Rica last June and that just seems like waayyyy to long ago! I've always heard sooo much about Bonaire and have friends that love it. I can't wait to try Curacao!!
You'll enjoy your diving and stay here. Almost can't go wrong with any recommendation, and your idea of steering away from the a.i. is what we do almost anywhere we've been other than CocoView (since it's on an Island)(on another Island!)
Klein is a flat barren isle, strip mined years ago for the phospate, has an old lighthouse and some shacks set up by the different operators that go there. They have bbq pits and tables/kitchen, and such with shade to feed you well in between your dives. The diving is sweet, plunging walls and caves, but the ride over in rough seas takes its toll on the faint of stomach! 'Bout an hour or more to make the 10 or so miles, and is tough even on the Anne, which is about a 100' vessel.
Drive west or east and you can dive several nice sites, most have no dive ops or even showers/ restrooms. Herman mentioned Porta Marie, but remember, you dont have to be a guest of a resort to dive there, just head in to the dive shop and get some tanks from them. There's shops at Sunset, Habitat, Marriot, Holiday Beach, Ocean Encounters, as well as the dive bus gang at marie pampoen, I'm sure there's more I haven't named. We do a night dive every wednesday night with mark and suzy at marie pampoen followed with food and drinks at the surf and turf. OH, I forgot one of my favorites, Blue Baai (blue bay golf and resort), has a nice shop and 2 good dives there in blue wall and gardens. Super nice beach/bar/resturant to boot.
As far as the diving at different sites, you'll have to be you're own judge, I love it all, something unique to each.
If you can't find the Swingin' old Lady (queen emma bridge), she's drydocked for a new facelift. I've visited her twice and she's just about ready to return with a new wood deck (no more asphalt) and handrails. Still has the original pontoons and some of the original timbers, and projected to be re-set in May/June. Ferrys are running to take you over to Punda or Otrabanda, depending on which side of the harbor channel you're on.
The water is cool right now, high 70s, so dress for whatever your comfort zone is and the amount of diving you plan per day (chill factor :14: )
Jeep/Jimmy, I can make some calls for you, if you'd like, but I prefer having the gear locked up in the trunk or back seat when we're done and eating or something. If you're looking for the sun on your back, wind in your hair, be ware.....it WILL COOK you to a crackly crunch:sunny:
<edit> just re-read your post and saw you're staying at the marriot & resturant questions. Portofinos (italian) right there in the marriot is hard to beat! Hooks hut, just a bit to your west has a nice atmosphere, and make a plan to take the wife out to the boathouse for a nice 'spencive, i love you, meal. Surf and Turf, Larrys or the ribs factory, grillin joes, if you wanna savor the local crusine, (for the life of me I can't remember the names, but I'll get our local friend to "remind" me)
Let's see, kontiki beach, mombo beach, la bahai, cafe banana, delifrance, and there a cuban/somethin that's good at bloompot mall area... course there a lot more.....pick up a copy of the BIG RED book (resturant guide)
Last edited by scubatexastony; March 10th, 2006 at 07:19 PM.
We rented a RAV4 from Budget rentals at the Curacao airport when we visited in May / June 2004. So long as you can drive a stick shift (manual transmission - my personal favorite!), it will be no problem - steering wheel on the left side of the vehicle just like in the USA. They had several in their fleet. We had actually reserved a crew cab pickup but it wasn't waiting for us when we arrived (defying the definition of 'reservation'), so I asked for the RAV4 and got it as a free upgrade. Worked great whether going shore diving or shuttling the in-laws to see flamingos.