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Curacao Trip Report Lagun and Westpunt

Discussion in 'Curaçao' started by tkaelin, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,558
    752
    113
    Just returned from our third trip to Curacao and had another wonderful time. 7 night stay with 3 nights at Lagun Blou and 4 nights at Nos Krusero in Westpunt. Our trip was Wed-Wed.

    Diving: The diving was very enjoyable: for me 9 dives at Lagun, 1 at Cas Abou, 10 at Playa Kalki and 1 at Watamula. Water temps almost always reading 79 with some 81s here and there. Turtles, eagle rays, hugh green morays, seahorses, a rare spotting of a 40lb tuna, cornets, trumpet fish, lobsters, squid, tons of trunk and drum fish including one juve trunk and tons of juve drum and all the usual suspects. Our favorite dive is still Watamula which we did as a high speed drift one direction and strangely enough it slacked then reversed albeit at a much more manageable speed in the other. The soft corals on this dive in the shallows and plate corals deeper are amazing. Some of the soft corals are the size of small fruit trees. Dive Wederfoort supplied tanks at Lagun Blou, we rented tanks from Bahia Diving one day which is also at Lagun and Bdiving at Cas Abou. We dove the second part of the week with GoWest and did the boat dive with them. We managed between the two of us to get in 30 dives with a boat dive and with tip for under $500. I had no problem diving solo as long as I had my cert card and redundant air.

    Travel: JetBlue from JFK nonstop and both flights arrived early although on the return at JFK we landed almost an hour early but ended up waiting on the tarmac for almost all that time waiting for a gate. Received an email from JB the next morning apologizing and offering each of us a $50 credit to be applied to a future flight. Unexpected but welcomed.

    At the CUR airport we must have landed just behind a KLM flight as I have never seen the customs so busy. We did the e-gate cards on line which payed off this time as there was just a handful of people using the e-gate lines and we were through in minutes. The regular line looked like it would be a while. It is worth noting that with the expansions and improvements at the airport that this airport is very easy and efficient to get in and out of (at least our experience in three trips).

    We reserved a small car from Avis but they told us they had no cars but arranged for us to rent through Budget. This must be fairly common as last year we saw the people in front of us in line being told that they had no cars left despite the reservation and on that occasion they did not offer or arrange a car with another vendor. Not sure how this can or should happen. Last year the folks were left hanging, told to try again tomorrow. Wow. I think I am going to skip Avis next time and try someone else.

    Once in the car, it is easy to exit the airport and the first stop is a grocery stop at the Centrum market and after that an easy ride out to Lagun.

    Lodging: Lagun Blou is located on the cliffs on one side of Lagun and this was our first time here. This small resort is set up for diving with tanks, rinse, shower and drying rack areas and steps and ladder down the cliff to the water. While called a dive resort and set up for diving, we did not see that many divers. Most of the units consist of two one bedroom apartments per building with each having two floors with kitchen and living area on the first and bdrm on the second. Both levels have porches/balconies. We had views of the lagun beach area and ocean from our unit. Interesting place: nice grounds, spectacular views along the cliff with nice shaded seating areas, small infinity pool and steps and ladder to the water. No screens in most of the windows and the front doors are fixed wooden louver with no screens. Over the bed is a bug net which we ended up using for sleeping. A constant breeze kept the bugs away all day but we did notice the bugs at night sleeping which the bug net took care of. Most people seemed to keep their front doors open most of the day which causes the breeze to run through the units. The place was quiet and had a nice vibe.

    We essentially had the diving to ourselves in front of the resort. 15 steps or so down and a 5' jump to to water. The water below is about 15'-20' and starts with the cliff face down to coral. There is a sandy area to cross before hitting the main reef. We saw eagle rays in the sand area on almost every dive. Saw turtles and two hugh green morays. There are some small caves in the cliff face you can explore diving. Dived this site 9 times during our stay and did not get tired of it. Most of the folks at Lagun Blou seemed to be Dutch and German. We meet a couple Americans and a nice Swiss Couple and invited the husband to dive with us on our last morning of diving at Lagun Blou.

    We spent a good part of one day at Cas Abou. Beautiful beach and nice dive shop on the beach - Bdiving. We rented tanks from them and for the price of the tanks, you get to use their shaded set up area, rinse tanks and advice and suggestions. We were told of frogfish and a seahorse but we could not locate either. We enjoyed our dive and time spent on the beach. We got there early and avoided the weekend as the beach is very popular. We liked the folks at Bdiving, always friendly and welcoming.

    On Sat we switched over to Nos Krusero in Westpunt. The switch was easy. We had a one bdrm deluxe apt which is on the third floor with sweeping views of the ocean and the hills of Christoffel Park. The apt is basic but it did have screens which surpisingly did not seem to help with the bedtime mosquito situation. We initially thought the mosquito netting at Lagun Blou was quirky but we missed it. Nos is located right across the street from Gowest which is the reason we booked there. A 1 min. walk to the shop, beach and diving. Gowest has a nice set up for tanks, benches, shade, showers, lockers, storage, retail store and everything you need to dive, dive and dive more. The house reef is awesome and it is here that I spotted the tuna and we found the seahorses. Once the morning 2 tank boat leaves, you really have the place to yourself. Rarely encountered divers on the reef. In between dives, there is coffee for those diving with Gowest, snacks and drinks for sale in the retail store and there is a small beach bar that serves food starting around noon. For three days we left our apt in the am and did not return until late afternoon spending the day diving and eating lunch at the beach bar. Our apt had a great porch and view and the location and price was unbeatable.

    Dining: 3 dinners cooked in. 4 out. Dinner the first night in Lagun at Discover Restaurant which is a casual beach restaurant in Lagun. They were having a grill buffet night which was nice and reasonably priced. Two nights at Cactus over by Christoffel. For the fans of Trio Penotti they are closed at their old location but they have reopened as Cactus and a new location almost across the street in the park entrance area. The new location is much nicer with a better breeze and view. Same great menu and service. We also had a nice dinner at Sol Food. Sunshine is so nice and she always makes time to chat. She also gave us tips on where divers have been finding good stuff. Pizza, salad and drinks with a perfect sunset.

    Well that is probably more than enough. Some pics attached. Happy diving. TK
     

    Attached Files:

  2. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,516
    4,518
    113
    Excellent report and timely for me. Looking at Go West Diving, I noticed they do packages with 2 providers; All West Apartments (which I'd heard of, supposedly a 2 minute drive), and Nos Krusero, which if I understand correctly is practically across the street. Package prices look close. So why don't I hear more about Nos Krusero, and what are the practical differences of staying at one or the other I wonder?

    So you did 21 dives split between 4 sites total; very different from the typical Bonaire trip where people might hit the house reef a few times, but a few to several other sites once each. Of course, you stayed at 2 separate places so had 2 different 'house reefs,' I suppose?

    Is it pretty easy to find restaurant food in the evenings? I'm thinking burger joint, maybe Chinese food, not high end gourmet.

    You rented a car; in Bonaire people rent trucks. Is a car sufficient for getting around widely?

    When you went to Curacao about a year ago, you split your trip between All West (out west) and Lions Dive & Beach Resort. Of the two trips, did you have a favorite? I get that Lions Dive is in the eastern portion, near Willemstad, so the mix of cultural/civilized amenities vs. rustic charm is far different.

    Richard.
     
    Schwob likes this.
  3. Schwob

    Schwob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Illinois - ("Schwob", formerly "Schwaeble")
    1,640
    840
    113
  4. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,558
    752
    113
    Hi Rich, are you thinking of a solo trip? If so I will try to answer your questions thinking you are going solo. First I have stayed at Allwest twice and liked it. I thought Nos was less expensive. Compare the prices say on booking.com especially if solo. NK has a studio that is made out of old cargo containers that for the price looked like a really affordable place to stay for a solo. The advantage of NK is that if doing a lot of diving with GW (boat and shore) you simply walk across the street. AW advantage is that is actually waterfront with tanks (air only) available 24/7. The tanks are onsite and you have a key to the gear room. At NK, GW shop hours are 8-5 and your gear and access to tanks are those hours unless you lug everything out including tanks if you want to dive earlier or later. Both have very nice house reefs, but I think I prefer playa kalki at GW for two reasons. I think the reef is a bit more interesting and shorter swim out and less boat traffic. At AW at playa piscado there are a dozen of so small boats and dock and there is more activity with small boats buzzing around that you have to be aware of. More turtles and bait balls at AW/PP. If I were going back solo I would likely pick NK. In sum though I think you could be happy staying at either.

    On the food question, as far as I know there are no burger or Chinese joints and nothing that really qualifies as a fast food place. Sol Food is open on the weekends and you can get a pizza there or to go. You would have to explore further what options are available. I only really know Sol Food and Cactus which would be more sit down nicer dining. I think there are a couple restaurants just past AW that look casual but I have not tried them.

    On the car question, we had a small kia picante that is fine for two divers. With care it should get you to any beach or dive site that we have visited and that you are likely to visit. As I think I have reported there really is no need to lug tanks. Tanks are available on most sites and for the $8-$10 that you pay for a tank you get all that the shop offers as well which can be nice. The kia has a hatch back and seats fold down making for plenty of room for two large dive bags. You could easily store your dive gear and a couple tanks. If you do a boat package at GW you get tanks the day of your boat dive so you could plan to dive at GW/PK those afternoons and dive other sites on your non boat days. That would be the way I would do it solo.

    On the trips, I liked them both. It was fun to see Willemstad and to stay at Lions Dive but I prefer the peace and quiet and remote rustic feel of Westpunt. The drive out could not be easier and it is sleepy and quiet. One late afternoon sitting on the patio after a full day of diving we had fun watching a herd of goats graze up and down the street next to NK and wander down the "main" street. I think if I could get away for 10 days I would consider a week out west and a couple nights at LD.

    Have fun planning. TK
     
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,516
    4,518
    113
    Thanks for the info.! Yes, I think I'd like to take a crack at a solo trip to Curacao sometime; don't know whether it'll happen, but I like to see what my options are. Special thanks for the comparison of the two housing options; Go West seems to be the most talked about dive op. in that area, but practical comparisons of the housing not quite so common.

    Richard.
     
  6. mbs

    mbs Regular of the Pub

    700
    187
    43
    Silly question on Lagun Blou diving and a comment... 15 steps down and a 5' jump to the water... How do you get back up??? Comment - Geez you scared me about Trio Penotti. Not worth going back if they were closed :wink:
     
  7. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,558
    752
    113
    Sorry about that as something got lost in the writing and editing. There are steps down to about 5' and then a ladder down into the water. We jumped but I suppose you could enter climbing down the ladder. Reminded me a bit like oil slick but not nearly as high.

    Our heart skipped a beat too when hearing initially that trio was closed. The new location is much nicer but essentially just about across the street. Strangely the setting reminded us of some scene from Africa, with the buildings, grasses, trees and hills.
     
    mbs likes this.
  8. ScubaBunga

    ScubaBunga Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: wright city, mo
    92
    63
    18
    So I'll be traveling down there in june and plan on only shore diving with my boys. I have been talking to the dive bus but since there are 6 of us (in the family) they are trying to find a larger vehicle than they normally have and it's taking them weeks to get back to me. As I haven't done this at curacao I was looking for more structure, but if it's as easy as just $8-10 at each shop, that may just be simpler. Did you get a map to find the sites? How early are the places open (I'm thinking we will have several really early dives to join the rest of the family for the day). I'm wondering if we can get tanks the night before anywhere (which the dive bus says we can do through them).
     
  9. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

    4,656
    1,511
    113
    We've been twice so far and stayed in All West both times. They offer full packages with car/truck, airport transfer, and whoever picks you up will stop by a grocery to tide you over. I think they'll also buy a bag of groceries for you if you're arriving late and ask for it.

    They are set up for home cooking. Kitchenettes in the units are fine and there are BBQs on the terrace outside too. But the food is mostly in town 40 minutes away. You may be able to buy fresh fish at the pier, but they'll first try to sell to restaurants and shops, before chopping their catch up selling pieces -- and that's all on island time. So even if you see someone with fish down there doesn't mean you're getting any. The biggest bummer for us was Venezuelan embargo: no floating market with fresh fruit and vegies. Supermaket stuff doesn't compare and of course comes with .eu-level price tags.

    All West has about the nicest gear room I've ever seen: spacious, with wind blowing through. Your stuff doesn't smell like stale pee in the morning (well, OK, booties aside). The biggest downside is 1000 steps down to the beach, but down there you have a very nice house reef.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  10. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,558
    752
    113
    Scubabunga where are you staying or what part of the island are you staying at?

    Gowest hours are 8-5. $10 per tank, $5 for weights for the day. They will give you instruction on where to go but it is simple. Walk of the dock and follow a rope that is on the bottom going out to and over the reef. Dive right or left. Return and hit the rope and follow in. You can pick up tanks from them the night before but that does not make sense unless you are staying in the area and you want to dive there or elsewhere before 8 Am.

    Don't know the hours at Bdiving at Cas Abou but I would guess 8-9 to 4-5. Tanks $9, tanks and weights $12. They will also give you all the instruction you need on how to dive their reef but it is pretty simple.

    Bahia diving at Lagun again don't know hours but probably in same range. Tanks $9 and weights $3. They will also give you instruction on how and where to dive but again it is easy once you see it and hear the suggestions.
     

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