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Curacao Trip Report Lagun and Westpunt

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

  1. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: nowhere
    25,035
    5,057
    113
    @drrich2

    IDK anything about Nos Krucero other than what TK posted but the two GoWest dive locations are their smaller shop at All West apts. and their main shop which on the south end of the Lodge Kura Hulanda property - it's where they keep the dive boats and their dive dock is there. So if you were planning to boat dive, you'd probably have to drive there. If you park by the tennis courts, you'll see the steps down to the shop - it's the thatched roof you can see from up top. Get on their Watamula boat - it's midweek. Arguably one of the best.

    Westpunt is not a fast food sort of place. Besides Sol which has limited days Sunshine opens, there;s also Landhuis Misje (nicer sit down) Jaanchies bar which has food afaik Rancho El Sobrino which is an outdoor restaurant/bar with average prices. The Lodge has a grille on the beach next to Go West - sort of a takeout window for lunch. They also have a nicer water view restaurant up on top of the hill that was open pretty late the night we were there. I'm sure there's a couple other places in Westpunt also but it's pretty quiet there at night so I would think nothing is open late.

    The next nearest food we found was in Lagun. Or possibly one of the beach dives south of Westpunt has some sort of beach grill affiliated with a dive op - IDK

    In Lagun there's the Bahia cliffside bar/grille or a simpler restaurant at Discover Diving. We drove back to Willemstad once for dinner while staying there a few days.

    While we were there - McDonalds opened their first store in Willemstad - now I think there's 2. It was an event - we got stuck in the traffic going there. I also know of a Denny's in Piscadera but there didn't seem to be a lot of other chains there. Once you leave town, things get quiet real fast,.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  2. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,557
    752
    113
    There is a Wendys at the airport outside the departure building if you really need a fast food burger fix. There is also a new small market that opened in Westpunt. This is a first. Very limited but they did have some very basics: bread, cheeses, juices, milk, yogurt beer and wine and some other stuff. Saved us a trip to Barber. I would not count on it and would still get groceries at Centrum but it did come in handy when we just needed a couple items midtrip.
     
    SayNo2Snow, morecowbells and drrich2 like this.
  3. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: nowhere
    25,035
    5,057
    113
    There's several Curacao shore diving guides you can buy now. Know that it's pretty quiet once you leave the Willemstad area and although the Dive Bus (who I like) goes to many of the better dives nearby - they only pick up in town.

    Really the shore diving is so easy there. Rent whatever vehicle you need at the airport - a gps would be useful if you have one on your phone. Almost all the dive sites not at the resorts in town are off one major road that goes east/west - it's the only bridge across the harbor downtown. Most sites are somewhat marked but it helps to know what is near some of the small towns or resorts - for example you follow the signs for Coral Estates, drive thru their gate to get to the old Habitat resort - now condos catering to the Euro crowd - to dive Nos Kas - one of the better dives.

    We did just about all the west dives and a few east like the Tugboat. The reef in town is pretty far out so there's not a lot of diving there except at Lions Dive, Sunscape and a couple other properties. Along the east coast south - it's actually east - there's a fixed breakwater in some areas - those resorts don't even have dive operations The Tugnoat - which is the boat, a deeoer pier and a deep wall dive around the point - may/may not have the dive school running. You also get to Director's Bay on the same road.

    So let's talk tanks...Relaxed Guided Dives is on the main road just west of the airport - convenient to just pull in there. Discover Diving in Lagun has a drive-up tank loading dock - there were 6 of us so we had a truck just for tanks - we'd take as many as 12 per day from him. We also rented an SUV for 1/2 our group but it wasn't really needed except maybe at one site where I was glad we had the suv. Most sites are on or just off improved roads and quite a few are paved to the water.

    Street signs are lacking once you leave town but really just head west on almost any of the major turn-offs and you'll get to your dive site. A few along the west rrun along the same road - from Playa Lagun, you go thru town to Playa Jeremi - then it continues past 2-3 more sites and ends in Westpunt where you've got Playa Kalki.

    Some of the other sites are a little harder to find but I found them all with a fold-out dive map someone left in our condo. There's not a lot of roads and it's pretty obvious which are the more traveled routes. Also shorediving.com - although dated - has gps coordinates. Most of that is still accurate except Habitat has changed and Westuit City and the Cessna plane wreck are on your own - Sunset Waters closed about a decade ago. Someone recently posted that most of their beach was removed during a storm and is welling up from the depths ruining the viz. Personally it wasn't that great when it wasn't.Do drive to Varsenbaai - it's a good multi-dive. There's a beach, a full restaurant, Trunk Divers onsite, turtles in the shallows, seahorses around 40' and at the turn point east there's a pontoon boat wreck from 80 to about 110' - it's what they used ot make the Carpile wreck site. There's even a 2nd carpile site there but it's badly decomposed and deep.

    We also got tanks at the dive shpp at Pirates Bay in Piscadera but it may not be there now. Normally we used our tanks at sites without a dive operation - like Playa Jeremi - and rented from the on-site operaitons at most sites. They'll watch your vehicle, most have lockers, almost all have food of some kind and are usually right off the beach. Also if the site needs a dive dock - they've built one. A few western sites are more ironshore than beach. Most know what other divers have seen that morning and where also.

    It's honestly about the easiest shore diving you'll do in the Caribbean. Bonaire is much harder physically and once you leave the in town dive resorts - you're on your own - no food or dive operations at any site.

    Besides the Dive Bus, Relaxed Guided Dives guides also. And Bas Harts Diving. For the most part we did our own night diving - often at a site we'd dove that day. I think we kept and exchanged 6-12 Discover Diving tanks the few days we were there. Later we moved into town and our priorities changed so getting tanks on-site was just as easy. Many locations charge a small fee in guilders - usually around $5 - but they include it if you rent tanks. It helps pay for the lockers, showers, rinse setup and dive dock if needed.

    If you want to dive the Superior Producer - it's with a shop as it's in the cruise ship channel. I believe only at night also. The Dive Bius does it afaik.

    hth
     
    SayNo2Snow and drrich2 like this.
  4. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: nowhere
    25,035
    5,057
    113
    I second this - it's just a few minutes south of the airport rotary. There's also a Cost-U-Less in the area. At Centrum they sold disposable coolers - used by them first - for $1. They were on top of the freezers. They might have had dry ice also. Lagun is about 30-40 mins drive - it's a twisty road and Westpunt 45-60. When we stayed in Lagun, our apt. mgr. suggested flying in early enough to hit Centrum then drive out in daylight.
     
  5. ScubaBunga

    ScubaBunga Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: wright city, mo
    92
    63
    18
    This is great info! many of the dive websites list shore diving packages and maybe one line about tank rental. As we are traveling with family I really don't want any type of schedule (I'm also trying to do the diving as cheap as possible so no guided or boat dives this trip) and hope to just get out early on the days we dive. For the tank places you mention, do you know if you can pick up tanks the night before (for night or early morning dives) and return the next day? This is the details I was hoping for, many other discussions talked about it being easy but didn't really explain the "how" it's easy. We'll be a the aquarium so I think we can do some dives right there but most days I want to hit the other sites. Maybe some night dives locally.
    Are the dive sites marked as dive sites with a flag or do you need to tow one?
    The grocery run as well as a market run during the week are planned as our room has a full kitchen.
     
  6. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,557
    752
    113
    We thought about this suggestion but opted instead to by two six packs of cold polars and had them in the bottom of the grocery bag we brought along and the bagger put all the things that should be kept cold around the cold beer. Worked out well.
     
  7. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

    4,656
    1,511
    113
    On our first visit we were told dive flag was required, last April when we asked for one at GoWest they didn't even understand what we're talking about. Apparently the law has changed.
     
  8. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,516
    4,518
    113
    Wonder if All West and Nos Krucero have ice machines?

    Hadn't thought about that, but glad you mentioned it. I recall driving in St. Croix as light levels faded got a bit 'where are we again?,' IIRC.

    The GPS thing brings up a question. I'm used to using the GPS and map routing function in my iPhone 7 Plus to get around (worked well in St. Croix!), but in Bonaire I'm used to not taking anything I'd get too upset to find stolen when getting back to the rental truck after a dive. If I use the phone to get around Curacao for shore diving...ah, the joy of planning logistics...

    Richard.
     
  9. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,557
    752
    113
    I think the answer is no. You can make ice in your fridge. Also we did not want to waste time driving all the way back to Centrum from Westpunt and should be avoided. If you arrive during the week or Sat before 5 you should have time to hit Centrum. Not sure about Sun or holiday hours.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  10. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    1,557
    752
    113
    The problem is solved I think by diving at a site with an onsite op. At Cas Abou for example we had our phones but you have the op on site who has a place for your stuff while your diving. Some places where there are no facilities I would use the Bonaire rules.
     
    drrich2 likes this.

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