Curacao Snorkeling Trip Report
by Mike Wright
Here's my Curacao snorkeling trip report. Loved It. Now I will say it's probably not for everyone, but if you are looking to do some hardcore snorkeling (or diving) it's a must visit. I would call the island vibe more "Quiet European" than "Lively Caribbean", but we were there for the underwater experience. We did stay at the Marriott 2 nights which is closer to town, but spent 5 more days in Westpunt at the Lodge Kura Hulanda. In my opinion the best part of the island by far.
Snorkeling: The only snorkeling we did in the east was at the Marriott, which surprisingly was pretty cool. You need to go outside the rock jetty to the left, and there is a nice 75 yard stretch of some excellent life. Among your normal Parrot, Tang, Wrasse and such we encountered Trunk, Needle, Lion, Porcupine, as well as a 5 foot Tarpon and a 6 foot Green Moray. Actually by most chain hotel standards it was a decent house reef (but just a small taste of Curacao).
Now the west end was where you can take snorkeling to the level it should be at. There was so much to see and so many options. If you like deep water reef there is plenty just a short swim from shore. Almost every beach has a huge reef within 100 yards off shore which usually stretches as far as you can see or go. Alice In Wonderland off Playa Kalki was amazing, but for the extreme version start from Playa Grandi and follow the current west, try and find the metal statue of Neptune...good starting point.
I can't really comment on the east end, but we tried to hit most of the good shore snorkels from Porto Marie to Playa Kalki. Our best day, we left at 8:00am and did a land based snorkel excursion from our car. We hit both Knips, Playa Lagun, Playa Largu, Playa Mansalina, and finished with a snorkel then beer and food at Porto Marie. A great day except if I were planning again I would skip Playa Mansalina and add Playa Grandi. We also did Cas Abou one day which was cool beach but snorkel was just ok. Playa Largu is remote and you should have to yourself.
Tips: Blue Room was a very cool change of pace. Porto Marie has artificial balls but some decent deep reef and the beach is cool. Playa Largu is difficult to find but will surprise you with forest of Elkhorn. Don't get discouraged by some of the shallow dead coral, keep your head in the water and you will find cool things. I did dive a couple sites and Watamula was amazing. There is a sea horse that lives at Playa Grandi but they usually only stay put for a few months. If you want to do some hardcore snorkeling you need to buy a Franko's map (basically my bible).
Fish were too numerous to name them all but we did find a variety of Eels, Octopus, Sea Horse, Drums, Barracuda, 200 lb Snapper, Tarpon etc. etc.