Snorkeling Klein Curacao is great if you know where to go and if the conditions cooperate. The great spot has healthy corals, lots of fish in good variety and nice clear water. The boat trip to Klein Curacao is worth it and a good way to spend a day. The small desert island lies six miles southeast of Curacao and has a gorgeous half mile long white sand beach.
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Curacao Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
There are a few different boat companies that will take you out, from smaller private charter motor boats to large catamaran sailboats, to even larger passenger ferry sized boats. Most boats do full day trips, but you can find half day ones too and at less than $100 US, we felt like it was a bargain. Some of the companies have facilities on the island, like shade structures, chairs, fresh water shower, restroom, and an eating area. They may also provide masks and snorkels for your use. Most outfits provide drinks and will also feed you both breakfast and lunch.
Snorkeling Klein Curacao requires a two hour boat ride each way, across open ocean. So keep that in mind when considering the comfort of the boat you pick. Also we recommend that you watch the wind forecast and reserve your trip for a lower wind day. A windy day means rough, wavy water and on a day like that seasickness complete with puking is likely. And if you are prone to seasickness, take motion sickness medication or ginger early that morning for prevention.
If you take the full day tour you can take a break from snorkeling Klein Curacao and hike around to check out some of the other sights, too. There is an abandoned lighthouse worth walking to (which offshore has a decidedly phallic appearance, with it's two houses, one on each side). There are also a couple of shipwrecks on the windward side of the island that are a sight to see, one big steel ship, and one large sailboat. Mostly the island is flat with very little vegetation, so you won't miss much if you just decide to hang at the stunning beach and in the azure waters.
The water entrance is in soft sand, with some small coral rubble close to shore and a short shelf to step down. Barefoot works for most people. Generally there are little to no waves because you are on the leeward side of the island. If the wind is coming from the west, you will not be wanting to make this trip for snorkeling Klein Curacao.
You can get in the water and snorkel anywhere on the leeward side of the island (the side protected from the wind and waves when the normal trade winds are blowing). Our boat guides told us the best place for snorkeling Klein Curacao was down the beach to the left (facing the water from shore), just past the last shade structure. Mostly this area is very uninteresting. There are few fish, and it is mostly sea grass on the bottom. One of the good things about this area is that you have a good chance of seeing turtles, which we did.
You can also swim straight out from this area and check out the drop off of the reef wall. It is fairly deep, in about thirty feet of water, but you can view some bigger fish, and some larger hard and soft corals and sponges down below.
We found a much better place to snorkel, but it comes with a warning, because it has some fairly strong currents, and is not for a beginner or a weak swimmer. Do not attempt to snorkel this area without fins on your feet. The gear provided on the island does not include fins, so bring some with you.
The best place for snorkeling Klein Curacao is to walk all the way to the end of the beach toward the left, until you get near the point. While there is still sand, enter the water, not over the rock and coral rubble area that is farther down the beach. Then swim toward the left point of the island. You will find a fairly large area filled with fish, and a very healthy reef, with many soft and hard corals and sponges, including some big heads of Elkhorn Coral. You can swim in the shallows, and out farther toward the reef drop off.
We experienced some fairly strong currents here, as we swam farther toward the point. There was a strong current coming around the tip of the island in the deep water from left to right, which created an opposite eddy current in the shallows that was pulling us toward the tip, from right to left. So be very careful if you snorkel here that you don't get dragged out into deeper sea at the point. And turn back before you are tired.
That said, this is one of the best snorkel spots accessible from Curacao. It is very healthy with excellent depths and visibility for a snorkeler. Most of it is in four to six feet, getting gradually deeper to around fifteen as you head out toward the drop off.
Out at the healthy reef area we describe, we saw lots of fish of many different types; a couple we haven't seen anywhere else before. Unfortunately, the fish were afraid of us so we did not get as many pictures of them as we would have liked. There was also a good variety of hard and soft corals out there and on the top of the reef drop off too.
This depends on what boat company you use. A couple companies provide lots of shade, water, drinks, fresh water shower, bathroom, beach chairs, masks and snorkels, and music, all on shore. With other companies you may not have much in terms of shade options, and will need to return to the boat that is anchored offshore for restrooms and other facilities.