If you want to snorkel most of the spots on the island, choosing your Curacao snorkeling accommodations in a central area or at least west of downtown Willemstad is a good idea.
Three of the best snorkeling spots on the island are in or just east of Willemstad. But most of the nice beaches with good snorkeling are on the west end of the island. When making your decision note that the traffic going in and out of Willemstad can be very congested during rush hour times.
Here are some areas to stay along with benefits and drawbacks of staying in that area for snorkeling.
Two of our highest ranked snorkel spots are in Caracasbaai on the east side of the city. If you want great snorkeling and don’t care as much about pretty sandy beaches, this is a good place to stay. You are close to restaurants and grocery stores, and would have a short drive to the great snorkel spots. The drawbacks of this choice are that most of the snorkel spots are not picturesque beaches and it is a long drive to the beautiful beaches on the west end of the island.
Jan Thiel is the closest resort area to our highest ranked spots. Chogogo Resort, Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort, Papagayo Beach Resort and Morena Resort are all near Jan Thiel Beach and have free entrance to the beach with your stay. There are both villas and apartments for rent in this area as well.
This is a better area to stay for snorkeling because you are somewhat centrally located. There is less city driving to get to the west end beaches and it is not too long to the great spots in the east.
There are numerous resorts in the Sea Aquarium Beach zone. The main resorts in this area are: Lions Dive Beach Resort, Royal Sea Aquarium Resort, Van der Valk Kontiki Beach Resort, The Beach House Curacao, Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa & Casino and Bon Bini Seaside Resort. A little to the west is the Baoase Luxury Resort, and even farther west than that is Avila Beach Hotel. (A site visitor recommends this hotel to snorkelers.) There are many other hotels and apartments in this east area of Willemstad as well. We describe three good snorkeling spots in this area in our Curacao Snorkeling Guide, including in front of the Avila Beach Hotel.
A little farther west of the city, in Sint Michiel, is the Blue Bay Curacao Golf & Beach Resort, which has good snorkeling described in our eBook linked to above. This area also has many apartment options, and is a nice compromise location for exploring the whole island.
From the middle of the island west to Santa Martha, there are not a lot of accommodation options. If you found something it would be a decent option as you would be fairly close to the beaches of the west end, but not too far from the east end spots either. Coral Estate has some vacation rentals and the Oasis Coral Estate Beach Dive & Wellness Resort. There are also other bed & breakfasts like Landhuis Daniel. You may also be able to find an apartment or vacation home for rent.
If you only care about snorkeling from the pretty beaches, staying in Lagun or Westpunt is a decent choice. But, if you want to snorkel three of the best snorkeling spots on the island you will have a long drive down the island to get to them. Also there are only a few restaurants and no major grocery stores in Westpunt and Lagun. It is a 30-45 minute drive back to Willemstad area for more options.
There are some resorts on this end of the island like Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club, Marazul Dive Resort, Rancho El Sobrino, and Lagun Blou Dive & Beach Resort. There are also numerous bungalow, apartment and vacation rental options in these villages.
If like us you prefer a condo or apartment with a kitchen, there are many options, and this is the most affordable way to spend some time on Curacao. There are many options on sites like VRBO.com, AirBnB.com, etc. You can also check out some vacation rental listings on TripAdvisor. Make sure to watch for any separate charges for water or electricity use and budget accordingly.