By Ellen – (Vermont)
I wanted to share a story about our great time snorkeling in Curacao in December, 2016. Tugboat was the best spot on the island. I would skip the wreck and spend all my time on the left, out of the bay and over to Directors Bay. There were fabulous gorgonians and pretty good hard coral and lots of very big fish.
Next was Playa Santa Cruz, which also had a very nice beach to just hang out on for one of my sons who did not particularly like snorkeling (until then I was very sure he was my own flesh and blood, but now I think he may have been switched at birth). Daaibooi was also great.
Jan Theil Beach was a lovely, spend the day being pampered at a beach, kind of place, but the snorkeling was only so-so. It was rough, so we could only do the closer side of the rocks crossing the mouth of the bay, and it was cloudy. Just as your Curacao Snorkeling Guide eBook advised, I would skip it altogether if it was rough.
One place you did not mention was Playa Grandi, which is in Westpunt between Playas Kalki and Abou. It is also called Turtle Beach and Fisherman’s Beach. Turn at the dip in the road where the trees are painted with red and green octopuses.
The local fishing boats come in here and clean their fish on the dock, so turtles also come. There is free parking and a lot of local action, so I would not be too worried about a car.
There is sand and small smooth coral so it is easy to enter. The beach itself is unappealing; there is a lot of trash and piles of coral rubble that have been dredged out of the sea, so I would not plan on hanging out here.
However, to the right and around the point, which will avoid the boats, is shallow rock that was never rough during the week we were there. We had an Airbnb overlooking this bay and the water was clear enough that we could see the bottom from our balcony, about 50 feet above the water.
My hubby and son saw not many fish but four turtles, one almost as big as a car, and a very large school of what were probably Bigeye Scads. I went another day, no turtles, but an enormous school of scad, perhaps 45x45x3 feet on size, that just parted as I swam through, reforming and swirling around, eventually forming a ring around me! One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. There were large numbers of different species of fish and an eel. Coral was so-so. Lovely spot!
We also bought barracuda steaks to grill for dinner from a fisherman on the beach. Outstanding meal.
Really great e-book on Curacao snorkeling, by the way!
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Nicole & Galen – Jan 7, 2017 – Thank You for Sharing
Hi Ellen, thanks for sharing about your time snorkeling in Curacao! We actually do mention Playa Grandi (aka Playa Piscado di Westpunt) in the first edition of the Curacao eBook, in a chapter introduction. Though we did not snorkel it ourselves due to boat traffic and the fact that we could not see any reef in the area. It is great to hear you enjoyed the snorkeling there. We will check it out the next time we are in Curacao.
Elena – Feb 3, 2017 – Turtle Beach
Me and my hubby snorkeled at Turtle Beach (Playa Grandi) every day! It was our favorite spot. We saw all kinds of fish and squid. Schools of beautiful smaller fish and trumpetfish and cornetfish. So pretty that we are planning to return next year and stay nearby this beach. Alice in Wonderland area was also amazing. Happy snorkeling!
Nicole & Galen – May 31, 2020 – Updates
We revisited Curacao in 2019 and released a second edition of the Curacao guide you can find at the link above. We snorkeled Playa Grandi and include our full description in the eBook. We were not happy with the exploitation and feeding of the turtles for tourism’s sake we found. But that is our opinion.