Caribbean Islands Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Advice: Snorkeling Curacao

Jump to last reply

Hi all,

I'm an older law student (mid-30s) looking to get away for Spring break (early March 2011). I'm looking for a relaxing trip -- nightlife is not important at all to me, and restaurants aren't all that important really either. I don't have kids, but I like them, so it doesn't matter to me if I go to a place with lots of kids or not. What I really want is a super snorkeling vacation (I'm not a diver, and really have no desire to start) that won't break the bank and where I can spent my moments (of not snorkeling) sitting in a beach chair reading a book and watching the world go by. I always enjoy doing a little local siteseeing/shopping, so I'd prefer to go somewhere that locals are friendly and helpful but where shopkeepers/street vendors don't harass you to buy their wares. At this point, I'm really leaning towards going with an AI resort, since after stressing out with school, I really don't want to spend my time figuring out where to go to dinner or how to get from point A to point B.

With all of that in mind, I'm really considering Curacao. I've spent the past few days researching Curacao and find I have a few questions. First, for those of you who have been to Curacao, what was your experience like with the locals? Most of the posts I've read seem overwhelmingly positive, but I read one where the individuals' experience was that the locals were unfriendly and pretended not to speak English. Second, have any of you snorkeled Curacao, and if so, where was the best snorkeling? I'm hearing the "west side" - are there any beaches in particular you'd recommend? Just wondering where to start. And finally, have any of you used "allinclusiveoutlet.com" to buy travel packages to AI resorts? In checking them out, they have the best prices by far, and I haven't come across any negative reviews online, but when someone is that much cheaper, it always makes you wonder. Looking forward to your thoughts!

  • Report Abuse

    We went to Curaco in May 2009. We did not find the snorkeling there to be as great as everyone had reported. We have found better snorkeling on other Islands and in Mexico. Will other people disagree with me? Absolutely, but that was our experience.

    The only true AI resort is Breezes. It is very family oriented and based on reviews needs a great amount of updates. We love AI resorts and have to 14, but could not fathom paying their rates based on the reviews. We chose the Lions Dive down the way from Breezes. It was a really great location. The hotel offers 3 different resturants and we were within walking distance to several more as well as the sea aquarium. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service daily to a local super market. We got a free upgrade to a 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, so we took advantgage of stocking up.

    You can snorkel at the beach at the Lion's Dive. We did a beach hopping tour to several beaches for snorkeling. The beaches are small inlet type coves. No long stretchs of beaches. The sand is ground coral, not fine powdery sand, so you will need to wear water shoes. Most of the snorkeling beaches on on the West Side. You either need a car and good map to locate on your own or take a guided tour.

    We found the shopping in town to be very nice and relaxed. There are real department type stores to shop in and I found some great linen shops. No harassing or bargaining. There is one little section with local crafts in which you can do some haggling if you like. I bought 2 very nice prints on canvas and had them framed.

    "I read one where the individuals' experience was that the locals were unfriendly and pretended not to speak English." Sounds like a direct quote from my review. We only experienced this when we were trying to find the right van to return to our hotel after we were through shopping. We were able to get some other tourists to properly direct us.

    We've been to 13 Caribbean Island and Mexico several times. The best snorkeling weve found was in Grand Cayman and then Mexico. People will argue though Turks and Caicos and St. John, USVI. We just returned from Playa del Carmen, MX and found some excellant snoreking in Akumel and the Sian Kaa'an Biosphere. Sting rays, turtles, starfish, dolphins, variety of fish and healthy coral. Did not see much of that in Curacao.

    If you are set on Curacao, I would highly suggest doing the animal encounter dive at the Sea Aquarium. We are not divers either and do not have any cerification, but you don't need one for this activity. It was our very first dive and it was awesome. Tons of fish, turtles, sting rays, dolphins and we got to feed the sharks through plexiglass. One of the greatest experiences on vacation we have ever done.

    Not familar with allinclusive outlet. We have used beachdestinations.com, Orbitz and Travelocity. Many people recommend cheapcaribbean.com, but they do not service our departure airport.

    If you interested, we have our pictures posted at:

    http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn

    I have 2 books for Curacao. One for the trip and one for the sea aquarium dive.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks for the good solid post, KVR. You gave me some good things to think about. I hadn't really considered Mexico -- all the crime (i.e., drug wars/kidnapping) occurring in Mexico in the news lately has kind of put me off of it. I realize most of the crime has been up in Northern Mexico, but it's still kind of scary. Where did you stay when you went snorkeling in Akumal? I'm trying to stick to a pretty moderate budget, and it looked like in Mexico, it was a lot more expensive to stay over in Akumal than in Cancun. Just wondering if you stayed near Cancun and drove to better snorkeling, or found a good place near Akumal? Likewise, any accommodation recommendations in the Grand Cayman? I had strongly considered that island, but it looks quite a bit more expensive based on today's price quotes. Thanks again for sharing your experiences. :-)

  • Report Abuse

    Our family of four visited Curacao two years ago and really enjoyed it. We spent half our time at the Marriott and the other half on the west end at Kura Hulanda. I'm not positive, but I think both hotels offer a meal plan you can buy. Again, not 100% sure, but I seem to remember you have to buy it ahead of time. Both places had good from-the-beach snorkeling.

    We found that many of the locals do not speak English (so maybe they were not pretending??). I couldn't find the eggs in the grocery store, and no one understood me in English. Someone understood me when I tried in Spanish! :-) The local language is Papiamento, and Dutch is much more common than English. However, all employees we met at the hotels spoke fluent English.

    Let me know if I can answer any more questions!
    where_to_next?

  • Report Abuse

    Yes, I did forget, the Marriott in Curacao offers an AI plan. The Kura Hulanda is very expensive. If interested check out thier web-sites.

    We have been going to Mexico for the past 10 years. We just went the first week of December for our 10th trip. We statyed in Playa del Carmen on 5th Avenue. The first time we did not do AI in Mexico and personally it didn't work for us. We really like AI in Mexico. The crime/drugs does not affect the tourists areas of the Yucatan Penisula. We have never had an issue. We did 2 tours for snorkeling. They took us to Akumel and the Kian Sa'an Biosphere. The Kian Sa'an is a very long drive. It was a 12 hour excursion, but really worth it. Akumel was a 6 hour excursion. You can check out our pics on that same site link I gave you.

    We've been to Grand Cayman twice. One land vacation and one cruise. The Marriott there has an AI plan also. We stayed at the Holdiay Inn on thier AI plan (it is not there anymore) but now a Courtyard by Marriott. No AI plan now. Just the main Marriott hotel. I would chose any hotel that is within your budget on 7 Mile Beach. Absolutely do the Sting Ray snorkel excursion. There are several operators. I wish I could show you the underwater video we got on our snorkel tour and you would understand why I say Grand Cayman is the best for snorkeling. I used this site to plan our trip. http://www.caymanislands.ky/ Grand Cayman can be more expensive than other destinations. The US dollar does not fair well there, but it is worth it.

    I would also suggest Turks and Caicos. Grace Bay beach is fabulous. The Veranda offers an AI plan. That hotel wasn't there when we went. But if we ever did return, we woould stay there. We used this web-site to plan our trip. http://www.wherewhenhow.com/ Also, do a search here on this forum for 'Blamona'. She knows everything there is to know about T & C and is very helpful. Though we love Mexico, if I was going as a single women, I would feel more comfortable in Grand Cayman, T & C or Aruba. That is my personal opinion based on our 10 years worth of traveling.

4 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

View all Caribbean Islands activity »
  1. 1 Carribean vacation with infant
  2. 2 Trip Report TOP 5 MUST-DO LIST FOR GRAND CAYMAN VACATION
  3. 3 A nice hotel to stay in St Martin for one night ?
  4. 4 Buccament Bay in Kingston, St. Vincent and Grenadines
  5. 5 Cayman Islands in October
  6. 6 Where to spend a month or two this winter
  7. 7 things to do in Nassau
  8. 8 Which Island?
  9. 9 August 2015 Honeymoon Trip Ideas
  10. 10 Trip Report I got robbed in St Maarten - St Martin on the French side
  11. 11 St. John USVI
  12. 12 Puerto Rico - January 13 - 21 - Itinerary
  13. 13 Best resorts for families with 3 small kids
  14. 14 Destination Wedding Planning: DR, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, or Barbados
  15. 15 Best island for early to mid November
  16. 16 snorkle choices in Antigua
  17. 17 Please help me decide to go to Cuba!
  18. 18 Planning possible retirement in USVI
  19. 19 Divi Little Bay versus Holland House Beach Resort, St. Martin
  20. 20 Mexico vs Cuba vs Bali
  21. 21 Best resort to go with adult children not Mexico
  22. 22 planning a long weekend for Feb/March
  23. 23 Trip Report Lobster, Heat & Banged Up Feet - Another Awesome Exumas Adventure
  24. 24 tourist opinion for trips to the Bahamas
  25. 25 Which Second Caribbean Destination ?
View next 25 » Back to the top