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snagel
10-31-2011, 05:33
Let's kick the tires and light the fires in this new ABC Forum......

I'm going to Curacao in December for the first time, what do I need to know?

Snagel

navyhmc
10-31-2011, 07:17
Whether or not you'll adopt me and take me along, dad??? It's been 30 years since my trip, I'm afraid things have changed a little....

PACKRMAN
10-31-2011, 11:54
You need to know that we expect lots of pictures and a complete report. What can my non-diving wife do while I am underwater?

snagel
10-31-2011, 17:51
Sorry Navy, my niece already said she can fit in my suitcase and has agreed to pay the over 50# luggage fee and/or go on a massive diet.

Packrman......get your wife diving before it is too late. I was a diver 2 years before my wife got her certification. It was miserable trying to figure out vacations and then having to tear myself away from diving to spend some time with her. Our last Mexico trip before she started diving was almost the end of vacations and possibly the end of us. I have to give props to my SIL who finally convinced my wife to start diving and now those two do their thing (in the shallows) and me and the BIL do our own thing. Everybody is happy and vacations are so much better. One hint....get her hooked on underwater photography. Sure it takes a few dollars to invest in new gear and camera's, but it's worth it.

Back to Curacao.....39 days, but who's counting. Never been there and need to learn the lay of the land.

Snagel

diversteve
10-31-2011, 18:26
Besides what I posted in your other thread here are some general things you might find useful:

Plan for a longer drive than the map would indicate. The dive sites - esp. out west are poorly marked. And the road is twisty in places and not maintained especially well so it's slower than expected. For most sites you'll drive in from the main road about 5-15mins. - often on a dirt secondary road - and then back out to the main road to the next site. We had planned to do 4 dives/day but the logistics made that very difficult, either the 4th dive wound up being a night dive or we did two at the same location - not that that's bad - some are very different each way. Several times we found ourselves driving back to town after dark.

At many of the sites out west the reef is a good swim offshore. Many have beach entries - some thru small coves that break the ironshore cliffs. So get a bearing on where the break is for your return, the cliffs make it difficult to always spot them.

Ribs Factory in Salinja was very good. The Marriott at Emerald Bay has a restaurant right on the beach. Nice smaller casino there also. We didn't really eat anywhere else worth mentioning. Don't assume there's many food options outside of the Willemsted/Piscadera Bay area, there's a few in Westpunt and less along the main road - mostly snaks with a couple nicer restaurants (Lodge Kura Hulanda and Landhuis Daniel) People who stay out west are often advised to buy food at a market just south of the airport b4 they drive out. Of course that won't be your issue at Breezes...

Get a good map, the secondary roads are often poorly marked. Most of the local people we asked directions from spoke English and were glad to help, many are quad lingual (Dutch, German, English, Papamientu)

If anyone gets bent the chamber is in St. Elizabeth hospital in the city - good facility, I've seen worse in the U.S. Spent a night there once with a friend.

snagel
11-01-2011, 06:20
Thanks for the great information and hopefully we won't need the chamber, but good to know it's there.

I read on another review site that a person "couldn't charge their cell phone because it was 220v". Not sure if they are saying their cell phone required 220v or the power was 220v.

Any clarification here?

Snagel

BUDMAN
11-01-2011, 07:10
we didn't need a converter to charge any electronic devices

snagel
11-22-2011, 05:44
Our trip is a few weeks away and we are trying to figure out the tank rental vs truck rental vs dive site cost thing.

Can anybody give us an idea about what sites charge to get in? My take on all this is that they all want to nickel and dime you; so, basically if you go to a site that has tanks available you are either going to pay to enter or pay a reduced entrance fee if you rent a tank from them. Anybody know what this dollar figure is for entering with a tank vs. entering and renting a tank?

What is your recommendation for renting tanks? We are staying at Breezes and do get one tank free a day with Ocean Encounters. I'm thinking I read somewhere that you can rent another tank for something like $9 or you can get unlimited tanks for something like $30/per day. The dollars don't really match up in my mind.

Any help with all this?

Snagel

diversteve
11-23-2011, 03:05
This was our experience at different locations - ymmv as it was about 3 years ago.

At Habitat - now closed/changed ownership - we bought an all day package for like $26-28pp. That included unlimited tanks/weights at their shoredive location and also tanks we could take elsewhere from the drive-up in the parking lot on top of the cliffs - the divedock was down 3 flights of stairs. We weren't staying there.

At Varsenbaai we had our own tanks but no weights. The facility mgr. there charged us around $6-7 US (paid in guilders) for the use of their weights and facilities - which were pretty dirty and run-down. That also included a site briefing which was useful as we later found the pontoon boat wreck, seahorses and turtles in the shallows.

At Playa Lagun we rented tanks/weights from Discover Diving. $9 per tank/weights - no usage fee as they're almost a block away from the beach so you could drive past w/o having to pay them anything. We took their tanks all over the island. http://www.discoverdiving.nl/en_tarieven.html

I was sitting on a plastic chair there waiting for my buddies one night around 5PM when the owner of the beach shack - not Discover Dive - approached me to pay for using it. I just moved to the free concrete picnic table nearby. No markings of any kind to indicate it was his property or a rental. He didn't ask us for a usage fee to dive there but I think it's a public beach.

Playa Jeremi is free as there's no onsite operator. I don't recall the setup at Porto Mari. At the Tugboat we rented from the onsite dive school and used their facilities, don't recall the price. Tiny little bar there but ask them for ice cream...

Since you're staying at Breezes, in addition to what OE can offer you there, the DiveBus just down the street has tanks etc. available. They rent tanks for $10/$15 Nitrox or $25 for daily unlimited air. http://www.the-dive-bus.com/images/stories/TDB%20Jan%2011.pdf

All of the places we dove with just swapped tanks. Since there was 6 of us that was convenient as we always had a dozen or so tanks in the back of the truck.

At OEWest/Playa Kalki if you get out that far - rent from them. In addition to use of all their facilities for the cost of the tank rental, they're on the dive site and have about a 60' dock. Also very nice facilities, showers, lockable lockers etc. And there's about 15 rough stone steps down to the site, I would not have wanted to carry a tank either up or down.

hth,

diversteve
11-23-2011, 03:25
I read on another review site that a person "couldn't charge their cell phone because it was 220v". Not sure if they are saying their cell phone required 220v or the power was 220v.

Any clarification here?

SnagelCuracao power is 220v. Most laptop, camcorder (and I believe) cell phone chargers should be fine. I used my laptop and charged my camcorder daily. AT&T Int'l phone service worked well for us there except in a few remote areas out west - we often lost contact in one lower area near Westpunt. I'm sure I charged my phone there at least once - I had a quad-band Motorola Razr at the time.

We stayed in Lagun for a few days and also in Piscadera Bay. The place in Lagun had all U.S. style plugs, in PB there was a mix of U.S. plugs and more of the round European 2 plug sockets. I have one of those Radio Shack adapter kits so was able to make it work. I would think this wouldn't be an issue at Breezes...

clara
11-23-2011, 13:00
Wish I could remember the wreck that we dove. I remember it was set in front of a petrol plant to stop any torpedo attacks. It burned for several days after being torpedoed and split in two. One section is very shallow and the other is a few hundred feet away in a little deeper. I was a nice wreck dive.

Clernix
11-23-2011, 17:08
Snagel when you come back would give a detailed comparison to Bonaire, if i remeber right you said you have dove there.

My two cents on the car vs. diveboat. You will see the same sites on the diveboat that you will see with the car and you will pay more on the boat. If you drive around you will see the island and really expierence it and meet a lot of people or you will stay on the resort and meet few people and see downtown.

Have a great time! Enjoy, oh and btw remember the beaches are filled with Euro girls and they love to bathe topless!

SteveC
11-23-2011, 21:50
Did someone say "topless"?

SteveC
11-23-2011, 21:54
Does anyone know of a list of GPS coordinats for the dive sites? I can get the maps for my GPS, and that would make driving around easer. I have heard that the street names are not marked very well.
Also I list of the dive sites that do or do not charge a fee would be nice to have.

BUDMAN
11-23-2011, 22:06
Scuba Shore Diving Site Listing for: Curacao, ABC Islands (http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/ABC/Curacao/index.htm#1)

this gives GPS coordinates

snagel
11-23-2011, 22:52
Thanks again for the info and absolutely I will post a dive report. Curacao has a lot to live up to. I've been to Bonaire twice and absolutely love it.

Snagel

Davetowz
11-23-2011, 23:07
The water is too warm for diving! you must get back in midwest waters soon after returning home or you will never want to dive local again!! :)

snagel
11-24-2011, 08:02
I love the blue water, but can only afford to see it once a year. Problem is that I can't go a year without diving; so, I better be okay with local murky, cold diving.

Maybe someday I'll be able to forget all this Midwest stuff and wake up every morning in paradise. But, what fun would that be? What would I look forward to all year long? Diving would become dull.

Snagel

clara
11-24-2011, 11:43
And remember, if you can dive in a cold dark quarry then you can dive anyplace. So if you only dove in blue water then your skills would go to hell and you might kill yourself diving. :)

navyhmc
11-24-2011, 12:12
Very true clara, very true. Of course we don't have much current in lakes and even less in quaries...

SteveC
11-24-2011, 19:09
I like the site with the GPS coordinates. I going to start entering them into my GPS unit.

snagel
11-24-2011, 19:18
That is a great site. I'm pulling information for a book to take along with us.

snagel
11-27-2011, 12:48
Just realized we leave for Curacao in 12 days!!!! Panic is starting to set in. I've been trying to keep this out of my mind for months and now I feel I"m behind the 8-ball with so much to do before we leave.....aaauugghh! I know, pity party for me.

We will be coming back a week before Christmas and need to get all the Christmas shopping done before we leave....man I'll need a vacation after all this.

Snagel

Clernix
11-27-2011, 19:37
Did you put a new BP/w on your list for me. I have been a good boy :anim_devil: and ST has a great sale.

Ok I am lying I haven't been good at all.

snagel
12-03-2011, 20:59
This time next week I should be sitting in Curacao if all goes well. Any final words?

Snagel

snagel
12-03-2011, 21:03
Those that have been there; especially, Breezes.....What's the story with internet connections and maybe cell phone use? Due to my work I have to be able to be reached at all times. Kind of challenging for me when we go on these dive trips. Anyway, is it possible to check email at the resort? Free Wifi, pay as you go, etc.

Snagel

BUDMAN
12-04-2011, 08:08
didn't try internet but I got hit with a $30 overcharge on my phone bill for 2 text messages.

Clernix
12-04-2011, 09:57
I used the free internet at the diveshop and it was highspeed so they do have it on the island. Make sure you take enough Off spary with you. I an not sure how it is now but in October the sceeters were bad in town. Oh and mirror sunglasses, very important!

snagel
12-04-2011, 14:58
Mirror Sunglasses?? Is there something to see?

PACKRMAN
12-04-2011, 19:17
If there is take pictures

diversteve
12-04-2011, 19:22
Internet Access

Available in the Internet Café, in the lobby as well as computers to use in the lobby and beach area. Guests may purchase internet access cards in increments of USD$5.00, USD$10.00, USD$15.00; USD$20.00, etc.

Curacao – Amenities New | Breezes (http://www.breezes.com/resorts/curacao/amenities/)

Clernix
12-05-2011, 08:06
I am not sure about the beach at Breezes but the local beaches are filled with European tourists. They are very comfortable sun bathing topless.

I lived it Europe most of my life so its not really new to me but the U.S. peeps seem to get a kick out of it. I actually really enjoyed the fact that Curacao has such a European flair. Maybe that's why I loved the island so much. That and the fact that tourism is an after thought. It was actually hard to find tourist stores.

Downtown is just like walking through Amsterdam with all the colorful houses and a canal. The cafe's were amazing and all the locals have a Dutch accent. The guy we rented our bungalow from was really cool. You looked at him and then he started talking and it just blew me away. He has this thick Dutch accent but looked local

Of all the places I have been in the Caribbean I can say without a doubt the island of Curacao was the cleanest, friendliest ; most comfortable place I have ever been.

That's why I am trying to impress so hard on you to get a car Snagel. The savings in boat diving will pay for it alone and you won't miss anything diving from shore. You will also have the freedom to dive whenever and wherever you like. You will miss the most wonderful part of Curacao if you don't get a car!

Don't let the fact that some places ask a fee to use the facility deter you. They are not nickel and dimeing you, its just a few coins; live and let live.

Dutch law is on the island too so no worries about crazy laws that put you in jail if you have an accident. I damaged the car and the damage was about $650 and they did not even charge my card right away. I got back got an email and they asked how I felt it should be handled. I got all defensive saying I should only have to give up the deposit since I had full coverage. They responded of course that is all they were asking. So pretty much they wanted to clear that it was ok to keep the deposit; I was impressed.

clara
12-05-2011, 22:31
I agree that Curacao is far from touristy. I don't think I made it to a beach while I was there. Too busy diving and seeing other sites inland. If I am thinking right you can hop a small commuter plane over to Aruba as well. I don't remember the details on that one. There is some good diving over there as well.
As for last words before you shove off..ENJOY!!

snagel
12-06-2011, 05:45
Thanks again for all the info. Yes, we finally did get a truck for the week. The wife was a little put off about it, but hopefully, she will come around. The issue really is that she doesn't want to turn this trip into marathon diving. She wants to relax and enjoy her vacation and doesn't want to be pressured to daily load up the truck and get to another dive site. I guess I can understand.

As a kid, I grew up in England (father was in the military). We took a trip to Amsterdam and I really enjoyed it, but a little too young to really appreciate it. It will be interesting if I get any flashbacks from that.

Just a few more days and our journey begins. I've got the dive gear packed already. Can't wait to make my way through airport security with a carry-on containing two sets of regs, computers, and a homemade canister light. This always seems to get TSA woke up.

Snagel

cowgirldiver
12-07-2011, 13:13
As to the topless sunbathers, every time our boat came in from a dive, I thought we were going to tip over as the guys rushed over to the side where the girls were laying out.
Probably a good idea to have a truck. We took the hotel shuttle into town one day, but then had a hard time finding a taxi to take us back. We finally walked over to one of the casinos and found some taxis there. In town, in the early evening, we found there were some booths set up in the square close to the canal to sell trinkets. We ate dinner at a restaurant across the bridge that night, I think it was the Governor's house...very good. Be patient and give yourself lots of time around your meals. While we got our food fairly quickly, the time it took to get the check was long (in American terms).
Enjoy the diving...I will think longingly of Curacao forever as that was my first blue water diving.

snagel
12-09-2011, 06:10
Well, it's basically here. I work 1/2 day today and then drive to St. Louis. If all goes well should be in on a plane at 6am tomorrow heading for Miami and in Curacao sometime tomorrow afternoon. Packing was too easy....what am I forgetting?

Snagel

DevilDiver
12-09-2011, 07:06
Would you please just go, it seems like this trip has taken forever to get here.......... just kidding.

Have a fantastic trip and bring back some pictures!!!

navyhmc
12-09-2011, 08:27
Have a great time snagel!!!!

snagel
12-18-2011, 17:22
Got back early this morning after 12 hours traveling...still very jet lagged. The high points before I settle down a write up an official trip report....it was freakin' Awesome!

Diving was good. I don't know if I'm losing the Wow factor a little, but the reefs seemed a little dull and not as full of color, but hey it's a reef. The fish were abundant and Breezes Resort was fantastic. Lot's of "scenery"....I now know where all the pretty ladies hang out at. Curasao is definately not Bonaire as far as shore diving. I have one huge bit of advice.....rent a GPS with the local maps!!!! We spent the first day trying to find places with a map and since they don't bother marking any roads it was useless. Once we got the GPS, no problem.

Had a great time and will be posting an official trip report, but for now back to my easy chair and ready for work tomorrow.

Snagel

Clernix
12-18-2011, 19:19
Glad to have you back. I am really interested in the report.:smilie40:

navyhmc
12-18-2011, 22:24
Welcome back snagel. Send a report when you can.