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View Full Version : Curacao - so, tell me how it all works



rayaa3
04-03-2014, 15:28
Alright - Bonaire in March didn't work out, but got to hit up Roatan instead. I've been looking for a good way to spend the hotel points and airline miles I've earned on work trips and I think I found a good one. I can get really good bang for my buck on airline miles going to Curacao in October.

So this October I'm taking the family to Curacao. We are staying at the Hilton (I have a lot of points, so it's free...so, good or bad - it's where I'll be, but if you know something negative about it, please let me know - better to be prepared).

So, how's this game played in Curacao. I've looked online at some of the dive shop prices for boat dives - $100 for 2 tanks is pretty common it seems...kind of pricey. It looks like a lot of the diving is shore accessible, though maybe not quite as easy as Bonaire. I don't see much online in the way of "truck+unlimited tanks" packages. Do people just rent the number of tanks they'll need? I've looked around and seen a post where at least one person said "I go to the a shop in the area of the dive site and rent from them, for that dive" - I'm not really keen on bouncing around looking for tanks near each site, but there might be a reason it's done this way.

Ideally we'll rent a trunk, load it up with 6 tanks (2 each diver) every AM - head out, and come back after lunch. It looks like tanks+weights will cost $15 a tank - much cheaper than boat diving, but still more expensive than I expected.

Are there concerns in Curacao around theft? Would I need to worry about tanks being taken out of the truck when parked at dive sites?

Anything else you would tell a first time visitor?

Food looks a bit pricey but I'm basically flying and staying for free - so I won't fuss too much over food price. Same for the diving - it seems silly to pay $15 per tank for 30 tanks - but how much can I complain given the nut on the rest of the trip?

As usual, appreciate any input.
Ray

snagel
04-03-2014, 18:42
We did Curacao a couple years ago. They are not set up like Bonaire. They push the Boat Dives. We stayed at the Breezes Resort (It's called something different now) and worked out a deal to rent tanks daily from the on-site dive shop who was with Ocean Encounters. The kicker was we had to drive a couple miles down the road to pick up the tanks daily. Again, they just are not set up like Bonaire to get tanks and go and they really couldn't understand why we didn't want to just do the Boat Dives.

They do have shore diving, but again not like Bonaire. The dive sites are a little off the beaten path and we found we spent a lot of time driving around instead of diving. However, we did find that some of the sites did have tanks we could have rented. Many of the places also charged you a couple dollars to enjoy their beach or dive from their beach. Not a biggy and I think if you purchase tanks from them, they might wave the fee if they had a dive shop there.

Curcao is much more urban than Bonaire and getting through the city areas is a little challenging. We ultimately rented a GPS unit and I would highly recommend that. We tried to bring a GPS with local maps, but that wasn't very detailed. Long story, but I would recommend renting a GPS when you rent your truck.

Is it safe? Pretty much use common sense and it is as safe as any other place. We did get into places trying to find dive sites that were in the middle of nowhere and felt anybody could have jacked us easily. Some of the dive sites were a little strange with maybe a couple guys sitting around, but they didn't seem to care if we dove. Other areas had a dive shop and again once we got there they were great hosts. Other sites were a little scary and just seemed like abandoned party places of yester-year.

Food? We stayed at the Breezes and it was all-Inclusive and the food was great and plentiful. We didn't eat off the resort so can't really comment on all that.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions about a place or want me to comment more about any particular item.

S. Nagel

snagel
04-03-2014, 18:46
Here's a couple shameful links for more information on our website.......

www.midwestmuckdiving.com

On left look for Paradise Diving and then click on Curacao to dive reports.

On bottom left, go to Archieves and click on December 2011 and then click on that link and it will show you more.

Snagel

rayaa3
04-03-2014, 19:55
That was very helpful thank you. I'm wondering if renting as you go isn't the easier thing. So, how did gps find dive sites? You can't mean you just put the dive site name in gps? :) I'm thinking beach name or some other land mark?

I'm quite curious to see what I get back from the on site shop about shore tank packages. In the email I sent this am I flat out said boat diving for 3 over a week was simply too expensive to be practical so I prefer rentals for shore diving. They are probably thinking "why does everyone want to make us like Bonaire? "

Ray

navyhmc
04-03-2014, 19:56
Awww.... I was going to post that for you Snagel.

snagel
04-03-2014, 20:43
Somewhere, I have a book with the Dive Sites and GPS Coords for them. I'm trying to find it and if I do I can send it to you.

Snagel

rayaa3
04-03-2014, 20:51
It's OK I just caught on that shore diving.com has coordinates

rayaa3
04-03-2014, 20:54
http://californiatripplanner.com/curacao-guide-and-dive

This also looks helpful.