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An Underwater Paradise at Directorsbaai

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We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the underwater world we discovered at Directorsbaai. Pristine coral just a couple feet below the surface and legions of fish oblivious to our presence… if there’s better snorkeling anywhere on Curaçao, I’d be surprised. In fact, if there’s better snorkeling anywhere in the world, let us know. So far, Directorsbaai is about the best we’ve seen.

But you have to work for it. Directorsbaai is a lonely, deserted beach on the southern end of the Caracasbaai Peninsula. If you’re at all familiar with life on Curaçao, you’ll know that “lonely and deserted” means “popular with thieves.” When talking about our plans to snorkel at Directorsbaai, we were warned repeatedly not to leave anything on the beach there, nor to leave the car untended.

“What you should do,” a friend of ours said, “is snorkel all the way from Directorsbaai to Tugboat Beach.” Sounded like a good idea, so we forced him to come along, which would allow us to take shifts. First, I dropped Jürgen and him off at Directorsbaai, waited until they were in the water, and then drove myself over to Tugboat Beach. Twenty minutes later, they were stepping out of the water with grins so large, I knew the trip had been a success. And I could hardly wait for my turn.

This short snorkeling tour starts off scary; at Directorsbaai, the drop-off into the deep ocean is close to shore, and it’s terrifying to suddenly be hovering over water so deep you can’t possibly see the bottom. Also, you have to swim around a rocky outcrop popular with fishermen before getting to the good stuff. But once you’re past that, the rest is paradise. I’ve never seen such a beautiful underwater landscape, and when the sun is shining, the scene is unbelievable.

The swim to Tugboat Beach goes faster than I had expected. At a steady pace, I could’ve done it in fifteen minutes. But there’s so much to see, you’ll want to linger. I spotted puffer fish, angel fish, trumpet fish half a meter long and a barracuda, among hundreds of other species. And the coral stays in good shape all the way to the sunken tugboat itself.

It takes a little planning and coordination, but this self-guided snorkel tour is easy enough, and so memorable that it’s worth the effort. Just remember not to leave anything unguarded at Directorsbaai… or anywhere on the island, for that matter.

Locations on our Map: Directorsbaai | Tugboat Beach

Great Selection Of Underwater Cameras

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January 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm Comment (1)

The Sunken Tugboat

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Just off the coast of the Caracasbaai Peninsula, a small tugboat rests in its watery grave, slowly becoming a part of the sea’s coral landscape. This is one of Curaçao’s most popular snorkeling sites, and for good reason; with the sunlight illuminating its shape and schools of fish darting through its windows and doors, the tugboat is an enchanting discovery.

The tugboat is totally submerged and can’t be seen from land, so we had doubts about being able to find it once in the water. But we didn’t need to worry. The beach where it’s located is named “Tugboat Beach,” and a set of huge pylons mark the site. Besides, the wreck is right off-shore, so if you swim up the coast you can’t miss it. And if you’re still concerned, just look to where all the other snorkelers are hovering — the tugboat generally draws a crowd.

I got into the water and began swimming in the right direction, searching left and right for the boat. Suddenly, there it was: a sight that nearly took my breath away (dangerous, since my face was underwater). I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this was the inspiration for the millions of miniature tugboats found in aquariums around the world, because it looked just like one.

The coral has already made a good start in covering the ship’s sides, and dozens of colorful fish were swimming through it. It’s just a few meters deep, so you can just rest comfortably on the surface and appreciate the scene. I stayed until a group of “cool dudes” arrived on jet skis and started behaving like idiots, diving in and stomping all over the coral-covered boat. Why do you need to stand on the tugboat, cool dude? Does crushing a fragile underwater environment make you cooler?

As a tip, try and show up early in the morning, when there will be fewer people. The peaceful scene of nature slowly correcting one of humanity’s mistakes is one best experienced in relative solitude.

Location on our Map

Save Money And Buy Your Snorkeling Gear Before You Come To Curacao

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January 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm Comment (1)

The Black Sand Beach of Santu Pretu

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If you’re looking for solitude, lace up your hiking boots and tromp through the woods to Santu Pretu, a small beach of black sand accessible from Santa Cruz. Here, you’ll find untouched nature, strange sand, and excellent snorkeling, but you probably won’t find any other people.

Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach

Santu Pretu is halfway along the path that connects Santa Cruz to the jump-off point for Curaçao’s famous Blue Room: an easily-accessible cave in the cliffs which sparkles beautifully with the Caribbean’s crystal blue color. But we’d be saving the Blue Room for another trip, because today we were content to stay on Santu Pretu.

This is a fairly remote spot; there are no services at all, and although there is a path which 4x4s could probably negotiate, the main way to arrive at Santu Pretu is on foot. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from the parking lot of Santa Cruz. The sand at Santu Pretu is coarse and dark; not the soft, white sand found at other, more conventional beaches, and lends the beach a different atmosphere.

The lonely, peaceful vibe of Santu Pretu is great, but the best reason to seek it out is the snorkeling. Just off shore, there’s a fantastic reef with tons of things to see. For us, the highlight was a large coral tower, whose short orange fuzz moved with the waves in a mesmerizing way.

Besides hearing it referred to as the “black sand beach”, we didn’t know anything about Santu Pretu, so our time here was a real surprise. I would say that it was among favorite spots on Curaçao… but we have bestowed that exact same honor upon so many other places, that it’s lost its significance. Curaçao is blessed with a lot areas of extreme natural beauty, and Santu Pretu is yet another one.

Location on our Map

Underwater Cameras

Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
Santu Pretu Black Sand Beach
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January 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm Comments (0)
An Underwater Paradise at Directorsbaai We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the underwater world we discovered at Directorsbaai. Pristine coral just a couple feet below the surface and legions of fish oblivious to our presence... if there's better snorkeling anywhere on Curaçao, I'd be surprised. In fact, if there's better snorkeling anywhere in the world, let us know. So far, Directorsbaai is about the best we've seen.
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