Frommers.com has included Curaçao in its 10 Best Caribbean Snorkeling Spots slideshow: “In contrast to Curaçao’s arid terrain, the marine life that rings the island is rich and spectacular. The best-know snorkeling site — the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park — stretches 20 km (12 miles) along Curaçao’s southern coastline, and there are many other highly desirable sites as well. Sunken ships, gardens of hard and soft coral, and millions of fish are a snorkeler’s treat.”
Since Curaçao lies right outside the hurricane belt, it has well-developed fringing coral reefs, home to an array of barracudas, sea turtles, manta rays and sharks. Sea grass beds and mangroves are nurseries and foraging grounds for many varieties of coral reef fish and invertebrates.
One of the Caribbean’s best marine reserves, Curaçao Underwater Marine Park:
- Stretches from Sunscape Resort to the eastern tip of the island and includes some of Curacao’s finest reefs; covering a total surface area of 1,482 acres of reef and 1,077 acres of inner bays.
- The area has been managed by NGO CARMABI (Caribbean Research & Management of Biodiversity Foundation) since 1983 and is therefore relatively untouched. CARMABI has a legal mandate to manage Curaçao’s terrestrial protected areas. Although it does not have a mandate to do so, it also oversees the management of this marine protected area. CARMABI conducts or facilitates research to support effective nature management, nature conservation, nature restoration, and nature development; acquires, conserves, protects, manages, restores and develops natural areas in the broadest sense, including objects or places of value to geology, history and/or archaeology; creates awareness within the community, especially school children, regarding the contribution they can make to achieve sustainable development in Curaçao.
- The Marine Park is a park ‘on paper’, yet to be officially stipulated by Curaçao law. A new marine protection law is in the making, replicating the model of the Bonaire’s Marine Park (also included on Frommer’s list)