Curacao is known as much for its beaches as it is for what’s beneath them. I’ve spent a lot of time shore diving and this island has some of the most beautiful coral reefs filled with exotic marine line. I’m going to share my top ten list of Curacao reef life you’re likely to see when diving in the area.
I’ll admit that I was a bit scared the first time I saw a barracuda. They are large and look pretty mean. Yet it’s a surprisingly docile fish when hovering near its home. I love encountering small schools of young barracuda.
Here is the photo we saw of a barracuda.
These aren’t nearly as frightening as barracuda. Sea turtles can have lifespans well beyond 100 years. They are extremely lucky to have spent it near the island of Curacao. Turtles are found most often near the Double Reef dive site.
Also known as the rock lobster (queue B-52s reference!), the spiny lobster is an incredibly common sight when shore diving in Curacao. That’s why I don’t recommend diving on an empty stomach. Once you see a few of these guys you’ll be ready to head to a nearby restaurant.
This is an example of a truly unique creature. The male seahorse actually carries the female eggs until they are ready to emerge. I’m not sure if I saw any males with eggs during my dives, but there were plenty seahorse nonetheless. Try diving near Cornelius Bay if you’re particularly interested in meeting them.
My feelings about eels were roughly the same as my feelings about barracudas at first. Somehow, the majestic marine life near Curacao managed to change my mind. Now when I see them popping up during my dives I can’t help but feel like they are smiling at me.
The grouper is certainly not the prettiest fish in the sea, but you’ll never forget the first time that you see one. You’ll find a large variety of grouper fish near the Superior Producer wreck dive. It’s also where you’ll find schools of traveling barracudas.
The eagle ray traditionally travels further in the open ocean, but you’ll occasionally encounter a few when diving near the Newport dive site. An eagle ray can grow up to 29 feet in length, though I’ve personally never seen one of that size. You might even get to see them snack on nearby crustaceans.
Don’t confuse your eagle ray sighting with a stingray. The stingray tends to travel near the bottom of the sea and don’t often grow longer than 10 feet in diameter. They also have large stingers attached to them in the front and the back. I kept my distance when I saw them, but it was an incredible site nonetheless.
Not a shark! While they are often mistaken by novice divers as being a shark with their massive size and appearance, these large fish are harmless and shiny. They can be seen close to shore looking to feed on smaller fish.
No dive is complete without seeing a shark. I never encountered any of the large, iconic sharks, but I did see a few nurse sharks. They were swimming at the Porto Marie dive site alongside a group of turtles.
It’s no guarantee that you’ll see all of this Curacao reef life when diving. If you’re interested in a particular sighting, then you’ll need to pick the right dive site. There are more than a dozen in the area and each has something unique to offer. We recommend working with The Dive Bus for all of your diving adventures.
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