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Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

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Virginia
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Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

Hi all. I'm looking for some advice on where to go to snorkel. We are avid snorkelers and have been to St, Thomas, Grand Cayman and Bonaire. We plan where to go in the Caribbean based on where the snorkeling is reputed to be the best (not St. Thomas; that was our first trip where I discovered snorkeling). We're looking at St. John and Curacao, so I'd love to hear your opinions of snorkeling in Curacao. Beach snorkeling is strongly preferred but boat snorkeling would be okay, too. Preferably not strong currents. We would love to see healthy coral but fish diversity is what really floats our boat. Thanks for any replies!

Willemstad, Curacao
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1. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

In Curacao you will not need the boat. Snorkeling can be done right of the beach. Numerous beaches with good snorkeling options. Just to name a few, Playa Kalki, Lagun, Cas Abow, Porto Marie, Marriot hotel beach, Santu Pretu. Waters are always warm no matter when you visit.

Townsend, MA
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2. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

ST; John's waters can be a bit more cold depending on when you visit. Naturally, I vote for Curacao!

Glenmoore...
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3. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

We are also avid snorkelers and have been to both St John and Curacao. I would highly recommend Curacao. It's not quite as good as Bonaire but there are a lot of good spots to snorkel right off the beach. We do plan to get back. We loved St John for the island itself, the snorkeling was ok but it doesn't compare to Curacao. If you go, make sure to snorkel Tugboat to Directors Bay. It reminded me of Kleine Bonaire. We didn't make it to Kleine Curacao but hear the snorkeling there is excellent also.

Virginia
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4. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the feedback. If anyone is so inclined, I'd love to hear about any cool fish you saw while there.

Townsend, MA
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5. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

I have a couple of pictures on my review of sunscape - eels, trunkfish, my avatar is a picture taken at sunscape years ago. There are some on my slide show, too.

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

As one who is just starting to research a combination trip to Bonaire and Curacao for snorkeling, I can’t comment on the comparison. With that being said, we had a different snorkeling experience than lpelan did on St. John. We thought the snorkeling from shore on St. John was fantastic. Numerous reefs from the beaches to snorkel that we couldn’t try them all. Turtles, octopus, squid, a vast array of tropical fish (parrot, blue tang, etc). Plus you really can’t beat the beaches; no water shoes necessary. The only bad snorkeling we found on the island was Trunk Bay in 10 days.

I would also love to hear more comments on Curacao snorkeling. Is it a snorkeling destination?

Townsend, MA
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7. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

We have snorkeled in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, La Romana, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Martin, St Croix, St John, Jamaica, St Kitts, Mexico, and probably some I have forgotten. Curacao wins, hands down. We still have Turks and Caicos on our wish list, but we don't usually vacation when the water is warm enough for snorkeling there. Oops- forgot the Caymans.

I love the warm, calm water of Curacao. No need to take a boat to the reef - most are less than 200 feet from shore.

Edited: 28 December 2013, 18:42
Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

Karen - thanks for asking this question and thanks to Dotneko for answering.

I keep reading how great snorkeling is in Bonaire but Curacao barely gets mentioned. Thought about pairing up a week in Bonaire for great snorkeling with a week in Aruba just to ease the length of travel. Curacao sounded like a better fit for us anyway and now knowing the snorkeling is great I guess we will suck it up and take the 11-12 hour flight home from Curacao instead.

Again, thanks much.

Townsend, MA
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9. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

We thought Klein Bonaire had the best snorkeling on Bonaire, plus the boat ride over was pretty quick. (Not so with Klein Curacao!) Not a lot of good shore snorkeling on Bonaire, though.

Aruba has terrible snorkeling, but lovely beaches. Usually, a nice sandy beach means poor snorkeling.

Curacao is a lovely compromise between the overdevelopment of Aruba and the relative spartanness of Bonaire.

Lexington, Kentucky
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10. Re: Snorkeling: Curacao or St. John?

We were in Curacao in September for 10 days and had a wonderful experience. We stayed at Playa Lagun and snorkeled every day. The beaches on the west side of the island seem to be the best for snorkeling. Our photos and videos are on flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30399531@N07/sets/72157635915132974/