Curaçao's Sunken Tugboat
Curaçao has a dive spot on the southeast side of the island where a sunken tugboat took its last journey. Not far from the beach, skilled swimmers can reach the tugboat with a short 150 yard swim. This dive site is a free diver’s heaven, and just so happens to be my happy place in Curaçao. Immediately when I flip my torso toward the ocean floor and kick my feet toward the sky, taking a big breath of air and diving down toward the boat, I always notice how the sounds change underwater. The setting is quieter and I immediately experience the feeling of weightlessness—not only in a physical way but also an emotional lift of weight, as there is no one to talk to, no need to communicate with anyone, and no one to interrupt my thoughts. I then dive down deeper, and the pressure in my ears heightens but the sounds do not change; muffled murmurs that create the ocean’s song. There are only fish that join me as I dive further toward the boat, in brightly colored hues of orange, cobalt, turquoise and canary yellow. I hear the sounds of them scuttering through the water away from me, a pitter-patter that mimics the sound of quick footsteps. These are the only sounds I hear, which evokes a feeling of peacefulness.
As long as you get there before a boat tour drops off heaps of snorkelers, you too can enjoy this beautiful underwater site and all its glory without anyone bothering you. There are rarely more than a few people out at this dive spot unless a group is there. If you find a boat tour group there, hang out at the small palapa on the beach and drink some Bright beers until they leave; most only stay for about an hour and then they're gone again.
You don’t need to book a snorkel tour to see this beautiful dive site. In fact, you should avoid doing so in order to dive the sunken tug boat without a couple dozen people swimming around you (as I mentioned above). The last time we went, we swam out to the tug boat (it’s only about 100 yards from the shore) and had the entire place to ourselves. Here are the directions from Otrobanda to the sunken tug boat.
Start off on Arubastraat heading north toward the bridge. Then make a right on Kon. Julianabrug to go over the bridge and drive along Presidente Rómulo Betancourt Boulevard. After you’ve made it to the other side (the Punda side), turn right onto Berg Carmeleweg. Continue onto Nieuwe Pareraweg, then turn left onto Kaminda Salina. Keep right and continue on Nieuwe Caracasbaaiweg. Then continue onto Caracasbaaiweg and drive as far as you can until you reach the beach. Park anywhere and walk down to the little bar/dive shop. The photo below depicts an oil tanker that you will see off the beach to your right as you drive toward the tugboat beach.
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Now that you know which beaches to head to, do you want to hear more? Head over to Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to Do, and my favorite free dive spot: Curaçao's Sunken Tugboat.
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