In southern Curacao, the snorkeling at the Curacao Underwater Park is popular for reef hugging close to shore with diverse marine life. The Underwater Marine Park stretches about 20km along the southeast coast of Curacao. When snorkeling along the Underwater Marine Park, there are several coral species and hundreds of species of fish. The water visibility is usually over 100 feet which provides good views of shipwrecks and diving sea turtles. The Underwater Marine Park snorkelen is best in the morning since the surf comes up with afternoon winds.
The Underwater Marine Park extends from Princess Beach Hotel to East Point. The Curacao Underwater Park is also known as the Curacao Marine Park.
Before snorkelen off Curacao, it is important to remember that there have been two recent (relative to coral growth rates) storms. In 1999, Hurricane Lenny passed near the island resulting in the first big waves in over 100 years. This wave action over a 24 hour period had a severe effect on the shallow water corals on west-facing coastlines. There was significant toppling of the massive coral colonies, along with bleaching and smothering. Similarly, in 2008, Tropical Storm Omar passed near the island producing heavy wave action along west-facing coastlines. The effects of these storm, along with occasional bleaching events, have left many of the snorkeling dive sites not appearing as they had in past photos nor seeming as described in the brief locally printed snorkeling dive descriptions, which tend to be older. While snorkeling off Curacao, you'll occasionally encounter some large, older coral formation remnamnts that give clues to the size of the past reefs. And, you may notice some small new growth occuring along the sand flats where new coral is taking hold in the cemented coral rubble, especially quick growing fire coral. Overall, there are 57 coral species providing habitat for over 500 fish species.
Overall, Curacao Underwater Park is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 13 snorkeling dives in Curacao.