North of Willemstad on Curacao, the snorkeling at Playa Cas Abao offers scattered coral heads offshore of a private cove beach. There are a giant mushroom shaped coral formations that are up to 10 feet across. During Playa Cas Abao snorkeling, you may encounter sea turtles, eels and spotted eagle rays in addition to the usual reef fish. Keep in mind that there is an entrance fee for this private beach.
To reach the snorkeling on Curacao, fly into the Curacao International Airport (CUR) which is located northwest of Willemstad on the Atlantic coast. Since the snorkeling dive sites are very dispersed, it is recommend to reserve a rental car well in advance of arrival. The Playa Cas Abao snorkeling dive site is located about 20 miles northwest of downtown Willemstad. There is good onsite parking at this private beach, which has a beach restaurant.
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, Playa Cas Abao is the 13th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 13 snorkeling dives in Curacao.