Scuba Diving#1 in Best Things To Do in Curacao
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If you really want to see some of Curaçao's best sights, you're going to have to get your hair wet. A fascinating world of delicate coral gardens, graceful stingrays, playful dolphins and even sunken ships awaits you in the depths of the Caribbean. The best way to explore it is with a plastic mask strapped to your face and an oxygen tank strapped to your back.
Many of Curaçao's specified dive sites are accessible directly from the beach – try Porto Mari or Blauwbaai – while others must be reached by boat. The enormous star coral formations of the Mushroom Forest are a must-see; afterward, you can take a breather in the sapphire light of the nearby Blue Room cave. You can also explore the coral-encrusted remains of the Superior Producer, a cargo freighter that went down in 1977.
If you are not already scuba-certified, dozens of dive operators on the island will teach you to avoid decompression sickness (known as "the bends") caused by surfacing too quickly from underwater. But know this: you will spend multiple days getting your certification, and it will cost you several hundred dollars. To maximize your time in the open ocean, you might want to consider getting scuba certified before your trip. Pre-certified divers can opt for a range of dive trips starting around $75 per person, depending on the time of day, the length of the dive and whether you take a boat or dive directly from the shore. You will notice a spike in all prices – for certification classes and dive trips – during the winter holiday season.
CURious2DIVE, Scubacao and The Dive Bus all receive praise from recent travelers for enabling exciting undersea adventures. If you want to take to the seas on your own, you can rent your own scuba gear for around $45 a day (depending on the tour operator). However, we strongly suggest signing up for a group diving trip over going solo, no matter your skill level.
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#2 Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge
Spanning the St. Anna Bay, the Queen Emma, or also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," is a floating pedestrian bridge that connects Willemstad's two halves, Punda and Otrobanda. Built in 1888, the Queen Emma Bridge is supported by 16 pontoon boats and swings open laterally to allow ships to enter and leave the bay.
Recent travelers enjoyed having a meal or a coffee while marveling at boats sailing through the open arm of the bridge, especially when it's lit up at night. And don't worry if you get caught on the wrong side when the bridge swings open – water taxis will get you back across the bay at no charge. Plus, the proximity to the cruise ship dock makes it an easy landmark to cross off your must-see list.
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