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Better for Scuba/Snorkel combo: Aruba or Curacao?


jbrinkm
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My parents are going on our next cruise with us. We are excited to dive for the first time after working on our certification this summer & they would love to snorkel. Which island do you think would be better for us to try to book a boat trip that offers both scuba & snorkeling? My parents will probably just walk around and sightsee on the other island. Also, we have a much longer day in Aruba than we do in Curacao. The cruise will be in March. 

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For diving, I prefer Curacao over Aruba.  I've not snorkeled either, so cannot comment on that.  But diving in Curacao can be excellent.  (And, there's great dive operators there.)

 

Actually, I dove Curacao with The Dive Bus with a buddy.  Our wives came along and snorkeled together at the same location.  The Dive Bus' house reef is across the street and is well set up for diving/snorkeling parties.  Check with Mark at The Bus and get his advice.  He's a good guy.

Edited by ROUS
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I also prefer Curacao over Aruba.  We went in March of 2022 with Hans from Curious 2 Dive.  It was excellent.  Hans has been on the island a long time and was a wealth of knowledge.  We did shore diving and the reefs were in good shape with lots of underwater life. 

 

Aruba - we were on a boat and did 2 wreck dives.  They good; but nothing like what we saw at Curacao.

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For your specific question - combining snorkelers and divers on one boat, I'd probably say Aruba.  The Antilla wreck there is  very popular with snorkelers, and is also a good dive. 

 

Most of the better dive operators will not have snorkelers on a dive boat, as it invariably ends up wiht no one getting an ideal experience. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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Absolutely Curacao especially for less experienced divers.  In Curacao at certain points you can literally walk off the beach and there is a Cayman's type wall only 50 or so yards from the shore.  I think it goes down a couple of thousand feet.  This will accommodate both divers and snorkelers.  Best of both worlds.  

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The last time (last Dec) we were in Aruba I booked a dive, my wife booked a snorkle both to the Antilles wreck. My dive was pretty good though not as good as 3 years ago. My wife's snorkel wasn't very good. The boat was crowded, the people rude, one guy got sick on board.

 

I dived in Curacao with my wife snorkeling last Feb. Both were off the shore.  Definitely a better dive/snorkel than Aruba.

 

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I should clarify - my own family (2 adults, 2 teens) is planning to dive on both islands - my parents just asked if they could tag along to the site of ONE of the two stops to do some snorkeling. So we don't have to pick between the two islands. We are planning to dive both. I was just curious which would be better to combine the two, and we'll do the other on our own. If it lowers the quality of the dive to have snorkelers along, since it sounds like Curacao has the better diving, perhaps we should try to combine Aruba? Or does the advice still stand to try to do the combo on Curacao? Is most diving at Curacao from shore or can you go to a better spot via boat?

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@jbrinkm

 

Upon reflection, your best option may be Curacao.  Talk to Hans at CURious2Dive.  I'm thinking you could dive either Tugboat, or Director's Bay to Tugboat, while your snorkelers could snorkel in the Tugboat Bay.  There's the sunken tugboat at easy snorkeling depth, and a pier there that is a haven for a lot of sea life.  Added bonus is there is a bar/restaurant there so if your snorkelers don't want to snorkel as long as you dive, they have a nice place to hang. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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On 9/22/2023 at 8:26 PM, omeinv said:

@jbrinkm

 

Upon reflection, your best option may be Curacao.  Talk to Hans at CURious2Dive.  I'm thinking you could dive either Tugboat, or Director's Bay to Tugboat, while your snorkelers could snorkel in the Tugboat Bay.  There's the sunken tugboat at easy snorkeling depth, and a pier there that is a haven for a lot of sea life.  Added bonus is there is a bar/restaurant there so if your snorkelers don't want to snorkel as long as you dive, they have a nice place to hang. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

my first open water dive was at Tugboat. My family snorkeled there as well. It was great. Diving the pier was awesome.  Not to mention there was a guy on the beach making the best chicken wings I ever had.

Edited by mac66
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  • 1 month later...
On 9/22/2023 at 8:26 PM, omeinv said:

@jbrinkm

 

Upon reflection, your best option may be Curacao.  Talk to Hans at CURious2Dive.  I'm thinking you could dive either Tugboat, or Director's Bay to Tugboat, while your snorkelers could snorkel in the Tugboat Bay.  There's the sunken tugboat at easy snorkeling depth, and a pier there that is a haven for a lot of sea life.  Added bonus is there is a bar/restaurant there so if your snorkelers don't want to snorkel as long as you dive, they have a nice place to hang. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

Yes, Hans said that we could combine the snorkelers nearby in Curacao! Jeffrey from Happy Divers Aruba said that it would NOT be great there to combine, just as you @omeinv  said, so we have our plan. Thank you for all the advice everyone!

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