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Latest update: 17 February 2023

There is fantastic snorkeling to be done around Curaçao. At many spots, you can walk straight into the water and enjoy tropical fish and even turtles within a few meters. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, head to the tugboat wreck at Tugboat Beach.

The not-so-idyllic Tugboat Beach

In the east of Curaçao, not far from Jan Thiel beach, you will find Tugboat Beach (here to be exact). It’s a bit of a weird beach: it’s basically nothing more than a thin coastline covered with stones. A huge oil tanker blocks the view. Not quite the bounty beach you were looking for, right? And yet, it’s definitely a go-to spot. The Tugboat Beach Bar, for example, is a nice casual place for a snack and a drink. The staff is caring and continuously upgrading the bar with recycled materials. And to be fair, that oil tanker is also quite beautiful to photograph, and the area is a top spot for snorkeling.

Snorkeling around the tugboat wreck

About thirty years ago, a small tugboat sank about fifty meters off the coast. At a depth of five meters, the tugboat now provides a beautiful spectacle with fish swimming around almost continuously. The water is clear enough for a snorkeler to see the details of the boat from above, and beginner’s diving classes also like to take a look here because you can see a lot in relatively shallow waters.

If there is a ship at anchor at the dock, take a close look at how the ropes run and if you can safely swim under them. I enter the water at the end of the beach, behind the ropes. Tip: wear water shoes. Then I swim towards the enormous pillars in the water. This part alone is already good for snorkeling because there are many fishes to see. Behind the pillars, you will find the tugboat on the bottom of the ocean. You can swim around and over it calmly to check out the boat and marine life. I didn’t spot them, but there are supposed to be octopuses too.

Do you have some energy left after checking out the wreck? Swim along the dock where the large ship is moored. The fish here eat algae from the pillars, and old materials are scattered on the bottom of the ocean. I know, it’s actually just garbage, but it makes for a beautiful underwater landscape to discover.

Rent snorkeling gear

You can rent snorkeling gear at the Tugboat Beach Bar. Or bring it yourself. Whatever you decide, I recommend a snorkel mask (Decathlon or Amazon) and water shoes (at Decathlon or Amazon). But you can also rent flippers or a life jacket. Decide for yourself what you need: do you feel like a fish in water? 😉

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First published: August 2021. Updated since.

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