The tropical island of Curaçao lies 40 miles north of the coast of Venezuela and about 50 miles west of Bonaire. Small, secluded beaches scattered on its southwest shore front clear, calm waters. When the Dutch West India Company founded Willemstad in a natural harbor on the island, the island became a center of commerce and shipping — and piracy. Like Bonaire, Curaçao is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
What matters to divers are its more than 40 dive areas, many accessible from shore, including Boka Grandi ("Big Bay"), a site with a large stretch of coral rubble and a white sandy beach, Playa Mansaliña, named for its large stately mansaliña trees, and Playa Largu ("Long Beach") a long, rocky stretch of shore. Other great shore sites include Habitat House Reef, Boka Sami, Double Reef, Vaersenbaai, and Lower House, which has a large beach.