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Dive Review of Dive Bus/Iguana Inn in
Curaçao

Dive Bus/Iguana Inn, Jul, 2008,

by Ian Kennedy, California, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports). Report 4259.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, St John, Puerto Rico, Maui, Kauai, Fiji, N.Z., Australia, Thailand, California North and South
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 82 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the DM; 60 minute dive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We spent one week on Curacao, staying at the Iguana Inn. I was accompanied by two non-diving members of the family. Curacao has a landscape that appears to be quite similar to the desert southwest of the United States. In general, it is not a particularly attractive Caribbean island; the vegetation consists primarily of thorny bushes and cactus. The center of the island is dominated by a large oil refinery, and the superficially picturesque town of Willemsted probably deserves no more than a few hours of attention during a visit. I had chosen to stay at the Iguana Inn apartments rather than at the resorts out towards the West End because I felt that there would be more to do closer in to town for my non-diving family members. As it turned out, we were still situated about 20 minutes drive from Willemsted. And in fact, there was not a great deal to do in the town itself. Although the town has a façade of pastel-painted buildings, it is dominated by tourist shops. The beaches at the west end of the island are lovely with clear turquoise water. Generally they have rocky entrances that are tough on bare feet. The beaches near town are OK but not as nice and are more crowded with throngs of Dutch tourists.

I decided to dive with The Dive Bus because my family members could accompany me to the beach. The bus carries divers to shore dives around the island, and I had thought that this would relieve me of the cost of renting a car and stress of driving. As it turned out, we needed a car to get to just about anything from the Iguana Inn so I ended up renting anyway. The Iguana Inn was basic, with reasonable cooking facilities (although we had to borrow a box of matches to light the stove) and had a nice pool and air-conditioning that can be used at night in the bedrooms. Only a roll of toilet paper supplied, no soap or extras. You need dish detergent etc. Unfortunately, our apartment was populated by a large number of mosquitoes and we were all bitten repeatedly. It is about 2 miles away from the beach and rather isolated. Hans, the co-inn keeper, picked us up at the airport and returned us on departure for a small fee. He was helpful and reasonably friendly - his partner was rather diffident and did not speak to us much at all. One of the other apartments listed on the The Dive Bus web site, Parrot Hill, seemed even more remote and less desirable judging by appearances as we drove by. Several divers on the bus during my visit were staying at Breezes that is right next door to the Dive Bus hut. They seemed happy with it.

Mar, Tim and Suzy at The Dive Bus were excellent hosts during my visit. They are very friendly and helpful. I spent four days of diving with them. They picked me up at the Iguana Inn each morning. The first day was just off the beach outside their hut during which we went out to a site called the Car Pile. As is typical of the sites I saw during my visit, there were industrial remnants scattered under the water. All the sites had some evidence of abandoned industrial equipment. Nonetheless, the reefs were healthy with considerable growth of coral and a lot of resident small reef fish. Mark was an excellent dive guide and was good at spotting small creatures. Our second day of diving was at the Tugboat down at Caracas Bay. The third day of diving was at Police Bay and the fourth day at Directors Bay.

Each dive was almost exactly 60 minutes in duration. Looking at the download from my dive computer, it was remarkable how similar all the dives were. A very short swim from shore brings you to the point of descent, from which a drop-off leads down to about 60 feet. The first half of the dive follows the reef at 60 feet, from where we ascended up to around about 20 feet for the return trip. In the course of the four days, we saw just a few notable creatures, including one octopus, one frogfish, one sea horse, and quite a few eels. There were many tube worms. A couple of eagle rays graced us with their presence on one of our dives. We also saw a few squid. In general, there was a strong similarity between all the sites that we visited. Eventually, the diving did seem rather repetitive, and one site seemed much like another. In all cases, there was little topographical diversity. Navigation is very simple - put the reef on one shoulder on the way out, on the other shoulder on the way back. It would be quite easy diving for unguided buddy pairs. Many of the dives are accessible from shore so this is a good way to dive here. Although the reefs were healthy with coral growth, and the diving was very pleasant in warm water and reasonable visibility, four days was probably enough. It is doubtful whether it is worth making the long haul from the West Coast of the US to Curacao just for diving. It would make more sense for divers who live on the east coast. Cozumel is more interesting, in my opinion, from a diving perspective.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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