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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters West/Kura Hulanda Lodge in

April, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jeremy Ellis, GA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 3987
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman
Islands, Cozemul, Florida Keys, Grenadines, St. Vincent, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
Water Temp
79   to 81    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
All dives were guided, but you could do your own thing.  All dives limited
to 60 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Boat had a small bucket for cameras.  Crew was used to small and large
setups and handled them carefully and professionally.  They always handed
the camera to you and took it when you got back to the ladder.  Only thing
they could have done better was to make sure non photographers didn't dump
their mask in the rinse bucket.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
Lodge Kura Hulanda is located on west end of Curacao (Westpunt).  The
resort is a five star by Caribbean standards with large rooms, balinese
furnishings, TV/DVD, small kitchenette, large patios, separate sitting room
with large couch, chairs and a table with 4 chairs.  The bathrooms have
AVEDA toiletries, bathrobe and an abundance of towels.  There are 3
restaurants and food service at the bar.  There is also room service.  Food
is excellent.  Each room has internet access (albeit slow).  Bring a long
CAT5 cable or a wireless router if you don't want to sit at the desk. 
There is only 1 US plug so bring a strip if you have multiple things to
charge. There is a small gift shop and a small sundries store at the
resort. The sundries store also rents DVDs for $3 and has a large
selection. The resort is about 30-40 minutes from town but there are a few
restaurants near the resort.  We rented a car and made 2-3 trips into town
for shopping, touring the museum and dining.

The negatives are (1) internet is slow and down a lot of the time (2) food
service is slow and (3) they don't patrol people "hoarding" beach
umbrellas so divers miss out on getting a cabana for shade.

Ocean Encounters West is a few steps away from the resort at the end of
Playa Kalki beach.  The staff is first rate - some of the best I have
encountered anywhere.  You have to carry your own equipment back and forth
to the boat and set it up, but other than that they take care of
everything.  There are large rinse buckets, a shower on the dock and plenty
of wetsuit and BCD/Regulator hangers.  There is a lockeroom on the dock so
you can just leave your equipment out to dry and the staff will lock it up
at night.  There is a large, shaded picnic table to work on cameras,
logbooks, etc.  The beach restaurant is 50 feet from the dive shop.  

The diving is top notch.  There is a two tank boat dive each morning and an
afternoon dive as well.  The sites are set each day but there is
flexibility if the boat wants to go somewhere else.  You can also grab
tanks at your leisure and dive the house reef (no solo diving allowed). 
The house reef at Playa Kailki is easily accessible from the beach or the
dock at Ocean Encounters West.  The reef begins a few dozen yards offshore
at 25' with a moderate slope and good diving from 30' down.  It maintains a
heathly coral community with diverse and abundant fish populations and is
ideal for macro photography. Playa Kalki is used for the night dive on

The infamous Mushroom Forest is about 30 minutes away, but Watamula, a
pristine site at the very end of the island is just a few minutes from the
resort and dive operation.  There are about 2 dozen excellent sites many
only 10-15 minutes from the dive shop.  The coral life was amazing with
very large formations, large sea fans and large sponges.  The dive masters
know the sites inside and out and are excellent guides.  They take the time
to point out all sorts of critters.  We saw 2 octopus, 3 turtles, dozens of
spotted drums, 1 frogfish, 1 seahorse, 4-5 different types of morays,
several different shrimp, dozens of lobster, several different crabs,
peacock flouder, etc.  

Lodge Kura Hulanda and Ocean Encounters West offers the best combination of
accomodations and diving on the island. 
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