Curaçao, the largest island of the Netherlands Antilles is situated in the Southern Caribbean 60km north of Venezuela (i.e. between latitudes 12°2’80” to 12°23’30″N and longitudes 69°10’00” to 68°44’30″W). The island is 61 km long and 14 km wide at its widest point and measures 443 km2. Due to relatively low rainfall (average 570 mm/year) and high evaporation, the climate of the island is classified as semi-arid. Vegetation consists of drought-resistant cacti and thorn scrub. The population of Curaçao is ~150,000 and mainly centered around the capital city, Willemstad.

The Curaçao Underwater Park was established in 1983, covering 20 km of south-coast reefs, starting at the eastern tip and extending to the west. Some of the best developed reefs are located within the park, which is managed by the Carmabi.

Curaçao’s sister-island Bonaire lies 40km to the East and reef systems around both islands persist at present in a relatively healthy state compared to many other islands in the Caribbean. The islands harbor a multitude of marine ecosystem types, including fringing reefs, deep reefs, mangrove and seagrass areas, inland bays, an off-shore uninhabited island and an exposed north shore. These can all easily be accessed by car as most sites are close to shore and allow for shore-diving. More remote locations (or those lacking logistical infrastructure such as the reefs of the underwater park) can be accessed by boat depending on weather conditions

Curacao (CUR) is connected to the US with direct daily 2.5hr flights from Miami (MIA), to Europe by daily 8.5hr flights to Amsterdam (AMS; Netherlands) and to South America by frequent 1hr flights to Caracas (CAR; Venezuela).

The island lies outside the Atlantic hurricane belt and diving / boating along the island’s south shore is possible every day of the year.

CARMABI is situated outside Willemstad, the historic capital of the island, right next to the Piscaderabay, a large inland bay surrounded by mangroves. The institute directly borders the ocean and coral reefs can be found within swimming distance. Carmabi provides several facilities / services to assist those interested in working on a wide variety of topics related to (reef) ecology/ biology in the Southern Caribbean.

Aereal CARMABI with legends large