I found the location a cross between Miami beach and affluent Caribbean as Curacao is a relatively well-to-do island thanks to the Dutch influence and a refinery once owned by Shell. It is not your typical tucked away island retreat.
Lions Dive is a generally pleasant resort with friendly people. We had a "run of the house room" which I advise against. Though similar in setup to other rooms, it seemed to be tucked into available space and the outside terrace offered little to write home about. In fact, the air conditioning unit blew hot air onto you as you sat outside. Ugh! The rooms with pool and ocean views were much nicer and worth the extra money.
The food, put simply, was terrible. I highly recommend walking across the way to Augustos which is at the Sea Aquarium. You can see it easily from Hemingway's, one of the main restaurants at Lions Dive. I would also recommend going out of the resort. Recommended as well is the Indian restaurant in the Boulevard mall, just down the beach.
A surprise to us was becoming Holland soccer fans as we went during the World Cup. What a great experience!
Now, about diving with Ocean Encounters, the diver operator on site.
Dive operator and dive masters were very friendly and generally accommodating. However, on the whole, with only one exception, they lacked enthusiasm. Some dive masters just hung out 5-10 feet above the divers pointing out little. The operation was well run however and our dives were without problem. I will point out, unlike other dive operators, divers had to schlep all their equipment each day, back and forth between one's dive locker and the boat. I would have preferred that once the equipment was set up on the boat, the dive operator would wash it down and set it up for the next day's dives. Most other dive operations I've been with do this as SOP. As I was moving my weights, BCD, octopus, fins, mask and snorkel, this required three trips back and forth to the lockers. I would recommend that Ocean Encounters reconsider this arrangement.
Another factor was the surface swells. I would classify most entries as rough entries and difficult for beginners. Exits were also difficult for beginners as you would need to grab onto the unanchored floating line with a life preserver ring at its end, and as you approached the boat, remove your fins holding on to this line. The water was too rough to hold the boat's ladder and remove fins. Then once your fins were handed off to the waiting dive master, you needed to pull yourself on the line the rest of the way to the ladder, time the swells, grab the ladder whose first rung was slippery as it was round, not flat and without friction tape, and climb the ladder onto the boat. Not necessary difficult for experienced divers, but tricky for beginners. Beginners will learn fast what to do and not do.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Room number includes thirty apartments within the resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao Hotel Willemstad
- Lions Dive And Beach Resort Curacao
- Lions Dive Beach Hotel Curacao
- Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao Willemstad