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“Didn't get to dive with them but...”

Ocean Encounters Diving
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Curacao Shore Excursion: Snorkel Adventure
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Welcome to Your One Stop Shop to SCUBA dive and SNORKEL Curaçao. Boat dive trips, snorkel boat trips, East and West side diving, we have it all. Ocean Encounters Diving is Curaçao's Premier SSI & PADI Dive Center. ONE LIFE...DIVE IT! Let us take you on a wonderful ADVENTURE on one of our beautiful and well maintained CUSTOM DIVE BOATS. Snorkel, SCUBA dive, swim, sail, with Ocean Encounters. Ocean Encounters has all the quality equipment and supplies you need to help you get the most out of your CURACAO vacation. Visit our WELL-STOCKED Shops. Take a SSI/PADI SCUBA diving course at one of our Dive Schools. We are one of the few dive schools who teach you to use DIVE COMPUTERS during your SCUBA course. Our RENTAL EQUIPMENT is high quality, replaced every 18 months. Come and Dive with us at OCEAN ENCOUNTERS DIVING CURACAO!
Useful Information: Lockers / storage
Reviewed October 22, 2012

They were booked on the day that we enquired so we had to make other plans but I had a dive mask with a broken strap and the lady behind the counter was wonderful. She didn't care that it was only a $5 part. She brought out several straps until she found the one that would work and only charged me $5 for all her work. I also wanted some local change and she went out of her way to find the proper change for my US bills so I could have a little bit of everything I needed for local use. They really know the meaning of customer service! It's behind the Hilton so if you are staying there, I would recommend these folks. If not, you will have to walk a bit of a ways to get to the dive shop on the back of the Hilton property. They have their own pier and we watched them do night diving several nights while staying at the Hilton so that might be an option for you as well.

2  Thank GREG L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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644 - 648 of 867 reviews

Reviewed October 21, 2012

This was the 4th trip for us to Curacao, and we always dive with Ocean Encounters ! First off, I apologize for the long missive about OE, but I wanted to dispel any of the negative reviews you might have read.

To start, making our online reservations went flawlessly, and had quick responses from the dive shop through email, and they thoroughly answered our questions. We booked our multi-day package in advance. We had a group of 5 divers, and we made our reservations separately, and OE fulfilled our request of getting us all on the same itinerary.

Our arrival was late in the afternoon on Saturday, we got to the shop about 4:30 p.m. (they close at 5). OE requires a check out dive (no charge) which is an unguided shore dive. We had planned to do our first boat dive on Sunday, and we still had to check in with the resort, so we were trying to make sure we had all our gear (3 of our divers rented their BC's, regulators, and wetsuits - we had to get it checked out before we could do our check-out dive). OE staff made no complaints about our late in the afternoon arrival. Nora made sure we got all of our gear, weights and a dive flag, Kat and Lysa in the shop made sure we were scheduled for the boat the next day, got us a key to the secured area where the gear is kept, and keys for our lockers. OE provided storage lockers with a lock, ( which is nice that we did not have to bring our own lock ) and they provide drying racks for the wetsuits, all in the secured area behind a metal gate. As we put our gear in the lockers, the shop was closing. Nora told us she was heading over to Hemingway’s ( a restaurant/bar next to the shop) and if we needed anything to come let her know.

We got checked into the resort and came back for our check out dive, which turned out to be a sunset dive. Nora saw us gearing up and came over from Hemingway’s. She made sure we had everything we needed, gave us a dive briefing, and kept watch on us as we headed out. When we came back, she was there again making sure we were OK. She was NOT on the clock, but still had the customer service attitude !

We had several days of two tank boat dives, as well as a night dive ( we had enough people to book a boat !). We also had several evening shore dives, which the tanks were free and they gave us a key to the secured area where the lockers and wetsuits are kept.

As for previous negative reviews by others about bottom time and attitude of DM's, I can tell you that everyone our group was very happy, and I don't think we had one dive all week that was under 56 minutes, and more than once was over an hour, and one which we were told that there was no limit, just come up with air, and stay with your buddy. I won't tell you how long we were down, but I can tell you that we got the last two sandwiches in the basket, and everyone else was DONE eating ! As for attitude of the DM's, we got along great with every DM and every captain. I think you have to be happy to get happy, seriously folks, they said several times "relax, you're on vacation".

On one of our trips out, we saw a large pod of dolphins near Beacon's Point, and they were jumping and playing all around the boat. The captain made several passes, stopped several times so that we all could bask in the warm fuzzy of being so close to such a majestic creature. The pod finally moved on and disappeared. After several minutes of waiting to see if they would come back, we reluctantly headed on to our site. What a show !

On the dives, the DM's were good about having a slower pace, which I like, so we can see the small stuff (Pol was especially good at finding the tiny trunkfish, that looked like tiny black dice with yellow spots), and I am a photographer ( NOT the flailing, touching the reef, holding on to coral to get the perfect shot kind ! ) and I stay at the back of the group, but I never fell too far behind the group even while taking lots of nice shots. Back on the boat, the DM's and captain asked every time if they could change our tanks on the surface interval. I am a fanatic about my gear, so I always like to set up my own stuff and my wife is the same, so we politely declined, but they still offered every time.

The DM's were safety minded on each dive, gave a briefing, and then followed the plan. They monitored divers on their first few dives (not like a mother hen, but aware of reef "no touch etiquette", air consumption, buddy awareness etc) to make sure you are competent, then you are allowed to dive your own profile (within reason) or made an effort to put you in a group with like divers. All of the DM's were mindful of reef protection, and we spent a little time removing a fishing line from around some delicate coral (great job Tamara !).

The DM's were fluent in several languages, and would give a briefing in English, then turn around and do it again in Dutch, then again in Spanish, and then speak to the captain in Papiamento, I have no idea how they do that !

We had a couple of unexpected schedule changes due to a jellyfish sting on one of our night shore dives, and the office made changes to the package schedule with no comment, other than "is she OK ?" They seemed truly more concerned with the person that got stung than with the disruption to the scheduling.

The boats are in great condition, have all the safety gear, have a camera and gear table, and separate freshwater buckets for cameras. There is plenty of storage area under the seats and on the gear table. On the regular two tank trips, there were always orange slices waiting, and they had water and juice available. We were allowed to ride up on the bridge with the captain on the way to and from the sites, and they were like tour guides, giving history about the island and its people. Guess what, Santino wants to come to Colorado for vacation ! He wants to see snow !

One nice touch that I took HUGE notice of, but probably went without a thought to them. At the end of our dive day, as were tied up to the pier and people were off loading, the crew prepared to sling tanks and clean the boat. My children, 7 and 10, are not certified divers, but are interested. We were staying at the nearby resort, and they swam over to the boat when they saw us coming in. After the engines were off, and everyone was off the boat, and the crew started to sling tanks and hose off the deck, the boys wanted to climb up the ladder onto the boat. The crew, without any hesitation, lowered the ladder, and told them to come aboard. Then they showed the boys around the boat, let them climb up on the flybridge, and then talked to them about snorkeling and made a huge deal over the fish that my boys saw ! They made my future divers feel important, and not once did they seem put out by the delay in getting done for the day !

If there as any criticism I have for OE, it was the number of people on the boat. Be prepared for several divers, but it does not have the feel of some operators we have used in the past. OE makes sure that the diver experience is the #1 priority. Several days we had 14-16 people, but the boats are big, we were not crowded, and they divided the group. We did not feel that this was detrimental to our diving experience never felt like we were stepping over people. This being the only downside to OE, and that was trying real hard.

I would HIGHLY recommend OE, and will dive with them again in the future .

I know that it takes a team to make the whole experience, but I would like to give a special thank you to those that gave us personal service that really made the quality difference :
Nora, Katlijn, Lysa, Isabelle (thanks for trying to teach me Dutch), Cliff, Tamara, Adriaan, Pol, Robbie, Santino, Ingrid and Chris

2  Thank groberts5500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012 via mobile

Just got done doing eight dives in four days. These guys are amazing. First a big thank you to Paul, Ingrid, Remco, Allen, Nora, Willem and the crew for an awesome experience. They let you dive your own profile, but stuck to the DM because they always find awesome stuff. As I am in a wheelchair, they helped me in/out of boat and water, and didn't make me feel bad about asking for that help. Thanks again. Mushroom Forest was ok, but the experience of swimming into a cave during interval and the second dive was worth it. Great profile: reef to wall to reef. Don't mistake their leaving you alone for rudeness. They let you do your own thing unless you ask. Refreshing from those overbearing dive shops ego push everything on you.
This place is legit for real divers.

1  Thank tfgnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2012

I really enjoyed my time diving in Curacao. Ocean Encounters is a very professional shop. They do a great job taking care of custers, showing them a good dive experience, and showing divers aquatic live big and small. Nora was a very patient, professional, and fun dive guide. The best!

1  Thank Eric S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 8, 2012

Ocean Encounters is a great group to dive with. The location next to the Lions Dive & Beach resort and the material are perfect and the staff is super.

I did a Experience Dive and it was great to have a patient and trustfull 'teacher' and my girlfriend did 6 great dives from the boat. Thnx for the experience !

Peter & Liesbet

2  Thank PeterVanLitsenborg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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