Overview of Playa Manzalino

Playa Manzalino

ABC Islands


So, you wanted adventure? Well, this is the place! This begins your tour of three separate beaches: Playa Manzalino, Shon Moso, and Largu (the latter two are the following two sites). Each beach is unique in its personality, and is worth a visit. Take at least two tanks apiece, and plan on spending your morning here. Take lunch and plenty of water!

Directions: Northwest of Willemstad, travel 12.3 km West on Weg Naar Westpunt from the Weg Naar Hato intersection to San Pedro. Turn left to head toward Soto. Travel 5.3 km to reach the intersection shown below.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

04/20/2012 Debby Kaplan (Avg: 3.13 Review) - This was our 3rd time to dive the San Juan area. We were very disappointed. The storms have not been kind to this area. The corals have been blown over and the coral bleaching is everywhere.

10/30/2011 Marie Newberry (Avg: 3.82 Review) - We went to this site in Aug 2011 for the first time even though we have been to Curacao many times. We had 4 divers. We alternated 2 divers and 2 people on the beach to watch the car. It was a great dive site. We drove down to the beach, geared up at the car, and walked in. Not a very far swim out to the reef. Very easy. No current that day. Great diving. Make sure if you go, it has not rained lately, because the road is dirt, and in one place, it has a very steep hill. A 4 wheel drive truck is a plus. There was only one other couple on the beach, and no other divers. Worth the 5 Guilders to get in.

09/09/2010 Aquajon (Avg: 3.80 Review) - Excellent shore dive. We dove this on a Tuesday and had the whole area to ourselves. No other divers, some sun bathers after we finished our dive, the marine life was great, huge amounts of coral. The site is remote but had no problems.

06/14/2010 Mike F (Avg: 3.20 Review) - Very secluded, private, far from the road, some shade trees (avoid the Manchineel trees - they're poisonous !). The dirt road is a bit bumpy but you can drive down in a regular car, going slow. Cost about $3 to get in, paying a guard near the 'landhuis' ruins. Beach is coral rocky & sand, rocky bottom, very calm water, lots of good fish and coral underwater. Only 1 other tourist couple showed up when I was there. Didn't see any other locals and didn't have any reason to fear for my safety.

01/25/2007 John Wood (Avg: 3.00 Review) - WARNING! Armed Robbery on this beach! My wife and I were spending the day at this beach snorkeling and laying in the sun. We were the only ones on this beach. About noon another car pulled up and a single man got out with snorkeling gear. Suddenly another man, that looked to be a local, came out of the bushes, pulled out a gun and held it to the head of the other man. The gunman took the other man's cash, credit cards, and car keys and then ran off to a waiting car and was gone. We took the robbery victim to the local police station. The police old us that this was happening more and more all the time, and the less populated beaches were not safe anymore. For your own safety avoid this beach.

12/16/2006 CBS (Avg: 4.67 Review) - Great site. The drive in was very nice, and the secluded beach (without facilities) had very beautiful scenery. The water was calm with easy entry and approx 50 meter kick out. The reef is in great condition with a good combo of hard and soft coral in interesting formations. We saw an eagle ray, large schools of small fish being stalked by barracuda, and a large number of spotted eels. This is one of my favorite sites, up there with Watamula.

12/21/2003 Allan Myers (Avg: 4.31 Review) - Feb 2002. The drive/road down to Playa Manzanilla (Mansalina) was good for a dirt road. A bit of a steep hill just past the Landhuis gate where you may have to pay 5 guilder to pass. Saw several parrots flying along the road on each of my visits to the three dive sites on this stretch of the coast. The beach was very secluded and nice place to hang out if you don't mind not having any facilities available. Entry was easy followed by a short kick out to the reef (about 50ft). The current was never very strong, but it did vary in direction on each dive. The reef is awesome in either direction and is pretty much the same reef continued from the Playa Shon Mosa dive site. Lots of coral with lots of hiding spots for morays large and small!

08/07/2003 RobnKim (Avg: 4.70 Review) - After the turnoff to 'San Juan' - you will come across a fork in the road fairly soon. This fork to the right goes to someones house so keep going straight to head towards the Landhuis. As you head through the gate get your 5 Nfl ready (about $3). The people are very nice and try to speak English and help guide you to the dive sites. There were a few groups of Dutch campers. We found a shade tree to park under to suit up. As already mentioned, look out for the trees, and also the mesquite thorns littering the area that go right through your dive booties. Once out in the water, as you're paddling out to the dive site, if you turn around you can see both Manzalino and Playa Shon Moso. They are different beaches, but basically you are diving the same reef.. Outstanding dive. First time I've seen a turtle in Curacao.

11/25/2001 Jerry Litzza (Avg: 4.07 Review) - We did three dives here and had a beach party. The six of us had a private beach. Road is a bit rough and the squeeze thru the gate was tight for the truck. Nice reef. Saw big octopus, Green morays, and turtles. Watch out for the Manzanilla Trees, they will cause your skin to sting and blister if you touch them when wet.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0801


Entrance at Playa Manzalino 

Turn when you run across this rather obscure sign. Use your GPS to remove all doubt.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0802


Entrance at Playa Manzalino 

Eventually you'll come across Landhuis San Juan. If there is a guard there, you'll be asked for 5 guilders. Then proceed to the right of the Landhuis where you'll find a one lane gate to begin your journey. We have made this trip several times in a small car with only a few tentative moments. The roads are usually well groomed, but if you prefer absolute security, get a 4-wheel drive for the day!


 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0803


Entrance at Playa Manzalino 

After awhile, you'll come to a large Y in the road. Take the right fork for Manzalino, and the left fork for Shon Moso and Largu.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0804


Parking at Playa Manzalino 

You can park close to water's edge.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0805


Left Entry at Playa Manzalino 

Choose your own private shade tree!

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: CU0806


Right Entry at Playa Manzalino 

Enter anywhere along the beach. You can see the dive buoy to the right




Aerial at Playa Manzalino 
(click photo for details)

Either direction is wonderful. Let the current be your guide (swimming into it, of course!).

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Playa Manzalino  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.33
Bottom Conditions:  3.89
Reef Conditions:  4.00
Animal Life:  4.00
Plant Life:  4.00
Facilities:  2.22
Solitude 4.22
Roads:  3.00
*Site Average:  3.86

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.56
Beginner Scuba:  3.89
Intermediate Scuba:  4.22
Advanced Scuba:  3.89
Night diving Scuba:  3.33

Number of reviews for this site: 9


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