This site is considered to be one of the most famous dive sites on Curacao. It is called the Mushroom Forest because of the large number of mountainous star coral growing vertically on a sandy plateau that resemble a “Forest of Mushrooms”. The mushroom shapes have occurred because the coral heads have become bio-eroded at their base causing narrow columns to be created by clams and sponges. So, over time hard coral formations have grown in such a way that they resemble mushrooms, hence the name.
Underneath each one of these coral formations there's an abundance of marine life waiting to be looked at, admired, and photographed.The end results - the mushrooms make great hiding places for tiny sea reef creatures.
To gain access to the site, look for the sign on the main road, follow the dirt road to the plantation house, and sound your automobile horn. Someone will come out to collect payment of your entrance fee. A four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended, especially during rainy season.
These sites are for the adventurous, as they are well “off the beaten path”. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. There are no facilities. Entering the water is difficult, due to the high cliffs, so contacting one of the local dive operators for a boat dive is an option.
The Mushroom Forest can be disorienting and throw you off, so a compass can come in very handy. High cliffs that rise out of the water protected area, make it an ideal spot for intermediate divers who are not yet experienced enough to handle really rough currents, as well as beginners who are gaining more experience.
Along the cliff side is a large cave, where you will often spot schools of fingerlings, and from time-to-time a nurse shark can be found sleeping under the ledge.
Visibility averages 26m (85 ft), wave action is calm and sometimes the current can be strong; the depth is from 12m (40 ft) to 18m (60 ft). Numerous species of fish and coral can be observed here; flower corals, giant brain corals, anemones, sea turtles, porcupine fish, smooth trunk fish, yellow tail snappers, parrot fish, groupers, spotted drums, spotted moray eels, green moray eels, lobsters, and conchs.
Take a moment to stop and snorkel inside the cavern called The Cave (known as The Blue Room) yet another very popular dive site on Curacao. This is the perfect place for off-gassing between dives or a snorkel trip. Located next to Mushroom Forest, the Blue Room is easily explored by snorkeling through a narrow opening revealing a large air filled chamber lit up by the sun reflecting off the white sandy plateau in front of the opening… creating a brilliant glow of ambient light in vivid blue. Inside the “room” you’ll discover schooling glassy eyed sweepers, lobsters and hoards of silversides – and you will even get buzzed by fruit bats!
You can access the site by boat any month of the year and depths reach 25 meters.
The area of San Nicolas offers a number of excellent sites, several days could easily be spent in this area just diving and exploring.