Aruba snorkeling offers year round views of tropical fish, such as angelfish, parrotfish and damselfish, as well as bountiful coral reefs teeming with color and small creatures.
Best snorkeling in Aruba
There are many great spots for Aruba snorkeling throughout the country, and each offers its own unique view into underwater life.
Mangel Halto is by far the best snorkeling site in Aruba for experienced snorkelers. You can enter the water at three spots, but the dock with a ladder at the corner of the bay is the best option due to the sandy bottom. There will be two cuts in the reef and to get outside of these cuts where the best snorkeling is, you will need to swim out against the current, or start down the coast to the left and cut back in with the stronger currents. The slight difficulty getting there is well worth the reward though. There is a large reef of vibrant, healthy soft and hard corals, and a variety of tropical fish. The great water visibility will offer sights of magnificent sea creatures, such as blenny, chromis, filefish, hogfish, lizardfish, and parrotfish.
Mangel Halto is a fantastic snorkeling destination, but it is not for beginners. If you are looking for an easier snorkel, try Catalina Cove. This cove can be accessed from the shore or by boat and offers views of tropical fish, such as angelfish, butterfly fish, goatfish, grunt and many others Swim out to the right and around the rocky point, being sure to avoid the rocky shallows. There are also sponges, colorful coral and some small rock formations to explore. The entrance is rocky, so wear good footwear and use caution when navigating it.
Arashi Beach is another highly recommended spot for Aruba snorkeling, but you need to know exactly where to go. Enter the water to the far right of the beach. You will then need to locate a white buoy that is close to where the water turns from dark to turquoise. The beautiful, healthy corals, such as blue crust, elkhorn and star corals, are inshore of that buoy and you will need to swim out to it. Keep an eye out for boat traffic and shifting winds at this site though, or you may be pushed into the corals and damage them or hurt yourself!
If you are looking for a good shipwreck to explore, consider Antilla Wreck located near the north end of the country. This 400-foot wreck is visible enough from the surface that snorkelers can catch beautiful views of the sunken WWII ship. Sights of the masts, bow and a portion of the top deck are available from the surface and there are even fish swimming around it. Note that you will need to book a boat to reach the wreck, as swimming there is too dangerous.
Aruba Snorkeling Safety Tips
While Aruba snorkeling offers views of a variety of marine life, there are some notes of caution to keep in mind. Most Aruba snorkeling is exposed to the open ocean and is subject to strong currents. These currents can be deadly, so make sure you evaluate the current carefully before snorkeling. It is also windy along the coasts, which mean larger waves and increased danger. Check wind direction and speeds before heading out into the open water as well.
How to Get to Aruba
Many U.S. cities offer direct flights to Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba. There are also many flights offered to the international airport in Aruba from Europe as well. Once in the country, you can rent a car from many major car rental companies. Busses are also widely utilized throughout the country, and they stop at all of the major beaches.
Best Time to Visit Aruba
Aruba is a great place to snorkel year round due to its consistent weather. Air and water temperatures hover around +27C (81F) and +29C (84F), respectively. If you’re looking for optimal weather, though, try visiting Aruba in March or April when it is slightly less rainy and windy. Aruba doesn’t get many hurricanes due to its location, but may see tropical storms from September through December. Consider purchasing trip insurance if you travel during the late fall to early winter.
Aruba is a great snorkeling destination with fantastic snorkeling for advanced snorkelers. Views of many types of coral and tropical fish make this a great destination. Be sure to keep safety in mind at all times though!