While renown for its picture-perfect beaches and idyllic climate, Aruba snorkeling is also among the island’s top attractions and among the best to be found in the Caribbean region, with ample opportunities for beginners as well as seasoned veterans.
Aruba has an abundance of fine fringing reefs along most of its western coast. These may be easily accessed in some cases from shore, and in other cases by a short boat ride.
The best calm, shallow snorkeling sites on Aruba with easy beach access are located along a stretch of the extreme northwestern end of the island. Here, a series of beautiful beaches including Arashi beach, Boca Catalina and Malmok Beach offer visitors a snorkeling paradise.
You can easily get directly to Arashi beach by a $2 local bus ride from the main hotel area of Oranjestad, which run hourly throughout the day. Water clarity is usually excellent here except on very windy days.
The shallow reefs in this area support an abundance and diversity of reef fishes, as well as the occasional sea turtles, octopi, crabs and spiny lobster. Depth ranges from about 2-15 feet over the reef, so there is no real need to even leave the surface to see plenty of marine life.
For advanced snorkelers who want to head out from the beach, Mangel Halto Reef (aka Spanish Lagoon) located along the west coast to the south of Oranjestad offers more challenging Aruba snorkeling opportunities.
Here, seasoned snorkelers can quickly reach 60-70 depths along the offshore reefs, which are beautiful and home to an abundance of coral reef life. Currents here can be strong and getting to and from the reef can be quite a workout, so this is no place for beginners or weak swimmers.
Of course, these areas (and many other great snorkeling sites) can also be accessed by any of the local tour boats operating out of Oranjestad.
Visitors should be aware that Aruba has very strict environmental laws, and strives to protect its marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Activities harmful to coral reefs or marine life are strictly prohibited, and violators can face strict penalties. Make an effort to learn what you can and cannot do when snorkeling Aruba.
Aruba is one of the three (along with Bonaire and Curacao) southern Caribbean sovereign island nations within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The island is located on the continental shelf of South America, about 20 miles north of the Venezuelan coast. Easy airline access makes Aruba vacation travel about as easy as it gets from just about anywhere.
Countries offering direct nonstop flights to and from Aruba include the USA, Canada, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and neighboring islands and South American nations.
A variety of accommodations, including hotels, apartments, condos, villas, and private properties are available in all price ranges. The island has a vibrant night life, with restaurants to fit any budget, bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
Passports and return tickets are required for entry. Aruba’s official tourism website provides detailed information on all aspects of Aruba travel to assist you in planning your Aruba snorkeling holiday.
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