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.