Snorkeling Around Aruba

Photo Credit: © Jason Saul CC BY
 

When it comes to snorkeling, Aruba is known for only offering a handful of great sites to choose from.  While some may consider this to be a negative, those in the know agree that the smaller number of snorkeling sites gives visitors a chance to focus their attentions more closely to what exists and really make the most of the time they have to dedicate to the sport.  

Maps

There are a few things to be aware of as you plan a snorkeling adventure in Aruba.  These namely center around safety.  Aruba is a very windy island, which can affect currents and make snorkeling dangerous at times.  There have even been a few deaths in recent years, which are completely preventable if you take the weather into consideration and only snorkel in areas considered to be safe when conditions are favorable.  Avoid the east coast all together.  

To get started snorkeling in Aruba's blue waters, grab a friend and ask your resort - many lend or rent snorkels and fins to their guests. Even if you're not staying in a resort, getting ready to go snorkeling in Aruba can be easy at nearby shops.
Wear sunblock and a Lycra® dive skin or long-sleeved shirt for the best protection; you'll be near the surface of the water and the sun will be overhead! Many vacationers don't realize that they can get severe sunburn because the water has a cooling effect, but it also magnifies the intensity of the sun's rays. The long sleeves and dive suit will also help to protect you from accidental scrapes on underwater rocks.

It's easiest to stay safe by swimming with your arms at your sides. To get closer to something, just hold your breath and kick. You'll have to surface and clear out your snorkel tube before you can continue. Aruba's snorkelers should keep in mind that waves are sometimes choppy in certain locations, but calm, shallow snorkeling is available near Malmok Beach and Boca Catalina.

Renting snorkel equipment may be free at resorts or can run up to approximately $20(USD). Snorkel trips range from $20-$35(USD) for a half day, and Aruba snorkeling cruises may be available with drinks and snacks included.

Snorkeling Sites

If you're ready to experience what's down below you might enjoy visiting Malmok Beach. This is a favorite spot for snorkeling both by tour guides and those who are going it alone. Early in the morning is the best time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, and you'll find the best snorkeling to be done along the rocky part of the shoreline. This snorkeling site is located in the northwestern part of Aruba.

Mangel Halto is another place you might enjoy. Known as one of the best spots on Aruba, this site is home to a diverse coral reef system within several semi-protected bays. The conditions can be rough, so this adventure is only recommended for very experienced snorkelers.

A third location to consider is Baby Beach. Suitable for advanced divers, the reef here can be used for snorkeling if conditions are right and you know what you're doing. It is highly recommended that you consult with a local snorkeling guide before attempting it.

A fourth place to go snorkeling is Baby Beach. Some parts of this location are more suited towards divers, and experienced ones at that. However, snorkeling is possible, and If you're hoping to get in some snorkeling here, it is highly recommended that you speak with a local snorkeling guide because conditions can be rough. If you want to check it out, this site is found in the southeastern part of Aruba.

Boca Grandi Beach is a fifth option to consider. This private beach is great for both snorkeling and diving, but the conditions have to be right. Still, if your idea of a great day of snorkeling includes avoiding the crowds, this is where you should go.

Details concerning 15 of the most popular places where you can go snorkeling in this area are listed in the table below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Aruba
Site Location Island
Malmok Beach 0.8 mi. West of Central Tierra Del Sol Aruba
Mangel Halto 3.6 mi. West-Northwest of Central Lagoville Aruba
Baby Beach 3.4 mi. Southeast of Central Lagoville Aruba
Baby Beach 3.4 mi. Southeast of Central Lagoville Aruba
Boca Grandi Beach 2.9 mi. East of Central Lagoville Aruba
Arashi Beach 1.5 mi. Northwest of Central Tierra Del Sol Aruba
Baby Beach 3.4 mi. Southeast of Central Lagoville
Boca Catalina 0.8 mi. West of Central Tierra Del Sol Aruba
De Palm Island 4.3 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad Aruba
Mangel Halto 3.7 mi. West-Northwest of Central Lagoville Aruba
Renaissance Island 1.4 mi. South-Southeast of Downtown Oranjestad Aruba
Saventa Beach 0.9 mi. South West of Central Lagoville Aruba
Antilla 1.1 mi. West of Central Tierra Del Sol Aruba
Barcadera Reef 3.1 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad Aruba
Rodgers Beach 3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Lagoville

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the most enjoyable snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're hoping to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you might want to check with Red Sail Sports. The shop offers a wide range of activities both on land and in the ocean, such as snorkeling, diving, and boating to horseback riding. Their most popular offerings are the snorkeling sails, of which there are several different excursions.

Another option to consider is Black Pearl Sailing. Sail around the lagoon, sunbathe, do a little snorkeling, and simply relax when you sign up for one of two daily small group trips. Their romantic sunset sail includes cocktails and their famous grilled cheese sandwiches -- the perfect way to enjoy a spectacular light show on the water. They're found within the vicinity of Palm Beach, in northwestern Aruba.

A third option is De Palm Tours. High energy, but low impact, this tour operator allows you to see the island in a new light whether you sail with them about their 70 foot catamaran Palm Pleasure or you engage in a scenic tour on land.

View the following chart to learn more about day sails and boat trips that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On Aruba
Name Phone Location
Black Pearl Sailing (297) 593-1554 1.3 mi. Northwest of Central Noord
De Palm Tours (297) 522-4400 0.4 mi. North of Downtown Oranjestad
Jolly Pirates (297) 586-8107 4.3 mi. North of Central Oranjestad
Pelican Adventures (297) 587-2302 1.2 mi. Northwest of Central Noord
Red Sail Sports (297) 586-1603 3.9 mi. North-Northwest of Central Oranjestad
Snorkeling Aruba (297) 592-6373 0.8 mi. West-Northwest of Central Noord
Strea Charters (297) 600-2503 0.8 mi. Southeast of Downtown Oranjestad
The Tranquilo (297) 594-2173 Downtown Oranjestad
Wave Dancer (297) 582-5520 0.4 mi. North of Downtown Oranjestad

Snorkeling Services

If you looking for a place offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to check with Blue Melody Snorkeling Rentals. Offering small group trips, this operator treats its guests to snacks and drinks while they sail to the snorkeling spot. There, they will anchor the boat and turn off the engine so you can enjoy peace and quite as you snorkel and swim in the lagoon of Catalina Bay. They are located in Eagle Beach, in the northwestern part of Aruba.

A second company worth knowing about is Red Sail Sports Shop. You can rent a snorkeling vest, mask and snorkel, and fins on a daily basis. They have a wide selection of equipment so it should be no problem to get the right fit and brand that you prefer. If a guided tour is ideal for you, they offer a Luncheon Snorkel Sail on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:15 a.m.

A third place to consider is Aruba Watersports Center Snorkeling. This fun filling trip will have everyone smiling as the boat sails to stunning snorkel sites all around the island of Aruba. Depending on the day, the captain will sail to either Boca Catalina Bay or Malmok reef and the famous Antilla shipwreck site. They're located in Palm Beach, in the northwestern part of Aruba.

Information regarding 7 firms that offer services related to snorkeling are summarized in the following table.

Snorkeling Services On Aruba
Name Type Phone Location
Aqua Windies Watersports Equipment Shop (297) 583-5669 2.8 mi. Northwest of Central Oranjestad
Aqua Windies Snorkeling Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (297) 583-5669 2.8 mi. Northwest of Central Oranjestad
Aruba Bob Snorkeling Tour Operator (297) 745-7459 1.9 mi. West of Central Lagoville
Aruba Watersports Center Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (297) 586-6613 Palm Beach, Northwestern part of Aruba
Blue Melody Snorkeling Rentals Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (297) 593-1554 1.3 mi. Northwest of Central Noord
Red Sail Sports Shop Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (297) 586-1603 1.1 mi. West-Northwest of Central Noord
SEAruba Fly 'n Dive Snorkeling Tour Operator (297) 588-1150 1.0 mi. Southeast of Downtown Oranjestad

For more information concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for both "old pros" and beginners, check out our detailed guide to snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Snorkeling is peaceful, educational, and fun, allowing visitors to dip their heads below the surface of the sea and explore the wonders that lie beneath.  In addition to all of this, it is also inexpensive.  All of these reasons and more are why you should consider making snorkeling a big part of your trip to Aruba. 

 

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