Snorkeling Around Oranjestad

With several reef systems just off the coast of Oranjestad and several more highly rated tour operators working in town, this is a great destination for those planning to spend some of their vacation time wearing a snorkel, mask, and fins.  

Oranjestad is ideally located for snorkeling.  The west coast of Aruba is known for having the calmer waters, but thanks to the still shallow reefs it is possible to get in some snorkeling right off the beach.   Still, but many people staying in the area choose to hire a guide to take them further off the coast and show them some of the best know sites in the area.  This is also a great idea because much of the area is exposed to open waters which means stronger currents.  So if you're planning on heading to deeper waters, most would recommend against hiring your own boat charter, and instead working with a snorkeling guide who has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the area.  

There is always something incredible to see under the waters of Oranjestad, no matter where it is you choose to spend your time snorkeling.  Both hard and soft coral reefs have grown up off shore in waters that are clear, calm, and warm as well.  Within these systems, a bounty of colorful and exotic looking reef fish live, with names like angelfish, snorkelfish, and parrot fish.  It is also common to see stingrays, eels, sponges, and urchins.  What better way to escape the stresses of every day life than the quiet serenity of the Caribbean Sea?

Snorkeling Sites

If you're ready to experience what's down below you might want to check out Renaissance Island. The main draw to this private island is not the snorkeling opportunities, but it is certainly a perk. The rock barrier can be rough, so avoid it, but the adult beach has some great snorkeling right from the shore. This snorkeling site is found in southern Oranjestad.

De Palm Island is another place you might enjoy. About 100 feet from shore is an interesting coral formation that is home to parrotfish, sergant majors, tangs, and trigger fish. Although it is only about five to 15 feet deep, this snorkeling excursion is only recommended for advanced snorkelers.

A third location to consider is Mangel Halto. Though it may not be the best spot for novice snorkelers, this is still considered to be one of the best spots for the sport surrounding the island. Depending on the weather and water conditions, there are different parts of the site you can snorkel, both inside and outside the reef, but outside the reef is where you'll find the healthiest hard and soft coral, a variety of depths, good visibility, and an abundance of sea life.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Mangel Halto. 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. If you're interested, this site is located within taxi range Southeast of central Oranjestad.

Review the following table for information concerning 5 of the best locations to experience snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Oranjestad
Site Location
Renaissance Island 1.4 mi. South-Southeast of Downtown Oranjestad
Barcadera Reef 3.1 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad
De Palm Island 4.3 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad
Mangel Halto Pos Chiquito, 5.3 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad
Mangel Halto 5.4 mi. Southeast of Central Oranjestad

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the best snorkeling is experienced away from the shore.

If you want to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you should consider 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.

Another option worth investigating is Strea Charters. Allowing no more than 12 guests per charter, this tour guide can promise sailing excursions with a personalized touch. Their typical options include two different snorkel cruises, a dinner cruise, and a sunset cruise. They're located in Oranjestad.

A third good option is The Tranquilo. All trips depart from the Renaissance Marina. Your tour options include the five hour South Side Lunch Cruise which lasts from 10:00 a.m.

A few details regarding day sails and boat trips that provide snorkeling opportunities are displayed in the chart below.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Oranjestad
Name Phone Location
De Palm Tours (297) 522-4400 0.4 mi. North of Downtown Oranjestad
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're looking for a place offering snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you might want to check with SEAruba Fly 'n Dive. All of the charters include snorkeling gear, a snack of meal {depending on the duration of the charter, an open bar and personalized service. They can also celebrate any occasion- like a birthday, an engagement, a honeymoon or more- on a charter! They are found in Oranjestad.

A second place that offers snorkeling related services is Aqua Windies Snorkeling. Snorkeling the reefs of Aruba with this personalized tour, headed by an instructor who really knows the area. Included in the trip is transportation to the south coast, soft drinks, and snacks.

A third option 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 situated in Palm Beach, easily reached by taxi North-Northwest of central Oranjestad.

The chart below provides information with regard to 4 places that provide snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services In And Around Oranjestad
Name Type Phone Location
Aqua Windies Watersports Equipment Shop (297) 583-5669 Eagle Beach, 2.8 mi. Northwest of Central Oranjestad
Aqua Windies Snorkeling Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (297) 583-5669 Eagle Beach, 2.8 mi. Northwest of Central Oranjestad
Aruba Watersports Center Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (297) 586-6613 Palm Beach, 3.9 mi. North-Northwest of Central Oranjestad
SEAruba Fly 'n Dive Snorkeling Tour Operator (297) 588-1150 1.0 mi. Southeast of Downtown Oranjestad

To learn more about snorkeling, including suggestions and helpful tips for both "old pros" and beginners, read this extensive Caribbean snorkeling page.

Promoted by several healthy reef systems and clear waters, snorkeling is one pastime you won't want to overlook when you visit Oranjestad.  


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