Snorkeling Around Oranjestad

Photo credit: © ScubaBear

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'd like to experience below the water's surface 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 located in southern Oranjestad.

De Palm Island is another option. 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 site 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 want to experience it for yourself, this site is located within taxi range Southeast of central Oranjestad.

A few key details for 5 of the most popular locations to experience snorkeling in this area are listed in the chart below.

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 most enjoyable snorkeling is located off shore.

If you're ready to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you might want to check with De Palm Tours. They have a number of tours available to those who want to get out on the water, specializing in snorkeling the wreck of the Antilla, Catalina Bay, and Arashi Reef. Their snorkel adventure lasts for three hours and includes a buffet lunch and open bar.

Another option worth investigating is Strea Charters. Sail aboard a classic motor yacht with a captain who knows how to entertain when you choose to sign up for a trip along Aruba's coast with this beloved tour operator. They're found in Oranjestad.

Still another option is The Tranquilo. Known as the best family operated sail and snorkel cruise since 1977, this charter company is run by Captain Anthony after taking over for his father who began the business decades ago.

Check this table to see boat trips and day sails that offer snorkeling opportunities.

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

Aruba Watersports Center Snorkeling

If you looking for a place that offers snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you might want to contact 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 are located in Palm Beach, easily reached by taxi North-Northwest of central Oranjestad.

Another company catering to snorkelers is 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!

A third company worth contacting 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. They're located in Eagle Beach, a short distance away Northwest of central Oranjestad.

Take a look at this table for details on 4 companies 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

For more information about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read our 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.  


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.