Aruba is home to the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, with 6 fantastic destinations that are easily accessible and exceptionally beautiful. If you’re a fan of the liberating feeling you get when exploring the underwater world with your mask and fins, then it’s time to explore Aruba’s incredible snorkeling opportunities. Our excellent weather, crystal-clear waters and fantastic sea life make Aruba one of the best islands to go snorkeling on in the entire Caribbean region, and this post highlights 6 snorkeling spots you should definitely visit during your next trip to the One Happy Island. There’s a snorkeling video at the end of this post and a fish ID guide you can download to help figure out what you see on your next snorkeling foray. Let’s dive in….
1. Arashi Beach
Snorkeling in Aruba doesn’t get much better than this! Located on the northern coast of the island – Arashi beach is the perfect snorkeling beach for beginners due its shallow water and sandy bottoms. There are no snorkel rental vendors nearby, so do bring your own gear. The fish at Arashi Beach are small and colorful, with a few larger ones in between.You’ll see a lot of palometas roaming near the shores, as well as cute bottom feeders.
Arashi beach is easily accessible by public transport and it has a very large parking area. Shades are provided by makeshift huts, but make sure to get there early in the morning, especially on Sunday, when it is a favorite beach for locals as well. On windy days, you can even catch a few waves here with your body board! When you are hungry make sure to step by the Faro Blanco restaurant at the newly restored California Lighthouse.
2. Boca Catalina
Another excellent Caribbean snorkeling experience can be had at Boca Catalina, which is a popular stop for snorkeling tours because of the variety of sea life located here, including palometas swimming near the shores, trunkfish and sergeant majors. When you venture a bit deeper into the sea you will see some big colorful fishes and corals, and don’t be surprised if you spot a turtle at Boca Catalina swimming in front of you. Boca Catalina in Aruba is a small, secluded bay in the Malmok Beach area. The white sandy beach is accessible by steps and ample parking space is available alongside the main road.
3. Catalina Cove
Not far from Boca Catalina you’ll find Catalina Cove, one of Aruba’s best snorkeling beaches featuring beautiful white sands, clear waters and plenty of fish to admire. The best way to get there is by entering the water at Boca Catalina and then to swim up north. Popular fishes at Catalina Cove are blue tangs, bar jacks and barred hamlets. The fishes at Catalina Cove are known for hiding near rocks so you’ll need to swim along the edge of the coves to see these beautiful creatures.
4. Tres Trapi
Source picture: http://nouw.com/matildadjerf/tres-trapi-24483681
Next to Catalina Cove is a popular snorkeling spot known as Tres Trapi, which is one of the most unique snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. It’s called Tres Trapi, “3 Steps”, because of the rock made stairway to the water. While there aren’t many fish here compared to the other snorkeling beaches on this list, there are a lot of colorful sea stars found all throughout Tres Trapi. These beautiful creations make Tres Trapi a unique and attractive snorkeling spot.
5. Malmok Beach
Not far from the last hotel near the high rise area is a long stretch of beach called Malmok, which offers some of the best snorkeling in Aruba. Malmok features numerous coves and plenty of fish – perfect for snorkeling! Around Malmok beach you’ll find fish like sergeant majors, bluehead wrasse’s, banded butterfly fish, trunkfish and french angel fish to name a few. Be careful when entering the water, due to a lot of sharp rocks near the shores. Malmok beach also has a lot of sea urchins, so be sure to watch your step if you plan to stand in the water without fins.
6. Mangel Halto
Mangel Halto is located near the city of Savaneta, the oldest town of Aruba and the former capital as well. It’s not one of Aruba’s most well-known snorkeling beaches, but it’s one of the most beautiful places on our island, and entirely worth visiting. It is a perfect sunning and snorkeling spot in Aruba, with calm, shallow waters and rich sea life supported by an ecosystem of mangroves. Sharp rocks at the sea shore can make entering this beach a little difficult, but as soon as you pass the rocky area, you’re bound to discover a beautiful, incredible, underwater world. You’ll see parrot fishes, squid, butterfly fish, yellowtail snappers, sergeant majors, blue tangs, sand divers and even stingrays, deep water gorgonians, sponges and anemones if you go into the deep blue. The reef plunges to depths of 110’ where octopi, morays and barracuda abound. Just be sure to watch out for strong currents at Mangel Halto, as this one of Aruba’s beaches that the sea can get rough!
Think twice about snorkeling at Mangel Halto if you’re not a good swimmer, but if you are, then make sure that you’ve got this spot on your list of the top destinations, because it’s a beauty!
Snorkeling in Aruba Video
Watch a short video of the fish that can be found alongside the sea shores of Aruba.
Which snorkeling spot on this list are you going to visit on your next trip to Aruba?