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Snorkelling




                      Aruba is surrounded by the beautiful, warm Caribbean Sea – and has a fringing coral reef.
                        The wonderful beaches make it easy to get into the ocean and the reef is close to shore
                         Aruba is famous for its clear water, coral reef, wrecks and rich diversity of marine life.
                   This delightful, tropical island is recognised as one of the best places in the world to snorkel


      


Aruba is a small island in the southern Caribbean blessed with perfect weather, warm clear water and some wonderful snorkelling opportunities. Aruba is surrounded by the warm, clear Caribbean Sea and ocean conditions are perfect for snorkelling. For almost the entire length of the south-west coast there are few, if any, currents. You will not "drift" – up and down the coast or out to sea !  The reef, with magnificent sponges and coral formations, has benefited from strict protection measures for some years. Aruba is working hard to conserve the ecological health of its many reefs. Aruba has a huge diversity of marine creatures, including hundreds of species of colourful tropical fish. Shipwrecks, coral formations, fish and other marine life can be seen in crystal clear, shallow water giving you a view of the underwater world you will not see in other places around the world. With such easy ocean conditions and a huge amount to see, the ocean around Aruba is perfect for snorkelling. In fact everyone can enjoy the ocean.


The reef and several wrecks provide a variety of habitats for a very diverse marine life, hundreds of species, far too many to list, but some of the regulars you are likely to encounter:  manta rays, the rare green moray, stingrays, eagle rays, octopuses, squid, sea horses, spiny lobsters, jacks, parrotfish, French angelfish, banded coral shrimp, nudibranchs, flamingo-tongue shells, frogfish, groupers, grunts, silversides, trumpet fish, Creole wrasse, sergeant majors, blue tang, spider crabs, snapper, and yellow goatfish. You will see lots of turtles, schools of yellowtails, amberjack, barracuda and rainbow runners and the occasional reef and nurse sharks. You'll see hard and soft corals, sponges of all shapes, sizes and colours. Enormous clusters of deep water gorgonians, sea whips and sea fans. Wonderful giant formations of elkhorn coral, giant boulder brain corals, fire coral, rare black coral, star coral, pillar coral, flower coral , finger-leaf coral and sheet coral.  lobed Star corals. Gardens of brightly coloured sponges - yellow, purple, orange, red bright blue and green - Elephant ear sponges, tube sponges, vase, basket sponges, giant tube and barrel sponges.


The Reef

Aruba's reef can be reached from the many large beaches on the island. The reef varies in distance from the shore, between 25 to 50 metres. A sandy "shelf" – the ocean floor – slopes gently out to the reef – in very shallow water, around 10 to 15 metres deep. This shelf is an amazing environment, warm clear water and little, if any, current. You simply drift over this section of the sea bed and marvel at the marine life spread out beneath you. The sea bed is dotted with coral outcrops, fans and sponges – and teeming with fish and marine creatures. The shallow depth of the reef and clarity of the ocean will give you a view of the underwater world you will not see in many other places in the world. Photographers love the macro life on Aruba  -  the sunshine provides excellent light in the clear shallow water. There are many photographic specialists – who also run courses – on the island. Cameras are available for hire.


It is possible to snorkel off many of the huge beaches on Aruba. But if you want to get a little closer to the reef and some of the wrecks, hopping on a dive boat - for a nominal fee - is the easiest way to get to see Aruba's wonderful underwater world. Aruba has 42 recognised dive sites and the reef and wrecks are not far from shore, not an "epic" voyage, most boat journeys take between 10 and 30 minutes. These sites are internationally recognised as premium sites – with interesting features and creatures - which receive awards and recommendations from dive magazines around the world - voted for by divers. Aruba is known for the quantity and quality of its wrecks and is called the "wreck diving capital of the Caribbean". There are numerous wrecks, boats and planes, from 8 to 30 metres deep in calm, clear water.
With visibility of up to 40 metres you will get a good view of many of the wrecks.

There are site maps available – you will find ours on the diving pages - the link is on the banner above. It is best to pick your spots – conditions, marine life, accessibility to sites will obviously vary.  There is a dive operator very close to your accommodation. Boats leave three times a day - you have plenty of choice should you wish to join a boat trip. Dive operators welcome snorkellers to join the boat for a small fee - around $10 - $15.
Aruba is particularly good for families who enjoy the ocean. The relaxed and safe atmosphere enables you to enjoy the perfect weather in peace. The reef is close to shore. If you are snorkelling (or diving) you are not away for long - never far from shore.  Aruba's fantastic beaches have lots of activities and amenities on them for the whole family to enjoy.  Check the dive sites on the diving pages to see the many dive sites on the island – and those recommended for snorkellers.


The Ocean

The ocean around Aruba, like the other ABC islands, Bonaire and Curacao, is wonderfully clear and warm - perfect for water sports, scuba diving and snorkelling. The visibility is between 25 and 40 metres. This can vary, when you are close to any of Aruba's large, sandy beaches. Water temperature is around 28ēc (82ēf). We realised, long ago, that a quick dip in the sea will not "cool you down" - the water is much the same temperature as the air temperature !  Conditions are very easy for everyone wishing to enjoy the wonderful Caribbean Sea. For almost the entire length of the south-west coast there are little or no currents – and most diving is along this sheltered coast. Most accommodation is located along this coast too. Currents are stronger towards the tips of the island, be aware and if necessary take advise about the specific conditions on the day.

The fantastic visibility, lack of serious currents on the sheltered coast and variety of things to see in shallow water, make Aruba one of the best places to dive or snorkel in the world.


We work closely with the hotel, dive centres and vehicle hire companies on the island.  As an ATOL bonded tour operator we can organise the whole itinerary - flights – accommodation, excursions, courses, boat trips etc.  If you want to take some boat trips, special courses or excursions, you should book in advance. These are done in small groups and can get booked up. Our holiday itineraries can include a hire vehicle, which is useful for exploring the island and all the snorkelling sites along the coast. Booking your on-island services with us is a little cheaper and we can include that into your ATOL protected holiday itinerary.