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Aruba

Aruba Snorkeling Tour Tips

Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Aruba snorkeling tours are popular because the island has so many potential locations to go snorkeling. Some of them are as easy to reach as just walking off the island’s famous beaches and into the water.

Some of the best snorkeling shore excursions offer extras that make their $50 to $100 prices worthwhile. For example, many of them take cruise visitors sailing to their dive spots and include either breakfast, lunch, open bar or unlimited beverages.

They usually last between two and a half and four hours. Prices depend on the amenities and length of time.

Although just about every Caribbean island offers snorkeling tours, Aruba has one snorkeling attraction that stands out among most of them. It’s why Aruba has so many more snorkeling shore excursions than most other islands.

Nearly all of the tours visit the SS Antilla shipwreck. The Antill was a german ship that its crew sank at the beginning of World War II. The wreck sits on the ocean floor about 60 feet down, but its hull and masts stick up out of the sea.

Different Starting Points for Cruises and Hotels

Anyone who plans to take an Aruba snorkeling tour should keep in mind that some of them serve cruise visitors and others serve hotel visitors. The excursions serving cruise visitors usually depart from the Renaissance Marina, which is right next to the cruise terminal.

The ones that serve hotel and resort visitors usually leave from the hotel strip on Palm Beach. Either way, visitors should check the departure point with the operator, cruise line or hotel concierge before booking the tour.

Snorkeling On Your Own

Snorkeling
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Budget-minded visitors can snorkel on their own by entering the water from Aruba’s major beaches. It’s worth noting that snorkelers can’t reach the SS Antilla wreck from a beach.

Snorkeling gear costs about $15 per person. It’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance either in person or via a rental website (if available) in case all of the equipment is rented.

The Aruba Tourism Authority recommends several locations for beach snorkeling.

Arashi Beach is a good choice for beginners and families because of shallow water and sandy bottoms. But there are no snorkel rental vendors nearby. Arashi is seven miles north of the cruise terminal. It’s also north of Palm Beach and near the California Lighthouse.

Boca Catalina at Malmok Beach, which is by Arashi Beach, is both a good choice for beach snorkeling and a popular stop with snorkeling tours. It is known for abundant sea life.

Another popular and nearby option is Catalina Cove. It is “one of Aruba’s best snorkeling beaches featuring beautiful white sands, clear waters and plenty of fish to admire,” Aruba Tourism Authority says. The agency recommends getting there by entering the water at Boca Catalina and swimming north.

These locations are accessible by the public bus system, called Arubus. The main Arubus terminal is right by the cruise docks. Routes go straight up north on L.G. Smith Boulevard and stop at Palm, Malmok and Arashi beaches. The buses run at various times throughout each day, usually ranging between 30 and 60 minutes.

Cruise visitors may want to take a bus or taxi to Palm Beach to rent equipment and then take them again to the options above.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 14, 2021

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