While not quite as famous in diving circles as its neighbor, Bonaire, Aruba has a lot to offer divers & snorkelers. When our
Windjammer cruise to Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao was cancelled, they put us up in Aruba for a week. Our initial disappointment
changed to delight when we checked out the island - both top side & underwater.
Aruba's dive sites are comfortable & short boat rides from the capital, Oranjestad or the tourist areas. This Aruba Guide site
is a great guide for planning an Aruba vacation, covering traveler's basics, how to get there, how to get around once you're there, where to stay, and what else to see and do.
Our dive operator offered us a multi-dive package including hotel pick-up, a compact, clean boat & an experienced, knowledgeable, fun
- if slightly critical - crew. The boat's capacity was 16 divers with 2 divemasters. The dives were cut off at 45 minutes, regardless of how much air we had left, due to
their tight schedule: they picked us up at 8 AM, did 2 AM dives & 1 PM dive, but returned to the dock after the AM dives to drop off & pick up new divers & tanks.
Check out the videos to get a sense of what's down there. Once you do, I think you'll agree that Aruba is a great diving destination.
The reefs were beautiful with abundant hard & soft corals, sponges & sea fans. Most of the reef diving was off the islands east & south of the capital; the sites basically form
one long, continuous reef. The coral is dense & healthy below about 20 ft. Shallower, due to heavy damage by
a freak storm in 1999, the coral islands become more sparse & eventually mostly sand or broken coral. In the coral gardens, there are lots of fish & a few small wrecks (including aircraft).
Many of the reef dives are drift dives, & with the coral gently sloping off to the depths, you can
dive any depth you want (or more likely, any depth your dive outfit will allow you to go to).
Aruba Reef Dives (2 min/ 8 MB)
The wrecks were very diverse: from the shallow, broken up Pedernales (at 20ft/ 6m almost snorkelable) with tons of fish, eels & the largest puffer fish I've ever seen, to the 90ft/30m deep, 250 ft long intact
Jane C, a more challenging dive due to the depth & current - take a dive light to see the coral colors at that depth.
The wreck of the Pedernales (1'50" 6.5 MB)
The wreck of the Jane C (1'26" 5 MB)
The massive 400 ft Antilla, the largest wreck in the
Caribbean sticks out of the water & drops to 60ft/20m making it great for snorkelers, too. However, we did only a limited penetration of the Antilla evn though the interior was navigable.
If you're into wreck diving, I recommend asking the dive outfit before booking about taking you inside.
The wreck of the Antilla (1'45" 6 MB)
Hollywood at Home!
Great Video Tips