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SimplyMarvie

Best Snorkeling Tour in Aruba?

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Looking for a snorkeling tour for our family (kids aged 7, 11 and 14) for our cruise this winter. There are a couple of options through the cruise line (RCCL), but not a lot of specific information. I'm safety-conscious when it comes to my kids and open water, so I'd like to find something that's fun and laid-back, not a booze cruise, and not a huge number of people. Any suggestions? I'm totally open to a non-cruise line tour, but I'd rather go with something recommended than just guess...

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Not sure that I can help you find what you are looking for but perhaps let you know what we didn't like.

 

On our first visit to Aruba we snorkeled the wreck of the Antilla.  Cold water, strong current, poor visibility.

 

On our second visit, believing that the first snorkel of the wreck was an anomaly, I booked it again.  It was not an anomaly.

 

On a third trip to Aruba, we booked one of those pirate schooner snorkel trips.  However, since we are not into heavy drinking, and we didn't enjoy that one either.

 

You might try DePalm Island.  Before it was as big as it is now, we very much enjoyed snorkeling there.  It costs a lot more now though.

 

Good Luck.

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17 hours ago, isosika said:

Not sure that I can help you find what you are looking for but perhaps let you know what we didn't like.

 

On our first visit to Aruba we snorkeled the wreck of the Antilla.  Cold water, strong current, poor visibility.

 

On our second visit, believing that the first snorkel of the wreck was an anomaly, I booked it again.  It was not an anomaly.

 

On a third trip to Aruba, we booked one of those pirate schooner snorkel trips.  However, since we are not into heavy drinking, and we didn't enjoy that one either.

 

You might try DePalm Island.  Before it was as big as it is now, we very much enjoyed snorkeling there.  It costs a lot more now though.

 

Good Luck.

 

This is actually SUPER helpful, since the tours we were looking at were for the Antilla. Strong current with my kids is a big old NOPE. I'll cross that one off and look for other options.

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Following this also as we're taking our grandkids and hoping to snorkel in Aruba.  I can concur the current at the Antilla wreck is strong.  We did it a couple months ago but my wife stayed on the boat and I'm glad she did.  We're taking them snorkeling in Bonaire on this cruise with Woodwind and that was a no brainer but wanted to add a snorkel stop in Aruba and not sure who to use.

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We're still looking into it, but from what I'm finding almost all of the commercial excursions go to the Antilla -- if we want something that doesn't, it looks like we'd need to book an (expensive) private tour. There are a few that do the Antilla last, and warm up with some shallower and easier snorkeling options first, so we might do those and bring lifejackets for the kids.

 

It sounds like the strong current is more current/choppiness than like, riptides, but I'm still a little nervous especially since one of the excursions we were looking at maxxes out at 74 people (?!) and there can be multiple boats at the wreck at the same time -- which makes me worry that if someone was in trouble the staff would miss them or wouldn't be able to get there in time. 

 

(Pardon my paranoia, I work with folks who have encountered disasters overseas and seeing what can go wrong makes me extra cautious...)

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Our excursion guide warned us about getting too close to the Antilla wreck because of the strong current. It is also in reasonably deep water. Even with the warning I managed to scare myself, so I can't imagine it would be a good spot for most pre-teens. It is a current, not choppiness or transient.

 

Our ship excursion stopped in two places. The other stop had a school of yellow tails. A truly unique experience and to my mind quite safe.

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On 7/12/2019 at 2:37 PM, PAcruiser19372 said:

Following this also as we're taking our grandkids and hoping to snorkel in Aruba.  I can concur the current at the Antilla wreck is strong.  We did it a couple months ago but my wife stayed on the boat and I'm glad she did.  We're taking them snorkeling in Bonaire on this cruise with Woodwind and that was a no brainer but wanted to add a snorkel stop in Aruba and not sure who to use.

Take a look at Black Pearl/Blue Melody. Their snorkel tours are much more laid back, and are small groups. I've never seen kids on them, so you'd have to check on that. They go to the Malmok area and Boca Catalina,  not the shipwreck.  Also, look up Tranquilo.  This is a sailboat that sails to the other side of the island. They dock in 3 - 4 ft. water, and also have a drift snorkel on the way back.

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22 hours ago, Hatteras51 said:

Take a look at Black Pearl/Blue Melody. Their snorkel tours are much more laid back, and are small groups. I've never seen kids on them, so you'd have to check on that. They go to the Malmok area and Boca Catalina,  not the shipwreck.  Also, look up Tranquilo.  This is a sailboat that sails to the other side of the island. They dock in 3 - 4 ft. water, and also have a drift snorkel on the way back.

Thank you, will check them out!

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Reporting back: We're kicking around the idea of just taking the bus to Boca Catalina beach and snorkeling on our own there, possibly adding on the Atlantic Submarine excursion in the morning -- we did something similar in Cayman when my boys were little, and LOVED it, but they don't remember (and the littlest was one, so he never went). Haven't decided 100%, but that's what we're leaning toward at the moment.

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My husband and I did boca Catalina snorkeling.which was pretty good but there is nowhere to rinse off. So we headed to the beach near the lighthouse which I think was arashni which had a snack bar, bathroom and a place to rinse off. Snorkeling ok there. We rented a car on Aruba for the day.

 

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Boca Catalina is one of my favorite "do it yourself" for snorkeling. We've been there many times and even land vacation here and always end up there several times. It's a very small beach with no amenities (food or chair rental) but there are a few palaypa's and trees in the area.

 

When you go in, to the right and out a ways is the good snorkeling. It's not very deep at all and you can stand up most of the way if needed. It's the area you will see all the tours bringing people there to snorkel. Easy to do it for just a cab ride there instead. If you go to the left, there's usually hundreds of starfish (mostly a sandy area) and if you make it far enough down, there's a wall that people scuba dive to (called Tres Trapi).

 

If you require any amenities (food, bathrooms, drinks) you can easily walk over to Arashi (next beach over and about 10 minutes down the road) and spend some time there. It's easy to catch a bus there as well.

 

I have TONS of pictures from multiple visits there if you are interested. Go to my signature line and click on my website and go to the Aruba part then the beaches and you'll find it there.

 

I'm not sure if you have enough time or not while in port, but the number one place to snorkel is Mangel Halto. (Which is the opposite end of Aruba...going the other direction and a little further). The reef there is AMAZING! There's a guy called Aruba Bob there that can take you out from the shore and he has the motorized seadoo scooters. They pull you along and no worries about getting tired. It is one amazing tour!!! (You can also check out my pics from that as well).

 

Let me know if you have any questions. :)

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