Diving in Aruba means you have an extensive list of sites to choose from, depending on your qualification level and interest. But for the most part, Aruba attracts those in search of wrecks.
Some sunk intentionally create an artificial reef. On the other hand, the accidental wrecks are perfect sites for beginners who want to try their fins at what the sea has claimed over the years. There are also wrecks for more advanced divers if you don't mind diving a bit deeper and swimming harder due to the strong currents. For those interested in learning the art of wreck penetration, plenty of sites surrounding Aruba are available to aid in your Wreck Diver certification.
The many wrecks of Aruba vary in depth from 20 feet (6 meters) to 100 feet (30 meters). When diving any of these sites, you can expect to see an underwater landscape full of soft corals.
Off the northwestern coast, there are also gardens of seagrass that add a nice distraction when you’ve seen too many wrecks.
Keep in mind that marine park regulations in Aruba prohibit the touching of wildlife, including coral reefs.
When to go
Aruba enjoys consistently good weather year-round. April to June has the calmest weather while January to March see an occasional winter squall.
April to November
Aruba’s dry season lasts from about April to November. During these months, the island will be extremely dry and sunny, experiencing consistently calm weather. Sea conditions remain steady throughout the season with sea temperatures at 85°F (29°C) and air temperatures approximately 89°F (31°C). The dry season is recommended for those who value both beach time and dive time.
Finally, remember that while other Caribbean islands are suffering through hurricane season during these months, Aruba is located on the far southern edge of the hurricane belt and is rarely at risk of these massive storms.
December to March
The rainy season on Aruba begins in December and lasts until March. These four months will bring a brief daily downpour to the island. You can expect only slightly cooler temperatures both in and out of the water. Air temperatures average 85°F (29°C) and water temperatures drop to 79°F (26°C). The only disadvantage to visiting at this time of year is the increased activity of mosquitos.
If you don’t mind the mosquitos, travel to Aruba during the rainy season. This is the low season, so you’ll find better deals on both diving and accommodation.
When it comes down to it, any time is the best time to dive in Aruba. The marine life is unchanged between seasons. You can feel comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll experience great diving during any month of the year.
Rain and temperature
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Where to dive
Most divers will want to explore the many wrecks. If you’re staying on the north of the island, try a dive or two in the turtle-filled seagrass beds.
Most of the thousands of tourists who visit Aruba each year will go snorkeling at least once. Besides the colorful coral reefs, snorkelers are also able to view many of the island’s famous wrecks, including the Antilla. For an extra special adventure, book a kayaking and snorkeling combination tour.
Aruba’s best dive sites are overwhelmingly wreck dives. The most famous of these is the Antilla. This 400-foot (133-meter) German freighter was scuttled by its captain during WWII in order to prevent capture by the Allies. Today, she sits in 60 feet (18 meters) of water and breaks the surface at low tide. This is a great wreck for beginners or those who wish to explore the ship’s spacious interior.
Several other wrecks are worth exploring, including the Pedernales, the Jane Sea and the intentionally sunk S-11 and DC-3 aircrafts. However, some of the wrecks can be difficult to locate, making it essential to dive with a reputable operator.
Once you’ve had your fill of wrecks, make sure to explore the reefs and seagrass gardens. Popular sites include Mike’s Reef, Malmok Reef and Mangel Halto Reef.
What to see
Seahorses and turtles, like the loggerhead and green varieties, are the most common residents in the fields of seagrass off the northwestern coastline of Aruba, and an array of tropical fish are found in the ecosystems of the reefs. Species such as grouper, moray eels, mantas, stingrays and lobsters are all occasionally seen at sites accessible to every level of diver.
On the southern coastline wrecks, hoards of angelfish roam the decks and green morays gape and yawn whilst partly visible in the natural crevices of the brain, flower or mountain coral. Enormous tube sponges cover the structures and provide additional cover to the many lobster found near the hulls of the boats and planes.
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Aruba is one of the few Caribbean islands that was not colonized by the Spanish and was acquired from the local Caquetio Indians by the Dutch in 1636. The capital, Oranjestad, was consequently established in 1796. The name of the country was derived from the Carib Indian word for "shell"- "ora".
The economy was once based on the trade of crude oil but since the 20th century, the tourism industry is the main wealth generator for Aruba. Up until the 1970's, Aruba could claim one of the largest oil refineries in the world. This refinery alone employed 16% of the country's population.
The weather in Aruba is not a topic of conversation amongst the locals as it is almost always warm and sunny. The average annual temperature is 81°F (27°C) which is moderated by the constant trade winds blowing over the island.
Aruba is an ideal destination for some quiet time and a book whilst lounging on a deck chair. But for those with more energy, there is windsurfing, waterskiing, kite surfing and parasailing to keep occupied. If you plan to get away from the water for the day, there is also the option of hiring a Jeep or quad bike and touring the island.
The Aloe Museum and Factory is a diversion for flora enthusiasts where the whole process of extraction can be experienced and interesting products can be purchased as souvenirs.
Traveling to Aruba is effortless. The Caribbean island is a little over a 2-hour flight from Florida. There are direct flights from other US cities as well as the ever-popular cruise option. Aruba can be found on most Southern Caribbean itineraries. Rental car options are readily available from Queen Beatrix Airport and most hotels provide shuttle services.