Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba (click here for the map) has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm sunny weather and lies outside the hurricane belt. Aruba was once part of the Netherlands Antilles but is now independent.
Most of Aruba’s dive sites lie along the protected western and southern coasts, a short distance from the high rise hotels along Palm Beach. Aruba’s waters are rich in exotic marine life, including stingrays, moray eels, barracudas and yellow tail. A large, shallow sand plateau surrounds the island, making boat travel the most convenient method of reaching the off-shore reefs.
A coral reef extends along the west side of the island from California reef in the north to Baby Beach reef in the south, with dives varying in depth from 5 to 45m. There are lots of dive sites suitable for beginners where you can see morays, grouper, eagle rays, manta rays, as well as lobsters, parrot fish, angel fish and more.
The northwest of the island has fields of seagrass which attract leatherback turtles during the nesting season and are home to hawksbill, green and loggerhead turtles all year.
The other side of the island is only for experienced divers as there are strong currents.
- The Antilla, a German freighter, which was scuttled just after WW2 was declared. It lies in 20 m of water off Malmok beach on the west coast. You can see quite a lot just snorkeling here as parts of the wreck stick up above the water.
- The Pedernales, a flat-bottomed oil tanker which was hit in a submarine attack in May 1941 while ferrying crude oil from Venezuela to Aruba.
- The Aruba Watersports Association recently sunk a DC-3 aeroplane near the Pedernales, to be another wreck dive site only 10 m deep
- The Star Gerren tanker - sunk in 2000.
- An annual Aruba Perrier Reef Care Project takes place over a weekend in June or July when everyone gets together to preserve the underwater environment and clean up the debris and pollution from main dive sites and beaches.
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is requires from travellers over 1 years of age travelling from infected areas.
- No spear fishing, no removal of corals or sea shells.
- Be careful not to touch anything underwater; not all the dive masters warn you of the dangers of fire coral and hydroids.
|Language:||Dutch although English is widely spoken|
|Time:||GMT - 4|
|Natural hazards:||None, not in hurricane alley|
|Diving season:||12 months|
|Water temperature:||Jan to March - 26C/78F|
|June to October – 28C/82F|
|Hyperbaric chambers:||Closest: Curacao, St Elizabeth Hospital|