About 29 kilometres/18 miles from Venezuela, Aruba is the furthest west of the islands in southern Caribbean. Although only 32 kilometres/20 miles long and 9.7 kilometres/6 miles wide, Aruba welcomes more than half a million visitors each year.
One of the world’s premiere wreck-diving destinations, Bermuda is the only other island in the Atlantic that surpasses Aruba in the number of accessible wrecks. If you are looking for World War II casualties, you’ll find them here. Aircraft? Yes, Aruba has them. Aruba’s wrecks consist of a mix of both intentional sinkings (artificial reefs) and marine casualties, providing incredible sites for wreck divers with a wide range of experience and interest.
Marine life is both diverse and abundant – turtles, manta rays, stingrays, eagle rays, groupers, barracuda, moray eels and octopi all make their homes in Aruba. You’ll find brain and star coral, sea fans, barrel sponges and abundant reef fish, like yellow tails, scorpion fish and jacks in abundance.
Most of Aruba’s 42 dive sites are on the protected western and southern sides, with depths between 6 metres/20 feet and 30 metres/100 feet. No matter what your level of experience, you’ll find good diving in Aruba, from the Pedernales wreck in 11 metres/35 feet of water (especially popular with beginning divers) to the challenging 33-metres/110-feet deep Natural Bridge (strong currents make this an advanced diver-only experience).
PADI Dive Shops and Resorts
Find contact information for all the PADI Dive Shops and Resorts on Aruba.
Most Famous Dive Site
The 122-metre/400-foot Antilla is the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. Scuttled by its German captain at the outbreak of World War II, this “ghost ship” (as it is known to the locals) is popular with every diver. At a maximum depth of only 18 metres/60 feet, part of the ship breaks the surface and it is also a popular snorkeling site. Expect to see angelfish, yellowtail and lobster amongst the coral formations and giant tube sponges that cover the wreck. With its large open compartments, this freighter offers excellent wreck penetration diving. It’s also a popular night diving location.
Recommended PADI Courses:
Underwater Digital Photographer
Besides diving, Aruba offers other activities like sailing, golf and horseback riding. Or just relax on its famous white beaches. If your interest is nature, Arikok National Park has many species of cacti, iguanas and exotic birds. It’s common to spot small herds of wild donkeys in the rugged interior.
For a change of pace, visit some of Aruba’s museums.
Language: Dutch is the official language of Aruba, with English spoken widely; Papiamento is the most prominent language. While its origin is unknown and disputed, Papiamento is believed to have originated from Spanish or Portuguese.
Currency: Aruban guilder/florin, but the US dollar is accepted everywhere.
Tipping: 10-15% is typical and may already be added to your bill.
Transportation: While taxis are available, renting a motorcycle, scooter or car gives you the most flexibility. Most popular are four-wheel drive jeeps that allow access to Aruba’s more rugged terrain.
Want to know more? Visit www.scubaearth.com for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.
Links to visa requirements: http://www.visitaruba.com/traveling-to-aruba/entry-requirements-and-visas/
Links to weather - http://www.aruba.com/ExploretheIsland/islandweather.aspx