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World | Caribbean | Diving Aruba:

Aruba overview


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Aruba dive site map


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Scuba Diving in Aruba, Caribbean


Water temperature:

27°C (81°F) in winter to 29°C (84°F) in summer

Suit:

3mm – 5mm shortie

Visibility:

10 - 30 metres (30 – 100 feet)

Type of diving:

Wrecks, reefs, boulders, drop offs

Marine life:

Turtles, manta rays, stingrays, eagle rays, groupers, barracuda, moray eels, jacks, octopus, crabs, lobsters, scorpionfish, brain coral, star coral, sea fans, barrel sponges, tropical reef fish

When to go:

Anytime of year, prime time is from January to April

How to get there:

Aruba is about 2 1/2 hours from Miami by air. KLM, Iberia, Continental Airlines, US Airways amongst others operate flights to Aruba. From the UK – fly from Gatwick, Heathrow, and other major UK airports either via Miami or Amsterdam


Aruba - Courtesy of Ian Lovett

Aruba is the westernmost of the southern Caribbean islands, lying just 18 miles from Venezuela. It is a tiny island that is a maximum 6 miles wide and 20 miles long. Despite its size, it is well set up for tourists with plenty of restaurants and hotels to choose from. More than 540,000 people visit Aruba each year, but it is not a good place for someone travelling on a budget. Many of the hotels are very luxurious, so cheap accommodation is difficult to find. Eating out doesn’t come cheaply either, but if you don’t mind spending that little bit more you will find some good cuisine. As well as visiting some of the historic sites, tourists can indulge in watersports, horse riding, golf or just relaxing on the beach. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday you can explore the beaches and countryside, go in hunt of wildlife and visit the bird sanctuary and coconut plantations. The strong trade winds make the sea around Aruba a good spot for sailing.

Indian settlers reached Aruba around two thousand years ago and remnants of their culture can be seen at the islands’ museums. Arikok National Park covers twenty percent of the interior of the island and is home to many species of cactus, iguanas and exotic birds as well as some ancient cave drawings. The Dutch took control of the island in 1636, and soon after they built the William III tower, the oldest building on the island. Prior to 1916 gold was mined here, but these mines have since been exhausted and now the oil industry and tourism are the economy drivers on the island. The northern, windward side of the island has a rugged coastline, caves, dotted with secluded coves, whereas the southern coast has white sandy beaches. Inland the surroundings are flat and dry, with sparse vegetation.

There are 42 different dive sites on Aruba, most of them are along the sheltered southwestern side of the island. There are some excellent wreck dives ranging from World War II casualties to planes to purposefully sunken boats. The Antilla, a German freighter that was scuttled by the Germans in 1945, is probably the best of these wrecks. It is the largest wreck in the Caribbean at 400 feet long and its large compartments are excellent for penetrating. It is covered by giant tube sponges and coral formations and is surrounded by lobsters and many kinds of tropical fish. Much of Aruba is windy year round, although it lies outside of the hurricane belt. The windward side of the island has choppy waters for the boat ride out and strong currents.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a marine park on Aruba. Worse still, the local fishermen are fishing on the dive sites with nets. Local law enforcement is not doing anything to prevent this. Also spear fishing is very popular (although forbidden in coastal waters). In the last 5 years they have been fishing away lobsters, octopus, sharks and turtles. Reefs don't have any big fish anymore.


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