We're heading to Aruba in January, and I'm hoping to find some excellent snorkelling sites there. My preference would be beach based since I plan on renting a car/jeep while I'm there. Can anyone suggest some good "from the beach" snorkelling sites or other sites that are easy to reach via local water taxis. I've heard that DePalma? Island is good, but I don't know if that is accessible via water taxis or do I need to go on an excursion. I've snorkelled the Antilla, but I can't recall if there are boats at the beach that will take you our or if you need to charter an excursion.
I guess the long and short of it is that I want to hit the best snorkelling sites, even if that means I need to hire a boat/excursion, but my preference would be to find some good sights accessible from the beach.
We took the ship excursion to snorkel and it was great, worth every penny! $38.00 per person. We sailed to a snorkel sight not far off a beach (I don't know what beach it was but there were a lot of catamarans anchored there, it was past Palm Beach). Snorkelling was great, lots of beautiful fish, rocks, coral. We then went to snorkel over the Antilles shipwreck which was awesome. After this, they brought out the rum punch (yummy) and music and dancing was fun too. This excursion leaves right from the ship and takes 3 hours (they tell you 4 but it isn't). We enquired on the island as to the cost of this tour and it was only 50 cents cheaper than the ship excursion. This tour runs twice a day, at 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM, so if you still want to hit the beach before or after, you can. This was the highlight of my cruise so don't miss it.
We snorkeled over the wreck of the Antilla while we were there. Ot was OK but the water was a little murky that day. In addition, there was another cruise ship in port so the wreck was over-crowded with snorkelers, see-through-bottom boats and scuba divers. If there is another cruise ship in port, I'd pass on this. If you're the only ship in port, I'd give it a shot. This wreck sticks up above the water to about 60' down. Lots of fish. I just didn't like continually getting kicked by the abundant number of snorkelers.