Diving and Snorkeling in Aruba
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Diving and Snorkeling
With visibility of up to 90 feet, the waters around Aruba are excellent for snorkeling and diving. Advanced and novice divers alike will find plenty to occupy their time, as many of the most popular sites—including some interesting shipwrecks—are found in shallow waters ranging from 30 to 60 feet. Coral reefs covered with sensuously waving sea fans and eerie giant sponge tubes attract a colorful menagerie of sea life, including gliding manta rays, curious sea turtles, shy octopuses, and grunts, groupers, and other fish. Marine preservation is a priority on Aruba, and regulations by the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species make it unlawful to remove coral, conch, and other marine life from the water.
Expect snorkel gear to rent for about $20 per day and trips to cost around $45. Scuba rates are around $50 for a one-tank reef or wreck dive, $75 for a two-tank dive, and $55 for a night dive. Resort courses, which offer an introduction to scuba diving, average $65 to $80. If you want to go all the way, complete open-water certification costs around $450.
De Palm Watersports. This is one of the best choices for your undersea experience; the options go beyond basic diving. You can don a helmet and walk along the ocean floor near De Palm Island, home of huge blue parrot fish. You can even do Snuba—which is like scuba diving but without the heavy air tanks—a one-hour snuba adventure costs $56. L.G. Smith Blvd. 142, Oranjestad. 297/582-4400 or 800/766-6016. www.depalm.com.
Dive Aruba. Resort courses, certification courses, and trips to interesting shipwrecks make Dive Aruba worth checking out. Wilhelminastraat 8, Oranjestad. 297/582-7337. www.divearuba.com..
Native Divers Aruba. Underwater naturalist courses are taught by PADI-certified instructors here, and the company has legions of return customers. Marriott Surf Club, Palm Beach. 297/586-4763. www.nativedivers.com.
Red Sail Sports. Red Sail offers courses for children and others new to scuba diving. An introductory class costs about $95. J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 83, Oranjestad. 297/586-1603; 305/454-2538 in U.S. www.aruba-redsail.com.
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