Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or have loads of experience, diving in Aruba can be an incredible experience.
There are enough diving and snorkeling sites to keep even the most voracious of divers satisfied for days.
What Is Aruba?
Aruba is an island located mid-south of the Caribbean Sea.
Along with its neighboring island Curaçao, it is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Bonaire, another island neighboring Aruba and Curaçao, is also an island municipality of the Netherlands.
Together the three islands make up the ABC Islands.
Where Is Aruba?
Aruba is 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea.
Does Aruba Have Good Diving?
Several scuttled ships and even airplanes were purposefully sunk to create majestic coral reefs to attract scuba divers.
While Aruba doesn’t have the same topographical advantages as Bonaire and Curacao (steep drop-offs with extensive coral reefs), they make up for decades of wreck diving and create reefs.
With so many wrecks and artificial reefs, you can spend days scuba diving in a single location and getting photos.
There are wrecks for both beginners and experts and impacts for different experience levels.
In the northwest, there are seagrass beds for those who want a diverse environment and more megafauna.
What Is Diving in Aruba Like?
You’ll see the usual small tropical fish at every reef and wreck, angelfish, damselfish, moray eels, barracuda, rays, turtles, lobsters, cleaner shrimp, frogfish, and nurse sharks.
Every fish you could want to see, and even some you don’t.
Some megafauna can also be found at these sites, though you might have better luck with the seagrass beds northwest of Aruba if you’re looking for large fish.
There are also some spots where you can dive into the open water to explore more of Aruba’s ecosystem.
The diving is very similar to that of diving in Turks and Caicos.
Aruba Dive Sites
There are many dive sites in Aruba, but these are the highlights.
1. Antilla Wreck
Antilla is the most famous dive spot in Aruba, as the old shipwreck is perfect for beginners and experts.
It’s the oldest shipwreck in the Caribbean and has the most fleshed-out ecosystem.
Antilla is the best wreck diving site in the Caribbean, with large spaces for exploration and easy penetration.
This site is located off the northeastern island, about twenty minutes from the shore, close to Malmok Beach and Arashi Beach.
With the expansive ecosystem, ideal diving conditions, extensive exploration, and easy access, the Antilla shipwreck can easily highlight your scuba adventures on Aruba.
2. Sonesta Airplanes
A strange sight lies off the southern coast of Aruba, at the bottom of the Sonesta reef.
Two airplanes that once flew high in the sky now rest peacefully at the bottom of the ocean.
They were purposefully placed here to grow coral and become a fantastic dive spot.
The spot is off the coast of the Queen Beatrix International Airport, where most arrivals and departures take place on the island, no more than ten minutes from the beach.
The Aruba Fly & Dive specializes in this location if you’re interested in a tour.
You have to go pretty deep to get to the airplanes, so this dive is only for those who’ve explored wrecks before.
However, you can travel the entire fuselage length to explore the ecosystem once inside.
3. Pedernales Shipwreck
This dive spot is more geared towards beginners, but experts can also enjoy it.
It’s close to the surface and great for taking pictures with natural light.
Moreover, it’s one of the few “natural” shipwrecks you can explore in Aruba, as dive associations sank it due to a torpedo hit from a German U-boat during World War II.
It’s about twenty minutes from the coast on the eastern side of Aruba.
Several dive shops run tours there, or you can shore dive out to the location.
It has an extensive ecosystem, is the second oldest wreck in Aruba, and offers easy penetration and exploration, with large rooms and colorful fish to see.
4. The Jane Sea
The Jane Sea is a wreck off the southeastern coast of Aruba that was purposefully scuttled to create a dive location.
Also called the Jane C, this wreck is only for experienced divers as the strong currents and depths make it unsuitable for inexperienced divers.
It’s located south of the airport, about ten minutes from the coast, and is perfect if you’re looking for a lesser-known location.
However, it’s only available by boat, and no shore diving is allowed.
The Jane Sea is known for stunning orange brain coral, fan coral, and sponges.
It’s extraordinarily colorful, and its deeper depth boasts a more extensive array of fish species than shallower wrecks.
5. Serrito Pinnacle
If you’re looking for a dive spot that you can enjoy, check out Serrito Pinnacle.
It’s a local dive spot, not listed on any tour or dive shop.
So for those willing to get off the beaten path, Serrito Pinnacle is simple and unspoiled nature.
Vivid coral, stunning fish, diving at its finest.
Serrito Pinnacle is located southeast of Cabez Reef, off the southern tip of Aruba.
You’ll have to charter a private boat if you want to dive here, although shore diving is an option.
However, it’s a ways away from shore.
Rough currents mean only experienced divers should attempt diving in this spot, but those that do are rewarded with all of nature’s bounty.
Bring your camera, as you won’t want to miss a virtually unspoiled coral reef.
Best Aruba Dive Shops
With so many vibrant dive spots, it’s no wonder there are so many dive shops to choose from in Aruba.
With everything from introductory classes to divemaster certifications, these are the best dive shops you can use to shop, learn, and tour Aruba.
1. JADS Dive Center
JADS Dive Center is on the island’s south end and is the best for experienced divers.
While they offer introductory courses and dives, most tours focus on more difficult dive sites, like Cabez Reef and the Jane Sea.
In addition to certifications and tours, they also have a wide selection of scuba equipment for sale, along with souvenirs like lionfish jewelry.
2. Pure Diving Aruba
Like their name says, Pure Diving is all about, and only about, diving.
No other watersports, no shop, no souvenirs.
Just diving, diving courses, diving certifications, night diving, deep diving, as much as you can imagine.
Ecology and preserving the environments you dive in are significant focuses of this dive shop.
From the shop to the boat to coming home, no aspect of this business doesn’t think of the ecological impact.
3. Palm Beach Divers Aruba
Palm Beach Divers is for you if you want to explore Aruba’s wrecks and reefs.
They have the broadest range of dive spots on the island and hit all popular ones.
They also have small tour sizes, giving you a more friendly, personable experience.
While it’s more for tourists than serious divers, there’s nothing wrong with getting the highlights of a famous dive location before moving on.
4. Aruba Watersports Center
Do you like scuba diving? Do you enjoy windsurfing? Check out Aruba Watersports Center.
They have everything a water enthusiast can ask for, though their scuba offerings are scarcer than specialized shops.
You don’t come here for their scuba diving.
You come here because they have scuba diving and everything other watersports you could want.
They have introductory courses, a couple of certifications, and guided swims where you can use your gear or buy rental equipment.
5. Aruba Bob Snorkel & Scuba
Aruba Bob Snorkel & Scuba is perhaps the best scuba shop for beginners.
Experts can also have fun here, but the certifications and courses are primarily geared toward those who want to learn how to scuba.
There are still plenty of courses and dives for experienced divers, and they offer plenty of guided tours for famous dive spots and specialty dives, so there’s no reason not to choose them.
They also have propulsion devices so you can go farther and explore longer as you won’t get tired from swimming.
Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Aruba
All-inclusive resorts can book dives from their desk, but some go the extra mile and have scuba offerings on-site.
1. Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino
This resort has a dive shop where you can book tours, rent equipment, or even go shore-diving.
That’s in addition to the beautiful onsite amenities, like restaurants, fitness center, and spa.
Several nearby dive sites are perfect for short trips and beginners, making it a great place to start your scuba diving journey.
2. Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
This classy resort also has a dive shop on-site. It’s the same dive shop as a last resort, a shared entity for the beach.
You can still take courses, tours, and rent equipment, and the resort can make the reservations.
Enjoy the casino, spa, shopping, and diving in the exact location, with beach access and equipment rental available for all guests.
3. Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
This is another resort that shares Red Sail Sports, with a dedicated concierge available to book your course or tour.
In addition, the resort includes restaurants, spas, shopping, and everything else you might need for a great vacation in Aruba.
4. Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa
Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa may not have a dive shop on-site, but they offer some snorkeling and diving experiences at the nearby reefs.
They also have a ton of other activities you can book with the hotel, and that’s in addition to all the usual resort amenities, like spa, pools, fitness centers, restaurants, and more.
5. Playa Linda Beach Resort
This resort doesn’t have scuba available directly on the property, but it does have concierge services that know Aruba like the back of their hands.
So booking a course or tour through them is easy, and there are tons of dive shops nearby you can book with.
Playa Linda Beach Resort has tons of activities and amenities for guests.
It’s one of the most excellent resorts on the island and earned that title with classy accommodations and ample amenities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Diving in Aruba is an unforgettable experience with so much to see and explore.
Can you swim with sharks in Aruba?
Most sharks prefer deep water, and Aruba is surrounded by shallow water.
So you may see sharks in some dive spots, but there’s nowhere you can go swimming with sharks specifically.
Can you shore dive in Aruba?
Yes, there are plenty of places you can shore dive on Aruba.
It just depends on the dive spot you choose.
Diving in Aruba
With some of the best wreck diving in the Caribbean, Aruba has created its dive scene, although it doesn’t have the natural advantages of its sister islands.
As a result, diving here is accessible, easy, and perfect for divers of all stripes.