When you think of snorkeling Aruba, one thing should come to mind:
(Don't worry, not your ship!)
I'm talking about the shipwrecks that offer the best reef snorkeling views available under the sea!
Aruba specializes in undersea shipwrecks of all kinds. And if you don't know, shipwrecks are loved by coral and reef fish! As long as the ship has been underwater for a certain amount of time, the reef grows all over it. See Videos Below!
That's how places like the image on the left are created! It is amazing how nature will take over any man-made object that is left behind. It all returns to the source. But I digress...
I don't know the specifics of reef development. But I imagine that the ships have to be in somewhat sheltered water (or create their own shelter) and must be close enough to the surface for sunlight to penetrate. In Aruba, most of the ships crashed near the existing reefs. Some of the ships have masts that stick out above the water.
There are old sailing ships, navy-type ships and even a plane or two laying around Aruba. It is a snorkeler's dream.
There are several ways to see the shipwrecks when you snorkel Aruba. One way is to take a pirate ship out to the reef. This way, the whole family can enjoy the water and merriment of Aruba. They provide the gear, of course, plus a rope swing and plenty of drinks! Jolly Pirates is one such company, and highly recommended. Carla, over at Jolly Pirates says, "Just as rewarding as any buried booty is the natural treasures that thrive in Aruba's shallow snorkeling reefs. After you've tested the waist-high waters, you won't believe your eyes when Jolly Pirates guide you to one of the Caribbean's finest dive sites, a 400 foot World War II German Ship Wreck." (Snorkel Aruba with Jolly Pirates)
This shipwreck is the famed "Ghost Ship", or the Antilla, a German freighter that is the largest wreck in the Caribbean (400' long). It sunk when it was brand new! The wreck is excellent for penetrations because of its large compartments. See videos below!
Another way to make it to the Antilla is by catamaran which offers an open ride and plenty of drinks also! De Palm tours offers the biggest catamaran in Aruba. What a way to get your friends to come with you to a shipwreck snorkel! As they say at De Palm, "The highlight of this excursion is the wreck of the Antilla, one of the area’s most famous dive sites. Sail and Snorkel on the luxurious Palm Pleasure making two stops including the Antilla shipwreck." (Snorkel Aruba with De Palm)
Now, you can see the compartments from the surface, and boy is it ghostly! Open doorways lead to black tunnels. Part of you will want to swim away and the other will want to dive down. But, that is hard when you are snorkeling. This is one journey that will make you want to scuba dive Aruba.
For a more serious snorkel experience in Aruba, another option is to tag along with a scuba group on a smaller boat. S.E. Aruba Fly'N Dive will take you as part of their scuba tour. A snorkel tour with Fly'N Dive Aruba you introduce you to plenty of other wrecks. Steve at Fly'N Dive says, "There are plentiful coral formations to dive. For example: the Tire Reef features black coral, sea whips, sea fingers and plenty of gorgonians and sea fans. The Green Moray and Eagle Ray are spotted occasionally on this dive site. Kantil Reef is a fascinating drop off, with gigantic boulders of brain and star coral, an abundance of massive formations of leaf and sheet corals, and plenty of huge sea fans and gorgoneas. The Palm Slope has magnificent coral formations sloping to great depths. Well known for barracudas." (Snorkel Aruba with S.E. Aruba Fly'N Dive)
Regardless of the way you get to the shipwrecks, there is no doubt the shipwrecks must be part of your plan to Snorkel Aruba. You will not be disappointed.