Snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

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Snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba is one of the best places I’ve found to satisfy both beginning and experienced snorkelers. I recently visited Aruba with several of my girlfriends and we were fortunate enough to find a rental house immediately across from Catalina Cove. If you’re not familiar with Aruba, Catalina Cove is one of the top snorkeling locations in the area. Many of the snorkeling tours make a stop there, and once in the water, we understood why. Here’s why snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba is something you should do on your next trip to the Caribbean.

My Personal Experience Snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

I am an experienced snorkeler, and until I actually snorkeled there, I fully expected Catalina Cove to be a “putter around” snorkel. I had planned to take a couple of snorkeling tours to check out all that Aruba had to offer. But once I snorkeled and saw what there was to see at Catalina Cove, I decided to save my money and just snorkel with my friends a few yards out our front door.

The coral wasn’t anything to brag about, but then, not too many spots in the Caribbean are now that there has been so much bleaching and die-off. There were several nice examples of brain coral and a few nice fans, but other than that it was typical Caribbean coral. This fish diversity was impressive, though. There were lots of butterflyfish, sea urchins and tangs and an occasional puffer, trunkfish, needlefish and Christmas tree worm colony. My best sighting was a school of squid, which I saw on two of my three snorkels there. And oh – I spotted a scorpionfish as well.

Even though I consider myself to be an advanced snorkeler, I still felt satisfied snorkeling  Catalina Cove. And being able to do it with some of my friends who were just starting out made the experience even better.

snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

One of the interesting things I saw while snorkeling Catalina Cove was a colony of Christmas tree worms. Image credit: Nhobgood (Wikimedia)

Sharon L. – First Time Snorkeler, Saw a Goldspotted Eel

My experience snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Or should I say, scariest? It was my first time snorkeling so I was a little scared to begin with. I stayed in shallow water but even there I saw lots of fish. My favorite was a really pretty blue one that I later learned was a blue tang. Things were going pretty well when I saw a snake and couldn’t get out of the water fast enough! We looked it up in the field guide later and I found out it was a goldspotted eel, and that I had been very lucky to see it. Lucky to see it? I don’t think so … It scared the living daylights out of me!

snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

Even though the goldspotted eel Sharon saw scared her, it was a very lucky sighting. These eels usually stay hidden during the day and come out at night to feed. Image credit: Firedrop Marendo Müller (Wikimedia)

Tina B. – Second Time Snorkeler, Saw a School of Squid, an Eel and a Flounder

I was very nervous and excited at the same time to try snorkeling again. But because our rental house was across from one of the best snorkeling spots in Aruba – Catalina Cove – I was looking forward to a great snorkeling experience.  And I wasn’t disappointed – I saw tons of very colorful fish right away, and lots of brain coral, too.

Now, everyone knows you can’t scream while snorkeling, but that didn’t stop me from trying when I saw a school of squid. I was really amazed by how fast they move; you take your eyes away for a second and they’re gone. I was really kicking myself for not taking my underwater camera, but I was too nervous trying to remember to breathe to take pictures anyway.

While searching the water for the lost squid, something on the bottom moved and I tried to scream again. Then I spotted the flounder and all I could think about was Flounder from the movie “Finding Nemo.” It blended in completely with the sea floor so I lost sight of it in an instant. Shortly after the flounder sighting I saw a pufferfish. On another day of snorkeling from the beach at Catalina Cove I came across an eel. That was a little freaky … seeing it slithering in the water being chased by another fish!

Overall I had a very good experience snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba, but I was a little disappointed that the sea floor wasn’t as colorful as I thought it would be.  I would definitely do it again, a million times over.  But don’t forget – sunscreen is your friend.

snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

In all the snorkeling I’ve done, it’s still a treat to spot a school of squid. Tina agrees that they were among the coolest things she saw while snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba. Image credit: Nhobgood (Wikimedia)

Cindy K. – First Time Snorkeling – Lots of Little Colorful Fish

Well, I can’t swim and am afraid of the water, but I was determined to try to snorkel at Catalina Cove. I bought my gear before the trip and practiced three times in our community center pool. (I wish I had practiced even more.) I only put my face in the water three or four times, but I was fairly comfortable hanging out along the beach area where I knew I could touch bottom. Even though I didn’t snorkel for very long – or go out very deep – I still saw lots of small, colorful fish. I’m proud of myself for doing it; it’s an experience I’ll likely never forget.

The biggest thing I’d recommend for beginners is to not go in alone. Having friends I trusted with me definitely eased my anxiety and ensured I had a positive first-time snorkeling experience.

snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba

Although I’m not sure what types of fish Cindy saw while snorkeling Catalina Cove Aruba, chances are she spotted at least one butterflyfish. Several species were abundant in the shallows. Image credit: Elias Levy (Wikimedia)

Have you snorkeled any spots that would satisfy both beginning and experienced snorkelers? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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