Aruba Private Guided Drift Snorkel - Mangel Halto
by Cary Bennett
Schools of fish
Day 1 - We arranged for a private guided drift snorkel trip with Aqua Windie's in Aruba, at Mangel Halto. We were picked up at our hotel (Marriott Ocean Club) and brought to their facility where we got checked in and met our guide, Michael. He was so nice and was very helpful and attentive.
From there, we headed out to a spot known as “Hole in the Wall”. This is an entry point that is very rocky. We do have our own gear and booties, but, they are the sock type and you definitely need to have booties that have the rubber soles. We pulled on our fins and proceeded to drift snorkel down the reef to the lagoon area at Mangel Halto.
It was a terrific snorkel! We saw many different types of fish. We were amazed at the numbers of and size of the schools of fish that we saw! The reefs in this area seem to be in pretty good shape with many different types of coral formations as well as sea fans and other soft corals. We spent about 45 minutes on this drift before landing at Mangel Halto.
We took a breather and had a delicious snack of Pastiche, which is a cheese filled, fried pastry. From there, Michael walked back up the road and brought the van to pick us up and we went back to the put in at Hole in the Wall. We re-entered the water and swam up current a distance and drifted back down to the same entry point. We also swam over a small boat wreck, which was really fun! We were very impressed with the numbers of fish and busy-ness of the reef!
I highly recommend snorkeling this area! It was really beautiful and not a terribly difficult snorkel, with the exception of the swim against the current. Even if you don’t do the drift from Hole in the Wall, definitely go experience Mangel Halto and paddle around there and snorkel! It is a gorgeous lagoon! There is a parking area and there are two ways to enter the water, either the walk into the water from the white sand path between the mangroves, or, there is a very nice small wooden deck with a ladder into the water at the parking area. The lagoon area there is only 3 to 4 ft. deep for quite a distance out. The walk in entry is also located down a short foot path at the south end of the parking area, where the small rock wall and sign that says Mangel Halto is located.
Important details: They charge $17.50/person per hour for private snorkel trips, which is extremely reasonable! We wound up spending a total of 2 ½ hours with our guide. They do supply a delicious snack and cold water or bottled tea. Would we consider using this company again? Absolutely!
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