Snorkeling Baby Beach – Too Risky to See Healthy Reef
Snorkeling Baby Beach has become famous due to the few very public deaths associated with it. On the far south end of Aruba, this attractive protected bay has a large white sand beach with shallow water to play in.
Although snorkeling Baby Beach is often recommended, and very busy, the bay itself is uninteresting, with a sandy bottom and a few rocky areas with sea grass. You can see a number of fish at times, likely because they are being fed. And the underwater visibility can be low when the waves are up and when there are lots of people in kicking up the sand.
But because it is so recommended, people try leaving the protection of the bay to see healthy reef and more fish. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea most of the time. Outside the protected little bay, the ocean is often fierce. It is exposed to the prevailing easterly trade winds and in addition to large waves, there are strong currents too. This makes snorkeling Baby Beach uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst. See our snorkeling tips about ocean conditions.
We Don’t Recommend Snorkeling Baby Beach
Contrary to popular sentiment, we cannot recommend this spot for snorkeling. It’s not that interesting in the bay, and it’s risky outside. If by some chance you are on Aruba when the winds are calm, you could explore the outside, but do so with the utmost caution.
The inside of the bay is protected for the most part, but the right side gets wavy because that point is farther south and catches the wind and waves. So, most of the time you can snorkel the bay itself. The only warning on this is that the bay is also used by kite boarders and possibly windsurfers. You can be injured if hit by one while snorkeling Baby Beach.
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There is a long breakwater to the left outside the bay that has a shallow trench between it and the shore (picture below). The waves crash over it keeping it full of water, but this also causes a strong current that moves toward the entrance to the bay. It is shallow, 2-5 feet and there are rocks and a good number of fish to see. The current combined with the shallow depths make this snorkeling Baby Beach spot not much fun unless it’s calm.
Got Hurt Snorkeling and Travel Insurance Won’t Cover It?
Yes, many travel insurance policies exclude snorkeling accidents, leaving you in the lurch. See our recommended travel insurance that does cover snorkeling.
Finally, we suggest you stay away from the larger opening at the right side of the bay, especially avoiding going outside the breakwater. The reef outside the breakwater is reportedly somewhat healthy, but unless the winds are completely calm, and the currents are low, do not even think about snorkeling out there.
So, unless you just want to hang out on a beach for a day swimming, we suggest you skip the drive down for snorkeling Baby Beach.
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Driving Directions for Snorkeling Baby Beach
1. Head south out of Oranjestad on Route 1.
2. Follow it past the airport, Pos Chiquito, Savaneta into San Nicolas.
3. At the traffic circle take the first right onto Bernard Straat. Follow this until it ends at the intersection with Staring Straat and go right.
4. Not much farther, the road goes into the refinery, so turn left instead. This road curves more around to the left.
5. Then take your first right onto Fortheuvel Straat. Stay on this road until it turns left again and ends at an intersection.
6. Turn right here onto Seroe Colorado. Follow this road out toward the shore then to the right. It turns a couple more times and intersects with other roads numerous times. You will pass the big anchor and a sign pointing you to Baby Beach.
7. Once you see the large church near the water again, take the next left.
8. Follow this road, staying right at the next Y in the road.
9. Take the next left and drive past the Baby Beach sign to park near the buildings and palapas on the beach.
There are shade palapas, chairs for rent, restrooms, and a snack on the beach on the east side of the bay. On the west side there is a dive shop and some restaurants.