Snorkeling Puerto Chiquito is one of the best spots on Aruba. You can see diverse coral reef and many fish at great snorkeling depths. But this spot is not for beginners because it is exposed and there is almost always a current, waves and wind to deal with. Do not attempt to snorkel here if the waves are big; it is best on a calm day. You also need to watch out for boats when you are over the outer reef.
This spot is known by many names besides Puerto Chiquito: Rocky Beach, Hole In The Wall, Bow or Bou Baranca, and Snapper City. It is just southeast of Mangel Halto, but has no real beach to hang out on. There are a couple of semi-protected little bays with rocky bottoms that offer easy access to the outer reef.
As you walk down to the water from the parking area, there are shallow bays to both the right and left. Enter at the corner of the left one for snorkeling Puerto Chiquito. The bottom is rocky and sandy, so shoes are necessary. Walk out until you can float and switch to fins.
Once in the water, swim out to the left a little and through the opening of the bay. After you pass out into unprotected waters you can swim left or right. The current is moving from left to right most of the time, so if you swim right, be sure you can swim back against the current back to your entrance. Swimming left, you will be going against the current when you start and with it on the way back. In this whole area and quite a distance out from shore, you will find healthy corals and a good number of fish in 10 to 20 feet of water, but near the drop off it gets deeper. The visibility is generally good, though may be a bit low close to shore.
Drift Snorkel To Mangel Halto
Another option is, if conditions permit, and you are a strong swimmer, you can go with the currents to the right and do a one-way drift snorkel to Mangel Halto. Read instructions for doing this and see a map on the Mangel Halto page.
We saw healthy hard and soft corals and a good number of fish when snorkeling Puerto Chiquito.