Overview of Catalina Cove

Catalina Cove

Aruba
ABC Islands

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Catalina Cove is slightly North of the more popular Boca Catalina. The entry is very easy for all levels. There are no facilities here, but a couple of nice shades from the Sun.

Directions: Head to the North part of the island. About 600 m North of the Northern 1B 2B intersection, make a left turn on the paved road. You'll see the beach directly in front of you.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

03/03/2012 Mark and Jean (Avg: 3.17 Review) - Saw a big trunkfish, peacock flounder, lots of sergeant-Majors and yellow tangs. The fish have been chummed as lot, and if you snap your fingers, you WILL be surrounded!

12/28/2011 John 1 (Avg: 3.41 Review) - Found a specific spot here that had swarms of Sergeant Majors and other silver fish wanting to be fed (as Mark J stated). Also a large black and gold angelfish was in the group. I snorkeled early and late, even at sunset, yet the fish were quite active. It was approximately 150 yards from shore and towards the right (N) of the cove. Also saw trunkfish and a sea turtle on my way back to shore. There was little or no current, could float in one area for quite some time, and swimming back to shore was easy with the waves helping you back in. Exit and reentry around the rocks, even at the sandy area is somewhat of a challenge, but worth it.

10/27/2011 Anonymous (Avg: 3.43 Review) - We enjoyed the wide variety of fish, and plant life. Missed the turtles though, got there late, but before the charters arrived.

04/19/2011 Mark J (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Good Spot if you want to see fish up close and personal. Since this is a tour spot the Seargeant Majors and Blue Chromis swim right up to you expecting to be fed. The entry is a bit tricky (rocky) but once you get a few feet offshore the water is deep enough to swim around the protruding rocks. If the tour boats are not present, best route is to swim around the main reef/rock field.

08/24/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 3.59 Review) - We had our 6 yr old, first time snorkeler with us, and had no problem getting in and out of the water. It is rocky, but not that bad. We went around 7:30 am, before the boats got there, and saw an octopus, turtle and sea snake (eek), as well as a variety of fish. We are experienced divers, and both agreed that the variety of sea life was some of the best we've seen. We had gone the day before and weren't so lucky, so I think the time of day is a big factor. Go early.

09/29/2008 Greg from Hooksett (Avg: 3.44 Review) - Very easy access, great snorkeling spot. One of the areas that the tours visit, but the cove is large and you can get away easy. Great fish diversity, although some are annoying and follow you (sergeant majors) because they are used to being fed. There are lots of rock lobsters if you look in the right places. Coral was ok. Great if you are a beginner as it is generally shallow and very good right off shore.

03/14/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 3.18 Review) - It was fantastic!

01/30/2008 Arubalisa (Avg: 3.20 Review) - We snorkeled at this spot early in January. Entry is extremely difficult. There are nothing but rocks and the water is extremely shallow for quite a ways out. Once you get out, there are plenty of fish and critters to see. A much better option though is to enter just slightly farther south at Boca Catalina where there is a nice white sand beach and then simply swim along the rocky coastline towards the north.

07/22/2006 Elgin Z. (Avg: 3.64 Review) - I was very disappointed the first time I snorkeled this site. It is a popular snorkeling site and for some reason I was expecting to find a stunning coral reef, which was just not there. I left disappointed and vowed never to return. But I did return and I'm happy I did. This site has since become one of my favorite on the island. The reason for this is simple: the turtles. On my last 6 visits to this site I had 12 turtle sightings. I never enter the water at the place recommended on this site, because you have to walk out a bit (at least a few steps) and I'm afraid to step on sharp things. That's why I always enter the water at Boca Catalina. Boca Catalina is a nice small beach very close to Catalina Cove (there's a section on Boca Catalina on this web site). When in the water at Boca Catalina you can swim along the shore to Catalina Cove (standing with the beach to your back Catalina Cove will be to your right). From Boca Catalina you'll see some houses built almost on the beach. The entry for Catalina Cove shown on this web site is between the fourth and the fifth house. The area right at Boca Catalina is quite barren, but the fun starts in front of the first house. You'll see some dark rocks/boulders sticking out of the water; the whole area is covered with them. Underwater these rocks/boulders are covered with algae and sand. There are lots of fish in the entire area: Sergeant Majors, Small Mouth Grunts, French Grunts, Blue Striped Grunts, Parrot Fish (many in an initial phase), Blue Tang, Surgeon Fish, French Angel Fish, Banded Butterfly Fish, Needle Fish, Yellow Tail Snappers, Goat Fish, Blue Head Wrasses, Squirrel Fish, Smooth Trunkfish, Squid, Blue Spotted Cornet Fish (including a 4 foot one!), many different species of Eels, a few Porcupine Fish and I've even seen a Scrawled File fish here. At times there are millions of silversides here too. These are a few of the many species of fish you'll see here. Past the entry to Catalina Cove and thus past the fifth house, you'll see lots of dark rocks on the shore; the water will become pretty shallow (3 to 4 feet). In this shallow area you'll find the largest Green Moray as well as a medium sized Hawksbill Turtle. This turtle will allow you to pet its back if approached calmly. There is another Hawksbill that frequents the area as well as a Green Turtle. When looking for turtles you have to look out in front of you (instead of looking down), because they will usually see you first and try to swim away. Try snorkeling this site in the late afternoon and watch the sun set from the water. It is a beautiful experience. While I have seen divers here, I think you'll have a nicer time exploring this shallow site with just your snorkeling gear. Along the way you'll also see some Yellow Tube Sponges, some Star, Brain and Fire Corals as well as few Gorgonians and some Anemones, but make no mistake about it: this site is all about the turtles!

08/27/2005 Troy at Princeton (Avg: 3.73 Review) - Catalina Cove can be nice for snorkeling, but visibility varies and it can get very crowded. A better spot that is very nearby is off of Arashi beach, just north of Catalina Cove (very hard to miss- there is a big parking lot right off of the road). At Arashi beach, there is a very nice shallow reef (5' to 15') on the far right side of the beach. It is a bit tricky to find- you do need to swim out a ways to find it. But once you find it, it's a great spot.

07/13/2005 Mark 1 (Avg: 3.08 Review) - Went here three times last week. First day great visibility, second day very poor, third day somewhat better. Need to go out a bit to get better visibility. Lots of different fish and rock formations to explore in fairly shallow water. Great spot for beginners, especially on a calm day. Get there early before snorkel boats arrive (9:30 AM ish).

05/20/2005 Allen Abrams (Avg: 3.04 Review) - Rocky bottom, fine sandy area in water for putting on fins; quick surf, so be prepared to get knocked down putting on your fins. 35 to 50 ft out, clears up, larger fish in this area.

05/18/2003 Bill Brown (Avg: 3.38 Review) - My wife and I snorkeled this site 4 times over 2 weeks. Great place to float and watch fish over a shallow reef, except when the tour boats show up. Lots of fish. Find a sandy entry point to return to, or fight the rocks. Head left or right from the beach. (See also Boca Catalina, Malmok, and De Palm as the best beach snorkel spots on Aruba)

03/06/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 4.19 Review) - Great snorkeling with abundant fish including cuttle fish, blue-spotted cornet, octopus, huge angels, flounders, eels, box fish, cow fish, puffers, groupers, parrots. Also the fish were much larger than the ones we have seen further north as in Antigua. In some areas the water was 'thick' with sargeant majors. Easy entry and relatively warmer waters than in the lesser Antilles. Went to Catalina via local bus several times and left our dry stuff on the beach with no problems. Never crowded in early December even with excursion boats anchored off shore.


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Site Photos

Maps
(what is GPS?)
Photo
(click photo for a larger version)
Comments
Parking

 Map     Sat
GPS: AR0201
N1236.3923'
W07003.1271'

 

Parking at Catalina Cove 

Parking is right off the street, 20 meters from the entry.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: AR0202
N1236.3647'
W07003.1416'

 

Left Entry at Catalina Cove 

This is looking towards Boca Catalina, with a snorkeling boat in the background

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: AR0203
N1236.3647'
W07003.1416'

 

Right Entry at Catalina Cove 

There are some steps in the middle to get you from the parking to the beach.

Aerial

 

 

Aerial at Catalina Cove 
(click photo for details)

The shelf is quite a distance beyond the boats, but you can tell why the area is so good for snorkeling.

Last Verification: February, 2001  

 

Diver Averages for  Catalina Cove  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.36
Bottom Conditions:  3.50
Reef Conditions:  3.21
Animal Life:  4.21
Plant Life:  3.14
Facilities:  2.36
Solitude 3.07
Roads:  4.36
*Site Average:  3.46
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.43
Beginner Scuba:  3.14
Intermediate Scuba:  3.07
Advanced Scuba:  2.93
Night diving Scuba:  2.86

Number of reviews for this site: 14

216-2-1-2


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