On the southern coast west of San Nicolas, the Mangel Halto reef is known for great reef snorkeling but there can be strong currents. The Mangel Halto Reef area is also known as Spanish Lagoon, and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Aruba. During Mangel Halto Reef snorkeling, you may encounter cuttlefish, cowfish, grunts, sergeant majors, butterflyfish, sea anemone, snapper, blue tangs, stingrays and barracuda. There's also plenty of fire coral around.
The Mangel Halto snorkelen is located 0.75 miles south of Barcadera Harbor or 3.6 miles to the west-northwest of Lagoville. The snorkeling reef is about 350 feet offshore of Mangel Halto beach. The waters are roughly 15 feet deep. As of April 2013, there was a new dock with a ladder leading down into the water for access. From the shore, there is a great deal of turtle grass in the sand flats. Keep snorkeling out until you get to the nice stands of elkhorn coral. Keep in mind that there may be strong current just past the drop off and the channel marker. This is not really a place for beginners.
To reach the Mangel Halto Reef snorkelen near Savaneta, you can use the cheap public bus from the main hotel zone in Oranjestad and head south.
To reach the snorkeling on Aruba by air, you will need to fly into Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). There are several major airlines that fly into Aruba including US Air, United, Delta and KLM. Keep in mind that there is a $37 USD departure tax to leave Aruba. This tax may be included in the airline ticket, but you will need to make sure. Due to the crowds at the two levels of passport control in Aruba, you may want to allow up to 3 hours at the airport, especially between 11am to 3pm on Fridays through Sundays.
While snorkeling off Aruba, you may encounter angelfish, butterflyfish, cuttlefish, cowfish, grunts, sergeant majors, lionfish, blue tangs, wrasse, sea anemone, and barracuda among elkhorn coral, brain coral and sea fan formations. Keep in mind that it can be quite windy off Aruba in the afternoons, so the best time of day for Aruba snorkeling is in the morning.
Overall, Mangel Halto Reef is the 2nd most popular snorkel dive spot of all 11 snorkeling dives in Aruba.