Mangel Halto Beach has everything from the unique mangrove vegetation to some of Aruba’s best snorkeling.
The fine, white sand was hot from the unobstructed sun shining down. Though some braved the rays, sun-bathing, others remained under the scattered straw huts, relaxing in the cool shade. With a UV of 11, sunscreen was a religious experience; reapplied feverishly every thirty minutes. Even my tanned Iranian skin could not withstand the strength of the Aruban sun without some help.
As we walked toward the calm turquoise water, I couldn’t help but think of hotel advertisements and island pictures. I always thought companies edited the ocean to be brighter and bluer. But here it was, the crystal cleat ocean radiant as ever, clearly not edited.
The shore was rocky, but pockets of cleared-out brush were down the coast, leaving small coves that opened out into the spanning sea. The mangrove trees dotted the shore, their short pale trunks rooted in the sand as bright green leaves grew outwards. It was like an ocean forest, and it was beautiful.
This is Mangel Halto Beach, tucked along the southeast coast of Aruba, with mangrove vegetation unique to the island. The beach also has the Mangel Halto Reef just off the coast, offering stunning snorkeling and diving for novices and advanced. Because of its shallow, clear waters, some consider Mangel Halto Reef the best snorkeling in Aruba. Canoeing and paddle boarding are other activities that anyone can enjoy.
It’s said the finest snorkeling is around the cuts and external edge of the reef. From the beach, there are two turquoise cuts in the reef. The one to the right is marked by a big, yellow buoy when facing the sea. However, it can be dangerous to snorkel without calm conditions due to strong currents because of the reef’s proximity to the open ocean. It is recommended to have a guide when exploring the Mangel Halto reef just as a caution. Though beautiful, the sea and its currents are unpredictable, and conditions can very quickly shift.
But when one can, the near-perfect underwater viability allows for breathing views of coral and schools of parrotfish, butterflyfish, and blue tang. The reef plunges to a depth of 110 ft where one can see barracudas and octopi if lucky.
The reef offers a booming, diverse ecosystem, but that doesn’t stop above the waves. Mangel Halto Beach is home to various birds, like the black-necked stilts, herons, and sandpipers. They come to these waters searching for food or resting in the dense brush of the trees.
Because of its vast ecosystems, tourists and locals must be conscious of how they treat Mangel Halto. If they want to preserve the natural beauty of the beach and reef, people must respect the environment and animals.
Mangel Halto was a place of natural beauty. My friends and I spent the day sunbathing on the soft sand and floating in salty water. It was the perfect relaxing reset that all of us needed. If you visit the island of Aruba, Mango Halto Beach is a must-see, whether you want to relax in the sun or have an adventure underwater.