How Common Are Sharks In Aruba Beaches?

Last updated July 31, 2017

Note: currently (July 2017) we are working on a new article about sharks in Aruba. We are trying to collect relevant information from local sources about sharks in the Caribbean water around Aruba. The article below has been tweaked and updated.

Aruba Sea is hot

What do people ask themselves in the midst of their research of their vacation? Weather? Check. Tickets? Check. Good hotel deal? Check?

How about the sea temperature in Aruba? A healthy 84 degrees Fahrenheit average (29 degrees Celsius). Speaking of sea temperature, how about sea creatures such as sharks? Let’s lay it out, please read on.

How about sharks in Aruba beaches

The Caribbean waters are filled with all kinds of marine life, including sharks. Did you know that on average 5 people are killed worldwide by sharks, while in the same time span people kill 100 million sharks? This is according to a conservationist Sharks4Kids, from the Bahamas (see above film).

Sharks are wild animals and people should be careful near these animals, just as people should stay away from wild dolphins as well. Back in 2007 there was a sighting of a school of wild dolphins near the shallow areas of Palm Beach, which prompted several tourists to foolishly approach these wild mammals. If you are not trained, please don’t try to approach these animals, however well-intentioned it may be.

Shark Feeding Story

One of the most popular and common stories hear about sharks in Aruba is really a funny one. Apparently, we locals feed the sharks on the opposite side of the island; this way somehow it will prevent sharks from going near the hotels.

Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that indeed there is shark feeding going on (which would attract a whole lot more than sharks alone) at the opposite side of the island, what guarantee would you then have that after the feeding comes to an end for the day the sharks won’t venture out to other areas near the coast to seek for more “easy” food, therefore creating a whole new set of problems?

Additionally, it would seem very costly, time-consuming and un-natural to tackle this hypothetical problem, which makes this assumption not plausible. Please put this story in the “old wife’s tale”-column.

There are sharks and creatures in the sea

The fact of the matter is that there are animals in the water surrounding this beautiful island including a diverse and vibrant underwater sea life. It is uncommon, however, to witness sightings of such visitors like sharks, dolphins or jellyfish, to mention a few. Fact is that in recent times (since the tourism boom of the 90s) to this date (early 2015) no major shark attack has been recorded near any Aruba beaches.

Having said that at the end of 2015 a tiny merchant boat traveling from Bonaire to Aruba, that was filled to the brim with spirits, took in some water and started sinking. In the treacherous and wavy waters, crew members frantically tried to hold on whatever they could to stay afloat. One crew member, while in the water, was attacked by a shark as he was being rescued by a coastguard helicopter. After being pulled out of the water he was rushed to the local hospital but unfortunately passed away due to the injuries sustained by the shark attack. This incident happened reportedly on the high seas and deep waters of the Caribbean at about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the island. Read more about this at The Guardian.

On occasion, there are reports of locals catching sharks, like large bull sharks. Local fishermen either go on boats or stay at the edge coastline to catch these rather dangerous fish. They typically go out early in the morning or late at night. They fish old-fashioned by throwing a line and reeling them in. It can take up to an hour to fight the mighty shark before being able to get it out of the water. I’m not sure under what circumstances but I guess that they threw feed/bait into the water to attract these animals.

Lastly, below is an interesting video about shark research in the Caribbean island of Turks & Caicos Islands. Please take notice that this island group is located in the northern Caribbean, 645 miles (1038 kilometers) away from Aruba and its eco-system is dissimilar to Aruba’s. One-on-one comparisons between Aruba and Turks & Caicos, therefore, is not possible. Nevertheless, the general information and conservation efforts shown in the video are extremely valuable.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.