Tres Trapi (meaning “three steps”) is a tiny sandy cove nestled in the rocky northwestern shore of Aruba. The 10-meters long beach is accessible by three rustic steps carved into the rock, after which the site have been named. Tres Trapi has white sand, grey cliff and pristine placid waters, where hundreds of red cushion starfish lay on the seafloor, making it one of the favorite and most photogenic snorkeling spots of the island.
Tres Trapi is located a few hundred meters north of Malmok Beach, on the northwestern tip of the island of Aruba. It is next to Ocean 105 Apartment, settled on the left side of the coastal road. From Oranjestad and the high-rise resorts in Palm Beach, drive to the north side of the island, following the “California Lighthouse” signs. Driving time is approx. 20 minutes from the capital city, and 5 to 10 minutes from Palm Beach. The area is also serviced by bus from Oranjestad. See Arubus website for details.
The few steps going down to the tiny Tres Trapi beach provide a convenient access to the water. Just go down the steps and jump in!
The area to explore covers the sandy seabed that extend from the beach to approximately 100 meters offshore. The first 20-30m from the beach are sandy and poor in sea life (↕3-10ft/1-3m), although you may come across some bar jack, Bermuda chub and trunkfish.
Beyond this area, you will start to see dozens of red cushion sea star (oreaster reticulatus) laying on the sand (↕10-13ft/3-4m). It is the most common seastar in the shallow waters of the Caribbean. They are growing to about 40 centimeters in diameter, and their color is some shade of red, orange, brown or yellow. Cushion stars are inoffensive, but don’t take them out of the water.
Boca Catalina, located some 300 meters north to Tres Trapi, is also a great snorkeling spot.
There are no restaurants or snack nearby, so bring you own drinks and food with you. The high-rise resorts area, only a 5-10 minutes’ drive from Tres Trapi, is full of restaurant, fast-food and shops.
Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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