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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 steps, Aruba snorkeling
Tres Trapi and its famous steps.

How to get to Tres Trapi for snorkeling?

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.

Tres Trapi snorkeling map, Aruba

Entering the water at Tres Trapi

The few steps going down to the tiny Tres Trapi beach provide convenient access to the water. Just go down the steps and jump in!

Tres Trapi snorkeling tips

The area to explore covers the sandy seabed that extends 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.

Cushion starfish in Tres trapi, Aruba
Tres Trapi sea stars seen from the surface.

Beyond this area, you will start to see dozens of cushion sea stars (Oreaster reticulatus) laying on the sand (↕10-13ft/3-4m). It is the most common sea star 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.

Snorkeling with starfish in Tres Trapi, Aruba
Cushion sea stars can be found in large numbers on the sandy beds.

Boca Catalina, located some 300 meters north of Tres Trapi, is also a great snorkeling spot.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

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.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

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.