Can an island ever have too many great beaches? Not to travelers seeking fun and relaxation along with brilliant sunshine, beautiful white sand and warm aquamarine surf that beckons them to dive right in. Luckily, beaches are abundant on Aruba, which is blessed with a Southern Caribbean location—it’s the A in the ABC islands—that’s below the hurricane belt but also in a region of almost constant trade winds that keep temperatures comfortable and windsurfers and kitesurfers happy.
But with a few dozen options to choose from, most of them public, which beach suits your idea of perfection? We’ve rounded up the 10 best beaches in Aruba to help you decide.
There’s a reason most of Aruba’s major resorts (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Barceló Aruba) are located along this two-mile gem: Its pale-white sand is soft as can be and its vibrant turquoise water is unbelievably clear, shallow and calm. This makes Palm Beach an ideal aquatic playground for both couples and families—everyone will want to float and splash for hours, so pack plenty of sunscreen—and a wonderful spot for a stroll to an over-the-water beach bar to enjoy the coast’s legendary sunsets.
And true to its name, this long and narrow crescent is lined with towering coconut palms, which rustle soothingly in the wind and provide a bit of added shade beyond the plentiful resort umbrellas and thatched-roof palapas. Yet just yards behind all this beauty lies the heart of Aruba’s dining and nightlife, including many top casinos.
Like Palm Beach, Eagle is located on Aruba’s west coast, but it’s famous for being the island’s widest and perhaps whitest beach—its sand is as pale and fine as sugar—along with having a distinctly mellower vibe. This pristine strand, which often appears on lists of the best beaches in the Caribbean, is popular among couples looking for laid-back relaxation at low-rise boutique resorts, such as Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.
It’s also a favorite of sea turtles (four species are known to nest here) and is home to two of Aruba’s most-photographed landmarks: a pair of divi divi trees, their gray trunks artfully contorted by the ever-present breeze. Eagle Beach is public and its water is clear and calm, perfect for a day trip from a cruise ship or a week of carefree resort relaxation.
Snorkelers love this pretty public beach, located on on Aruba’s northwest coast just off the road to the California Lighthouse, but it also has plenty to offer sun worshippers looking for a peaceful setting and super-clear water with gentle currents—although the sand at the shoreline has a few pebbles and isn’t quite the equal of Palm or Eagle beaches.
The snorkel areas, home to a wide array of sea life, are located to the left (better for beginners) and right (only for more advanced snorkelers who are strong swimmers), while visitors who prefer to sun, splash and play can arrive early to nab a free palapa or rent loungers and umbrellas (try to negotiate on price) or grab a snack at the beach shack. There are also restrooms, which charge a $1.00.
What’s in a name? Well, Baby Beach as it turns out is a great option for families with babies and toddlers since the half-moon shape of this cove with its man-made breakwater keeps its shallow lagoon-like waters warm, calm and ideal for wading and swimming. Snorkeling is popular here, too, but do stay within the marked area—the current can be quite strong past the rocks.
Located past San Nicholas on the southeast coast more than a half hour from Palm Beach, Baby Beach requires a rental car, bus or taxi ride, or group tour to access. Visitors will find some beach palapas for shade and restroom facilities were recently added.
Located close to Aruba’s capital and commercial hub, Oranjestad, Surfside Beach offers easy access for cruise-ship passengers looking to shop, hit the casinos or try some local Aruban cuisine and then enjoy an ocean dip without spending an entire day at the beach. Expect soft sand and calm water, along with beach chair rentals, a restaurant/bar and restroom facilities.
Surfside Beach is also close to the airport, so travelers with time before their flight home can hang out and watch the planes land and take off while wading into the water, tropical cocktail in hand, before bidding Aruba “Ayo” (that’s goodbye in the local Papiamento dialect).
Visitors who prefer adventure to lounging beneath an umbrella are likely to enjoy visiting this wild and unpredictable beach that’s reachable only by 4×4 vehicle (a popular tour excursion on Aruba). This isn’t the spot for swimming, however, as waves are known to reach 12-18 feet and create plenty of drama as they crash against the rugged shore of the north coast in Arikok National Park.
The beach itself is a stunner and is an ideal spot to rehydrate and enjoy a snack—and watch any surfers brave enough to battle the waves—before heading off to see the nearby Natural Bridge and the Ayo Rock Formations.
Where does Eagle Beach end and Manchebo Beach start—and does it really matter? Not really, because like Eagle this wide stretch of incredibly white sand on Aruba’s west coast is a beach aficionado’s paradise, with clear turquoise water and a mix of currents that make it ideal for swimming in some spots and fun for body surfing in others.
While the beach is public, it is also home to the low-rise Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, so dining and restroom facilities are nearby.
Located on Aruba’s southeast coast, not far from Baby Beach, Boca Grandi is the place where locals (and a few intrepid visitors) head to go kitesurfing. The almost constant winds at this wide, semicircle beach provide plenty of lift and airborne action, so it’s a great spot to snap Instagram-able photos of the daredevils sailing on and over the waves (neighboring Bachelor’s Beach is also a popular kitesurf locale).
The sand here is super soft and white, but swimming isn’t advised (the water is quite choppy with strong currents) and there are no restroom facilities. Still, it’s a beautiful spot for visitors who want to rent a car and explore Aruba’s dramatic landscape.
Once visitors learn how to pronounce it—it’s best to ask a local—they arrive and find this lovely curve of beach located between Oranjestad and Manchebo/Eagle beaches to be an easily accessible, quiet and relaxing option, but with just enough action to keep things interesting. Druif (which means “grape” in Dutch) is home to several resorts, including the Divi and Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive Resorts, as well as restaurants and restroom facilities.
The water is calm and inviting, and those who love a good walk on the beach can start here and head past the elbow of Machebo Beach to Eagle Beach for some of the best sand-and-water visuals on the island.
Renaissance Private Island Beach
The only beach on the list that’s not public, this beach known for its calm water and excellent swimming conditions is located on a private island just off Aruba’s coast and is only accessible via a shuttle boat to guests of the Aruba Renaissance Resort.
Divided into two areas—Iguana Beach for families and Flamingo Beach for adults only (which features overwater cabanas for rent)—Renaissance Private Island Beach is also home to a photogenic flock of pink flamingos, which for bird lovers may be reason enough to book a room at the Renaissance and stay for a while.