Among the big Caribbean vacation island players, Aruba remains a popular destination for good reason. It’s idyllic, with its aquamarine waters and stretches of Colonial architecture—all turrets and candy-colored facades. Every street corner and curve of beach are an Instagram-worthy confection.
When booking your trip, consider how much you like crowds. On the northwestern end of the Dutch Caribbean island is what’s called the Palm Beach section, and it’s decked with high rise mega-hotels like the Marriott and Hyatt. Here, towering buildings are de rigeur, as are, well, all the tourists. It’s where you go for a high-octane nightlife scene—not for an escape.
A little closer to the airport, however, is Eagle Beach, which tends to be a bit more mellow. Hotels are shorter and boast a more intimate vibe. There's not much in the way of shopping or casinos, here, but you can enjoy the mesmerizing beaches in relative peace.
We've picked five of the best all-inclusive spots scattered across Aruba, because nobody knows your beach preferences like you do.
If architecture matters to you, this golden-hued, Colonial-style spot could be right up your alley. A nod to the island's Dutch history, the Eagle Beach hotel is an aesthetic departure from many of the predictable super-resorts nearby. Though not technically an all-inclusive, guests who stay three nights or more can take advantage of a reasonably priced package deal. Included is access to the quartet of on-property bars and restaurants, free use of floats, snorkeling equipment, and mountain bikes, unlimited drinks at the bar, and even (for those staying a full week) an off-property dinner at a nearby resort’s restaurant. Fans love the Amsterdam’s super-friendly, attentive staff and the relaxed vibe.
Travelers seeking a traditional Caribbean all-inclusive should head to buzzy Palm Beach, and check in at this splashy resort. Hotel Riu Palace is right off the main strip, and its enormous pools are a big draw for families (kids are permitted). Spring breakers, on the other hand, as well as in-room parties are formally discouraged. The all-inclusive covers all tips and taxes, snacks, three meals per day, room service (from a short menu), local and imported drinks, snorkeling equipment, kayaking, access to four restaurants, and evening entertainment. Be prepared to wake early and stake out a beach chair in the shade, as there’s often competition for prime spots. Pro tip: Request a room that’s not too close to the bars, parking lots, or the casino.
Adjacent to possibly the most tranquil stretch of sand on the island, this 72-room boutique Eagle Beach hotel boasts all the amenities you could want on a tropical vacation (including yoga, a gym, and massages in a spa tucked inside a tropical garden) with a decidedly cozy vibe. Rooms are simple, but the lizards and birds that roam the property provide additional pops of color. Couples will feel comfortable here, as there are not a ton of kids, but the all-inclusive package is a bargain for families. Available to guests staying four nights or more can purchase the add-on for $140 per adult, $90 for kids older than 11, and $70 for younger children.
Credit: Courtesy of Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort
Love to golf? Tucked away on low-maintenance Eagle Beach is a golf and beach resort with a few great all-inclusive packages—including one in which kids get to stay and eat for free. Golf is included after 3 p.m. and includes fees and carts, while kids will flip at the sight of the property's waterslide. (Adults, don’t worry: There’s a swim-up bar just for you.) Guests love being able to roam from one Divi property to another (like Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive), snacking at any of the group's 14 restaurants or 11 bars.
Less pocketbook-friendly than Divi, the Holiday Inn is nonetheless ideal for travelers who prefer a slightly more familiar vacation vibe, and the all-inclusive is perfect for families. This Palm Beach hotel has the conservative rooms you’d expect from a Holiday Inn (think: blonde wood and aqua accents) that have a way of contributing a sort of familiar Zen to your stay. All-inclusive packages include credits at the spa, and (with the family package) kids under 12 eat free off the dedicated children's menu. Just read the fine print carefully. Here, you’ll get unlimited resort brand liquors, but not necessarily non-local beers.