Where to Find Aruba's Most Beautiful, Peaceful, and Hidden Beaches
With the most sunny days of any Caribbean island, an ever-present breeze to balance out the consistently 81-degree heat, and a fortunate location outside the hurricane belt, Aruba could practically get away with stamping an unlimited beach-time guarantee on every passport that enters.
But on an island lined with white-sand beaches, how do you decide where to park your towel?
We did the legwork and found the best beaches in Aruba for every type of sun worshiper so you can cut to the chase and get your toes in the sand.
Just remember to use SPF — don’t let that pleasant breeze fool you — but if all else fails, the island is also serendipitously known for its aloe.
For the Long Haul: Eagle Beach
On a quiet section of Eagle Beach along Aruba's west coast, a pair of oft-photographed fofoti trees bend longingly towards the turquoise sea, unwittingly creating the perfect metaphor. The world-renowned beach, offering the widest and whitest stretch of sand on the island, is where you’ll want to lay down your roots if you’re the dawn-to-dusk type of beachgoer.
By day, the calm Caribbean Sea invites you for a swim, and by night, the beachfront boutique hotels and restaurants tempt you with sunset cocktails. But the best part is how hassle-free this beach experience is: There’s plenty of parking, shaded spots for picnics, and, most importantly, you’ll never have to fight for a spot in the sand.
For the Action: Palm Beach
The scene at Palm Beach, a two-mile strip shared by the island’s high-rise hotels north of Eagle Beach, is as lively in the water as it is on land: kite-surfers and jet-skiers zoom by as sunbathers look on from the concession stands and beach bars.
For the vacationer who likes to stay up all night and sleep in, getting to Palm Beach in the late afternoon doesn’t mean you missed the boat, it just gives you an excuse to walk straight from your lounge chair to happy hour before dinner, drinks, and gambling at the stretch’s many casinos.
For the Serenity: Mangel Halto Beach
On Aruba’s southeast coast, clear, calm waters meet soft sand shaded by mangroves that twist together to create Mangel Halto’s natural beachside cabanas. Local families come to picnic there or under the palapas, and snorkelers come to gaze at the colorful aquatic life thriving beneath the surface, but the experience is a notably quiet and peaceful one.
If a swim isn’t on the agenda, consider bringing a kayak or just sit on the wooden dock with your feet in the water and take in the scenery, relishing in the feeling that you’ve discovered one of the island’s best-kept secrets.
For the Family: Baby Beach
Baby Beach was named for its tranquil, shallow, child-friendly swimming conditions, but the crescent-shaped beach is more than just a kiddie pool. Tiki hut-like palapas line the sand, a driftwood tree lounges lazily in the lagoon, vibrant coral makes for picturesque snorkeling, and on days when the sky is as clear and blue as the water, Venezuela can be spotted in the distance.
The beach has its own parking lot, a concession stand, and Big Mama Grill next door, a seafood and barbecue shack covered in graffiti-like paintings reminiscent of the buzzy murals commissioned in nearby San Nicolas.
For the Adventure: Arikok National Park
Ruggedly beautiful Arikok is home to dramatic beaches that are often too rough for swimming but well worth the trek to the eastern coast nonetheless. Foamy white waves create a striking contrast as they collide with dark volcanic rock at Blackstone Beach; at Andicuri Beach, the turquoise water attracts daring body surfers between jagged cliffs; and Boca Ketu, near the park’s famous Conchi natural pool, is a secluded spot with powdery sand to sit on while you admire the island’s natural wonders in pure solitude.
To get to these remote beaches, you can take a (very bumpy) Jeep tour or rent a 4x4, and you should also be ready to hike.