With so many idyllic stretches of sand and secret, pristine coves all open to the public, Aruba is practically made for beach days. Whether you’re seeking a day filled with water sports or a place to relax with postcard-worthy views, this tiny island has a beach for you. Even the north coast beaches, which are unswimmable due to strong currents, hold the allure of solitude and dramatic wilderness, perfect for secluded picnics or long walks that make visitors feel like they’re the only people on the planet.
Aruba is very protective of its beach and reef treasures. There are laws prohibiting single-use plastics that end up in the water, and a ban on sunscreen that contains oxybenzone, which harms coral. (All over the island, it’s easy to find reef-safe sunscreen that also contains some of Aruba’s famous aloe.) There are also several beach and reef cleanup activities that visitors can join, the largest of which is Aruba Reef Care Foundation’s annual event each October.
So, grab your refillable water bottle and your sense of adventure and go explore Aruba’s diverse range of glorious beaches. Below, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorites to help you plan the ideal day.
1. Eagle Beach
If ever there was a stretch of sand made for long, romantic walks, Eagle Beach is it. Often rated among the top beaches in the world, it offers a dazzling mile of silky white sand and aqua surf, bordered by Aruba’s famous fofoti trees. There are a few spots to rent chairs, but the beach isn’t teeming with water-sport outfitters so you can expect peace and quiet. Just walk past the small zone where Jet Skis sometimes roar by, and you’ll find a long expanse of serene coastline with excellent swimming.
2. Manchebo Beach
Though technically part of Eagle Beach, this broad expanse of blindingly white sand is more often referred to as Manchebo, after the low-rise resort of the same name that staked claim to the spot more than five decades ago. Today, Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa is a health-and-wellness hot spot, where even nonguests can enjoy yoga classes in an open-air pavilion overlooking the beach. After finding your Zen, take to the sand, which four species of sea turtle use as their nesting grounds each year (if you see a red and white barricade, its purpose is to protect a nest). Food and drink spots abound, especially directly behind the beach at the Shops at Alhambra.
3. Druif Beach
Named after a forest of sea grape trees that once grew here, Druif Beach is separated from Eagle Beach by the tiny Punto Brabo peninsula. It’s also known as Divi Beach because it fronts a resort of the same name. Whatever you call it, visit and you’ll find a picturesque, undeveloped length of beachfront for peaceful swimming. After a dip, head to Divi’s Beach Bar (in front of which motorized water sports are prohibited) for a cold local beer and a burger. Stick around until dusk to see silhouettes of pelicans showing off their fishing skills against the setting sun.
4. Palm Beach
Lined with high-rise resorts, Aruba’s busiest beach may not offer much solitude, but it does have nearly everything else. More than two miles of calm surf is lined with restaurants, bars, and chair-rental outlets, as well as every kind of water-sport outfitter imaginable (except surfing). To hit the water in an ecofriendly way, turn to Vela Aruba for some SUP yoga. The company can also take you next door to Hadicurari Beach for windsurfing, kiteboarding, or wing foiling, a new watersport that involves holding an inflatable wing and catching the breeze while standing on a board.
5. Surfside Beach
A few minutes’ drive from the Aruban capital of Oranjestad toward the airport lies Surfside Beach, an excellent spot to spend the afternoon after exploring town. You can also access the beach with the joggers and cyclists via the paved Linear Park that runs along the coast from Wilhelmina Park to the airport: Grab a bicycle from the Green Bike share station in Oranjestad or an electric scooter using the Evikes app. Chair and umbrella rentals are available at Surfside Beach Bar and Reflexions Beach Club, but there’s plenty of shade under the trees lining the park.
6. Boca Catalina Beach
In Malmok, a five-minute drive north of Palm Beach, seek out Boca Catalina Beach, a hidden bay where residents love to swim and snorkel. It’s known for its abundance of colorful marine life, but bring your own snorkel gear as there aren’t any rentals available. (Also pack some water shoes because the narrow opening to the water is surrounded by rocks and cacti.) For the best sightings, walk south to Tres Trapis cove, accessed by a few small steps carved into rock, and snorkel in the underwater cavern to spot sea turtles and starfish. The water here is crystal clear, but be sure to plan your visit for the morning before the snorkeling tours arrive and things get crowded.
7. Arashi Beach
A 10-minute drive from Palm Beach, Arashi is a favorite hangout for local families, especially on Sundays. Bring your own snorkel gear to check out the small reef close to the shore, go bodysurfing in the gentle surf, or simply relax on the wide swath of sand. When hunger strikes, head to Arashi Beach Shack for tropical cocktails and a salt fish burger with fried plantains or fried funchi slices made with polenta. The restaurant also offers chair and umbrella rentals, so you can return to the beach in comfort when you’re done eating.
8. Mangel Halto Beach
Just 10 minutes from downtown Oranjestad, in the rural town of Pos Chiquito, you’ll find a serene mangrove forest bordered by limestone cliffs, plus a secluded stretch of sand known as Mangel Halto Beach. The beach is a favored spot of residents and SUP enthusiasts (though there aren’t any board rentals available), and it’s also popular for shore diving—there’s a resplendent reef and sunken boat to see right offshore. Advanced snorkelers can also visit the reef, but keep in mind that currents can be strong, so if you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s best to explore the area on a clear-bottom kayak tour.
9. Baby Beach
Outside of San Nicolas lies Baby Beach, a sparkling white crescent with calm, shallow waters that are ideal for children. For those who want an adults-only experience, head to the chic Rum Reef Cocktail Bar & Grill, where an infinity pool and a spacious deck offer views of sea turtles swimming in the water. For something more active, rent snorkel equipment from JADS Aruba and check out the small reefs just offshore (though heed the warning signs as the current gets dangerous past the barrier), or ask a local how to find the entrance to the completely secluded Rodger’s Beach just next door.
10. Wariruri Beach
Wariruri Beach on Aruba’s north coast is worth the trek to watch the hypnotic crash of waves against limestone cliffs. Sometimes you’ll even spot professional bodyboarders and surfers in the water, though the beach is strictly unswimmable. While Wariruri is accessible by 4x4, the best way to experience the area and other natural wonders nearby is on horseback. Book a small-group tour with Rancho Ponderosa and go for a comfortable ride atop a Paso Fino horse with an excellent guide and incredible scenery.
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