Aruba's Beaches

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Aruba's Beaches
Aruba's beaches range from the seemingly endless and opalescent—such as Palm Beach, which stretches on for nearly two miles—to the wild and untrammeled—such as Arikok National Park, whose rocky coast is perfect for those looking for adventure.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Photo courtesy of Corey Weiner Red Square Photography/The Jolly Pirate
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    Palm Beach and Beyond
    Aruba's famous Palm Beach is a stunning two-mile stretch of sand shared by upscale hotels, water sport outfitters, beach bars, and restaurants. Stow away on a Jolly Pirates ship for an island cruise—the Sunset Sail includes open-bar privileges and a rope swing—before hitting up one of the beach parties that bring this part of Aruba to life after dark. If Palm Beach sounds like too much hard work, De Palm Island (further south) is an all-inclusive island resort that offers respite from the crowds and a chance to enjoy the sand and sun in a more relaxed setting.
    Photo courtesy of Corey Weiner Red Square Photography/The Jolly Pirate
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    Secluded Beaches
    Rugged Boca Prins in Arikok National Park, with its rough waters, windswept terrain, and massive sand dunes, seems far removed from the manicured Palm Beach. Boca Prins, accessible via 4x4 or a long hike, is the perfect place for a unique picnic with your sweetheart. Alternatively, Andicuri Beach provides plenty of peace and quiet—provided there's not a bodyboarding competition happening—as well as picturesque bluffs and an ultra-secluded cove. Access to the beaches of Renaissance Island is reserved for guests of Renaissance Resort, and then only via private boat from the landing in Oranjestad. The pristine private island has white-sand beaches, shady coves, and seaside hammocks.
    Photo by David Letts/age fotostock
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    For the Love of Sport
    Aruba has as many sporting options as all other Caribbean destinations combined. Many hotels work with outfitters like Red Sail Sports to arrange excellent activities for visitors, including snorkeling and scuba, horseback trips, wakeboarding, big-game fishing, surfing, and skydiving. If you can dream it up and attach a thrill to the experience, you can do it on Aruba. Red Sail Sports is one of the largest and most well-respected outfitters on the island, with new equipment, private catamarans, and plenty of boats to service guests. Delphi Watersports is considered the island's finest fly-fishing outfitter, with experienced, inspiring guides ready to take you out on the water.
    Photo by Oscar Garces/age fotostock
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    Rest and Relaxation
    You put 20 romance novels on your Kindle, and come hell or high water you're going to read them! Manchebo Beach is a fine place to disconnect from your everyday, with a brilliant stretch of white sand along Aruba's southwest. Eagle Beach's soft white sand has come to represent the perfect vision of paradise for generations of visitors; along with Baby Beach, it is renowned for its loose dress code—clothing is optional. Dos Playa is a beach with a split personality: Surfers frequent one half, while the other stretch is beloved by beachgoers who lounge in the shade of sea grape trees while enjoying stunning sea vistas.
    Photo by Dennis MacDonald/age fotostock
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    Spa Sessions by the Sea
    You've come to the right place if you're after a bit of pampering on the beach. Book your appointment at Spa Del Sol for around sundown and settle into a private gazebo while the island's birdlife stages a concert in your honor. On Renaissance Island, Okeanos Spa's full-day package offers an island escape from the island. The remarkable Mandara, just off Palm Beach, provides Balinese-style pampering in Aruba's largest spa, with couples' treatment rooms, Vichy showers, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, and more. Mandara also offers a Honeymoon Delight package that includes Caribbean coffee scrubs, aromatherapy baths, massages, and more.
    Photo courtesy of Okeanos Spa at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
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    You need at least a dozen photos of yourself practicing paddleboard yoga if you're going to call this trip a success, so grab some gear from the nearest beach hut (Red Sail Sports on Palm Beach is a great option) and set forth upon the sea. Paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing recreational sports in the world, though you shouldn't get too worked up if you don't catch on right away. Aruba Surf and Paddle School will have you on your feet in no time. With more than 20 years of board-sport experience, there is no better place to learn paddleboarding and surfing. Instructors can even help fix your GoPro to your board.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Snorkeling Trips
    A trip to Aruba demands at least one snorkeling excursion. Take a trip to Arashi Beach and spy the California Lighthouse, where the sea plays host to the wreck of the Antilla, a 400-foot German freighter. Red Sail Sports offers full- and half-day snorkeling excursions aboard their custom catamarans. At the other end of the island, Baby Bay's calm waters and soft sand lend themselves perfectly to swimmers of untested ability, while the man-made reef is a hangout for rays, octopuses, parrot fish, and more. For something a bit different, Aruba Bob Snorkeling runs underwater scooter trips to Mangel Halto, home to Aruba's most stunning natural coral formations.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Mixed Doubles
    Beach tennis is played on a volleyball court with a fat paddle and deflated tennis ball, which means there is little chance of a fast ball whizzing past your face while you attempt to cradle a rum cocktail in your free hand. Beach Tennis Aruba runs four courts at Moomba Beach Bar, where you can practice your skills for $5 per person. Divi Beach Tennis Aruba Tournament, hosted at Eagle Beach, sees 800 players from dozens of nations compete for a purse valued at more than $25,000. The temporary tennis village, with more than 20 courts, is something to see. If you're looking for a less organized event, plenty of volleyball courts pop up along Palm Beach when the sun is shining—which is virtually every day.
    Photo courtesy of Beach Tennis Aruba
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    Windsurfing is an exhilarating way to spend a day in Aruba, and the high winds of the Caribbean make this the perfect destination. Dozens of outfitters compete for your patronage; Aruba Kitesurfing School has top-notch equipment, experienced instructors, and excellent packages that range from five-hour introductions to four-day immersion courses. If you've already mastered the wind, you can rent equipment from the huts at the north end of Palm Beach. Pro Kite School Aruba at Boca Grande is home to Pechi Pechacek, pro rider and world-record holder, who will have you ready for the Hi-Winds Amateur World Challenge before you know it.
    Photo by Flash Parker