The glorious turquoise Caribbean waters of Aruba’s Beaches include wide shaded expanses, quiet retreats, busy sunbathing and water sports galore. Much of the seven-mile strip along the west coast is lined with resorts and packed with activity. Beach-goers relax on their comfortable loungers while swimming, snorkeling, kite surfing, water-skiing, tubing, parasailing, banana-boating, and many other wet ‘n’ wild adventures go on just minutes away.
In contrast, Aruba’s Beaches along the windward coast are in more secluded and undeveloped areas. There are coves carved out of limestone, inlets formed by pounding waves, unique natural phenomena and craggy desert terrain. Because of strong undertow and crashing waves, swimming here is not recommended. Both coasts afford spectacular Caribbean views. All beaches are open to the public.
Eagle Beach, Oranjestad
Strolling the plush deep sands of this wide beach, the longest on the island because it connects Manchebo and Druif, offers your calf muscles a surprisingly strenuous workout. But it’s a small price to pay for a day spent on the bone-white soft sands at this family-friendly beach. There’s an international flavor courtesy of a contingent of expats who come for months at a time to eat, sleep and drink within paces of the beach. Other popular activities include zoning out under the shade of swaying palm trees, palapas or umbrellas and, for the more energetic crowd, hitting up one of the many water-sports outfitters that offer catamaran sails, snorkeling excursions and dive trips.
Palm Beach, Oranjestad
Aruba’s interior is arid and rocky, peppered with scrub and cactus. But the west coast is graced with sandy shores that are the pride of area islands, and the most famous of these is Palm Beach. Strolling the high-rise-lined two-mile stretch is a must on this tourist-friendly island, providing ample opportunities for people watching and site seeing. A carefree vibe encourages lazy afternoons spent napping on a float bobbing on gentle waves.
Baby Beach, Seroe Colorado
On most days, there isn’t much of a scene here, and for some that’s the big attraction. When cruise ships are in port, this spot can be anything but tranquil and it’s popular with locals on weekends. Named Baby Beach for its placid, bathtub-warm waters and soft, silky sand, the shallow bay invites even the most timid swimmer. A man-made reef enhances the beauty of the natural coral formations, making this one of Aruba’s best snorkeling spots. Grab a mask and look for parrotfish, blue tang and the occasional octopus.
Fisherman’s Huts ~ Hadicurari
Long before the appearance of the tall hotels that buffer the offshore winds so cherished by windsurfers, this beach was festooned with brightly colored sails. And even before that, fishing boats with the day’s catch lined the shore, their captains sharing fish tales and negotiating fish sales. Today both parties share the sand: Seasoned windsurfers and kite-boarders streak across the horizon while beginners hang close to shore, trying to avoid close encounters with the boats anchored along the coastline. You’ll see more locals and less tourists in this area, just a better reason as a visitor of Aruba to check this beach out!
Arashi Beach, Noord
As you head northwest toward California Lighthouse, this is the last stretch of sand before the terrain begins to resemble a rugged moonscape. Bring your own umbrella or make this a morning stop, as only a handful of palapas dot Arashi’s sands. Brave those scorching beige sands, and you’ll find yourself in one of the island’s best snorkeling spots, with the wreck of Antilla, a 400-foot German freighter.