When we decided to visit Aruba, only one thing immediately came to mind: “I HAVE to see the flamingos!” Who can resist beautiful pink birds gallivanting across white sand and crystal blue waters? If you’ve landed here on my blog, you’re probably trying to do the same – with burning question: “How exactly can I visit?” SO many people post that iconic photo in Aruba on Flamingo Beach (also known as Flamingo Island), but don’t share the steps to get there. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get island day passes, costs, how to get there, things to do when you arrive, and more. Class is in session!
Last Update: This information is the most up-to-date as of summer 2022.
Where Is Flamingo Beach in Aruba?
“Flamingo Beach” is located on a private island owned by Marriott, as a part of the Renaissance Aruba resort in Oranjestad. Although it’s colloquially known as Flamingo Beach or Flamingo Island, the formal name for the escape is the Renaissance Island. Flamingo Beach is actually just one of the beaches on the island. The small strip of land is located off the western coast of Aruba, directly across from Queen Beatrix International Airport. It’s only accessible by boat (more on that later!).
How To Get Passes to Flamingo Beach
Here are the three ways to get access to Renaissance Island to see the flamingos.
Snag Day Passes
The most cost-effective way to visit Flamingo Beach is to buy a day pass online, which costs $125 per person. While you used to be able to walk up early in the morning and purchase them in person, they’re now limited to online-only sales. Remember when everyone used to camp outside of stores to buy the new iPhone? This kind of operates the same way, but online.
Every Saturday at 9am, Island Passes go on sale for the upcoming Monday to Sunday on the day pass website (renaissancearuba.idaypass.com). They sell out QUICK, so I recommend having your credit card information saved in your browser and already knowing which day (have a backup date too) that you want to get passes for. I logged on around 8:50am, and refreshed the page right at 9:00am so that I wouldn’t miss them. Success!
Personally, I think booking a Day Pass is the best way to access the island. Not only is it the most budget-friendly, but it also includes lunch and a cocktail.
Book a Spa Treatment at Okeanos Spa
If the day passes don’t work out, don’t worry. This isn’t the end of your opportunity yet, my friend. It just might cost you a little bit (okay, a lot) of extra dough. The Okeanos Spa on Renaissance Island offers couples massages, facials, body treatments and more. All packages booked for a private Spa Cove include entry and a one-day admission to the island. However, for two, this will run you upwards of $300 – plus a $25 “boat fee” per person for non-Renaissance guests.
If you’re looking for something romantic to do, this could be a good avenue. You’ll book directly through the spa by calling +297 523 6176.
Stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort
Perhaps the easiest (and most guaranteed) way to get access to Flamingo Beach is simply to book a stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort in Oranjestad – also known as the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The property itself is beautiful, featuring a full-service spa, casino and choice of fine restaurants on-site. Guests of the hotel have unlimited free access to Renaissance Island during operating hours. No Hunger Games-style website buying war or expensive spa treatments. You may consider booking one night here, and booking other accommodations for the rest of your trip to save money.
How to Get There
Renaissance Island can only be reached by taking the Water Taxi from the main lobby of the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort. In the large atrium behind the concierge desk, you’ll see a small boardwalk where the boats come and go every 15 minutes in front of the Starbucks. You’ll have your day passes scanned by the captain prior to boarding, and off you go! The ride is only about 10 minutes, but prepare for a gentle spray of water and a good bit of motion. At least, that was the case for us – our driver was speeding pretty fast. Hang on to your hats!
Hours: The first boat ride is at 7:00am, and the last boat ride is at 6:45pm
Things to Do on Renaissance Island
Feed the Flamingos
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Don’t forget to bring quarters with you to purchase food for the flamingos. The food is in a little gumball machine on the boardwalk next to Flamingo Beach. To get there, you’ll take the immediate right turn from the boat launch and walk down to the beach. There, you’ll find a long stretch of white sandy shores and a shaded area with a shallow pool where the flamingos enjoy hanging out. If you’re looking to get the perfect photo, patience is key. They often bask in the shade when it’s sunny and you’ll have to wait until they’re ready to go down to the water. Even then, only 2-3 might be in the water while the others sleep at their shaded area. Instagram and reality are two different things, don’t forget!
Feed the Iguanas
Nobody ever talks about them, but the island is also filled to the brim with iguanas. So much so, that the other beach on the island is named Iguana Beach. If you take the immediate left turn from the boat launch, you’ll find that portion of the beach as well. They like to eat the food too! Also, they’re not shy – they’ll walk right up to you.
Grab a Bite and a Drink at Papagayo Bar & Grill
One of the benefits of buying a day pass is that it comes with a free lunch and cocktail! Papagayo Bar & Grill is the on-site restaurant located on Iguana Beach. The food there is absolutely delicious, as well as the drinks! Plus, you can escape the sun for a bit under their beautiful shaded lounge. If eating on the beach is more your style, they’ll also serve you while seated on the lawn chairs and tables on the beach. We loved the tacos and the flatbread pizza!
Enjoy Free Kayaking, Snorkeling, Floats, and Paddleboarding
Renaissance Island offers free access to snorkeling, paddleboarding, floats and kayaking gear during your adventure. Simply approach the gear rental station and request the gear. You might have to wait a bit depending on availability. They’ll take down your credit card information as collateral, but they don’t make any charges. They return the credit card information slip to you upon your return of the rental.
Find Your Own Cozy Hammock
There are so many scenic and secluded areas to sit peppered throughout hidden coves on the island. One of my favorites is the hammock area that’s hidden behind the bushes on Flamingo Beach. You can sit suspended over shallow water full of tiny fish and enjoy a good book or even take a nap (don’t forget to wear sunscreen, though!).
Rent a Private Cabana
For a more luxury experience, there are beautiful private cabanas that line the coast of Flamingo Beach. Unfortunately, they’re only for guests of the hotel. If you decided to stay at the Renaissance Aruba, here are the cabana rental options.
Other FAQ About Flamingo Beach
“Is Flamingo Beach in Aruba Kid-Friendly?”
While the Iguana Beach side is open to children 24/7, Flamingo Beach is only open to children between 9am – 10am. After that, it’s the “adults only” section.
“Is it Really Worth It?”
This question is impossible to answer because we all experience things differently. Some folks say the money wasn’t worth it, but to me it was because I got to cross something off my bucket list. Not to mention the epic photos! Also, the day pass includes lunch, cocktails, and free equipment rentals. That’s a bonus for sure!
“I Couldn’t Get Passes – Where Else Can I See Flamingos in Aruba?”
A lesser-known place to see the flamingos is De Palm Island, which has more of a “party vibe” with waterslides, banana boats, and ziplines for kids. Think of Renaissance Island as the grown and boujie auntie, while De Palm is her fun baby cousin.