Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Aruba Beaches Near Cruise Port

Aruba beach guide
© 2023 Scott S. Bateman

Aruba cruise beaches are among the best in the Caribbean because of the quality of the white sand, their overall size and the atmosphere of the nearby hotels, shops and restaurants.

The island has one famous beach and a semi-famous one that lies next to it. They dominate any beach guide to the island. For cruise visitors, both require a quick drive to get there.

Several are accessible by the public bus system, called Arubus. The main Arubus terminal is across the street from the cruise docks. Routes go north on L.G. Smith Boulevard and stop at Palm, Malmok and Arashi beaches. The buses run throughout each day, often every 30 or 60 minutes.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Caribbean and often ranked as one of the best. The beach is two miles long with plenty of nice white sand and calm waters.

What makes Palm Beach even better is the strip of hotels, shops and restaurants that line it along L.G. Smith Boulevard. Beach visitors will find plenty to do when they want a break from the sand and sun.

The strip comes alive at night and is packed with people walking, eating, drinking or just hanging around. That being said, the popularity of Palm Beach means it can get crowded at times. Go early if possible.

Palm Beach is four miles north of the Oranjestad cruise port. The public bus system is the least expensive way to get to Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. Otherwise, take a taxi.

Aruba has set taxi rates. The current rate for downtown Oranjestad to Palm Beach is $13 per cab.

Note that few shore excursion operators offer just a beach day trip because Palm and others are so close and convenient. Otherwise, island tour excursions include a beach stop among many stops.

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach; © Aruba Tourism Authority

Just south of Palm is Eagle, which is the second most popular beach on the island.

It has some hotels nearby that are less expensive than the ones along Palm. They are good choices for anyone wanting to visit Aruba on a limited budget.

Cruise visitors will find that the quality of the sand is just as good as Palm Beach. It also usually isn’t as crowded. But it doesn’t have the same crowd of shops and restaurants as Palm Beach. So Palm is a better choice for anyone who wants plenty of action.

Facilities for Eagle Beach include parking, picnic areas and some motorized sports. The taxi rate is only $1 less than Palm Beach.

Beaches Within Walking Distance

The smaller and quieter Bushiri Beach is only one mile north of the cruise terminal. Moderately fit walkers can reach it in less than 15 minutes. Otherwise, a taxi ride is $9.

The larger surfside beach is 1.4 miles south. Although it’s a longer walk, cruise visitors can walk through downtown Orangestad to get there. That way they can do plenty of shopping and dining at the same time.

Divi and Manchebo

The west coast of Aruba, location of the cruise port, is actually a string of beaches. They begin with Bushiri, which connects to Divi and Manchebo, which connect to Eagle and then Palm. Got all of that?

Divi has low-rise resorts and is another option for budget-minded travelers. It is a one-mile walk from the cruise terminal.

Manchebo is quiet and private, and it is another good choice for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds at Palm Beach.

It’s two miles north of the cruise terminal, which means most cruise visitors will need to take a taxi to get there.

Quiet: Malmok and Arashi

Palm Beach Aruba
Palm Beach Aruba;
© Aruba Tourism Authority

Malmok is just north of Palm and Arashi is north of Malmok.

Both beaches are next to residential areas, and both also are good for snorkeling.

Arashi is home to the California Lighthouse, one of the more popular attractions on the island.

Again, they are good options for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds at Palm and combine a visit to the photographic California Lighthouse.

Renaissance Island

At the risk of sounding like I’m selling something, which I am not, our favorite beach is privately owned.

The Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino consists of two buildings in Oranjestad.

One is on the water with a small beach and the other is across L.G. Smith Boulevard with no beach at all.

Aruba beach flamingo
Flamingos are common on Renaissance Island. Credit: Unsplash license

But they more than make up for it with Renaissance Island, a 40-acre island owned by Marriott and used exclusively by its guests only a few minutes off the coast.

Clients staying in either hotel have free access to the island via a brief boat trip that takes place throughout the day.

For the hotel across the road, the boat actually rides under the bridge and into a dock in the hotel lobby. It is quite a sight.

The island has two small coves with calm blue waters, friendly flamingoes, snack bars and other facilities. It is quiet, peaceful and private.

Unfortunately, cruise visitors can take advantage of it only by paying $100 for a day pass and only on days when the hotels don’t exceed 80 percent occupancy.

Other Beaches

Baby Beach is at the windy southeastern end of the island. It is a good choice for snorkelers or anyone wanting a side trip after visiting the nearby natural bridges.

Other beaches in the same area include Grapefield near the Aruba Golf Club. Mangel Halto on the southeast coast is a good place for snorkeling and shore diving.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
June 26, 2023

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