When planning a dream vacation to Aruba, many people put seeing the pink flamingos at the top of their bucket list. However, it may come as a surprise that flamingos don’t roam in the wild throughout the island. In fact, you can only find an Aruba beach with flamingos in one place: the Renaissance Aruba Private Island. Additionally, you can’t just show up to Renaissance Island without prior preparation. So, in order to spend the day visiting Flamingo Beach, feeding the flamingos, and taking the perfect photos for Instagram, you’ll want to follow this guide to avoid any hiccups.
In this post, I’ll explain the steps to take to visit Renaissance Island and to see the flamingos. We’ll start with how to purchase island passes and how to get to Flamingo Beach. Then, we’ll cover tips for how to take photos with the flamingos, the other activities you can do on the private island, and how to make the most of your time there. Finally, we’ll end by discussing whether the flamingo island is worth a visit. Spoiler alert: I think it 100% lives up to the hype!
Table of Contents
Where is the flamingo beach in Aruba?
As previously mentioned, flamingos are not native to Aruba, and can only be found in one place: Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s Private Island. Now, this island is actually separate from the Renaissance hotel. So, for example, even if you stay at the resort, you won’t be able to walk straight from your room to Flamingo Beach. In fact, arriving at the private island involves a short eight-minute ride via a water taxi! Then, you’ll need to go specifically to the Flamingo Beach section to see the flamingos. There are two main areas on the island, Iguana Beach and Flamingo Beach, as well as the Spa Cove, Papagayo Bar & Grill, and Mangrove Beach Bar.
How much is Flamingo Beach Aruba?
Guests at the Renaissance Aruba Resort can visit Flamingo Beach any time they want for the duration of their stay. However, if you’re not staying at the resort, you’ll need to purchase day passes for the island via https://renaissancearuba.idaypass.com/. The total cost for a day pass to visit Flamingo Beach is $125 per person, and this price includes one lunch and one cocktail at Papagayo Bar & Grill or Mangrove Beach Bar.
How to get to Flamingo Beach Aruba
Option #1: Stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort
If you decide to book a room at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, access to the private island is included in your stay. Since the resort owns the island, the only way to get there is on one of its private water taxis. As a guest at the hotel, you can hop on one of these boats quite easily. All you have to do is go to the Marina Hotel lobby with your key card and wait. The complimentary water taxis leave every 15 minutes beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 6:45 p.m. As far as the pick-up spot, you’ll notice a dock where the water taxis actually pull into the lobby! Once a water taxi arrives at the dock area, the driver will ask you to scan your key card to board.
If you have your heart set on seeing the flamingos, the best solution is to stay a night or two at the Renaissance Aruba. Depending on the number of people in your group, once you each pay for a day pass (if they’re available), you might as well have paid to stay at the hotel. Prices for one night at the Renaissance can range anywhere from $230-$500 depending on the season. So, you may want to sit down and calculate the prices of staying at the hotel versus buying passes and see which option is best for you. Remember, if you’re a guest at the resort, visiting the Renaissance Private Island is free! You can even go for multiple days. Plus, this way, you avoid the possible disappointment of day passes not being available during your vacation dates.
Option #2: Purchase a Renaissance Island Aruba day pass
Can anyone visit Flamingo Beach Aruba? The answer is yes. However, the process of visiting the private island is a little more complicated if you aren’t a guest at the Renaissance Aruba. First of all, as a non-guest, you’ll need to secure an island day pass. These passes cost approximately $125 per person and you can purchase a maximum of five at a time. Secondly, securing day passes can be challenging as the property limits the number of passes offered each day based on the occupancy rate. If the hotel is above 80% occupancy, it may choose to not offer passes at all for that particular day.
The process of booking island day passes has recently changed. In the past, you needed to arrive very early in the morning to get in line and enquire about availability. However, the current process is to book the tickets online at https://renaissancearuba.idaypass.com/. Passes become available at 7 A.M. for the following day and usually sell out in minutes. So, for example, if you’d like passes for May 27, you’ll need to go online on May 26 at 7 A.M. to secure them. The only way for a non-guest to receive access to the Renaissance water taxis is to have a valid day pass. Remember that each visitor’s pass includes one lunch and one cocktail at Papagayo Bar & Grill or Mangrove Beach Bar. Furthermore, be aware that you cannot bring your own food or drinks onto the private island.
Are kids allowed on Flamingo Beach?
Similar to the Renaissance Aruba Resort, Renaissance Private Island is also divided into two zones: one that is family-friendly and one that is adults only. Once you exit the water taxis, “Flamingo Beach”, which is reserved for adults, is to the left. “Iguana Beach”, to the right, is the family side and does not have flamingos. If your kids are specifically hoping to see the flamingos, be aware that children are only allowed on Flamingo Beach from 9-10 in the morning. They must be supervised by an adult at all times. Additionally, attempting to touch, chase, hold, or scare the flamingos in any way is prohibited.
How do I take a picture with the flamingos?
Once you walk onto Flamingo Beach, you should see the flamingos right away. However, capturing a picture-perfect moment with one of them can be difficult. The real secret to taking great photos with the flamingos is simple: give them a snack! Remember to bring U.S. quarters to use at the flamingo food dispensers. You can find these machines right before you step onto the beach. The flamingo food is the “trick” to getting the birds to come to you. It is important for all visitors to NOT chase after the flamingos. Instead, let them approach you. You may have to wait or try a few times before a flamingo is willing to come to you–that is o.k.! Do not try to act aggressively or push the flamingos into interacting with you. If you’re calm, patient, quiet, and have snacks, they will eventually decide to approach you.
The best way to take photos with the flamingos is to arrive early in the morning. I got on a boat at 8:15 a.m., and we were able to snap a few photos before the crowds arrived. Plus, the lighting for pictures is better in the morning anyway! In the afternoons, we noticed that the flamingos were sleepy and would take naps. However, they seemed quite active in the morning. As the island closes at 7 p.m., another ideal time for photos is around 6 in the evening. To leave plenty of time for the perfect photo, I recommend spending a full day on the island. That way, if you aren’t able to get a photo with the flamingos in the morning, you’ll be able to try throughout the day. Please also remember to be respectful of others on the beach as they wait to take their own photos.
What else can I do on Renaissance Private Island?
Even if you’re not interested in seeing the flamingos, there’s still plenty to do on Renaissance Private Island. Your visit includes complimentary beach towels as well as access to chaise lounge chairs. Grab a spot by the beach and spend the day relaxing under the palm trees. If you’d like to be more active, Red Sail Sports store offers paddleboards, snorkeling equipment, and floats you can rent for an additional fee. For a romantic experience, make an appointment at the Spa Cove–imagine a couples massage by the ocean!
If you’re traveling with a big group, you may want to consider renting an oceanfront cabana for the day. Each cabana comes with water, sparkling wine, snacks, butler service, water floats, and snorkeling masks. Cabana 4001 on Iguana Beach even has a waterslide! The price per day for a cabana starts at $370 and you can make your reservation at https://renaissancearuba.ipoolside.com/. There are a total of 15 cabanas available, which are divided between the two island beaches. Remember that the cabanas on Flamingo Beach are for adults only!
What are my options for food on the island?
Please note that you cannot bring your own food and or drinks onto the private island. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to go back to the hotel for meals. In fact, there are two great restaurant options available on the Renaissance Island: Papagayo Bar & Grill and the Mangrove Beach Bar. You can find the former by Iguana Beach, while the latter is next to Flamingo Beach. Papagayo Bar & Grill is the best option for a full, sit-down meal and is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It offers specialty pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven as well as sandwiches, desserts, and cocktails. If you’d like a quick snack or a cocktail while you lounge by the flamingos, you’ll want to check out Mangrove Beach Bar. You can either sit on one of the stools pictured above or wait to be served from your lounge chair.
How can I best spend my time on the island?
As mentioned previously, the earlier you arrive at the Renaissance Private Island, the better. The complimentary water taxis start running at 7 a.m. With this in mind, I would recommend getting to the island between 7:30-9:30 in the morning to have the best experience. That way, you’ll be able to both see the flamingos and grab a chair in the shade before the crowd pours in. It may be helpful to know that the Iguana Beach section of the island has more shaded areas. So, after checking out the flamingos at Flamingo Beach, I’d claim a chaise lounge chair on Iguana Beach. If you’re traveling with your kids, make sure to remember that children are only allowed on Flamingo Beach from 9-10 in the morning. You may want to plan your day accordingly!
Flamingo Beach visiting hours
The Renaissance Aruba Private Island is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first water taxi leaves at 7 a.m. from the resort and the last taxi from the island back to the resort leaves at 6:45 p.m. Children can visit the Flamingo Beach section of the private island from 9-10 a.m. each day.
Is Flamingo Island worth it?
Alright, let’s get real: was it worth the money? For me, personally, I’d say 100% yes. I mean, where else are you going to see flamingos on a beach? Visiting the Renaissance Private Island is an activity that I’d recommend everyone do at least once–especially if this is your first trip to Aruba. Plus, Flamingo Beach makes a really unique and fun destination for honeymoons, bachelorettes, and really any type of celebration. Renaissance Island also offers some of the only private beaches in the country of Aruba.
When is the best time to visit Flamingo Beach?
The weather in Aruba is warm and perfect for a vacation at any time of the year. However, its high season typically spans from mid-December to mid-April. This time of year coincides with winter in the Northern Hemisphere–when vacationers are often trying to escape the cold. Furthermore, Aruba is a popular destination during spring break in the United States. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, I recommend visiting during Aruba’s low season, which runs from mid-April to mid-December. It’s also worth noting that Aruba lies outside of the hurricane belt, meaning hurricane season shouldn’t affect your trip to this island.
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The Renaissance Aruba gave me two day passes to visit the private island during my trip to Aruba. However, they did not ask me to write this article. I wrote it because a lot of readers have asked how to take pictures with the flamingos. All opinions are my own.
An earlier version of this article was published in April 2019.