Stretching from The Westin Resort & Casino to the Aruba Marriott Resort, Palm Beach passes by most of the island's high rise resort hotels. This wide, white sand beach is perfect for sunning and socializing, and the calm waters are wonderful for swimming and sailing. Bright tropical fish swim through the clear blue water, so snorkelers will find plenty to observe. If you get tired of sitting on the beach, wander up to the hotels – most of them have ocean-side gardens that are open to the public, little souvenir kiosks and cozy beach bars with excellent cocktails and Barbecue platters.
Recommended for On the Water because: Palm Beach is the most popular and lively beach of Aruba and ideal for guests seeking an active day at the beach.
Local Expert tip: Keep in mind that beach long chairs and canopies are designated to their own resort, or a private company. Always ask before settling down.
"Travel + Leisure" magazine named this stretch of powdery soft white sand one of the "10 Best Beaches in the World." This public beach offers plenty of parking and shady picnic areas. Swimming is wonderful here and local hotels can set you up with equipment for water sports or other beach activities.
This secluded beach gets its name from the calm, shallow waters that make it perfect for babies – and timid swimmers! This is the beach that the locals frequent on their days off. Snorkelers will also enjoy this area thanks to the coral formations that shield the lagoon. Bring your own towels and any gear that you will need since there are no facilities here, though a snack truck does offer refreshments, and there are some shaded areas for cooling off.
This soft, white sand beach is located close to Baby Beach on the island's eastern tip. Swimming is excellent here, and the trade winds will keep beach bunnies cool. Coral formations are popular with snorkelers, and there is usually live entertainment at the water's edge.
If scuba diving is not your thing but the wonders of the deep fascinate you, De Palm Tours has just the thing: the Atlantis Submarine Expedition that allows you to see a stunning array of marine life, from fish and sea turtles to coral and stingrays. If just being under the water (even in an airconditioned submarine) makes you jittery, try Atlantis' semi-sub, the Seaworld Explorer, which stays on the surface but offers incredible views from the hull. Tours are offered daily, call for specific times. The Atlantis Submarines Expedition tours begin at the Adventure Center in downtown Oranjestad where you will take a short transfer to the submarine onboard our shuttle vessel SubSeeker.
Recommended for On the Water because: The Atlantis Submarines Expedition offers a unique experience and very close view of Aruba's exotic marine life at depths up to 130 feet.
Local Expert tip: Children must be a minimum of 36" in height and 4 years old to ride the submarine.
De Palm Tours, Aruba's largest tour company, has been operating on the island for over 40 years. Every possible activity can be arranged. Popular tours include the Palm Pleasure Snorkel Adventure; a half-day sailing and snorkeling expedition that offers lunch, an open bar, all snorkeling equipment, and the option to upgrade to a SNUBA dive experience (no dive certification required); the Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Walk at De Palm Island is another favorite underwater adventure for swimmers and snorkelers who want to plunge into the deep without needing scuba diving lessons and certificates. Not even the water-shy can escape a dive into the ocean, but they are able to stay dry with De Palm's Atlantis Submarine Expedition, or the Sea Explorer.
Recommended for On the Water because: De Palm Tours has so many wonderful water sports activities to keep the whole family (or couples) thrilled.
Local Expert tip: Children from ages 4-7 are also able to participate with the new SNUBA Doo unique underwater adventure (available at De Palm Island)
Red Sail Sports Aruba operates nine full-service dive and water sports centers: at the Hyatt Regency, the Marriott (3), Renaissance Island, La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, Amsterdam Manor, The Village (in front of the Radisson) and in the Port Of Call mall in downtown Oranjestad. Since first opening in 1989, the company has acquired a fleet of dive boats and catamarans accommodating 24-125 people; a variety of tours are offered on these boats, from snorkeling and scuba diving trips to sunset cocktail cruises and deep sea fishing charters. Additionally, they rent every conceivable piece of equipment you might need for having fun in the sun.
Recommended for On the Water because: Red Sail Sports Aruba has all you need to have a fabulous time out on, or under the water.
Local Expert tip: Floats, Waverunners, snorkel sets, motorboats, banana boats, a JETLEV – you name it, they've got it.
Pelican has activity desks in six local hotels, along with their own facilities. Their pier has a full range of facilities and services, including a restaurant and shop, plus rental equipment and instruction for a plethora of watersports from windsurfing to PADI certified SCUBA diving. They also offer brunch, sunset and dinner cruises, bus and jeep tours of island highlights, and a beginners snorkeling cruise. Open daily. Exact dates, times and rates vary by activity.
Try Mi Dushi's "Taste of Aruba" sailing and snorkeling adventure. You will depart in the morning and feast on fresh baked goods and mimosas. Next, learn to snorkel and take a tour to the sunken WWII German freighter "Antilla." Then settle down for a lunch of Chicken Leg, Grouper with creole sauce, Caribbean Rice, Tomato Cucumber Salad, Fruit Skewer and bread. There is a complimentary premium open bar and all equipment and instruction is included. Don't miss Mi Dushi's famous rope swing and romantic hammock. And if you just can't get enough of this authentic sailing ship, jump on board of Mi Dushi's Sunset Happy Hour Cruise and party on.
Recommended for On the Water because: Mi Dushi Sailing & Snorkeling has the friendliest crew, delicious food, excellent snorkeling adventures and The Rope Swing!
Local Expert tip: For online discount visit midushi.com
Jolly Pirates has earned a great reputation for its fun-filled trips around the waters of Aruba's northwest coast. The crew is absolutely fantastic – entertaining, witty and knowledgeable. And the boat itself, a gaff-rigged sailing yacht, is beautiful with gleaming wood and picturesque sails. There are three trips to choose from. "Sail, Snorkel, Swim and Swing!" Includes stops at three snorkeling destinations, all gear, a barbecue lunch and open bar, and of course the famed rope swing. "Something Fishy's Going On" covers the same territory, minus the food. Two evenings a week there's also a sunset sail with cocktails and the rope swing that everyone talks about. If you take only one tour during your visit to Aruba, this should be it!