Guaranteed way to see the flamingos in Aruba + Is it worth it?
If you are, like me, one of the people that thought the flamingos live on any random beach in Aruba, you are sadly mistaken. Social Media led you to believe, that Aruba is the “flamingo island” of the Caribbean. But this could not be further from the truth.
Unlike Curacao or Bonaire, flamingos are not native animals to Aruba. This means, there is only one place on the island where you can actually see them: Flamingo Beach at Renaissance Island of the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort.
Actually being able to go to the island is another thing. This post is gonna explain all the ways how to visit the flamingos in Aruba, including one guaranteed (!) way for you to see them. I will also dive into the discussion if it is actually really worth it going and tips and secret hacks for when you do decide to go.
Not sure if Aruba is the right place for you? Check out Aruba vs Curacao vs Bonaire!
Table of Contents
- Three ways to visit Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island in Aruba
- How to get to Renaissance Island in Aruba
- All you need to know about Renaissance Island Aruba and its flamingos
- How to take the best photograph with the flamingos in Aruba?
- Are the flamingos of Aruba on Renaissance Island free?
- Is it worth it going seeing the Flamingos of Aruba on Renaissance Island?
Three ways to visit Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island in Aruba
A handful of flamingos live on a small, private island, called Renaissance Island, right off the coast of Aruba. The island is owned by the luxury hotel Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort. Before diving deeper into the specifics of Flamingo beach, it is important to mention that this is not a public beach and not easily accessible to just anyone.
There are three ways for you to visit the flamingos on Flamingo beach:
1. being a hotel guest at the Renaissance Aruba Resort
2. booking a spa package in the Renaissance Island Cove Spa
3. buy a day pass for Renaissance Island
Staying at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort
This is definitely the easiest of all three options. Book your stay in the Renaissance Aruba Resort and you will have free access to Renaissance Island during your stay. This being said, you should at least stay for two nights, if you want to have a full day at the island.
Hotel rates vary, on average a night at the Renaissance Aruba Resort will cost around 340 USD. This is not much more expensive than the Renaissance Island Day Passes. Hotel guests get preferential treatment when it comes to visiting the island. Day passes are only issued in accordance with the hotel’s current booking rate. This is the only guaranteed way to visit the pink friends on Flamingo Beach.
There are many upsides to this strategy. The Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort is a very nice resort, located directly in Oranjestad. This makes it the perfect spot to not only explore Flamingo Beach but also the colorful capital city of Aruba.
Book a spa package at the Renaissance Island Cove Spa
Another (pretty safe way) to see the flamingos on Renaissance Island is by booking a spa package with the hotel island cove spa. All spa packages include entry to the island for one day.
There are three different packages with many sub-options to choose from. The price point starts at USD 160 p.p. Couple-packages cost roughly 300 – 450 USD. These packages usually include lunch, use of the spa facilities, treatments and some of them even a bottle of champagne.
The upside of this is definitely the price. The cheapest spa package for one is only 35 USD more expensive than the day pass but includes a massage and a frozen drink. Also, by booking a treatment you can make sure that you are on the visitors list for this specific day.
The downside is, that non-Renaissance guests have to pay 25 USD extra to book with the spa. Also, if there are no treatments available because they are all booked, you will not have a chance to go. Check out all treatments here.
Visit Renaissance Island with a day pass
Lastly, you can pray to the ocean gods and hope that there are day passes available during your stay. Renaissance Aruba Resort only issues day passes, if the hotel is not fully booked. The spots are very limited and super hard to come by.
You can reserve your day pass three days in advance, here. The island day pass costs USD 125 p.p. This includes transfer to the island, lunch, and a free drink. You may also use all the amenities (besides the spa). You need to bring your own towel.
We only found out very late about how hard it is to actually go to the island. Therefore we had to pray to get a day pass and luckily we did. In hindsight, I would suggest staying at the hotel in the first place, this saves a lot of money and trouble. For booking click here.
How to get to Renaissance Island in Aruba
If you have managed to book any of the three aforementioned methods – you are clear to go see the flamingos at Renaissance Island. There is only one way to reach Renaissance Island, and that is by boat.
The Renaissance Resort Aruba offers a free shuttle service with speed boats for everyone that is authorized to visit the island. The boats leave from the pier behind the Renaissance convention center. Make sure to walk all the way through until you reach the last dock. There is a small hut with a Renaissance employee that will check your pass.
The boats leave every 15 minutes. The island is open from 07:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m.
All you need to know about Renaissance Island Aruba and its flamingos
Renaissance Island is a small tropical paradise island right off the coast of Aruba. There are two main beaches on Renaissance Island, Flamingo Beach and Iguana Beach. Renaissance Island also has a Spa, a small shop for all beach necessities, and two restaurants. On both sides of the beaches, there are several hiking trails that you can explore.
Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island
Flamingo beach is the more famous beach on Renaissance Island, due to the fact that a handful of beautiful flamingos live close by the beach. This is the only place where you can see flamingos in Aruba. On the right-hand side of the beach you can find private cabanas that you can rent beforehand for more privacy. On the left side of the beach and the center are many sunbeds up for grabs. I suggest arriving early to snatch up a great spot.
Now, this is something very important to know if you arrive at Renaissance Island with children. Flamingo beach is an adult-only beach! However, there is one hour per day, where your little ones can meet and greet the flamingos: from 09:00 am to 10:00 am. Make sure to be respectful of this.
The smaller of the two restaurants, the seafood shack, is located on Flamingo beach. If you are planning on eating on your beach bed, your personal waiter for the day will bring you anything you want from both restaurants.
If you walk all the way toward the ocean on the left side, you will find a nice hammock. This is an amazing Instagram-worthy spot.
The flamingos live on the left side of the beach. You can buy some food there (bring coins!) and feed the pink friends. If you are lucky, you will meet them at a swim in the ocean.
Iguana Beach on Renaissance Island
The second and less famous beach on Renaissance Island is called Iguana beach. The equally beautiful Iguana beach is a more family-friendly beach. The layout of the beach is the same as on Flamingo beach. There are cabanas on the right side and tanning beds on the rest of the beach.
Papagayo restaurant is located on Iguana beach. It is open until five and serves a wide array of food. There are lots of healthy choices, seafood, and vegetarian options. Make sure to try out the special cocktails.
There are no iguanas on Iguana beach. The green little sweethearts live right by the pier, where the shuttle boat docks. They are not dangerous at all and you can watch them eat a salad during the day. Maybe you will be lucky and spot them on a swim in the ocean (pretty cute).
In my opinion, Iguana beach is the more beautiful beach of the two. The sun beds are further apart from each other and there is a lot more space. However, it can also get pretty noisy there, since it is family-friendly.
What else is there to do on Renaissance Island (besides the flamingos)?
Explore the hiking trails on both sides of the beaches. You will walk alongside a small river where you can see many beautiful exotic fish without a snorkel. We were lucky enough to even see baby sharks there.
You can also borrow a float for free and have a relaxed time in the water. On both beaches, you can have a great snorkel experience. You can also book a spa treatment in advance and spoil yourself in the beautiful Cove Spa. As you can see, there are many more things to see on Renaissance island than the flamingos of Aruba.
How to take the best photograph with the flamingos in Aruba?
To get the amazing, iconic flamingo shots you can see all over Instagram, you have to keep a lot of things in mind. However, it is not impossible. There are a few things you need to think about when you want to take amazing shots with the flamingos on Renaissance Island.
- The flamingos on Aruba beach are, surprise surprise, living animals of their own free will. You have to be cautious and respectful around them in order to even be able to get close. They do have a beak and they can use it if you disrespect their sphere.
- A good way to interact with them is to buy some flamingo food from the dispenser on the island. Please do not feed them with anything else, since it might not be good for them. Make sure to bring some coins with you.
- The flamingos do not stand in the water at all times. Some people try to lure them there but I do not recommend this, simply because they are not some toy to play with. There will be plenty of times throughout the day when they go to the water by themselves.
- The island staff has told us that the best chance of seeing them in the water is usually in the morning when it is less crowded in general.
- In order to not have any harsh shadows on your face, try to take your pictures not in the middle of the day. Opt for morning or evening light. See on my picture below what happens when you shoot in direct daylight ( harsh shadows all over my face and body).
- While the island in general gets less busy in the evening, many more people are trying to snatch a pic with them. So either try to go in the morning or follow my next pieces of advice:
- Just be kind to one another and let everyone take their turn. Don’t take a huge amount of shots and block the view for everybody. People were extremely nice and everyone was happy to step away for a second so you can get a shot if you ask nicely. In the evening, however, we encountered a group of girls that shot for over 2 hours and did not let anyone else take a shot. Be a good example and do not do this!
- Offer to take photos of one another. Plenty of travelers were happy to take a shot of me in exchange for me taking a shot of them. Kindness goes a long way.
- You will never be able to get a shot with absolutely no one in the background. Work your magic in a photo editing app if you want a clear shot, but do not waste your day on trying to get the flamingos for yourself. If you have trouble with editing, send me your pic on Instagram and I can help (:
- If you are shooting on an iPhone, make sure the live option is turned on. You can later select the best shot out of a three-second time frame. This can be very helpful when shooting with animals.
Are the flamingos of Aruba on Renaissance Island free?
The flamingos in Aruba may roam around freely, they are not in any way caged. The resort encourages a respectful way of interaction with them and as far as we could tell people were sticking to it. Keep in mind that the wings of the flamingos are clipped, so they can not fly away and for safety reasons. This is of course the downside of this whole thing.
The flamingos on Renaissance Island, are as far as I can tell, imported or bought from a zoo. Flamingos are not native to Aruba, So this is the only explanation. If you are very big on animal rights, I suggest skipping this day trip as it might bother you.
Personally, I was happy that they were treated well by the resort staff and the guests so I can live with the fact that they did not get there naturally. In general, I would prefer it if hotels did not import animals as an attraction.
Is it worth it going seeing the Flamingos of Aruba on Renaissance Island?
In my opinion, taking a trip to Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island is worth the money. Personally, we did not go there for the Flamingos alone and I suggest you don’t either. We enjoyed the hospitality, the luxurious environment and the amazing upkeep of the facilities and the beach.
My husband and I are people that shy away from crowds, so for us, this was an ideal beach day with great food, fun drinks and plenty of amazing animals to see. The flamingos were, for me personally, the least impressive animal we encountered there. I preferred the tropical fish, the baby sharks and the Iguanas.
We made amazing memories on this day and we think this is the most beautiful beach on the whole island of Aruba. This is definitely a great reason to go!
Looking for more things to do in Aruba? Why not book a super romantic Sunset Sail!
Yes, you can see flamingos in Aruba. However, they can only be seen on Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island, which is part of a private resort. Make sure to book you day pass in advance, unless you stay at the resort.
Flamingo beach on Renaissance Island is the only beach in Aruba that has flamingos. It is part of the Renaissance by Marriott Resort, so make sure to book a day pass ahead of time, if you do not stay at the resort.
There is only one way to see flamingos for free in Aruba. Entrance to Renaissance Island is free for guests of the Renaissance Hotel by Marriott in Oranjestad.
The resort protects the flamingos very strictly against people that try to touch them. Since children do not always follow these rules, they are only allowed for a limited time slot between 09:00 am until 10:00 am.