How to Chill with Flamingos in Aruba
Wondering how to visit Flamingo Beach and spend the day chillin’ with flamingos in Aruba? You’ve come to the right place. This detailed guide will give you all the tips you need to have an unforgettable visit to Aruba’s famous Flamingo Beach!
Table of Contents
Where to See Flamingos in Aruba
There are only two places in Aruba where you can see flamingos—(1) De Palm Island and (2) Renaissance Island (where the famous Flamingo Beach is located).
This article will focus on Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island.
What is Flamingo Beach?
If you’ve seen photos of beachgoers sitting in turquoise-colored water while feeding bright-pink flamingos in Aruba, that’s Flamingo Beach!
Flamingo Beach is a magical little beach in Aruba where you can feed, take photos, and, basically, just hang out with flamingos—all while sipping piña coladas and champagne!
Essentially, Flamingo Beach is the place where all your flamingo-related dreams come true!
Although flamingos are not native to Aruba, about half a dozen bright-pink flamingos—and a few white flamingos (which have some pink feathers mixed in with their snowy white ones)—permanently reside on Renaissance Island. During the day, when visitors are on the island, the pink flamingos hang out on Flamingo Beach. The white flamingos are a bit more elusive, though, and stay in the more secluded parts of the small island (near an area called Iguana Beach).
Where is Flamingo Beach Located in Aruba?
Flamingo Beach is located on Renaissance Island, a private island owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The island is a 5- to 10-minute water taxi ride away from Oranjestad (the capital of Aruba).
Renaissance Island is a luxurious tropical oasis with two private beaches—Iguana Beach and the adults-only Flamingo Beach.
Can Anyone Visit Flamingo Beach in Aruba?
Yes—however, there are two qualifications to that answer:
- First, one way or another, you will have to pay something to visit Flamingo Beach. (More information on that later.)
- Second, because Flamingo Beach is an adults-only beach, children may only visit Flamingo Beach for one hour each day—between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
How to Gain Access to Renaissance Island and Flamingo Beach
Because Renaissance Island is a private island, Flamingo Beach is not a free public beach (unlike the beaches on the mainland of Aruba). Therefore, the only way to visit Flamingo Beach is to gain access to Renaissance Island. There are three ways to gain access to Renaissance Island:
- Option 1: Stay at one of the two hotels in Oranjestad owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino.
- Option 2: Buy a day pass to visit Renaissance Island.
- Option 3: Book a spa treatment at Spa Cove on Renaissance Island.
Children and adults who utilize one of these three options can visit Renaissance Island from 7:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. each day. Adults may access both Iguana Beach and the adults-only Flamingo Beach anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
When Can Children Visit Flamingo Beach?
Although children may visit Iguana Beach anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 6:45 p.m., their access to Flamingo Beach is limited. Children are only allowed to visit Flamingo Beach for one hour each morning—from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. But during that one-hour period, children can feed the flamingos and take photos with them just like the grown-ups do!
All children must be supervised at Flamingo Beach. In addition, children must follow the general rules for interacting with the flamingos (discussed below).
How to Get to Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Take a Water Taxi to Renaissance Island
As mentioned above, Flamingo Beach is located on Renaissance Island. To get to Renaissance Island, you take a 5- to 10-minute ride in a water taxi operated by the Renaissance Resort. The water taxis depart from two places in downtown Oranjestad—(1) inside the Renaissance Marina Hotel (on the first floor) and (2) from a dock at the Renaissance marina (a short walk away from the Renaissance Ocean Suites).
The water taxis leave Oranjestad every 15 minutes, beginning at 7:00 a.m. At the end of the day, the last water taxi back to Oranjestad leaves Renaissance Island at 6:45 p.m.
Just a heads up—the water taxis often depart ahead of schedule. So if you want to be one of the first guests on the island in the morning, I recommend arriving at the water taxi pickup area a few minutes early in case the water taxi departs before 7:00 a.m or there is a line.
Walk on the Boardwalk Toward Flamingo Beach
Once you arrive at Renaissance Island and disembark from the water taxi onto the boardwalk, walk toward the right to get to Flamingo Beach. To get to Iguana Beach, walk to the left on the boardwalk after getting off the water taxi.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island?
Remember how I mentioned that there are three ways to gain access to Renaissance Island and Flamingo Beach? I’ll break down the cost of each of those options.
Option 1: Stay at One of the Two Renaissance Hotels in Oranjestad
Cost: For a standard non-suite room, prices typically range from about $250 to $450 per night. (Prices vary depending on the room type, the season, and how far in advance you make reservations.)
The Renaissance Resort has two hotels in Oranjestad—the Renaissance Marina Hotel (an adults-only hotel) and Renaissance Ocean Suites (which is family-friendly). If you stay at either of these hotels, you’ll receive complimentary access and transportation to Renaissance Island (and Flamingo Beach) during your stay.
The hotel-stay option guarantees you access to Renaissance Island and Flamingo Beach. This is definitely the best, most cost-effective option for couples and families. This may also be the cheapest option for solo travelers, depending on the general hotel rates in Aruba at the time and whether you visit during the high season or low season.
Twilley’s Tip: Pay for Your Stay at the Renaissance Resort with Rewards Points
Renaissance is part of the Marriott Bonvoy hotel network. So if you’re a member of the Marriott Bonvoy Loyalty Program, you can pay for your stay at the Renaissance Resort with reward points (and possibly even use a free night award if you have one of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards).
You can also pay for your hotel stay using points from other rewards programs—like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, for example.
If you use points to pay for your hotel stay, then you basically get access to Flamingo Beach for free! (Hooray!)
Option 2: Buy a Day Pass to Visit Renaissance Island
Cost: $125 per person (as of Summer 2021)
The second option is to buy a day pass to Renaissance Island. The day pass includes one lunch and one cocktail at Papagayo Bar & Grill or Mangrove Beach Bar on Renaissance Island and access to the water taxi. If you want to eat and drink more, you’ll need to pay for the extra food and drinks separately on the island. You can purchase a Renaissance Island day pass online.
However, there is a caveat with the day pass… Renaissance Island offers only a very limited number of day passes, and the day passes sell out quickly. Therefore, the day pass is the least reliable of the three options.
Option 3: Book a Spa Treatment at Spa Cove on Renaissance Island
Lowest Cost: $185 (50-minute massage for one, plus water taxi), $345 (50-minute couples massage, plus water taxi)
The third option is to book a spa treatment at Spa Cove on Renaissance Island. With this option, you pay for your spa treatment and the water taxi to and from the island instead of buying a day pass. There are several spa packages from which to choose, and Spa Cove offers both solo and couples massages. The spa package prices vary depending on the services you choose and whether you want your package to include lunch. (Note: You can still buy lunch on the island even if you don’t purchase the lunch-included spa package.)
If you are not staying at one of the two Renaissance Hotels, you’ll be charged an additional $25 fee (per person) for the round-trip water taxi ride.
Here is a breakdown of the least expensive Spa Cove spa package options (as of Summer 2021):
Seascape Package (for one):
- Without Lunch: 50-minute Swedish massage and one free frozen drink; plus the $25 water taxi charge for non-hotel guests = $185
- With Lunch: 50-minute Swedish massage, one free frozen drink or soft drink, and one free lunch; plus the $25 water taxi charge for non-hotel guests: $205
Seascapes Package (for couples):
- Without Lunch: 50-minute Swedish massage and one free frozen drink per person; plus the $25 (per person) water taxi charge for non-hotel guests = $345
- With Lunch: 50-minute Swedish massage, one free frozen drink or soft drink per person, and one free lunch per person; plus the $25 (per person) water taxi charge for non-hotel guests = $385
Note: The prices listed above do not include a tip for your masseuse. Click here for more information about the spa packages at Spa Cove, including current prices.
If you choose the spa treatment option, make sure to book your appointment well in advance. Also, make sure to confirm that your spa treatment will be performed at Spa Cove on Renaissance Island, not at the spa inside the hotel in Oranjestad.
When I visited Renaissance Island, I chose the spa treatment option because it gave me access to the island and a massage. (I was staying at an AirBnB, not at one of the Renaissance hotels, so I couldn’t use Option 1.) The spa treatment option was the perfect choice for me!
How to Interact With Flamingos at Flamingo Beach
Twilley’s Take on Flamingo Etiquette
I’m not aware of Emily Post ever weighing in on flamingo-related etiquette. However, I think she likely would agree with these two basic guidelines for how to interact with the flamingos at Flamingo Beach:
- First, even though the flamingos live on a resort island frequented by tourists, they’re still wild animals. So if they want to ignore you and walk away from you, that’s their prerogative. Just let them do their thing.
- Second, be gentle with the flamingos, and don’t harass them.
Official Rules for Interacting with Flamingos at Flamingo Beach
To make sure there’s no confusion, the Renaissance folks have laid out specific rules for interacting with the flamingos at Flamingo Beach:
- You’re allowed to feed the flamingos at Flamingo Beach! But the only thing you’re allowed to feed them is the special dry food that’s available for purchase on Renaissance Island. Don’t try to feed the flamingos any other food items.
- Feel free to take photos with the flamingos! Just respect their space, and don’t run afoul of any of the other rules listed below.
- Don’t throw any objects at the flamingos. (Duh.)
- Don’t yell, clap your hands at, or attempt to scare the flamingos.
- Don’t touch, chase, hold, or tease the flamingos.
These rules are posted on the resort’s website and on a sign at the entrance to Flamingo Beach. The sign at the entrance states that anyone caught violating any of these rules will be asked to leave Renaissance Island immediately.
So, basically, just be kind and respectful to the flamingos. And if you’re visiting Flamingo Beach with children during the 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. visiting hour, make sure they do the same.
Feeding Flamingos at Flamingo Beach
How to Get the Flamingo Food
At Flamingo Beach, you can actually feed the flamingos! To feed the flamingos, the first thing you need to do is buy some flamingo food. The flamingo food is basically a handful of dry, round, brown pellets.
When I visited Flamingo Beach, I purchased flamingo food from the bartender at the Mangrove Beach Bar (which is located right on Flamingo Beach) while ordering a drink. The bartender simply added the flamingo food to my bar tab. My flamingo food came in a small plastic cup (like the salad dressing cups you get when you order take-out from restaurants).
However, I’ve heard about other people having to purchase flamingo food from a vending machine or dispenser using U.S. quarters. (I suspect that when I visited Flamingo Beach, the flamingo food was being distributed in little plastic cups as a COVID-19-related precaution. So they may not stick with the plastic cup method forever.) Therefore, just to be on the safe side, bring several U.S. quarters with you in case you need to buy flamingo food from a machine.
How to Feed the Flamingos
Once you have your flamingo food, walk over to the shore on Flamingo Beach, where the bright-pink flamingos like to hang out. Sit or kneel in the water a couple of feet away from the flamingos.
Then, extend your hand with the flamingo food. In no time, the flamingos will come to you!
As I mentioned earlier, my flamingo food came in a small plastic cup, so I just held the little cup out to the flamingos. Other people placed food in the palms of their hands—so they literally had the flamingos eating out of the palm of their hand! (Haha!) Both methods work.
The flamingos pick up the food pellets with their beaks. Some of the flamingos seemed more interested in the food when it was slightly wet—but not mushy/soggy. Yet, others seemed happy to eat the food dry.
The flamingos will eat for a little while, and then they’ll stop eating and go about their business. When that happens, just extend the food to another flamingo, and it will start eating too.
What’s It Like Being So Close to a Flamingo?
Getting within inches of the flamingos and feeding them is an incredible experience! I loved watching the flamingos gracefully strut around the beach and stand on one leg.
Sometimes the flamingos would dig their feet into the sand and then rapidly move their legs back and forth in the water—kind of like they were running in place. Then, they would lower their heads down into the water near their feet. (I’m assuming the flamingos were doing this to rustle up some food, but, whatever the reason, it was cute!)
There was one thing, though, that surprised me about seeing the flamingos up close—their creepy-looking eyes! Their eyes are a beige color and have tiny black dots in the center. I’m not sure what I expected flamingo eyes to look like, but I definitely didn’t anticipate that! But, even though they have freaky little eyes, they’re still beautiful!
Ever since my visit to Flamingo Beach, I’ve been mesmerized by flamingos! Getting up close and personal with the flamingos at Flamingo Beach is an unforgettable experience!
Four Fun Facts About Flamingos
- A flock of flamingos is called a “flamboyance.”
- Adult flamingos grow to be 4 to 5 feet tall, but they only weigh 4 to 8 pounds!
- In the wild, flamingos have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. But, in captivity, they can live up to 50 years or longer.
- Eating shrimp, plankton, algae, and crustaceans causes a flamingo’s feathers to turn pink and orange.
Tips for Taking Fantastic Photos at Flamingo Beach
When you visit Flamingo Beach, you’ll definitely want to take lots of pictures with the flamingos! And, you won’t want a bunch of other people photobombing in the background.
Here are my best tips for taking frame-worthy photos with the flamingos (sans photobombing strangers):
- First, take your photos early in the morning or in the late afternoon when fewer people are at Flamingo Beach.
- Second, be on the first water taxi of the day (at 7:00 a.m.) to ensure you arrive at Flamingo Beach before anyone else.
- Third, if all else fails, use a photo-editing tool to erase people from your photos.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The photo above, in which I’m kneeling beside three flamingos, was edited. (Audible gasp!) There were originally a couple of random strangers in the background standing in the water and taking selfies on their phones. So, I used a nifty (and inexpensive) photo-editing app called Pixelmator to make them disappear. (Poof!)
Where to Eat When Visiting Flamingo Beach
There are two restaurants on Renaissance Island. The larger restaurant—Papagayo Bar & Grill—overlooks Iguana Beach. You can check out the menu for Papagayo Bar & Grill here.
The smaller restaurant—Mangrove Beach Bar—is right on Flamingo Beach.
Other Great Things to Do on Renaissance Island
- Treat yourself to a singles or couples massage in a private oceanfront cabana at Spa Cove. (It’s absolutely heavenly!)
- Mosey over to Iguana Beach to relax under palapas and swim in the crystal clear water.
- Marvel at the many large iguanas that roam around Renaissance Island.
- Find the elusive white flamingos.
While walking along the mangrove-lined boardwalk near the far end of Iguana Beach, I entered a clearing and happened upon three fluffy white flamingos! It was a lovely surprise!
- Amp up the luxury by booking a private cabana.
- Go snorkeling in the beautiful water at Iguana Beach or Flamingo Beach.
- Relax in a hammock, and swing your cares away.
- Relax in the water on an inflatable float.
- Tantalize your tastebuds with food and cocktails at Papagayo Bar & Grill and Mangrove Beach Bar.
- Explore the waters of Renaissance Island in a kayak.
- Go stand-up paddleboarding.
Is Flamingo Beach in Aruba Really Worth It?
Without a doubt, YES! Visiting Flamingo Beach is a one-of-a-kind experience, and it was one of the highlights of my trip to Aruba!
From feeding the flamingos to relaxing in the water with a piña colada while the flamingos roamed around me, I had so much fun at Flamingo Beach! And the cherry on top was getting a massage and relaxing in a hammock inside the private oceanfront cabana afterward!
If you want to hang out with flamingos and treat yourself to a day of luxurious relaxation, then I definitely recommend adding Flamingo Beach and Renaissance Island to your bucket list!
What to Take to Flamingo Beach in Aruba
U.S. Quarters (for Buying Flamingo Food)
Make sure to take some U.S. quarters with you to Flamingo Beach so you can buy flamingo food from the dispensers.
Cash or Credit Card to Buy Food and Drinks
Also, remember to take cash and/or a credit card (with no foreign transaction fee) with you to purchase food and drinks on Renaissance Island.
A colorful, tropical-looking swimsuit is perfect for Flamingo Beach!
Look effortlessly beachy in a cute swimsuit coverup!
Complete your tropical look with a cute pair of sandals.
Shield yourself from UV rays and look effortlessly chic with one of these stylish sun hats!
The tan fedora panama hat with the black band pictured below is my new favorite hat! It’s so cute, comfortable, and surprisingly inexpensive!
A cool pair of shades is a must at Flamingo Beach!
Tote all your beach essentials to Flamingo Beach in a cute bag!
I especially love these large flamingo-print wristlet pouches, which come in a set of two. The pouches are great for the beach because they have a waterproof lining that keeps the items inside dry if the pouches get splashed. (Just a heads up, though—the pouch is not a dry bag, and the zipper area is not watertight. So if you fully submerge the pouch, the contents will get wet.)
Also, although they look small in the photo, these 12.5 in. x 8.5 in. flamingo-print pouches are actually pretty roomy. Each pouch easily holds a smartphone, portable power bank and charging cable, small wallet, sunglasses case, and bottle of reef-safe sunscreen—with room to spare! (Because Renaissance Island provides complimentary towels and outside food and drinks aren’t allowed, you don’t need space in your bag for those items.) If you’re looking to pack light for your visit to Flamingo Beach, this large wristlet pouch is a great option. Or you can just toss it in a larger beach bag if you prefer. Plus, the flamingo print is so fun and perfect for Flamingo Beach!
Reef-Friendly, Oxybenzone-Free Sunscreen
In 2019, the Aruban government banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone—a harmful chemical that damages coral reefs. Oxybenzene is a common ingredient used in many sunscreens. However, there are reef-friendly sunscreens that don’t contain oxybenzone, and those are the types of sunscreen you should use in Aruba.
You can buy reef-friendly sunscreen either before your trip or once you arrive in Aruba. Just a heads up, though, sunscreen costs more in Aruba than it does in the United States. So you may want to buy your reef-friendly sunscreen ahead of time.
Also, when buying your reef-friendly sunscreen, make sure it’s waterproof and has a high SPF to protect you from the strong Aruban sun.
Waterproof Phone Pouch (with a Floating Wristlet)
Use a waterproof phone pouch to protect your smartphone from sand and water while you snap photos of the flamingos! Waterproof phone pouches are perfect for taking pictures because you can use your touchscreen through the plastic.
Check out this awesome Aquapac Waterproof Phone Pouch from Flashpacker Co. (a great online travel gear store)!
And get 20% OFF your entire order from Flashpacker Co. when you use my affiliate discount code: TRAVELINGTWILLEY
I also recommend attaching one of these handy floating wristlets to the pouch so you can keep it with you while you relax in the water—because you never know when a flamingo will pop up beside you for a photo op!
Inflatable Floating Flamingo Drink Holders
Make your visit to Flamingo Beach even more flamingo-tastic with these fun inflatable flamingo drink holders!
Portable Power Bank and Charging Cable
You’re at Flamingo Beach, and you’re about to use your smartphone to take a video of a flamingo eating out of your hand. Then, all of a sudden—your phone battery dies! NOOOO!!!!
But it’s okay……because you—savvy traveler that you are—remembered to pack your portable power bank and a charging cable! Crisis avoided! (Whew!)
Aside from my smartphone, a portable power bank is probably my most essential travel item. After far too many close calls searching for an electrical outlet when my phone had less than 5% battery life, nowadays, I always keep a portable power bank with me.
There are many types and sizes of portable power banks. There are even solar-powered ones—sounds handy for a day at the beach, right? For a day at Flamingo Beach, a small portable power bank like the ones pictured above will have plenty of juice to charge your smartphone.
Need help figuring out which portable power bank is right for you?
Check out this helpful article from Flashpacker Co. on “How to Choose the Best Power Bank.” The article discusses important factors to consider when picking the right portable power bank to suit your needs (including capacity, device compatibility, size, and other factors).
Plus….get 20% OFF your entire order when you use my Flashpacker Co. affiliate discount code: TRAVELINGTWILLEY
What NOT to Take to Flamingo Beach in Aruba
You don’t need to take a towel with you when visiting Flamingo Beach and Renaissance Island. Complimentary towels are available on Renaissance Island.
Outside Food or Drinks (or Coolers)
Visitors are not allowed to bring their own food or drinks onto Renaissance Island. No one searched my beach bag, so it wouldn’t have been an issue if I had brought a bottle of water or a granola bar in my bag. However, I definitely would not try to take a cooler onto the island (especially because there’s a sign at the Renaissance Island dock that says to refrain from bringing coolers in the water taxi).
When you get hungry or thirsty during the day, there are two restaurants on Renaissance Island where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content—Papagayo Bar & Grill and Mangrove Beach Bar.
Speakers or Big Radios
Per the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Spa website, visitors are not allowed to bring “big radios” onto Renaissance Island. There is also a sign at the dock that says to refrain from bringing speakers onto the island.
You may be tempted to take your drone to Renaissance Island to get that perfect aerial shot of Flamingo Beach, but, unfortunately, that’s another no-no. The information sign at the Renaissance Island dock explicitly says to refrain from bringing drones onto the island. It’s no biggie, though, because the photos you really want at Flamingo Beach are up-close shots of you feeding and frolicking with the flamingos!
Trolleys or Other Big Luggage
When visiting Flamingo Beach, leave your luggage at your hotel. Per the resort’s website, “trolleys or other big luggage” are not permitted on Renaissance Island. Instead, just bring a beach bag with the essentials I’ve listed out in the “What to Take to Flamingo Beach” section above!
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