Before going to Aruba, I only knew one thing. I HAD to see those instagram worthy pink giraffe birds. Instagram made it seem like the flamingos just wandered around everywhere on the island, waiting for tourists to go and take their photos with them. Sadly for the tourists, but luckily for the birds, that was not the case.
The flamingos can only be found on Renaissance Hotel Private Island. The flamingos are part of a business, and businesses are supposed to bring in money. That’s why the Renaissance Hotel has built a brand around these flamingos and have an exclusive right to having flamingos on the island.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Flamingo beach in Aruba.
Finding the island
The Renaissance Hotel is located in Oranjestad, right by the marina and very close to the airport. It’s basically impossible to miss it.
How to get to Flamingo Island
Since the flamingos live on a private island there are only 2 ways you can see them if you’re a mere mortal without a million followers on instagram (no, you can’t swim there).
- Buy a day pass.
This option is probably the most common one. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. First of all a day ticket costs $125 per person which includes lunch, a drink, and a towel. However, the hotel only sells these day passes if the hotel is not more than 80% booked, to keep the beach from getting overcrowded. This means that you have to call the hotel the night before confirm that they are not over 80% booked and that they do sell the tickets. If they sell them, you have to get there around 5-6am the next day to go queue because they only sell ~ 30 tickets. They don’t sell the tickets in the hotel reception so don’t waste your time queueing there. They sell them right were the taxi drops you off.
I heard some people actually start queueing at 4:45 so don’t be surprised if there’s already a little crowd waiting when you arrive. And keep in mind that even if you would arrive by that time, the tickets don’t go on sale until 7am anyway.
- Be a guest at the hotel
The easier but more expensive alternative is to actually be a guest at the hotel, since all guests can visit the island at any time (during their opening hours of course). One night’s stay is around $300-$400.
You can only get to the island by a private ferry/spead boat operated the the hotel and you need a room key or day pass key to swipe yourself on to the boat, meaning there really is no other way to get there.
The journey to the island takes only around 10 minutes and for someone who always gets seasick I was a bit worried, but it was actually really nice (even in a semi-storm). The trip itself is quite an experience as you board the boat inside the hotel where they have a little canal, just like in Venice (or Vegas).
The boat runs back and forth to the island every 15 minutes between 7 am-7 pm.
What to expect on the Flamingo Island
First of all, it’s not really a flamingo island, but there is a flamingo beach on the island. On that beach 6 flamingos wander around back and forth and making funny noises. On the island you can also find the Iguana Beach (yes it has iguanas) which is more for families, a spa, a third beach and bars and one or two restaurants. You can also rent a private cabana with a hammock at the flamingo beach that will be yours for the day for $200. So the island really has much more to offer than just the flamingos.
Are kids allowed on the island?
Yes. Children under 12 are free (if you buy the day pass), but they do not get the lunch or drink, it has to be purchased on your own. Children are allowed to visit the Flamingo beach from 9-10 am only, as it’s normally an adult beach.
- Bring quarters for the flamingo food vending machines. Food is the best way to get up close and personal with the birds, but keep in mind that if you arrive late during the day they might already be full and ignore you. They are wild animals after all.
- Some of them do bite, it doesn’t really hurt that much but it can be an unpleasant experience and leave a mark.
- The day we checked out of the hotel we were still allowed to visit the island during the whole day. We even came back from the island to have lunch and afterwards asked the reception if they could reactivate our cards to go back a second time, which they happily did.