Here’s the upside of not collaborating with a resort to get a complimentary stay when I travel: I don’t have to encourage you to stay there if I don’t want to.
I’ve read many blog posts about how to see the flamingos in Aruba. The ONLY flamingos in Aruba reside on Renaissance Island, the Renaissance Aruba Resort’s private island. There are no others, so your only chance of seeing them is getting to that beach. Luckily, you don’t need to stay with the resort to get there.
Let me explain this further. The resort costs upwards $400 a night. If you’re looking to splurge, then I’d recommend it because the experience is definitely upscale. You’ll also have free daily access to the stunningly beautiful private island. So think anniversaries, honeymoons, and extra special trips. With that said, if you can’t afford to stay at this type of accommodation, you can get a day pass to the island—and there are PLENTY of wonderful resorts and hotels nearby to stay at instead for a lower price.
So, instead of sinking all your money into staying at the Renaissance just to visit Flamingo Beach, get yourself a day pass for $125. With it, you get a free boat ride to and from the island, full access to the beaches (minus the cabanas, which are reserved), and a complimentary drink and lunch.
BUT here are the disclaimers:
The resort does not give out day passes if they are at 80% capacity or above, which I think is totally fair. This is why they and many others highly recommend you stay there at least one night if you are dead set on visiting the private island.
Here’s my opinion though—it was relatively easy for me to get two day passes because we had more than three days in Aruba, which allowed me to have multiple days to try and get the passes. I also went in the middle of the week, so capacity may have been lower. You can get some insight into their capacity by simply trying to book a room. If rooms are available, it’s likely (but not guaranteed) that they aren’t too high in capacity and day passes are available. You could also call and ask.
In addition to this, the passes sell out fast, but all you need to do is be up early the day before you want to go. They go on sale at 7:00 am the day before. So just head to the day pass page then and if passes are available, you’ll be able to purchase up to five of them.
All in all, it can be risky not actually staying with the hotel, but if you have enough days there, check capacity, and get yourself up early to purchase the passes, it’s so easy getting to the island! So, unless you’re willing to splurge on nights at the Renaissance, my recommendation is to take the very good chance on the day passes.
Once you’ve got the day passes, here’s what to expect!
It’s best to get to the island no later than 8:30 am. Grab a taxi from wherever you’re staying, which shouldn’t be costly because everything is fairly close to each other. Once you’re at the resort, just cross the street and wait for the boat ferry, which comes every 15 minutes. It takes less than ten minutes to reach the island. After arriving there, you can head right or left, as there are two beaches. We went to the right beach, where we immediately found flamingos hanging about, a plethora of open beach chairs, and a breathtaking view.We had our pick of where we wanted to lay out and optimal photo time with the flamingos because the beach was empty that early. It’s quite easy to take photos with the flamingos, but just be sure not to get too close to their faces. Many recommend bringing a quarter along to get some flamingo food, but they had no interest in the food, and all it did was draw in other island birds. So skip the food and just walk around with them!
The beach was so calm and relaxing, even after people started to funnel in. We read in the shade, sunbathed, floated in the ocean, and had delicious food and drinks delivered right to us at our lounge chairs. It was also so much fun having the flamingos leisurely stroll around the beach with us all day.
Aruba is “One Happy Island” and Flamingo Beach is definitely icing on the cake!