Updated December 2019: Update includes new hotels and properties, removal of discontinued brands.
Popular Aruba Beaches
The two most popular Aruba beaches, by far, are Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. Both beaches are located in the developed hotel areas on the western part of the island. These are the most visited beaches by locals, hotel guests, and cruise ship visitors.
In this article, I will lay out the differences and similarities between the two beaches and back them up with data, which I collected personally with public information provided by Aruba statistical office.
What kind of resorts are there in Aruba?
On ritzy Palm Beach strip are located the high-rise resorts, big hotel chains, and taller buildings. Across the street from the hotels, there is shopping, restaurants, clubs, art and movie theater. In the Eagle Beach resort area, there are low-rise resorts (maximum 5 floors), timeshare resorts and condominiums and a handful of restaurants.
Which resorts exactly are there at Palm Beach?
High rise at Palm Beach (from north to south):
- The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba (November 2013)
- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club
- Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club
- Aqua Condominiums (under construction, future Radisson Blu)
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba
- Playa Linda Beach Resort
- Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino
- Barceló Aruba (formerly Occidental Grand Aruba)
- Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino (formerly Radisson Aruba)
- Hotel Riu Palace Aruba (formerly Aruba Grand)
- Hotel Riu Palace Antillas (reopened October 2014; formerly The Westin Aruba)
- Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
- Aruba Embassy Suites (under construction, to be opened 2020/2021)
- Blue Condominium
- Azure Condominium
Low rise at Eagle Beach (from north to south):
- Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba
- La Cabana Beach and Racquet Club Aruba
- Eagle Aruba Resort & Casino (formerly Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino, formerly La Cabana Villas)
- Paradise Beach Villas
- MVC Eagle Beach Aruba
- Oceania Residences (condominium)
- Costa Linda Beach Resort
Unlike Palm Beach, there are no resorts build right on the white sand of Eagle Beach, except for Costa Linda Beach Resort.
Please bear in mind that Aruba has other major resorts, but those are located near the airport, the capital or elsewhere, that fall outside the Eagle Beach or Palm Beach hotel areas.
What type of beaches are Palm Beach and Eagle Beach?
Both Palm Beach and Eagle Beach have clean, smooth, white and cool sand. However, at the northern end of Palm Beach near Marriott/Ritz-Carlton there are some areas that are not very smooth or pleasant to swim and at times get a bit murky. The southern tip of Palm Beach, near Riu Palace properties, are the best parts of Palm Beach. Eagle Beach is perfect for swimming for the most part.
If you are not staying at a Palm Beach area resort and have your own car, you will find it rather difficult to find a proper parking spot. If you are staying in the general area of Palm Beach, at a guest house perhaps, you will be better off walking.
Eagle Beach, on the other hand, is very easy to reach and there is ample parking space right in front of the beach. Park and walk to the beach and onto the sea.
What’s the sea condition?
Palm Beach tends to have calmer waters and less wavy, plus the wind is less of a problem. There have been reports of a rocky seafloor by the Marriott/Ritz-Carlton as opposed to a pretty smooth seafloor from there on southward.
Eagle Beach has more waves, is windier with a substantial more water scooter activities. This happens outside clearly marked safe-swim areas.
Some Resort Numbers
How busy can it get at Palm Beach and Eagle Beach?
Amount of rooms at Palm Beach (from north to south):
- The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba #320
- Marriott (all three buildings) #1168
- Aqua #n/a
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba #600
- Playa Linda #198
- Hyatt #357
- Barceló #380
- Hilton #353
- Riu Palace Aruba #450
- Riu Palace Antillas #481
- Divi Phoenix #241
- Blue #n/a
- Azure #n/a
The total amount of rooms at Palm Beach: #4548
Low rise at Eagle Beach:
- Amsterdam Manor #72
- La Cabana #362
- Tropicana #364
- Paradise Beach Villas #80
- MVC Eagle Beach #19
- Oceania Residences #127 (condominium)
- Costa Linda #155
The total amount of rooms at Eagle Beach: #1179
Source: room inventory data provided according to the tourism office.
- Palm Beach: 1,089,179 sq. ft.
- Eagle Beach: 1,162,308 sq. ft.
Source: own measurements.
Open beach/occupied by hotel facilities
- Palm Beach: 35% open/65% occupied according to our estimation
- Eagle Beach: 75% open/25% occupied according to our estimation
According to Aruba statistics office on any given day Aruba has an average of almost 14,000 visitors. This amount of visitors divided by the total rooms on Aruba (around 7000) gives an average of roughly two persons per room. The yearly occupancy rate for the rooms on Aruba is 79% in 2012 according to Aruba statistics office.
To get an accurate view as to how many people use the beaches any given time is nearly impossible, as this data has too many variables such as on-premises facility usage or off-premises events such as excursions or shopping.
Then there are those who just stay all day in their room watching TV, believe it or not. Weather can also be a factor. Too hot, too windy or rainy.
Let’s finish with this: if Palm Beach has about 7,722 hotel guests on any given day, that can use only 35% of 1,089,179 sq. ft. of beach available and Eagle Beach has 1,590 visitors on any given day, that can use 80% of 1,162,308 sq. ft. of beach available, which beach do you think is going to be generally crowded?