Photo by Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino

Aruba Beach Etiquette 101

As a fellow beach lover residing on the happiest island in the Caribbean, I felt it was only right to document some basic beach protocol for everyone to follow, both visitors and locals alike!

Consider this a friendly little reminder, so that we can keep the happy beach vibes rollin’ just how they should!

Keep our beaches clean!

This seems like a rather logical, environmentally correct, and easy thing to do, right?

However, you would be surprised how many beach-goers casually ignore the trash or plastic tumbling past them in the wind on a daily basis.

Look, it’s really quite simple and it makes all the difference in the world (Note: We only have one planet, there is no planet B), if you see something pick it up, make a tiny trash collection wherever you’re lounging and when it’s time to leave throw it away in a nearby trash can!

It is our responsibility to pick up after ourselves, and not only after ourselves, but sadly after others. It not only helps to fight pollution of the earth but also helps to preserve and protect our beautiful marine life who are sadly impacted. So, please… do your part, every little bit counts!

Follow the Aruba Reef Care Foundation to learn more on how you can help be a part of these much needed efforts or check our events page for annual Aruba beach clean-ups!

Respect our island’s COVID-related protocols

If you are planning a trip to Aruba anytime soon, you are probably well aware that there are certain travel requirements and on-island protocols to follow. These requirements and protocols are set in place to ensure your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of those around you. It is very important to note that these protocols can change at any given time, so please refer to this page for the most current and up-to-date requirements and protocols.

There are just a few of these protocols that you will need to keep in mind while spending your day on the beach. Such as group size limits, currently, unless you are a family that lives under the same roof, no more than two people are allowed to gather or sit together at the beach. If you are traveling in a group of more than two people that are not a family living together, you will need to get separate palapas and remain socially distanced.

Another protocol to keep in mind is the beach and public parking lot restriction. Currently, it is not allowed to be on the beach or in a parking lot between the hours of 7:00 PM and 5:00 AM. This does not apply to beach bars/restaurants or resort properties. As long as you are a patron or a guest of one of these establishments located on the beach and you are on the grounds of the establishment, you are able to be there. Again, for more detailed information on our island’s current protocols please refer to our website.

PS – Don’t let these protocols worry you too much, I can tell you, as being a frequent beach-goer, I still very much enjoy my beach time as I usually would!

Important note: Aruba’s current government-mandated protocols are subject to change at any given time., as the COVID situation is ever-changing. Please refer to this page for the latest and most up-to-date information. For any questions related to our island’s protocols and requirements please contact the Aruba Tourism Authority.

Use reef-safe sunscreen

Aruba, the Caribbean and the rest of the world have plenty of beautiful coral reefs and marine life. It is OUR job and responsibility to help preserve and protect them before they disappear!

So, in an effort to do so, our island has banned sunscreens containing Oxybenzone (as of 2019) to keep the harmful chemicals from negatively impacting the environment and marine life. It is best to seek sunscreens that use Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as the active ingredient.

There are plenty of reef-safe sunscreens that are available to purchase and at reasonable prices. If you are not able to purchase any in your country of residence before your trip, no worries, there is an assortment of reef-safe sunscreens for you to purchase on the island! Just visit the grocery store, closest botica (pharmacy) or any stores that carry Arubalife Organics or Aruba Aloe products.

Palapa courtesy

Be courteous of others and say no to any unnecessary palapa drama!

If you know you are not going to be on the beach for several hours please refrain from plopping your belongings underneath a palapa (a built-in the ground, umbrella-like structure made out of dried palm leaves) to mark it as “taken”,  this will give other beach lovers the chance to enjoy their well-deserved beach day as well!

You can find easily accessible palapas on Eagle Beach, Arashi Beach, Boca Catalina, Malmok (limited amount), and Mangel Halto (limited amount).

There has been some discussion on whether or not one can make use of any palapa or certain beach areas. Know this, every beach in Aruba is public (Renaissance Island and De Palm Island being exceptions, as they are privately owned islands that you must purchase a day pass for in order to access).

Since all beaches are public, so are the built-in palapas located on these beaches. You have the right to sit under any unoccupied palapa of choice (with your own beach chair, not the resort’s or venue’s lounge chair), even if it is in front of a resort. However, it is important to note that you cannot sit under an umbrella or palapa that belongs to the resort itself (resort property) or if it is located on the actual property of the resort, such as near their pool or in some cases at the start of the beach (some resort property lines extend a few feet onto the beach area).

Currently, each resort has its own set of rules and regulations for palapa usage when it comes to their guests. It is necessary to contact them directly for the most up-to-date information. As many repeat visitors are already aware, it is best to reserve your palapa in advance (whether that is a day or a week in advance). In many cases, this needs to be done in person at the resort’s beach/towel hut. At select resorts such as, Hilton Aruba Resort, online reservations are also offered!

Aside from palapas, there are also plenty of umbrella and lounge chair rentals available (located at watersport huts). These huts can be found at almost every beach, particularly at Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Arashi Beach, Druif Beach, Surfside Beach, and Baby Beach.

Important note: Palapa and/or beach regulations are apt to change. For official information and more details, it is necessary to contact your respective Aruba resort or the Aruba Tourism Authority. 

Be mindful of your neighbors

As we know Aruba’s beaches are public and everyone has the right to sit wherever they wish.  However, in order for everyone to also enjoy their beach time how they please, and as stated earlier, to help stop the spread of COVID, it is always kind to keep a respectable distance from one another (at least 1.5 meters).

This way each and every person can enjoy their beach time how they please, whether that consists of a nap, quiet reading time, listening to music, playing beach soccer, or socializing with friends!

Play your music (at a decent volume for you and your party to enjoy, not the entire beach) and have your fun… but please remain mindful of those around you!

Don’t drive on the sand

This seems rather obvious but you would be surprised just how many people both visitors and locals are guilty of driving or parking on the sand! Don’t do it, people, this is prohibited throughout the island!

When driving around the island, whether you are off-roading or simply driving to the beach, it is extremely important to not veer off the path before you and to never interfere with Aruba’s nature and wildlife by any means.

Driving on the sand can interfere with the island’s beautiful and much-needed flora. Also, you may not notice at first but Aruba’s wildlife is all around us! Much of the island’s wildlife cannot be seen by the naked eye, such as sea turtle nests buried underneath the sand, found on many of Aruba’s popular beaches. Also, the small owls, known as Shoco (they are adorable little creatures), nest in the dirt and sometimes in small rock rubble. Many of their nests are located near the California Lighthouse and other areas of the North Coast.

It is OUR responsibility as tourists and locals to preserve and respect this island’s beauty and wildlife as best we can!

So, now that you’ve got some proper “beach sense” you’re ready to pack that cooler, grab your towel and hit the beach! Happy beaching! 

*This article was last updated on April, 9, 2021.