If you followed my travels this year, or the travels of any of the big wanderlust-inducing Instagram influencers from around the world, you will probably have seen photos of Flamingos on a tropical beach in Aruba. Be in girls in bikinis, people feeding these exotic birds or striking a fun yoga pose, Flamingo Island Aruba / Flamingo Beach Aruba has dominated social media timelines this year.
So, where is this magical island, how do you get there, and is it worth a visit? I’m going to be honest here. Of all the fun things to do in Aruba, taking photos with these flamingos was top of my bucket list. Call me shallow, call me vain, call me flamingo-obsessed, but these beautiful birds had a pull over me that nothing else could.
When I found out I might not actually get to go to the flamingo island as it was owned by a hotel I was not a guest at, I was devastated. And, naturally, did everything I could to see if there was an alternate way to visit this magical place.
Wondering when to go? Here are the best times to visit Aruba throughout the year.
Where is flamingo island Aruba?
First of all, it’s not actually called “flamingo island”, but there is a “Flamingo Beach” on the island. The flamingos, all 6 of them, live on Renaissance Island, a small private offshore island owned by the Renaissance Hotel. While the hotel itself is divided into two parts, and adult only and a family section, both on which are in Oranjestad, they ferry guests out to their private island as there are no nice beaches in front of the hotel on the mainland. The flamingos, essentially, are just a small added bonus.
Technically only guests staying at the Renaissance Hotel are allowed to go to Renaissance Island, but if the hotel is not fully booked then outside guests can buy a day pass that gives them access to the island for a full day. Day passes cost $99 and include lunch and a drink on the island.
How do I get to flamingo island Aruba?
The only way to get to the island is by a private ferry / speed boat, operated by the Renaissance Hotel. You need a room key card to swipe yourself on to the boat, so there really is no way around buying that day pass or checking in at the hotel for a few nights!
The journey to the island only takes about 10 minutes and is a fun experience in itself. The boat makes its way right up to the hotel reception, as the driver manoeuvres it down a manmade canal to pick you up, making you feel a bit like you are in Venice! You sail under a pedestrian bridge (inside the hotel!!) and out into open waters, picking up guests at another part of the hotel, then making your way to Renaissance island.
What else is there to do on Renaissance Island?
The island itself is a totally sheltered little pocket of paradise. Apart from the flamboyant flamingos, who are really very chilled out or sleeping most of the day, there are iguanas, other wild birds, a bar and small restaurant, a spa cove, hammocks hanging between mangroves and lots of private beach huts dotting the island.
Once I had taken a million photos of the flamingos, I decided to walk around the island and was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it was even without the flamingos in the equation. Definitely a very special place!
Are flamingos native to Aruba?
This is a question many have asked and from what I’ve heard i believe the answer to this questions is most definitely…NO! Flamingos are not native to Aruba and were brought here from Venezuela by the Renaissance Hotel.
Many people ask why there aren’t flamingos on other parts of the island and I guess this is your answer. The tourism board also told me that the flamingos have become so popular (here’s looking at you, Instagram!) that the hotel wanted to bring in more flamingos but have had a lot of difficulty finding any to buy. Probably because they’re, you know…wild birds!
I’ve also heard that these 6 flamingos have had their wings clipped so they cannot fly, and this is why they stay on this small island and don’t go elsewhere. I cannot confirm whether this is true though.