Palm Beach


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Located on Aruba's northwest coast, Palm Beach is a two-mile stretch of turquoise Caribbean waters and white sand, lined with luxury high-rise resorts.

Its slate of casinos, nightclubs, and beach bars have earned it a reputation as one of the island's liveliest social hubs, and this dynamic energy continues right on down to the sand and into the sea. Though the scenery may seem idyllic with waters as warm and calm as a bathtub, you're missing out if you spend your entire trip sprawled out on a beach blanket. A perfect day on Palm Beach is one packed with action. The coast's famed trade winds make this an ideal spot to try out parasailing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.

Just offshore, these clear waters contain some of the finest shipwrecks in all of the Caribbean, including the Antilla, a 400-foot-long German freighter that can be explored by snorkeling or scuba diving. And if you're more the boating type, just choose your speed: scenic glass-bottomed cruises, relaxing catamaran sailings, or thrillingly bumpy banana boat rides. Once you've taken advantage of all of Palm Beach's exciting offerings, you've finally earned the right to lounge on that white powder sand.

Shipwreck Diving

With 42 unique dive sites ringing Aruba's pristine 43 miles of coastline, you're never too far from an amazing underwater adventure, from kaleidoscopic coral reefs to haunting shipwrecks. But few can match the ghostly grandeur of the largest wreck in the South Caribbean. The Antilla is an impeccably preserved 400-foot German freighter that was launched in 1939 and deliberately sunk here just a year later to keep it out of Dutch hands during World War II. Just offshore from Malmok Beach and only 60 feet underwater, the wreck site is surprisingly accessible. But that doesn't mean you have to go it alone: Red Sail Sports organizes dives for all skill levels, with complimentary transfer to and from anywhere along Palm Beach.

Wind Sports

Aruba's famed trade winds come with hidden dangers: The near-constant cool breezes, for example, will have you feeling so pleasant and relaxed that you won't even realize you're getting a sunburn! But they also come with major perks, turning Aruba into the perfect environment for wind sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. Take a lesson with Aruba Active Vacations, or simply watch the professionals from the comfort of your lounge chair as they maneuver their colorful sails through the wind. The best time to marvel at the breathtaking agility of these aquatic athletes is the Hi-Winds Tournament, Aruba's most popular water sport event, which attracts thousands of local and international competitors each July.

Catamaran Rides

You don't need your own yacht to hit the seas in high style. Red Sail Sports offers private catamaran charters that will whisk sailing enthusiasts away to nearby snorkeling spots or simply out to sea for dinner, sunset, and moonlight cruises. There may be nothing more relaxing than escaping the crowds of Palm Beach and viewing the island from the quiet calm of the Caribbean. Come fall, however, the catamarans take a more adventurous turn during November's Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta, when expert sailors from all over the world compete in short- and long-distance races just offshore.

Carnival Celebrations

If you're looking for a party that just won't quit, Aruba's Carnival celebrations stretch for about two full months, from January 1 to Ash Wednesday, which usually falls sometime between mid-February and early March. The entire island comes alive with pulsating music (Antillean tumba, steel drum, calypso, and salsa), torch-lit parades, glittery costumes, and dynamic "jump ups", or free-form street parties. In January, Palm Beach hosts Carnival Calypso, an all-day showcase of the island's best calypso bands, along with family-friendly events such as meet-and-greets with the Carnival queens.