If you made it here, you probably already know what De Palm Island is, but just in case you are still unsure, let’s cover the basics. De Palm Island is a 25-acre private island located less than a half mile off the coast of Aruba. But this isn’t just any private island! This private island has waterslides, flamingoes, snorkeling, banana boat rides, two restaurants, a bar, and did we mention that it’s all-inclusive? That’s right! At the time of writing this (late 2022) for $105-109/adult and $85/child (4-12), you get access to the island’s many activities, restaurants, open bar (legal drinking age is 18), and picturesque Caribbean views! Now, that all sounds amazing, and it is, but it’s not all perfect, so we’ve put together this list of tips, tricks, and things you should know before you visit De Palm Island… The good, the bad, and the ugly!
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*Also, check out our De Palm Island vlog for a closer look at our experience!
1. Purchase tickets ahead of time
Unless you particularly enjoy waiting in lines, I would suggest purchasing your tickets ahead of time. They can be purchased online through the De Palm Island website or many resorts/hotels sell tickets on-site at their concierge desk. Also, when purchasing tickets, know that there are two different tickets offered. One includes roundtrip transportation on one of De Palm Islands shuttle/coach buses, the other is for “walk-ins'' which simply means that you will be providing your own transportation. If you do have a rental car and decide to drive yourself, parking is free and plentiful. There's only a $4 price difference in the tickets, so the biggest difference between the two tickets (other than the transportation) is that the ticket that includes transportation allows you access to the island 1 hour earlier (10 am) than the walk-in ticket (11 am) but also requires that you leave the island one hour earlier (4 pm) that the walk-in ticket (5 pm). While there are benefits to both (which we’ll talk about later), I’m not sure it makes that much of a difference, so I would recommend just purchasing the ticket based on your transportation needs.
2. Arrive early
They sell tickets to access the island all the way up to 2 pm the day of, but if you ask me, $105-109 (or $85 for children) is a lot of money to pay only to have 2-3 hours on the island! That said, in order to get the most bang for your buck, we recommend spending an entire day here (they are open from 10 am-4 pm for bus riders and 11 am-5 pm for walk-ups).
3. Beach Chairs/Umbrellas are first-come, first-serve
Continuing on the topic of arriving early, unless you pay for an upgraded experience like premium seating, a beach cabana, or a private cabana (prices range from $45 to $359 for the day), all beach chairs and palapas (beach umbrellas with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves) are first-come, first-serve. This is where I think the benefit of arriving one hour early with the bus transportation ticket lies. Regardless of which ticket you book though, you’ll need to arrive as early as possible to secure a good spot on the beach! Once you’ve found your spot, we recommend using these beach chair bands to hold your towel in place (Aruba can get VERY windy) and let others know that the seats are taken. Also, since you’ll likely be up and down and leaving your chair from time to time for drinks and activities, we recommend something like this Master Lock Portable Lock Box to keep any valuables safe.