You will want to make the trip to Baby Beach if you are planning to spend any time at the beach during your Aruba vacation. It is a favorite spot of the locals, and it is usually a very quiet beach. If you want the beach to yourself, the best time to come here is early in the morning on a weekday.
On the weekends, it gets a little fuller, with more locals than tourists. (I was told that the beach does get crowded on days when a cruise ship is in port since this is one of the excursions offered to cruise ship passengers. So, you might want to ask around before planning your quiet day at this Aruba beach.) We, however, did not experience any crowds at all.
During the 1930’s, Baby Beach was established by and for the workers of the Lago Oil Refinery and their families who lived in the adjacent neighborhood. They designed the beach as a relaxing family area close to their homes. They had placed concrete and rocks around the beach area as wave breakers, which created a quiet sheltered cove. Over the years, sand filled the swimming area blocked by the breakers making a very shallow lagoon, ideal for young children to wade. The beach slopes very gradually into the water. The water level for most of the cove is not more than about waist high, but towards the inlet it deepens to over 5 feet.
The refinery is still there and operational. It can be seen from the beach and some consider this an eyesore. Also, if you are expecting the super groomed beaches of the resorts, where the sand is raked twice a day, you will be disappointed. Baby Beach is cleaned and maintained by the surrounding neighborhoods and it is where the local community goes to relax. I almost feel sorry for those that can not see the beauty of this beach with its calm shallow water and soft white sand.
Baby beach is on the southern tip of Aruba, miles away from the resort and hotel areas-About a 35 minute car ride. So, remember to pack a beach bag of the essentials. (You can not simply run up to the hotel room if you forget something.) Don’t forget sun screen, beach towels, sunglasses, some snacks and water. The Aruba sun is hot, and it is easy to get dehydrated. (But, if you forget, there is a snack shack that sells cold drinks, and snack food.)
You can rent a cabanas (I call them half tents) to provide some shade. A bunch of friends and I rented one when we visited Baby Beach. It was a little crowded when all 4 of us were in it, but, most of the time we were swimming and snorkeling, and only used it when we needed a break from the sun, or while we enjoyed our cold drinks from the snack bar.
Just outside the cove area, the concrete and rocks are now covered with coral. According to one local resident I met while I was there, out of all the beaches of Aruba, this one has the nicest coral formations on the island and they are easily accessible from shore. The calm water and the thousands of colorful fish that have made the coral their home, make it a popular snorkel spot.
Remember to bring snorkel gear with you. Many of the hotels will rent masks, snorkels and swim fins upon request. However I had two issues with that. First, I really didn’t want to think about whose mouth had been on that snorkel before me, and second, I am extremely near sighted and would not be able to see any of the fish without my glasses. My solution was to buy my own gear, including a prescription lens mask! Here's where to find the best prices on them.
Choosing the right snorkel equipment for you, makes a day underwater all that much more enjoyable. Do your research and find a local dive and snorkel shop near you. They can teach you what you need to know to get started, the precautions to take and how to improve your skills. Feeling comfortable in the water and knowing how to use your equipment makes your snorkeling adventure even more enjoyable.
The best spot to see the fish at Baby Beach where the barrier wall opens to the ocean and the coral reef. Bring something to feed the fish and they will come right up to you. Some people were using bread crumbs, but the person who was using frozen peas was getting swarmed by tropical fish.
And don’t forget your under water camera. You can get disposable
underwater cameras at most tourist and swim shops on the island, but, it
would probably be much cheaper to bring them from home.
Baby Beach is wonderfully quiet and relaxing place away from the crowds, and a great place for beginners to snorkel.