AUA Spot 1
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Aruba Queen Beatrix Airport Spotting Guide
Aruba is a rather uncharted spot of land on the globe for Europeans but this island is a must-do in your life if you like white beaches, sunny weather, lovely landscapes and inhabitants! Not only the island is great, it also has got a quite large airport which is unmissable when you are there. Aruba Airport is named after the mother of the Netherland colonies – The Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the former head of state before here retirement in 2014. Check out the guide for more of this paradise!
The island is one of three ‘ABC islands’ (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), so AUA is hub for Aruba Air – the flag carrier of the ABCs – which connects these sister islands.
The Queen Beatrix Airport is the only aviation facility on the island of Aruba so every single tourist which arrives by plane will land on this beautiful, kinda modern airport. The most of the vacationers are from the United States and from the Netherlands. KLM connects the little piece of Holland with a daily service, using an Airbus A330. TUI and Thomas Cook groups seasonally send a Thomson-Dreamliner from Gatwick or a A330 of Thomas Cook Scandinavia from Stockholm. The US carriers mainly call in with rather medium-sized airplanes like Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s, only UNITED regularly flies in with the rare B757-300 from New York-Newark.
Written by Marlin & Jonas Lehmann and Hensley Garcia (spot #4). All locations checked February 2019
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| (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
|Terminals||There is just one terminal which is used for all flights.|
|Ladder||No, there is no need for it (Advisable at Spot 3 and 4 but not urgently required)|
|Car/Public Transport||Not necessarily as you can easily get around by foot from the terminal except spot 4.|
|Restrooms||Available at all publicly accessible buildings like restaurants or inside the terminal building.|
|Drinks/Food||There are fast food restaurants in Oranjestaad East and directly at Spot 1 (Barefoot Restaurant)|
|Hotels||There are a few hotels nearby the airport for example the Talk of the Town Hotel directly near Spot 1 which is a good hotel.
If you have enough money stay in the “The Marriott’s Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino” which is located on the private “Renaissance Island”. Pretty expensive but a great view on the runway.
|Season||Aruba is busiest during the winter as many US vacationers escape the cold temperatures in the United States. Furthermore the light is best during the winter month. Aruba boasts a constant average temperature of 29°C (83°F) throughout the year which means that the weather is the same. High season (Peak tourist time) is from mid-December until mid-April. Aruba’s low season is from mid-April until mid-December.|
|11/29||Depends on the wind direction. Winds usually blow from the east so that runway 11 is in use at the most.|
|Spot #1 – Surfside Beach
|WHERE||Right at the end of runway 26 is one of the nicest beaches of Aruba. Surfside Beach is a lovely white-sand-beach which offers a perfect view onto the approach path of runway 11. It is west of the airport and easily accessable by car and public transportation. When you go from the airport just take Camacuri Road to Oranjestaad for about 1.5km and a roundabout will appear. Take its third or fourth exit (Lloyd G. Smith Blvd). You can also park directly on the beach at the waterfront.|
|WHAT||All arrivals into runway 11 or heavy departures from runway 29.|
|TIME||In the mornings during the summer season. (We don’t know how the sun is during the winter months.)|
|MISC.||As mentioned above, the Barefoot Restaurant is right at the beach where you can buy food and drinks.|
|Spot #2 – Runway 11 Line-Ups|
|WHERE||Very difficult of explanation how to get there we recommend to orientate by the way path as shown on the map. Walk from the beach in direction to the approach path and a fence will appear. This fence has got a large hole directly by the waterside thru which you’ll now have to walk thru. When you a one the other side now, turn left and proceed to the airport perimeter fence. Please note that there will sometimes be rough and difficult terrain to pass.|
|WHAT||Departures and arrivals onto/from runway 11.|
|TIME||From about 10am to sunset in winters and from noon until sunset in summer months.|
|MISC.||There is nothing nearby this point. You have to photograph through the fence but the meshes are large enough to take propper photos.|
|Spot #3 – Taxiways|
|WHERE||There is a kiosk which sometimes sells food and groceries near the taxiway to runway 11. Park under a tree from which spotting is possible too. Its not far from the airport’s terminals or from Surfside Beach as it is directly located on a lay-by next to the road which is parallel to the runway. This road is called Camacuri and leads to Oranjestaad respectively to San Nicolas in the other direction.|
|WHAT||All landings and departures of runway 11/29 and taxiings in either sides of directions.|
|TIME||From 10am in winter until late-afternoon.|
|MISC.||Food available if kiosk is opened. Photographing through the fence is no longer possible and a ladder is needed.|
|Spot #4 – GAT Ramp/WAviation|
|WHERE||It is at the GAT or WAvation ramp on the opposite site of the passenger terminal. To get to the south of the airport a car is recommend as its not really reachable by foot from the terminal like the other spots.|
|WHAT||From here you can photograph private airplanes and also landing and take off action during rotation of the airplanes on the runway. All pictures where taken through the fence but ladder is also possible.|
|TIME||Staring mid September till Mid march is the best time for photograph airplanes from these side, because the sun direction is South/west of the island, and it reflect perfectly on the airplane.
Time for spotting between 08:00 till 11:00 and in the afternoon from 15:30-18:00.
|MISC.||Bring food and drinks with you as its quiet expensive at WAviation
If u see a Yellow car its the apron or the airport security, I never had issue with them, times to time the police passes there but nothing to be alert.
|FOCAL LENGTH||85mm to 100mm is enough for the runway.
For ramp area you can used 50mm lens.