North Americans fleeing winter make Aruba the most visited island in the southern Caribbean. You’ll find miles of glorious white-sand beaches, plenty of all-inclusive resorts, and a cute, compact capital, Oranjestad, which is well suited for the two-hour strolls favored by cruise-ship passengers. It’s all about sun, fun and spending money.
Venture away from the resorts and you’re in for a real treat. At the island’s extreme ends are rugged, windswept vistas and uncrowded beaches – perfect for hiking and horseback riding. Crystal-clear waters are bursting with sea life and shipwrecks (and an airplane wreck or two), providing incredible opportunities for snorkeling and diving. And nonstop breezes create near-perfect conditions for windsurfing and kite boarding.
The island is 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles. They’re located just below the hurricane belt, and unlike many islands in the Caribbean, the climate is dry, so they rarely have a rainy day. On the south and west coasts of Aruba, you’ll find Oranjestad, the capital city, and miles of beaches that have been named some of the best in the world. There, you’ll find most of the hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Aruba. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches on Aruba, visit here. Now view our Aruba travel guide to help plan your next Aruba vacation!
Aruba is blessed with clear skies, sunshine (more sunny days than any other island!) and the cooling trade winds practically every day of the year. Except for a few scattered brief showers on some days, the sun does really always shine here! Wonderful Aruba weather is one of the many reasons for the island’s highest return-visitor rate in the Caribbean. Aruba is known for its refreshing trade winds blowing from the northeast and southeast, peaking at midday. Aruba lies on the southern fringes of the hurricane belt, with little possibility of a direct hit.
Getting To Aruba
People who are considered a tourist are those who travel to Aruba for one of the following purposes: vacation and relaxation, sport, health reasons, family matters, study, religious purposes or a business visit. During their stay in Aruba tourists are not allowed to work. A passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay in Aruba is required. If the tourist holds a passport from a visa required country, then he/she must have a valid visa sticker in his/her passport. Visa-required tourists need to apply for and have a visitor visa before coming to Aruba. The visa must be applied for in person at an embassy or consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (diplomatic mission). In some countries certain approved travel agencies can apply for a visa on behalf of their customers. The maximum period of time that a person can be admitted to Aruba as a tourist is 30 days. The total amount of days a person can stay in Aruba, as a tourist cannot exceed 180 days per year.
Tourists arriving with a flight on Aruba will land at Reina Beatrix International Airport. The Aruba Airport welcomes over 150 flights every week from various cities in the USA such as New York, Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta and Toronto and Montreal in Canada, Amsterdam in The Netherlands, England, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, Suriname, Curacao and Bonaire. Several local and international airlines such as KLM, Delta, Jet Blue, TUI Netherlands & Avianca offer flights to Aruba.
Best Time to Travel to Aruba
There is no best time to visit Aruba as the weather is consistently warm year-round with a fairly constant temperature of 82°F (28°C). The best time to visit all depends on the type of vacation you are looking for. Aruba tends to be more crowded during high season, as many visitors are trying to escape from the cold and come to Aruba for some warmth and sunshine. During this period hotel prices are higher than in low season and reservations need to be made well in advance. If you are looking for a less crowded period it is recommended to visit Aruba during low season. High season is from mid-December thru mid-April. Low season is from mid-April thru mid-December.
Getting Around in Aruba
The best way to get around Aruba is by bus. Although, many visitors stay close to their resorts and respective beaches along the northwest coast. To get from Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) to your hotel, take a taxi. Fixed-rate Aruban cabs are another hassle-free way of getting around. Renting a car is a good choice for exploring the island’s east coast, while renting an ATV for off-roading in the Arikok National Park is another option for the more adventurous crowd.
The island’s Arubus system is reliable and affordable with buses running frequently between 4 a.m. and 1:30 a.m., depending on which of the 16 lines you ride. A single bus trip costs about $2.30.
You’ll find the fixed-rate taxis are a stress-free means of getting to and from most sites, especially if you intend to spend most of your vacation around the hotel. You can have your hotel concierge call a taxi, you can grab one easily at the airport or sometimes they can be flagged down off the street (look for cars with a “TX” in the license plate), though it’s best to call ahead. Before you get in, ask the driver what the fare will be to get to your destination. You can also look at his or her fare chart while you ride.
Having a car can be handy for treks to the Arikok National Park or out of reach sites like Baby Beach or the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba. You can rent a car at the cruise terminal or the airport and daily rates can range anywhere from $40 to $90 USD. If you’re splurging already, consider upgrading your compact car for a four-wheel-drive or all-terrain vehicle. Aruba’s rugged east coast landscape will be much easier to handle if you’re in a vehicle with some oomph.
Things Not to Miss
Arikok National Park
Aruban rattlesnakes, parakeets and whiptail lizards make their home in the Arikok National Park, as do numerous iguanas, goats, donkeys and migratory birds. So if you don’t like animals, stay clear of Aruba’s southeastern quadrant, which is dominated by this ecological preserve and extremely popular tourist stop. Many who visit Arikok make a day of observing the area’s wildlife, exploring the caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs that populate the area, or examining the Amerindian art and abandoned gold mines that sit within the park’s limits. Many choose to drive through the park in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but you can also get out and hike in some spots. Considering the breadth of land and activity in Arikok, it’s best to pick one or two top things to do or perhaps visit the park again on another day.
Aruba has the remedy for the over hyped, overcrowded sprawl you might be experiencing along Eagle or Palm beaches. Take a trip southeast to San Nicolas and Baby Beach, a popular shore for Arubans due to its shallow waters and easy waves. Recent beach goers recommend spending time snorkeling near the left, rocky side of the beach. This authentic Aruban experience is accompanied by small snack shops, and cabanas and beach charis are available for rent. And you’ll see some smoke stacks in the distance as you lounge (as opposed to the clear Caribbean skies you’ll view on the western side). Open 24/7, Baby Beach is popular with families and a good alternative to the busy shores near the hotels.
Donkey Sanctuary Aruba
Get ready to be overwhelmed with cute: the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is a nonprofit organization devoted to saving the island’s donkeys and educating locals and tourists on their care. Donkeys used to be the main form of transportation on the island; now many of them are sick and injured. The lucky ones receive proper care and shelter in this donkey sanctuary in the Santa Cruz neighborhood in Aruba’s northeast side about 8 miles from Eagle Beach. Visitors find the animals to be sweet, docile creatures eager to interact with people — especially if you bring the right treats.
Located near Aruba’s northwestern tip, just past the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Hadicurari Beach’s strong winds beckon to windsurfers and kite boarders. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see beach shacks dotting a pebbly coastline; the beach here is nicknamed “Fisherman’s Huts” for that very reason. The area’s shallow, iridescent water is also good for snorkeling. Like all of Aruba’s beaches, Hadicurari is free to visit all the time, but it’s an especially popular beach in late June or early July during the Aruba Hi-Winds kite surfing and windsurfing tournament.
Unique Sports of Aruba
Whether you want to snorkel on one of Aruba’s many reef’s or wrecks or maybe catch some of the beautiful Aruban local sun,c then Cruzancat is the choice for you! Their Gold Coast Catamaran is ideal for your every need from daily scheduled snorkeling trips to private charter trips for you and friends and family, all at extremely competitive rates! For more information call 297-586-0096, or visit them on the web at Unique Sports of Aruba.
Explore Aruba Adventure
“An island expedition recommended for all ages” The Explore Aruba Adventure is on the colorful open air Banana Bus with great music. Charge with Adventure on our 4 1/2 hour bus excursion into the rugged countryside along with your camera to capture the behavior of Aruba’s wildlife. Walk the grounds of the unique California lighthouse, Alto Vista chapel, Natural Bridge, Seroe Colorado and one of the famous caves in Aruba. Join us for a refreshing swim at Baby Beach. A snorkeling experience for all ages! Soft drinks and snorkeling equipment included. For more information call 297-593-0757, or visit them on the web at Explore Aruba Adventure.
A real submarine, a real adventure… Take an exciting voyage to the depths of 130 feet below the Caribbean Sea. Join Atlantis Submarines, voted Aruba’s most outstanding attraction, on an unforgettable guided tour aboard the largest passenger submarine fleet in the world. Explore Aruba’s mysterious underwater realm, where you can witness the remains of two shipwrecks, spectacular coral reefs and an abundance of colorful sea life. The submarine is U.S. Coast Guard-approved, environmentally friendly, fully air-conditioned and has large view ports, which allow you to relax and enjoy the wonders of the deep. For more information call 297-522-4400, or visit them on the web at Atlantis Submarine.
S.E. Aruba Fly ‘N Dive
S.E.Aruba Fly ‘n Dive / Diver Factory offers you a way to discover Aruba’s natural resources and scenery. Whether you want to become a diver, continue your education or just enjoy some great diving on Aruba, their international instructors can teach and show you the way. ‘Diving is fun’ is their idea with every course and dive S.E.Aruba Fly ‘n Dive / Diver Factory organizes. S.E.Aruba Fly ‘n Dive / Diver Factory takes out the boat every day to different dive sites around Aruba. For more information call 297-588-1150, or visit them on the web at S.E. Aruba Fly ‘N Dive.
Aruba Kite Surfing
Kite surfing is the fastest growing water sport in the world. It is spectacular, wild and addicting. Learn to kite surf in Aruba with Aruba Kite. We are Aruba’s longest running kite boarding school, with over ten years teaching experience and innumerable successful students. Their fun loving and professional instructors will get you up and riding in just a few hours, ensuring that learning to kite surf is both safe and exciting. For more information call 297-586-0989, or visit them on the web at Aruba Kite Surfing.
Top Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$$$ 2 Fool & A Bull
2 Fools and a Bull offers guests a unique dining experience previously unknown to Aruba. The 2 Fools, Fred Wanders and Paul Faas have created a unique atmosphere in a restored Old Cunucu House guaranteeing that guests at 2 Fools and a Bull, feel they are entering a private home. Taking center stage, is a fully restored, authentic French firewall, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean! A comfortable “dining bar” seating a maximum of 18 faces the French firewall inviting diners to observe the open kitchen where food becomes art for the senses. For more information call 297-586-7177, or visit them on the web at 2 Fools & A Bull.
$$$ Screaming Eagle
The Screaming Eagle is a unique restaurant with Miami-style lounge bar atmosphere – edgy interior design, comfortable and chic lounge area, trendy French-Fusion cuisine and a wine and cocktail list to create the mixture for those who dare now a days lifestyle. For more information call 297-587-8021, or visit them on the web at Screaming Eagle.
$$ Passions On The Beach
Experience the most romantic dinner on the island at Passions on the Beach Restaurant. Exquisite dishes, the soft light of torches all around you, sugary white sand between your toes, the soft sound of waves caressing the shore, and the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen… For more information call 297-527-1100, or visit them on the web at Passions On The Beach.
$$$ Amuse Sunset Restaurant
Amuse Sunset Restaurant Aruba serves international cuisine prepared with only the freshest and finest ingredients. From International classics done with an Aruban flair, to unique gourmet creations. There is no rush. Sit back and enjoy a glass of wine paired with each of your plates. Allow our friendly and attentive staff to make your visit an enjoyable experience, no matter the occasion. Amuse Sunset Restaurant Aruba is the place where your taste buds will be delighted. For more information call 297-586-9949, or visit them on the web at Amuse Sunset Restaurant.
$$$ Chalet Suisse
Since 1988, the highly regarded Chalet Suisse Restaurant has been enjoyed by visitors and locals alike who relish the consistency of the finest quality ingredients, the congeniality and efficiency of the all-Aruban service staff, the care given in the preparation of each dish, and the well-balanced menu options to please everyone’s palate. For more information call 297-587-5054, or visit them on the web at Chalet Suisse.
Bars & Nightlife
Serene and stylish in blue and white, the Renaissance Resort’s lobby bar is ideal for drinks and conversation from the time it opens up to the time it closes down. The staff are infectiously friendly, the cocktails are well-mixed and the overall vibe is simultaneously upbeat and relaxed. A great place to make some new friends, get in a little people-watching, or catch up on your vacation alcohol allowance! Plus, there’s a nice variety of tapas and light meals if you’ve got the munchies. Casual walk-in tourists, local and international business professionals, all enjoy the surroundings of this sophisticated open-air lobby bar in one of Aruba’s most prestigious resorts. For more information call 1-844-631-0595, or visit them on the web at Blue.
Ready to shake those Hipsz? This is your chance! Learn how to dance the Salsa or simply improve your dancing skills at Aruba Salsa. The young and professional duo, Reggie and Sabine would love to share their great passion for Latin dances with everyone – locals, tourists, newbies… If having fun is your way of life, then get some fancy moves to show off at Reggie and Sabine’s brand new nightclub Hipsz. With the largest wooden dance floors on the island, top quality sound equipment, the best local bands, reasonable drink prices and the friendliest staff ever, there is no excuse left to dress up and grab your dancing shoes. For more information call 297-585-7939, or visit them on the web at Club Hipsz.
The Sopranos Piano Bar
This trendy piano bar is nestled amongst the high rise hotels, right in the center of the lively Palm Beach scene. Just look for Aruba’s Arawak Garden and visit one of the coolest piano bars in the world. Try a Bikini Martini and kick back with a Cuban cigar while the multi-talented piano players entertain you. Things get hopping when patrons sing along with the musicians who take requests for everything from Frank Sinatra to Elton John. Open-aired and relaxed, this is the place classy enough to wear the stylish dress you packed, “just in case,” or come casual as you like. The only requirement is to obey the motto: “Let’s have fun!” For more information call 297-586-8622, or visit them on the web at The Sopranos Piano Bar.
How to make a happening on a tropical island? Easy! Take a gorgeous sandy beach, add huge palapas (shade huts) and a lot of lounge chairs and tables. Bring in plenty of Coconut Rum, Blue Curacao, Tequila and Peach Schnapps, plus a friendly bartender or three who know how to mix them up, while shaking to the rhythm of the island’s beat. Include breakfast, lunch and a tasty menu of Caribbean seafood and grilled meat to accompany the breathtaking sunset and dance or sing all night to live music. Voila! There you have one of the best beach bars in the world. Call your creation MooMba Beach Bar & Restaurant – it doesn’t sound too difficult. For more information call 297-586-5365, or visit them on the web at Moomba Beach.
Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus
No need to designate a driver when you take this dinner and barhopping tour. A wildly painted 1957 Chevy bus picks you up at your hotel and transports you to Arashi Beach for a glass of champagne and a Caribbean sunset. Throughout the course of the evening, you will visit three local bars and have dinner at a traditional Aruban home or restaurant. The cost of an evening includes hotel pick up and drop off, dinner, and one drink at each stop. For the Pub Crawlers there is a Happy Hour tour, including specialized Kukoo Shot Glasses and a free shot at every stop! For more information call 297- 586-2010, or visit them on the web at Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus.
Top Aruba Hotels
Bucuti & Tara Boutique Beach Resort – Adults Only
This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Set on the white sands of Eagle Beach, this adults-only (18+) boutique resort features an ocean-front restaurant with spectacular views and healthy dining options. Free breakfast and free WiFi are provided. The SandBar has a happy hour every evening, twice a week there is a free Movie Night on the beach, and Carte Blanche restaurant boasts gourmet-style cuisine at a chef’s table. Romantic dining on the beach in a private palapa can be reserved. An air-conditioned fitness center has a beautiful view of the courtyard garden and nearby beach. An outdoor pool and concierge services are also available. Guests can relax with a massage or treatment in the Purun Spa. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Bucuti & Tara Boutique Beach Resort.
Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa – Top Rated by Couples
Ideally situated on Manchebo Beach along the Caribbean Sea, this Aruba luxury resort boasts an outdoor spa, 3 restaurants with live entertainment and spacious rooms with a private balcony. Spa del Sol has a steam room and massages and nail services are offered in the tropical outdoor gazebos. Guests can also relax by the outdoor pool or workout in the gym. Manchebo Beach Resort offers concierge services as well as on-site car rental. Multiple beach cabanas including lounge chairs and towels are available. This property is a yoga retreat destination. Beach Resort Manchebo’s Pega-Pega Café and Beach Bar features sandwiches and Caribbean cocktails. Live music is performed at the French Steakhouse, while Ike’s Bistro – Mediterranean & Caribbean serves a breakfast buffet and offers fine dining in a tropical poolside setting. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa.
Playa Linda Beach Resort
This beachfront resort features an outdoor pool, health spa and a fitness center. Playa Linda Beach Resort is in Palm Beach and has tennis courts and a kids club. At Playa Linda Beach Resort there are a variety of restaurant and bars, and business center. Other facilities at the complex include convenience store, tour desk and free parking. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Playa Linda Beach Resort.
The Ritz Carlton Aruba – Children’s Activities
The beachfront Ritz-Carlton, Aruba tempts guests with free WiFi, 2 outdoor pools and spa in Noord. It lies 8.9 km from the Archaeological Museum of Aruba. Guests can enjoy the children’s activities and 3 onsite restaurants. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba offers 24-hour front desk assistance. The hotel also offers onsite water sports facilities and a casino. There is a business center, retail shop and concierge service. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The Ritz Carlton Aruba.
Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort – Children’s Activities
This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. Boasting an exceptional beachfront location and offering unrivaled on-site facilities, amenities and activities, this resort features a top-rated golf course, numerous dining options and a full-service spa. An endless variety of recreational activities are available at the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort. From on-site tennis courts and 2 swimming pools, to snorkeling and a beachfront rock-climbing wall, there is something for everyone. Guests at the resort also have full access to all facilities at the 5 other nearby Divi Aruba Resorts. The resort also features a variety of organized excursions and tours as well as a children’s program. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort.