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Aruba Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated May 2022

Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.
Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

Welcome to Aruba

A trip to Aruba means crystal clear waters lapping on white sand beaches. This Caribbean Island is a fantastic mix of cultures, natural beauty and delicious cuisine. Aruba also offers snorkeling, kite surfing and exploring the island on ATV’s. Whether you want to relax while sipping cocktails or explore the history of the island, Aruba has something for everyone. Come find out just what this tropical paradise, known as One Happy Islands, has to offer! 

Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

Aruba Map

Contents

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Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

A Bit Of History

Aruba’s rich history is reflected in the island’s architecture, cuisine, traditions, and friendly locals. The island’s storied past began with the Caiquetio Indians of the Arawak Tribe. There were 5 large villages established during the Ceramic period and you can still see rock drawings and pottery on the island. The rule of Aruba went back and forth between the Spanish and Dutch for many years. The Spanish arrived on the island around 1499 and Aruba remained under Spanish control for 137 years. The Dutch occupied the island in 1636 to establish a naval base in the Caribbean during the Eighty Years’ War with Spain. The island became part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1845.

Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

Aruba Today

Today Aruba remains a constituent of the Netherlands, which remains in control of both foreign affairs and national defense. However, Aruba has its own government that controls policies, laws, and currency. This melting pot of cultures represents over 90 nationalities and Arubans can speak multiple languages including Dutch, English, and Spanish. This tropical paradise has so much to offer in terms of history, architecture, and friendly locals! 

 

Where is Aruba?

Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

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Aruba is one of the Lesser Antilles located in the Southern Caribbean Sea. The island is located off the coast of Venezuela and is near the island nations of Bonaire and Curacao.

Best Time to Visit Aruba

Aruba sits well outside of the hurricane belt, making this island a great place to visit throughout most of the year. Average temperatures hover between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

January – March 

This is a busy time of year making accommodation prices soar. Temperatures remain mild during January – March with lows in the mid-70s and highs in the mid-80s. There is very little rain making it a great time of year to visit Aruba. 

April – August

This is the best time to visit Aruba because it’s the off season. You’ll find great accommodation rates and fantastic weather. Temperatures may be slightly higher topping out around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but you won’t have to deal with humidity in Aruba. 

September – December

September and October are the most favorable months to visit. Temperatures remain in the high 80s and chances of rain are still minimal. November and December bring the winter vacation crowds and more rain. 

 

How to Get to Aruba & Around

Much like time spent in Aruba, getting to the island is simple and stress free. American, Canadian, Caribbean, and most South American citizens don’t require a visa to enter the country. 

 

By Air

Flights to Aruba will come through the Queen Beatrix International Airport, located in the capital city of Orjanstead, Aruba. You’ll find that most major airlines offer either non-stop flights or single connection flights from all major hubs around the world. 

By Cruise

Aruba is one of the most visited cruise terminals in the entire Caribbean. The Port of Aruba is conveniently located in Oranjestad, and within easy walking distance of great shopping and delicious restaurants. Many of the popular cruise lines stop in Aruba including Norwegian, Carnival and Princess. 

Aruba Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Aruba.

By Taxis

You’ll find taxis very easily on the island of Aruba. Located outside of the airport, as well as the cruise terminals, taxis are a great way to get around. In Aruba the taxi rates are fixed at a minimum fare 12.60 (Aruban Florian) or $7.00 (USD). The current exchange rate is $1.00 (USD) to 1.80 (AFL). Taxis do have a max capacity of 5 passengers not including those under 2 years of age. 

Car Rental

If you want the freedom of exploring the island on your own, then consider a rental car. With Aruba being a total of 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, a rental car is a great way to fully experience the island. There are several rental car companies within walking distance of the Aruba cruise port and near the airport. Sunset Car Rental is among the top car rental companies in Aruba. You will need an international driving license or any valid driver’s license to drive a rental in Aruba. Prices typically range from $35 (USD) a day to $150 (USD) per day depending on the vehicle you rent. 

Things to Do in Aruba

Aruba's Top Highlights

Beautiful beaches, historical architecture, and lush adventure await visitors in Aruba. These are some of the amazing activities you can enjoy! 

1. Wander The Shop Of Oranjestad

The colorful capital city of Aruba offers a plethora of options for entertainment, shopping, and dining. Wander around the vibrant downtown area that’s a unique blend of modern and historical. You’ll find luxury retailers, unique boutiques, and dazzling jewelry stores. 

  If exploring on your own isn’t for you then check out this Aruba Downtown Historic and Cultural Walking Tour.

2. Hike Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park is located on the eastern side of the island, which is vastly different than the white sand beaches of the western coast. This stunning National Park comprises almost 20% of the island. When exploring Arikok National Park you’ll discover rugged terrain, a breathtaking coastline, and desert-like hills filled with cacti. If you’re looking for hiking in Aruba this is the spot. Some of the most popular trails include Conchi Natural Pool Trail, Jamanato Trail and Jamanota South Trail. 

  Check out these excellent options for touring Arikok National Park.

  This Arikok Hiking Tour is perfect for those wanting to explore with a park ranger.

 

3. Go Beach Hopping

Visitors flock to the beaches of Aruba for good reason, they are gorgeous! If you are looking for calm turquoise waters and beautiful soft ivory sand, then Aruba is perfect for you. Aruba is home to some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, you don’t want to miss Eagle Beach. This slice of paradise is known as one of the best beaches in the world, Eagle Beach has pristine white sands right next to iconic Divi Divi trees. If you’re looking for a bit more seclusion check out Arashi Beach, Flamingo BeachBaby Beach, Palm Beach or Boca Keto. 

  Beach tour options abound in Aruba. Check out these great tour options at famous Palm Beach. Or these amazing tour options at Baby Beach.

4. Snorkel and Scuba Dive

Snorkeling is incredibly popular in Aruba! The crystal-clear waters off the island make it one of the best islands in the Caribbean for snorkeling and scuba diving. Enjoy the fascinating underwater world where you can marvel at colorful tropical fish and sea turtles. Some of the most popular snorkeling beaches include Arishi Beach, Catalina Cove and Malmok Beach. The island is perfect for divers of all levels. The most popular dive spot is at The Antilla, a German freighter ship that was sunk during WWII. 

  Snorkeling and scuba diving options abound in Aruba. Check out these amazing snorkeling tours or these great scuba diving tour options.

  Check out this excellent Aruba Catamaran Sail with Snorkeling or this amazing Aruba Scuba Diving Tour for non certified divers.

5. Fort Zoutman Historical Museum

As the oldest remaining building in Oranjestad, if you’re looking for history this fort museum is the place to explore. The history of the fort seeps through the walls as you view an impressive collection of documents explaining Aruba’s storied past. Each Tuesday night Fort Zoutman hosts an island Welcome Party, everyone is invited! This welcome party is also known as Bon Bini Festival, and it’s held from 6:30-8:30 pm, celebrating Aruba’s history and culture. 

6. Take an Adventure Tour

Aruba is perfect for thrill seekers and offers some great adventurous ways to explore the island. One way to explore the island is by booking a Jeep or ATV Tour. These 4-wheel drive off-road vehicles are perfect for exploring the dirt roads of Arikok National Park. Check out this Island’s Ultimate Jeep Safari in the National Park. Another great option from De Palm is the Jeep Tour, the 4-hour excursion takes you to some of the island’s most iconic sites including Arikok National Park, the natural bridge ruins, and the California Lighthouse. 

  You won’t find a shortage of adventure tours in Aruba. Check out these great adventure tour options.

7. Check Out California Lighthouse

Known on the island as Hudishibana, the Californian Lighthouse is near the island’s northwestern tip. It boasts some of the most picturesque views of the island! Named after the S.S. California, which sank in 1910, the lighthouse offers stunning views of the beautiful coastline and coral shorelines. For something extra special head to the lighthouse at sunset. 

  A great way to check out California Lighthouse is by taking an Aruba Island Sightseeing Tour.

8. Cruise Around Aruba

Aruba has many great options in terms of getting out on crystalline turquoise waters. Relax on the water with an Aruba champagne breakfast and lunch cruise with snorkeling. Another great way to experience Aruba is a gorgeous sunset tour. For those looking for something ultra-luxurious and special check out Octopus The Private Boat from Aruba.

  You won’t find a shortage of ways to cruise around Aruba! Cruising options abound check out sightseeing cruises,  speedboat tours, and sailing tours.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

When going on vacation in the time of Covid, Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Most of the current policies cover Covid medical issues as well as vacation delays due to Covid. They typically even cover your hotel if you test positive while on vacation and have to extend your trip a few days until you get a negative test. Our visitors almost unanimously choose a Trawick International Safe Travels plan which was a Forbes top-rated travel insurance plan of 2021. Easily compare the different Trawick, Generali and other top travel insurance plans here.

Where to Stay in Aruba

There are all types of accommodations in Aruba. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Aruba Hotel Guide or our Aruba All Inclusive Resort Guide.

The Best Hotels In Aruba

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our Aruba Hotel Guide

What to Eat in Aruba

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat in Aruba. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our Aruba Restaurant Guide.

Aruba Resturant Guide

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our Aruba Restaurant Guide

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