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Aruba Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do In Aruba & More

Updated December 2022

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

Welcome to Aruba

Aruba is a tropical Caribbean paradise known for crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. With a wide range of things to do in Aruba, one can relax while sipping cocktails, go on a wild adventure, lounge on the beach, or explore the history of the island. For visitors, a fantastic mix of cultures, natural beauty and delicious cuisine await. Here is our guide to help make your visit to the “Happy Island” the best it can be!

Aruba is a tropical Caribbean paradise known for crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. With a wide range of things to do in Aruba, one can relax while sipping cocktails, go on a wild adventure, lounge on the beach, or explore the history of the island. For visitors, a fantastic mix of cultures, natural beauty and delicious cuisine await. Here is our guide to help make your visit to the “Happy Island” the best it can be!

Aruba Map

Aruba Map

Contents

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

A Bit Of History

Aruba has a rich history, visible today in its architecture, cuisine, traditions, and friendly locals. The island’s storied past began with the Caiquetio Indians of the Arawak Tribe arriving around 1000 AD.

For hundreds of years during the Ceramic Period, these people thrived across the island paradise. You can still see rock drawings and preserved pottery remnants on the island.

The Spanish arrived on the island around 1499 and Aruba remained under Spanish control for 137 years. Later, the Dutch occupied the island in 1636 to establish a naval base in the Caribbean during the Eighty Years’ War with Spain. The island eventually became part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1845.

Aruba Hotel Guide: Barcelo Aruba

Aruba Today

Today Aruba remains a constituent country of the Netherlands. The country’s economy is primarily built on tourism, banking, and the export of aloe.

Though the official language is Dutch, this melting pot of cultures represents over 90 nationalities and most Arubans can speak multiple languages including Dutch, English, and Spanish.

Tourism is visible everywhere with incredible access to high-quality accommodations, tour infrastructure, and wonderful dining.

 

Is Aruba Safe?

Is Aruba Safe?

Aruba is one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean and is a very safe place to travel to. Tourism has been one of the main influences on the island for years, and travelers feel very comfortable visiting.

While pretty crimes and violence toward tourists are very uncommon, crime, in general, is not unheard of, just like in any other highly populated area. Most neighborhoods are generally safe but avoid walking around downtown or back alleys alone at nighttime.

Where is Aruba?

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

click map to enlarge

Aruba is one of the Lesser Antilles islands in the Southern Caribbean Sea. The island is located just 25 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela and is near the island nations of Bonaire and Curacao.

The three islands together are often referred to as the “ABC Islands” (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). Aruba is directly south of the Dominican Republic but is quite far, almost 700 km south over the open ocean.

The Best Time to Visit Aruba

Looking for the best time to go to 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. 

Looking for the best time to go to 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 peak season making flight, hotel, and tour prices higher. 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 wonderful time of year to visit Aruba. 

April – August

Some consider this the best time to visit Aruba because it is the “offseason” so visitors can 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 much humidity in Aruba. 

September – December

This is the beginning of the “rainy” season with September and October the more favorable months to visit as temperatures remain in the high 80s and chances of rain are still minimal. November and December bring large  winter vacation crowds and more rain. 

 

January – March 

This is peak season making flight, hotel, and tour prices higher. 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 wonderful time of year to visit Aruba. 

April – August

Some consider this the best time to visit Aruba because it is the “offseason” so visitors can 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 much humidity in Aruba. 

September – December

This is the beginning of the “rainy” season with September and October the more favorable months to visit as temperatures remain in the high 80s and chances of rain are still minimal. November and December bring large  winter vacation crowds and more rain. 

 

  When Is Aruba Hurricane Season?

Aruba’s hurricane season runs from the end of May to the beginning of November, with the peak occurring between August and October. Aruba is one of the few Caribbean islands located outside the hurricane belt. In fact, Aruba hasn’t been severely affected by a hurricane since 1877. A hurricane usually comes within a hundred miles of Aruba once every four to five years. Typically, this results in high waves, excessive rainfall, or a tropical storm, but nothing more severe. Regardless, be sure to check weather reports before your trip, and we always recommend getting travel insurance during these months just in case of inclement weather.

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. 

 

Arrival By Air

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

American, Canadian, Caribbean, European, and most South American citizens don’t require visas to enter Aruba. However, a valid passport is required. All visitors can fill out their Embarkation-Disembarkation Card online.

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Arrival 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. 

  Search for great deals on cruises here.

Shuttle

Shuttles in Aruba

Whether you are on a budget or treating yourself, the right transportation is waiting for you at Queen Beatrix International Airport.

Shuttles or private transport can be pre-arranged to pick you up and take you from the airport right to your accommodation. More luxurious private sedans are around $100, while shared shuttles are around $40.

  You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Car Rental in Aruba

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.

You will need a valid driver’s license to rent and drive a car in Aruba. Car rentals typically start around $55 a day for an economy car and range to $85 per day for a standard SUV.

The driving side in Aruba is the right-hand side of the road, and gas stations may work a little differently than you are used to. At most gas stations in Aruba, you’re not allowed to pump gas yourself. Instead, an attendant will do it for you.

  Compare the best deals on rental cars here.

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

Taxis in Aruba

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 fact, outside the arrivals terminals, you will find a queue of officially certified and trustworthy taxi service providers who are ready to take you anywhere on the island. Taxi’s can easily be hailed on the streets or your hotel can call one for you.

In Aruba, the taxi rates are fixed at a minimum fare around $7.00 USD. Taxis do have a max capacity of 5 passengers not including those under 2 years of age. 

  Prepare For Flight Cancellations

Airlines are canceling thousands of flights a month these days, so it pays to be protected. Missed connections, hotel stays, tours, etc., can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. That makes travel insurance a must in our opinion. A trip policy can reimburse you for travel losses, while also covering emergency medical needs, lost or stolen luggage (it happens) and more. We think it’s an absolute no-brainer.

  Compare the top rated travel insurance policies here.

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! 

Wander The Shop Of Oranjestad

The colorful capital city of Aruba offers a wide range of options for entertainment, shopping, and dining. Wander around the vibrant downtown area and explore its unique blend of modern and historic architecture. 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.

Hike Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park is located on the wild eastern side of the island, a vastly different coastline than the white sand beaches of the west 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.

 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aruba Hotel Guide: Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort

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

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. The Antella was the coolest experience I have ever had on the island out of all the years I have been here. Thank you for the great recommendation!

  2. Do you recommend doing the adventure tour with the children? We are using your guide to plan a family trip this fall and are very intrigued by it! Thanks!

  3. Aruba is the best place in the Caribbean if you are a traveler on your own, and this guide helped me plan my entire trip. It really has everything you need to know. Thanks

  4. I have been to Aruba multiple times and this is the best guide I have ever found to help first-timers plan a fantastic trip!

  5. Thanks you for recommending the Aruba Downtown Historic and Cultural Walking Tour. It was the highlight of our trip and we learned so much about the area.

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