15% off Sale! -- Coupon: GPSTM15


View of Oranjestad. Photo by Roger Wollstadt. (Used by permission)

Traveling in Aruba

Aruba is an island country located in the southern Caribbean Sea, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) off the northern coast of Venezuela. The island is 33 kilometres long (20 mi). Together with Bonaire, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that make up the Netherlands Antilles or the Dutch Caribbean.

Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. While this might sound unattractive to most, this climate has actually helped tourism because visitors to the island can reliably expect consistent warm and sunny weather. In addition, it has the benefit of being located outside the hurricane belt.


Area

179 km2 / 69.1 sq mi

Population

102,484 (2010 census)

Official Language

Dutch

Currency

Aruban floran (AWG)

Driving Orientation

Right

Major Cities

The island, with its relatively small population, does not have any major cities. Below are a few of it's major towns and notable villages.

  1. Oranjestad (capital; approx. pop. 33,000 in 2006)
  2. San Nicolas (approx. pop. 15,284 in 2010)
  3. Noord

Top Destinations

  1. Eagle Beach
  2. Philip's Animal Garden
  3. Boca Catalina
  4. Natural Pool
  5. Arikok National Park
  6. Alto Vista Chapel

Travel Photos

Some great photos of Aruba.


Major Cities

Oranjestad

Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba.

Attractions

Eagle Beach Eagle Beach is a beach and neighborhood of Oranjestad, Aruba. The neighborhood is famous for its many low-rise resorts and wide public beach. It has soft white sand and has been rated one of the best beaches in the world.

Palm Island Palm Island is a small private island near Aruba, Kingdom of the Netherlands, serving as a tourist attraction. The island is a 5-minute ferry ride from the mainland. The island includes a small beach and a water park.

SS Antilla SS Antilla was a Hamburg America Line cargo ship that was launched in 1939 and scuttled in 1940. Antilla was built for trade between Germany and the Caribbean, and was named accordingly. Today it is a top scuba diving and snorkeling destination.

Druif Beach Druif Beach is a promontory on the island of Aruba, located on the west coast of the island. White powder sand, excellent swimming conditions in calm water.

Oranjestad City Center While Oranjestad is a relatively small city, the city center is a nice place to walk, shop and eat.

Accommodations

Aruba Surfside Marina The Aruba Surfside Marina is a charming yet modern small hotel retreat located on the peaceful Surfside Beach near Oranjestad, Aruba. From the moment you arrive at our beach retreat you are in an inspiring setting where you can feel the connection with nature.

Little Paradise Aruba Vacation Apartments Little Paradise is a small apartment complex built at the end of 2008, located in the district of Matadera, about 5 minutes by car from downtown Oranjestad and Aruba’s spectacular white sandy beaches. The mini-resort offers luxurious and comfortable accommodations in a beautiful natural setting, with a swimming pool, outdoor shower and BBQ for your use and enjoyment. Within easy walking distance you will find a mini-market for all the supplies you may need during your stay. The Canadian owners, Rose-Marie and Frank, live within the complex and are always striving to make your vacation on Aruba unforgettable.

A1 Apartments Aruba Established in 1985 by your hosts to this day, Stanley and Ingrid Kemp. Their goal is to offer a real native ambiance combined with the personal service you deserve in a safe, clean environment in which you can enjoy Aruba.

Restaurants

Gostoso Gostoso a local favorite restaurant. They serve a blend of Portuguese and Aruban cuisine. Rated #1 on TripAdvisor.

Barefoot Restaurant Barefoot restaurant is situated on the beach, across the street from Talk of the Town, under the large palapa, near the airport. They have tables overlooking the Caribbean Sea under the palapa as well as seating on the beach under the stars. Barefoot is the ideal spot for a great dinner in a tropical ambiance. Elegant dining in flip flops

Windows on Aruba Restaurant Located at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort.This elegant restaurant is built in the round and offers diners a panoramic view over the golf course with the azure Caribbean Sea visible beyond. They pride themselves on having the best steak and fish on the island.

Yemanja Woodfired Grill Located in the centre of beautiful Oranjestad, Yemanja prides themselves on being one of the best restaurants with the best dining experience in Aruba. Looking for good meat, fresh fish and products, or even gluten free? Yemanja is the place to be.

Ricardo's Restaurant Aruba Opened in 2013 and quickly gaining a reputation for great Caribbean food. Small, comfortable and right on the beach.

Tour Services

ABC Tours & Attractions Using their Aruban know-how and instinctive talent for hospitality, ABC Tours started as a modest one-jeep enterprise in 1998. Today it has grown to a dynamic tour company that includes several proficient guides that love their work. Gabriel, the head guide, is the joined by all native-born Arubans in forming the talented team that helped ABC become the #1 tour operator and win the coveted “Tour of the Year” Award from Princess Cruise Lines. Their most-talked-about off-road adventures on Aruba are action-packed and a “must” while on the island. You’ll experience Aruba’s amazing wild side and hidden treasures. Take turns driving or simply enjoy the ride!

San Nicolas

San Nicolaas is Aruba’s second largest town and is known as the islands’ “Sunrise City”. It’s generally regarded as a quiet coastal town.

Attractions

San Nicolas Community Museum Contains a collection of historic artifacts from Aruba, as well as a collection of art by Aruban artists.

Accommodations

Kite-Inn Kite-Inn is Aruba’s most kite-friendly apartment complex. Kite-Inn is located in Aruba, an island known for having white-sand beaches and constant trade winds. Its unique location is only 5 minutes drive to Boca Grandi, the most famous southern kite-spot of Aruba. Kite-Inn offers 4 apartments fully equipped, a large enclosed courtyard with lots of privacy. A large covered patio and a big gazebo provide plenty of shade to relax from your burning kite session.

Restaurants

Charlie’s Bar & Restaurant Basically, it’s a bar with a limited menu, and of course next door is their gift shop. Anyway, the food is outstanding and the draft beer is cold. Once you see it, you will appreciate the place. A local bar which has grown through all the years.

The Rum Reef Bar and Grill Located near Baby Beach and generally regarded to have great food at good prices.

Noord

Noord is located in the northern part of Aruba. It is known for the California Lighthouse and has several hotels, restaurants and shopping centers.

Attractions

Philip’s Animal Garden After years of saving and adopting abused and abandoned animals, Philip Merryweather has turned his love for exotic animals into a world-class shelter and rehabilitation center. Philip’s Animal Garden is offering up interactive and educational tours, where you can enjoy an up close and personal experience with over 50 species of exotic animals from around the world.

Boca Catalina Boca Catalina in Aruba is a small, secluded bay in the Malmok Beach area. The white sandy beach is accessible by steps and ample parking space is available alongside the main road. The crystal clear and calm waters make this the perfect location for a private swim and snorkeling in Aruba. Boca Catalina is a popular beach and attracts a fun mix of local families and tourists, especially during weekends.

Accommodations

Tierra del Sol Resort, Spa and Country Club Located on 600 acres of Aruba’s most beautiful North-western tip of the island, with dramatic views of both the Caribbean turquoise waters and the island’s rugged coastline. Just minutes away from the pristine white sand beaches and close to casinos, restaurants, shopping malls, night life and everything that Aruba has to offer.

Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino Enjoy luxury Aruba accommodations featuring resort and adult pools, and the exclusive Tradewinds Club - an upscale hotel-within-a-hotel concept on the top floor of this Aruba resort. Savor in the upgraded amenities, five daily dining presentations in the private lounge, a member-only beach area, and full access to the Tradewinds Concierge Service. The guest rooms at this Aruba Beach Resort are the most spacious on the island, each offering Marriott’s Revive bedding, contemporary bathrooms, 37-inch LCD flat-panel TVs and large, private balconies.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba Situated on 14 acres of powder white sand, and published as one of the few “Dream Beaches of the World”. Enjoy breathtaking views of the sparkling-clear blue-green sea, feel the warm trade winds and marvel over the stunning tropical sunsets. It is the only boutique-style resort in Aruba that caters exclusively to couples/adults only. Bucuti is nestled on Eagle Beach, far from the maddening crowds and high-rise hotels.

Restaurants

Sweet Peppers Restaurant & Bar Aruba The menu offers a variety of an international cuisine with the excitement of our Caribbean-Aruban soul. During the day the Sweet Peppers Restaurant & Bar is a refreshing, light and airy restaurant for Breakfast and Lunch in a relaxing and friendly surrounding. Transformed by candlelight in the evening, a warm and intimate atmosphere together with our attentive staff will take great care of your dining experience.

Taste of Belgium Restaurant Belgian beers, wines by the glass, freshly brewed specialty coffees and teas are on the menu, just as a long list of juices, premium drinks and cocktails, shaken as well as stirred. The food at Taste of Belgium will evoke memories of a time when diets were forsaken and taste buds worked triple overtime. Belgium’s cuisine is famous in Europe and its gastronomic excellence is legendary, also on Aruba.

Papiamento Dinner at Papiamento Restaurant is an experience no one will ever forget. Surrounded by a lush garden, around a turquoise, sparkling pool with twinkling lights in the tree branches, the setting is magical. The 126-year-old Aruban “cunucu” house next to the pool is filled with gorgeous antiques from Europe, the oldest dating back to the early 1800’s. It’s the personal touches that make this place so wonderful: real flowers in amazingly beautiful arrangements, the polished utensils of a former, more leisure, era and the intense pride of knowing that you serve wonderful dishes.


Top Destinations

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach in Aruba is one of the most breathtaking beaches on the island. It boasts the widest beach in Aruba and is famous for its pristine and soft white sands. Eagle Beach offers a clear, sparkling Caribbean, ample parking, shaded picnic areas, some huts, and a variety of motorized water sports. It has been rated one of the best beaches in the world.

Philip’s Animal Garden

Philip’s Animal Garden, is a non-profit organization that focuses on rescuing exotic animals on Aruba and region. After years of saving and adopting abused and abandoned animals, Philip Merryweather has turned his love for exotic animals into a world-class shelter and rehabilitation center. Philip’s Animal Garden is offering up interactive and educational tours, where you can enjoy an up close and personal experience with over 50 species of exotic animals from around the world.

Boca Catalina

Boca Catalina in Aruba is a small, secluded bay in the Malmok Beach area. The white sandy beach is accessible by steps and ample parking space is available alongside the main road. The crystal clear and calm waters make this the perfect location for a private swim and snorkeling in Aruba. Boca Catalina is a popular beach and attracts a fun mix of local families and tourists, especially during weekends.

Natural Pool

On a deserted stretch of coastline, dramatic shows of water spraying over the rock occurs on a regular basis as the tide rushes to shore. In a unique formation of rock, volcanic stone circles a small depression, creating a tranquil pool known as “conchi” or “Cura di Tortuga,” or more familiarly by visitors as the Natural Pool. The location of the Pool is surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain, so a visitor truly gets the feeling of having “discovered” something when they reach the site, by either foot, horseback or 4x4 vehicle. Because of the nature of the environment in this secluded area, the site is inaccessible by car.

Arikok National Park

The Arikok National Park takes up approximately 18 percent of the island of Aruba and includes three primary geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, a quartz diorite formation, and a limestone formation that extends inward from the coast. These formations have directly influenced Aruba’s human settlement, as well as its natural wonders.

Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel also known as “Pilgrims Church” that stands on the hills above the north shore of the sea and to the northeast of the town of Noord.


Aruba Travel Links

Here are some links that we've found useful in planning our travels in Aruba.