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discovery travel aruba

I've been visiting Aruba for over 25 years and think it's the ideal tropical getaway. Here's my ultimate guide to exploring the island.

  • As a travel writer who's been visiting the Caribbean for years, I consider Aruba an ideal getaway.
  • From local eats to ocean excursions, here's my ultimate guide on everything to do on the island.
  • Visit Insider's hub for travel guides, tips, and recommendations.

When it comes to prime vacation spots, Aruba is a must-see destination. There's so much I love about this island it's tough to choose just one reason to recommend: stunning white-sand beaches, clear warm aqua waters, year-round sunny weather, refined accommodations, modern infrastructure, friendly locals, unique activities — the list goes on. 

As a travel writer specializing in the Dutch Caribbean, I've been visiting Aruba frequently for over 25 years. It's my happiest island home away from home, and always my top recommendation to anyone seeking an ideal tropical holiday.

Foodies can watch local chefs create incredible fusion dishes before their eyes, explorers can sail out to see long-lost shipwrecks and enjoy brunch and snorkel adventures on private boats, and creatives can relish the outdoor art scene in towns like San Nicolas.

Though this tiny island is less than 70 square miles in size, there's plenty to discover and always something new, so I recommend booking a long stay. Aruba has the highest repeat visitor ratio in the Caribbean, so once you go, chances are good you'll be back. Here's my ultimate guide to having the best tropical holiday on the island and exploring Aruba from end to end , any time of year.

Explore Insider's guide to visiting Aruba: 

→ The 5 best ways to get to and around Aruba, including flights, bike and car rentals, and local transit

→ i've hotel-hopped through aruba's best resorts — here are my 10 favorite places to feel like you're in a private paradise, → i've reviewed the best restaurants in aruba and these are the 8 places you can't miss, from seaside dining to the best local snacks, → i've tried just about every activity in aruba, from exploring shipwrecks to lounging on hidden beaches. don't leave without trying these 11 experiences., → everything you need to know before visiting aruba — weather, currency, and more.

discovery travel aruba

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How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Aruba

Here's everything you need to do, where to stay, and the best time to visit.

Jacqueline Dole is a freelance food and travel journalist based in Maine. A lifelong New Englander, her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure , Food & Wine, TimeOut, Insider, Thrillist, Eater, and more. With a background as a pastry chef, she’s always on the lookout for the next best snack. She is a theme park enthusiast and expert, and embroidered hotel robes, amazing pools, and hot dogs are some of her favorite things.

Best Hotels and Resorts

Best things to do, best restaurants, best time to visit, how to get there, neighborhoods to visit, how to get around.

Flavio Vallenari/Getty Images

The first time I visited Aruba, I was two years old. My grandparents had purchased a timeshare shortly before I was born at a small resort, just across from the world-famous Eagle Beach . I was lucky enough to travel with them almost every year, trading the frigid winters in New England for the tropical temperatures and sunny skies of Aruba. Visiting Aruba every year became a part of my identity, my love for the island literally written into my wedding vows. There’s something about the turquoise waters, pristine white sand, and incomparable sunsets that keep people coming back, year after year. I've visited the island more than 30 times, continuing to make my annual pilgrimage each winter. 

In the mid-1980s, Aruba became an autonomous entity of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Following the closure of their oil factory, the government pivoted to make tourism the driving economic force on the island. Aruba invested heavily in marketing, and between 1986 and 1996, tourism grew at almost twice the rate in the Caribbean. At just 20 miles long, the island is easy to navigate and explore. While resort development continues to flood the island and hotels rise across the horizon, some parts of Aruba have remained the same over the years: crystal-clear water that’s perfect for snorkeling, an ever-present breeze that keeps the island from getting too hot, and temperatures that always hang around the mid-80s. 

Top 5 Can’t Miss

  • Book a room at the Boardwalk Boutique Hotel for a laid-back stay. This family-run property has just 46 rooms, a far cry from the bustling high-rise district, and you can even grill on your own barbecue. 
  • Catch one of Aruba’s famous sunsets from a catamaran cruise and enjoy one-of-a-kind views of the island.
  • Drive out to Savaneta for lunch at Zeerover, an oceanfront restaurant where the menu features whatever the fisherman caught that day. 
  • Spend a day on Eagle Beach, consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world. 
  • Sign up for a tour around Arikok National Park and spot the natural pools, caves, and bridges while letting someone else do the challenging off-road driving.

Courtesy of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive

Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive are sister resorts located on Druif Beach, between downtown Oranjestad and Eagle Beach. The all-inclusive properties are home to more than a dozen restaurants, half a dozen bars, and a mile-long stretch of sand. With activities and classes throughout the day and an adjacent golf course and casino, there’s no need to leave the grounds if you’re looking for ultimate relaxation. 

Bucuti & Tara

Bucuti & Tara is the Caribbean’s first and only certified carbon neutral hotel. Voted as one of Travel + Leisure readers' favorite resorts in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas in 2023 , the adults-only property stands out as a leader in sustainable travel without sacrificing luxury. Guests are granted a personal concierge upon check-in, guaranteed sun loungers on the beach complete with on-demand beverage service, and daily breakfast. 

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is a family-run property in the middle of a former coconut plantation. With just 46 private casitas, the resort offers a more intimate option for guests seeking more laid-back accommodations. The casitas include kitchenettes, barbecues, and outdoor dining sets. The resort is a short walk or shuttle ride from Palm Beach, where guests can reserve lounge chairs free of charge and enjoy beachside food and beverage service from the neighboring Ritz-Carlton. 

Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba

Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort is located in downtown Oranjestad. Guests can choose rooms in the adults-only Marina building or at the nearby Ocean Suites with direct beach access. One of the highlights of this property is the complimentary access via water taxi to Renaissance Island, home of the Instagram-famous Flamingo Beach (day passes to the island are also available for purchase to non-guests). The island has private waterfront cabanas, beachside hammocks, snorkeling, kayaking, and food and beverage available on site. 

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Visit Arikok National Park.

Arikok National Park, located about 40 minutes from the high-rise hotel district, spans more than 20 percent of the island. Rather than rent a Jeep to explore on your own, I’d advise first-time visitors to join a tour instead. The terrain is rough and navigating an auto insurance claim is the last thing anyone wants to do on vacation. “I’d recommend first-time visitors explore Arikok National Park on one of our many Jeep tours. They’ll be able to swim in the natural pool, visit the caves, and immerse themselves in Aruba’s natural beauty,” says Sjeidy Feliciano, North America marketing director for the Aruba Tourism Authority. “One of the most popular sites is the Quadirikiri Cave, famous for its two chambers, illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the holes in the roof of the cave. Meanwhile, the Fontein Cave is known for having paintings from the Arawak people.” Popular tour operator De Palm Tours offers several trips that guide visitors around the park on off-road safaris.

Sail on a catamaran cruise.

One of my favorite things to do every year is take a catamaran cruise to catch the sunset from the water. It’s a great activity for all ages and always a highlight — The Pelican , which includes snacks and an open bar, sets sail from a convenient location in the high-rise district. It also offers daytime snorkeling expeditions with several stops, including at the popular the 400-foot-long Antilla Shipwreck from World War II. 

Stop at a local grocery store.

Given ​Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, there’s a lot of Dutch influence on the island and this extends to the grocery store as well. I always make time to stop at a local supermarket to browse the aisles, and there’s no better place to do that in Aruba than Super Food . Whether you want to pick up some fresh stroopwafels, stock up on some Gouda to bring home, or try a bottle of the island’s famous Hot Delight hot sauce made with Aruban-grown Madame Jeanette hot peppers, this popular market is a must-visit. 

Swim at Baby Beach.

Baby Beach is one of the best for families in Aruba. The large, half-moon lagoon has shallow crystal-clear waters, paired with calm waves thanks to a human-made breakwater. This makes it the ideal place for kids, snorkelers, and visitors looking for a relaxed spot to swim. The beach is about 45 minutes from the high-rise district and accessible via rental car, taxi, or bus. 

Orietta Gaspari/Getty Images

My first visit to Zeerover was about 10 years ago when someone at Charlie’s Bar , one of Aruba’s oldest businesses, suggested it to me. Since then, the fish house has become a staple of every trip and, frankly, my favorite meal all year. Located in Savaneta, the restaurant is situated on a pier overlooking the ocean where you can watch the fishing boats dock. The menu features the catch of the day — think wahoo, snapper, or my favorite, barracuda. Fried head-on shrimp are always available, as are plantains, french fries, steamed cornbread, and pickled onions. Fish is ordered by the pound and eaten at picnic tables on the covered dock at the restaurant. There’s truly nothing like sharing a bucket of Aruban-brewed Balashi beers and a basket of seafood from here. It's worth noting Zeerover is closed on Mondays.

Eduardo’s Beach Shack

In recent years, Eduardo’s Beach Shack has skyrocketed in popularity. What started as a small smoothie shack on the beach now has three locations across the island. The spot offers fresh juices, smoothies, and bowls, and the items are all customizable and made to order with fresh ingredients.

Papiamento Restaurant

Set inside a more than 100-year-old manor, Papiamento is a romantic bistro that offers seating in its antique-filled dining room or on the poolside terrace. “ Papiamento is one of my favorites for a unique Aruba experience” says Feliciano. “This family-owned restaurant is also a museum, but it's set inside an old Aruba cunucu house. The food is delicious ... and it truly is a slice of Aruba.” The restaurant also features keshi yena , a stuffed cheese that's Aruba's national dish. 

The Pastechi House

Located in downtown Oranjestad, The Pastechi House serves a large variety of one of Aruba’s most traditional breakfast and snack items: pastechi . Similar to an empanada, the deep-fried dough pocket features a pastry crust stuffed with an array of fillings, from Gouda to conch. 

Mark A Paulda/Getty Images

The best time to visit Aruba is from February to August because of the great weather and lower prices. “May through September is also a good time to visit, as it’s after winter in the U.S. when we have lots of visitors,” says Feliciano. “Prices will be lower, and you’ll find better deals for stays. Yes, it will be warm, and it's important to use sun protection, but the waters are refreshing and the trade winds keep us cool.” From September to January, the island experiences its rainy season, which peaks in November. During this time, the rain generally comes in short spurts rather than day-long storms, but it can interrupt plans to lounge by the beach or pool all day. 

The most popular time to visit Aruba is from December through March — the high season — as many residents from the northeastern U.S. flee colder temperatures and, of course, snow. During this time, occupancy at resorts is high and reservations for popular restaurants, rental cars, and island excursions get booked up in advance. Carnival in Aruba officially begins in November, but the majority of the celebrations happen in January and February. These include lavish parades with elaborate floats, beautiful costumes, and live music. 

Queen Beatrix International Airport is located in Oranjestad and has flights to and from the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, and several other Caribbean islands. There are several direct flights from major U.S. cities, primarily on the East Coast. And visiting is fairly easy: “To ensure an easy flight experience, travelers will go through U.S. customs at the Aruba airport before their flight home,” says Feliciano. That being said, the time it takes to clear customs can be notoriously lengthy. Be sure to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your flight back to allow enough time to complete the process. While it won’t always take that long, especially on weekdays or during the slower season, I’ve cut things too close on more than one occasion and had to run to catch my flight. 

LanaCanada/Getty Images

Home to the high-rise hotels, Palm Beach is where most vacationers will spend the majority of their time on the island. Most hotels have an on-site casino, in addition to several restaurants. Palm Beach has several water sport shacks where visitors can sign up for Jet Ski rentals, tubing, banana boats, and more. While this beach is beautiful, it's often crowded. It's a great spot for families as there's no shortage of activities, but don’t expect privacy here. Located across the street from the beach, the Palm Beach Plaza Mall is a large outdoor complex with shops, restaurants, and entertainment like a movie theater and bowling alley. 

Eagle Beach 

Eagle Beach is where most of the timeshares and low-rise resorts can be found. Continuously dubbed one of the best beaches in the world , it's much more quiet than neighboring Palm Beach and ideal for visitors seeking privacy and space while still having access to the same picturesque setting. There are some places to rent beach chairs and palapas here if you’re not staying at a property that includes these amenities or visiting as a day guest on a cruise. 

The capital of Aruba, Oranjestad is home to colorful Dutch Colonial architecture, restaurants, shopping, and a cruise port. There are walking tours that focus on the history of the island, as well as a trolley that takes riders past the Parliament and several historical museums. In the downtown area, visitors will find high-end stores such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, making it a popular spot for duty-free souvenir shopping. Conversely, it’s also a great place to pick up typical travel tchotchkes, like T-shirts and magnets. 

Courtesy of Divi Aruba

While there’s no need to rent a car in Aruba, those who prefer to explore rather than exclusively spend their days lounging on the beach may prefer to have their own transportation, whether it's for a few days or more. Rather than renting from a large international brand, I’ve had better luck with locally owned companies, like Jay's Car Rental . While most local car rental locations are not based at the airport, they offer transportation between the terminal and rental office; some will even pick up your car directly from the resort if you don’t need it for the entirety of your stay. 

There's public transportation across the island via Arubus , the public bus service that travels to nearly all the popular tourist destinations. The bus offers single-ride or day passes at just $10 per day. Taxis are also widely available in most tourist areas, but I’d encourage you to schedule service ahead of time for anything time-sensitive, like dinner reservations. 

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Aruba , Destinations , Vacations · March 16, 2022

The Ultimate Aruba Itinerary: One Week Travel Guide

You’re heading to Aruba! And you need some help. I get it, One Happy Island has so much to offer, and planning can be tough. But this Aruba Itinerary has everything laid out for you to cover as much as you can! White sand beaches, turquoise waters, and palm trees. Friendly locals. Fun beach bars. And a wide variety of adventures to experience. You are in for a treat.

This one week travel guide is FULL of tips and tricks that will have you smooth sailing for 7 full days on this magical Caribbean island.

First, let’s get into a few of the basics…

Aruba Itinerary One Week

Is it Safe to Travel to Aruba?

10000%. One of the best things about Aruba is that it is deemed one of the safest Caribbean islands and has a very low crime rate. One Happy Island is just that—HAPPY. Locals welcome you with open arms and everywhere you explore is safe.

TIP: I would avoid all inclusive resorts in Aruba since there are so many different areas to experience. You don’t want to lock yourself in. And given the safety here, you’re free to roam.

How Many Days Do You Need in Aruba?

At LEAST a week! You have found this itinerary so you are probably within the 5-10 day mark. But anyone I have ever talked to (myself included) thinks a week is WAY too short! That said, it’s a good place to start to get the true vibe of the island and you can always come back!

P.S.: I wrote this itinerary and a lot gets left out. I’ve been visiting the island every year since 2016 and I wanted to give you all the best parts. Make sure to review all of my Aruba posts in case there is something better that suits you!

Aruba One Week Travel Guide

What is the Cost of a Trip to Aruba?

Aruba is anything but cheap. I’d recommend planning for $2,500-$3,000 per adult for one week which accounts for a flight, lodging, rental car, and spending at over $100 per day. If you’re a drinker (who doesn’t want to party in Aruba!?) then make sure you are on the high end of that—alcohol is EXPENSIVE.

TIP: Bring plenty of cash and your credit cards (which are for the most part accepted.) You can use the U.S. dollar, but you will get any coin change back in Aruban florin.

READ: The Ultimate Aruba Packing List for a complete rundown on what you will need to bring.

Aruba Itinerary One Week

Where Should I Stay in Aruba?

Aruba has so many great options for fun (and beautiful) places to stay! I’ve always stayed at La Cabana Resort & Casino on Eagle Beach which I LOVE and recommend. There are other hotels on Eagle Beach as well as high-rise hotels located farther north on Palm Beach. And of course, you can find Airbnb’s and VRBOs scattered throughout the island.

TIP: Eagle Beach is a great central location that puts you in the middle of everything. And it’s the best beach 🙂 That said, anywhere on Eagle or Palm Beach is a pretty safe choice.

Where to stay in Aruba

Should I Rent a Car in Aruba?

Yes, no questions asked. The small island of Aruba is worth exploring—every inch! And you will need a rental car to do so. NOT renting a car will lock you into one place and/or force you into too many cab rides. The car expense is well worth it and the 69.5 square mile island is easy to navigate.

NOTE: This entire Aruba Itinerary assumes you have a rental car available. We are going all over the place in these 7 days to make sure you experience all of the Aruba hot spots.

Read: Aruba Mistakes to Avoid for the full list that includes NOT renting a car!

Aruba Itinerary Travel Guide

All right, let’s get it crackin’! Your entire one week Aruba Itinerary!

Aruba itinerary day 1: travel + settle in.

A day you are HAPPY to have your alarm go off! Lol. Make sure you are ready and organized for your flight the night before and get yourself to the airport, on the plane, and standing in the Aruba airport. It’s worth noting that the Aruba airport is small—8 gates. Expect there to be about an hour wait inside to get through customs.

Once you (finally) get through, you will find the cab line right outside the doors, hop in, and head to your home for the week.

aruba flight

Hopefully, your travel day went well. Regardless, you are probably ready for a drink! Check and settle in at your hotel and head straight to the bar for your first ice-cold beer in Aruba! It will be a great time right off the bat. Note: if you are in an Airbnb or VRBO, stop at one of the small convenience shops for drinks on your way.

Dinner—Keep It Easy

Given that you’re a little worn out, your first day dinner in Aruba will be a casual one—walking distance is a bonus! I do recommend dinner locations throughout the rest of the post, but since this all depends on travel, timing, and your location, I’ll let you decide. It’s tough to go wrong with restaurants, but here are some of the Best Places for Casual Dining in Aruba .

TIP: If you’re really tired and just feel like hanging out, Pizza Bob’s the best place to order delivery pizza from!

Aruba Itinerary One Week

Aruba Itinerary Day 2: Pool Day

Morning + afternoon: pool day + quick errands.

Your first full day and the second on the Aruba itinerary! After a long day yesterday, it’s a good day to sleep in. Don’t set an alarm and as soon as you wake up naturally, grab a cup of coffee to enjoy on your porch. After that, get your suit on and find a lounger at the pool. Don’t forget your towel, sunscreen, shades, and a good book.

In the Ultimate Aruba Packing List , you’ll see I recommend a lot of swimsuits—you’ll be in one 50% of the time. For each day, I’ll give you a general direction of which suit to go with…(we’re getting VERY tactical here!)

SWIMSUIT: Your skimpiest suit. You have to get that sun base! Don’t be afraid that you’re too white, it will be darker (or redder! lol) in no time. DON’T skip sunscreen—ever.

pool day la cabana

You do have a couple of tasks/errands today —I promise they are easy. And you will probably need a little sun break anyways!

  • Wilhelmina’s reservation for tonight: Head to the concierge and they will help you. 6:30 PM or later.
  • Book a catamaran : Have someone cruise over to the Ritz, park in the lot to the right of it, and walk to the beach. There, you will see a tent with some guys underneath booking water activites (and likely catamarans in the water.) Try to get on tomorrow’s (1-4 PM catamaran cruise aka party lol. More below.)
  • Rent a Jeep —call to rent a Jeep for Day 5 if you haven’t already done so.
  • Grocery Store—Superfoods : If you are feeling really ambitious. Eggs, bread, sandwich meat, some fruit, and your favorite snacks will be great to have on hand. And save you a few dollars on breakfast and lunch on future days.

Aruba Itinerary Disclaimer: You’re on your own for breakfast and lunch with whatever is convenient, whether you go shopping or visit hotel restaurants, etc. I’ve got you covered with dinner. Okay, back to our pool day…

When late afternoon hits, head back to your room, choose one of your cutest outfits, and get ready for a nice dinner.

EVENING: Happy Hour AT BEACH BAR (5-6 PM)

Getting thirsty? 😉 Head over to The Beach Bar at Divi Beach for a few pre-dinner cocktails. Aruba is a beautiful island, and this bar likes to show it off! Located right on the white sand of the turquoise waters, a seat at this place with a cold 2-for-1 will have you thinking “yep, we chose the right vacation.”

TIP: If you need a little snack, make sure to get the Coconut Shrimp. One of my favorite apps on the island. But don’t go too crazy because you have delicious food coming at…

beach bar aruba

Night: WILHELMINA’S

Since you (likely) came south from your resort to Beach Bar, keep on heading that way towards Oranjestad to Wilhelmina’s , a great place to enjoy an elegant dinner. The atmosphere is a 10/10 with open-air ceilings and greenery. As for the food…you won’t be disappointed.

You have steak and seafood options, but my (strong) recommendation is homemade pasta. Make sure to get Wilhelmina’s ravioli for the table. And Simply Truffle pasta (add Shrimp) as your main course. This pasta is DI-VINE.

You’re probably going to be very full so head back to your room and enjoy your sleep—tomorrow is a FUN day.

wilhelminas aruba

Aruba Itinerary Day 3: Boat Day

Hopefully, you were able to book the catamaran yesterday from 1-4 PM today. If you had to choose a different day, no worries! Swap today with another. I recommend switching days vs. choosing a different time; 9 AM-12 PM morning cruise or 5 PM-7 PM sunset cruise. 1 PM-4 PM is the most fun 🙂

My only tip if you need to switch days is to not do the Boat Day and the Jeep Tour back to back. You will wear yourself out! Okay, back to Day 3…

Aruba Itinerary

Morning: Pool + PREP

Another casual morning for your vacation! Get up, have some coffee, and ease into the day. Once you’re ready, head back to the pool to enjoy the morning sun.

SWIMSUIT TIP: Your CUTEST one—you’ll be on a boat! And taking a lot of beautiful pictures out on the water.

Afternoon: Catamaran

At about noon, it’s time to gather the troops and make sure someone is in charge of packing a cooler (optional.) It’s 100% fine to bring your own beers/cocktails onto the catamaran. They do serve beer and liquor but it’s bottom shelf and might make you feel like hell…lol.

Aruba Itinerary One Week

Arrive back at the location behind The Ritz by about 12:45 PM to check-in. Everyone will be picked up right on the sand in a small boat and brought out to the catamaran in deeper waters. You will likely have other travelers on your ride and the small boat will bring people in groups. Once you’re on, let the fun begin!

You’ll cruise around, make two stops for snorkeling, listen to music, drink, and have an awesome time! It’s always been my favorite part of my Aruba trip.

You can also look into Jolly Pirates which is a little more commercial but they do hold more people (not always a good thing lol) but it might work better with your schedule.

snorkeling in aruba

Night: Salt & pepper + SOPRANOS

Let’s keep the fun rolling—with some good food! Salt & Pepper is an Aruba staple and definitely a spot you want to experience on your trip. They serve a wide variety of tapas in an open-air, energetic atmosphere, and what could be better than that after an afternoon of partying on the boat!?

Opt for sitting outside, and choose your favorite flavors from the menu (everything is good, but my favorites are Mahi Mahi and Baby Back Ribs.) For reference, my (hungry) family of four chose 10 different tapas.

LATE-NIGHT: Sopranos or THE Casino

You have to experience nightlife in Aruba at least a couple of times 😉 After you hit Salt & Pepper, head over to Sopranos which is just around the corner. This piano bar is always hoppin’ at night and you can throw a few back while belting out your favorites songs!

If Sopranos doesn’t sound up your alley, walk across the street to the Hilton Garden Casino for a little bit of gambling.

TIP: Once you get home, SLAM a bunch of water. Because you have an early morning…(but can go back to bed.)

salt and pepper aruba

Aruba Itinerary Day 4: Beach Day

Morning: eagle beach.

Okay, you’ve been sleeping in. But not anymore! Only because you need a spot on Eagle Beach! And in order to get a palapa, at least one person in your group will need to be up by 5 AM standing in line. The good news is, you can go back to bed—either on the beach or back at your room.

NOTE: You will see a line for palapas and eventually someone will bring you to an open one and ask how many chairs you need. After that, you can go back to the room but you only have an hour and a half to leave your palapa empty so make sure someone is there! Obviously, if you’re not staying at La Cabana, you will have to sleep on the beach…

Aruba Itinerary One Week

I promise it’s worth it. Spending a day on what’s been rated the #3 Beach in the WORLD, is hard to beat.

Enjoy one of the best beaches on the island by relaxing with a good book, enjoying water sports like jet skiing or parasailing (visit Julio for this!), and ordering a few drinks and snacks. This perfect place with turquoise water views and white sand in your toes is next-level.

SWIMSUIT TIP: Cute and skimpy. Eagle Beach deserves it lol.

Note: I include another Beach Day down below where I give you a few different options. That said, I truly believe Eagle Beach needs to be included, so no options here 😉

eagle beach aruba

Afternoon: Happy Hour At La Cabana

After Beach Day at Eagle Beach, it’s time for happy hour at La Cabana. The best HH on the island is 2-for-1’s with energetic music and fast bartenders. You really can’t beat it. All you have to do is walk across the street!

Night: The Local Store

And let’s round out this *perfect* day with burgers and wings at The Local Store . This is one of my favorite restaurants and is very laid back and fun. Located inland from Palm Beach, they serve casual eats and a TON of different beers. I highly recommend the Boom Boom Wings and a Breakfast Burger.

After dinner, I assume you’re wiped. Get to bed at a decent hour because tomorrow is a very large day…

the local store

Aruba Itinerary Day 5: Aruba Jeep Tour Day

Morning: jeep tour.

Today you’ll take part in an Aruba classic, and the best way to see the small island in full. You will visit well-known places like Arikok National Park and experience the Natural Pool, Natural Bridge, and Fontein Cave. You’ll see the California Lighthouse and the Also Vista Chapel on the north end, and the town of San Nicolas on the south end.

You can find plenty of guided ATV tours for this excursion but I highly recommend doing it yourself!

jeep tour aruba

Your jeep will get dropped off at your hotel and I recommend starting your day at no later than 9 AM. Here is what to do beforehand:

  • Pack a Cooler : Bring plenty of drinks and throw some sandwiches in as well.
  • Pack Snacks : You don’t have food options until later in the day.
  • Sunscreen : Bring plenty!
  • Towel : You’ll get wet at a few different spots.
  • Money : There is an $11/person entrance fee for Arikok National Park. Plus, you will visit a few bars and restaurants.
  • For a FULL LIST, visit Aruba Jeep Tour .

SWIMSUIT TIP: Comfortable and athletic.

natural pool aruba

Use Aruba Jeep Tour as your guide for today! Remember, it’s okay to get lost. Get a map and enjoy the scenery.

Afternoon: BABY BEACH + Rum Reef .

I do want to call out a couple of spots where you can find yourself in the afternoon and into the evening. Aim to be at Baby Beach by no later than 3 PM. You can grab tropical drinks here and enjoy the views of this half-moon-shaped lagoon. It’s usually hoppin’ with both locals and tourists but will likely start winding down at this time.

baby beach sunset

After about an hour, head over to Rum Reef , a beautiful spot, just down the road from Baby Beach, with an infinity pool and insane views. They do close at 5 PM so get here by 4 PM to have a drink and experience the pool.

Aruba Rum Reef

Night: Zeerover’s

Your day is almost complete—but not quite! On your way back up the eastern side of the island, a stop at Zeerovers is a must. They are a catch of the day restaurant that both locals and tourists love! Whatever is caught that morning is on the menu. Order at the counter, get your number, find a picnic table by the water, and wait for your (beyond) fresh seafood. Not only is great food, but a great Aruba experience!

And now, it’s time to go home. And I have good news: you can sleep in…

zeerovers aruba

Aruba Itinerary Day 6: Beach Day

Morning: beach day—pick one.

It’s BEACH DAY again! And you don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn for it ha. But do get going on the earlier side if you can. Pick a beach that looks good to you—Arashi Beach is my recommendation but read Beach Day in Aruba for others like Palm Beach, Mangel Halto, and more.

It feels like there are endless beautiful beaches to choose from. The best time in Aruba is laying out in the sun, drinking colorful cocktails, enjoying water activities, and taking it easy! Choose one and you can’t go wrong.

SWIMSUIT: Cute and casual.

NOTE: BEFORE YOU LEAVE, make a reservation at Barefoot for tonight. Around 7:00 PM will be best.

arashi beach

Afternoon: Happy Hour AT CARLITOS

After your day at the beach, hit Carlitos for their all-day happy hour. If you decide on Arashi Beach, you will make your way south as Carlitos sits right on Palm Beach. (Make it easy and spend the day on Palm Beach—this is the liveliest and most energetic.) Don’t skip the hot wings at Carlitos and enjoy the open air.

i love aruba sign

Night: Barefoot

Don’t go too crazy though, because tonight, it’s one more fancy meal. Barefoot is a toes in the sand restaurant with white tablecloths, pretty lighting, and the Caribbean sea. It is the perfect place to enjoy another high-class meal in Aruba.

Aruba Itinerary Day 7: Free Day

THE KEY TO TODAY: Stay busy. Get out and enjoy Aruba. The sadness of leaving starts to loom in and you must avoid it to enjoy this trip until the very end!

I’ll let you choose your day, while still giving you a few recommendations based on what you feel like doing:

  • Renaissance Island: Get day passes and head to the famous Flamingo Beach. I have never done this, but I’m sure you have seen it in other blogs or social posts.
  • Party in Aruba : I have experienced this lol. Find a fun bar hop included in the link.
  • Beach Day : You can never, ever go wrong with choosing another beach to experience!
  • Pool Day : Another relaxing day at the pool never hurt anyone!
  • Deep Sea Fishing—Carla Charters : Find a charter and hit the open waters! They will filet your fish and you can cook it up right off the dock at Lucy’s Aruba.
  • Shopping in Oranjasted: Visit the Renaissance Mall and go high-end like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Or find the small outdoor shops for little souveniers. Afterwards, you can stop for lunch and watch a cruise ship come in.
  • Butterfly Farm : Another thing I’ve never experienced, but if it sounds up your alley, go for it!
  • Mix and Match anything you have missed from above!
  • For dinner, use the 10 Best Restaurants in Aruba for Casual Dining post. And maybe hit Sopranos after for one last hurrah! 🙂

lucys fresh seafood

Aruba Itinerary Day 8: Sad Day

You have reached the end. WOMP. But take a look through your pictures and relive all of your fun experiences.

IMPORTANT: You need to be at the airport AT LEAST (3) HOURS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. I’ll warn you now that this will be the worst part of your trip—the Aruba airport is a very slow process and a practice in patience.

Morning: Pool OR BEACH WALK

If you have time, spend one last morning at the pool or the beach enjoying the sun and palm trees. In addition, you will obviously need to make sure your room is packed up and you check out.

Afternoon: The West Deck

Your best bet for staying happy on your last day? Visiting The West Deck for lunch on your way to the airport! This is easily a top 5 restaurant in Aruba and you will not be disappointed. Open-air on the water and not a thing on their menu is bad. And do not skip one last cocktail—they have the BEST margarita on the island.

the west deck margarita

Night: Travel

You’ll get to the airport and survive the experience. Enjoy your flight home and don’t be too sad. You can say, “I’ve been to One Happy Island” and return again someday.

caribbean sea

Aruba One Week Travel Guide

The Island of Aruba is the perfect destination and I hope you are able to use this itinerary to help you plan your best trip ever! Enjoy those white sandy beaches on the happiest island in all of the land! If you have comments/questions—let me know below or email me at [email protected].

Did this post help you out? Support the work and pass along $5 for a Coors Light 😉 VENMO: @Amber-LBB or PAYPAL: [email protected]. THANK YOU.

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On Aruba you can relax but there are plenty of activities and things to do as well. You can arrange a number of excursions and activities on your own. Your choices are as varied as the island itself. More info about Activities on Aruba

Aruba has a lot of events: like the weekly Bon Bini Festival , monthly Culinary Festival , and yearly events like Carnaval , the International Pro-Am Golf Tournament , the famous Hi-Winds , Heineken Catamaran Regatta , and much more... More info about Events

Attractions & Sights

Aruba's National Park, Arikok , features some of the oldest Arawak drawings, as well as trails that showcase Aruba's great variety of plants and animals. Famous attractions of Aruba are: Natural Pool , Californian Lighthouse , Alto Vista Chapel , Bushiribana Ruins and much more... More info about Attractions & Sights

Beaches of Aruba

Aruba's beaches, and there are plenty of them, rank among the cleanest, widest, and most attractive of the Caribbean. The island's entire leeward (south) coast, the island's gold coast, is filled with beaches and their attendant small and large hotels. The beaches are all public and access is easy. More info about Beaches

Many choose Aruba as their vacation paradise specifically because of their love for glitzy and glamorous casinos! You can spend so much time in the lavishly appointed casinos, it can be hard to tell the difference between night and day. More info about casinos

A great deal of the nightlife on Aruba takes place in the hotels and resorts, shopping malls and that often takes the form of folklore performances or dinner shows. More info about Nightlife

Lovers of Good Food instantly feel at home on Aruba. Culinary specialties from all over the world can be enjoyed there in a seemingly endless range of fine restaurants. More info about Restaurants

What more can you say about shopping in Aruba except that it's bounteous and you can max out any number of credit cards in a short afternoon? More info about Shopping

There are sailing cruises, full-day or half-day island tours, side trips and island-hopping excursions, archaeological and geological tours, birdwatching and hiking tours, submarine tours and much more... More info about Tours & Day Trips

There is nothing like a visit to a spa to rejuvenate, relax, and be pampered. The spas offering many of the services and therapies like massage, body treatments, facials, cosmetic and nail services. Spas & Salons

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discovery travel aruba

Presented in partnership with Marriott International 

A hidden treasure of charming contrasts, Aruba, a tiny island nestled off the coast of South America blends turquoise waters with a dreamy desertscape and laidback luxury beachfront resorts with a bustling city center. The fusion of vibrant Caribbean culture and its Dutch colonial roots comes together in the island’s native tongue, Papiamento, a lively Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish hybrid. 

The perfect escape for those wanting to relax and unwind on pristine beaches, explore fascinating naturescapes and colorful wildlife (stay tuned) immerse themselves in history or simply live it up indulging in delicious coastal cuisine, tropical cocktails, world-class casinos and shopping hotspots, Aruba will always leave you yearning to return. 

On Travel Curator’s recent trip to Aruba in late September, we uncovered a hit list of the best things to see, do and experience on this idyllic slice of paradise and it’s with pleasure we share our Ultimate Guide to Aruba in partnership with our friends at Marriott International . As loyal Marriott Bonvoy members, you can unlock the ultimate curated experiences through the Marriott Bonvoy rewards platform and enjoy Marriott International’s core offerings like coveted location, upscale culinary delights, and world-class resort amenities like spectacular pools and rejuvenating spas.

Safety First…

As global travelers, we know the landscape for discovering the world has changed, and adhering to safety protocols is the top priority. The Government of Aruba along with the Department of Public Health has done an outstanding job putting precautions and restrictions in place to ensure ease of travel and safety, health and wellbeing of all guests. All travelers must complete the Embarkation/Disembarkation Card (ED) to be approved for entry into Aruba. This includes providing your basic travel information, completing a personal health assessment, taking a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival and submitting a negative test result, providing your travel insurance details (all travelers must have adequate health insurance) and giving consent to adhere to the government mandated rules and regulations. Once approved, travelers will receive a ED card featuring QR code that is scanned when you board your flight, at customs on arrival and when you check into your hotel or resort. For more information and to check the latest requirements visit Aruba.com .

A Short History Lesson…. 

The original inhabitants were the Arawak Indians, though legend has it that when Spanish explorers first discovered the island in 1499, they named it “ Oro Huba, ” meaning “there was gold”, though the Spanish never actually found any.  Aruba came under Dutch rule in the 1600s after the war between Spain and Holland. Though it is still considered part of the Dutch Caribbean islands, Aruba became an independent nation in 1986. Fun fact: every Aruban citizen also has a Dutch passport and the evidence of its European past is clearly evident in the Dutch-inspired architecture that stretches to every corner of this vibrant Caribbean paradise.

The Hotel Scene…

Marriott International’s portfolio is a showcase of over 60 resorts and hotels in 14 dreamy destinations across the Caribbean and Latin America including LUX and Premium properties, so finding a gorgeous place to stay for your Aruban getaway is easy. Nestled on the white sandy shores of Palm Beach you’ll find the stunning Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino .  In the heart of downtown Oranjestad with unrivaled access to a breathtaking private island where flamingos roam free is the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino . Or check-in, like we did, to The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba , a bespoke beachfront hideaway to enjoy warm Aruban hospitality and that legendary stellar Ritz-Carlton service. 

How to Chill Like a Local

Palm Beach: An endless two-mile stretch of coastline with stunning turquoise waters, Palm Beach is a favorite for tourists and locals who come to swim in its beautiful Caribbean waters as boats and kite surfers sail by. 

Tribe Tip: Palm Beach is home to The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba where guests can enjoy the property’s private stretch of beach from the comfort of their own cabana or sun lounger. 

Aruba Walking Tours: The best way to get to know the lay of the island’s land and immerse yourself in its history, culture and people is courtesy of Aruba Walking Tours , founded and run by local Mark Benson Denz, formerly of the Aruba Tourism Board, who is considered something of a celebrity in Aruba. Booked by the team at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, we went for the private Daytime Historic & Cultural Walking Tour hosted by Benson Denz himself. The two-hour tour (pack your best walking shoes) explores the historic heartbeat of Aruba’s town center – previously a fisherman’s village – where you’ll find the country’s oldest fort Aruba’s Parliament, the Archeological Museum, Queen Wilhelmina’s statue at Wilhelmina Park and many other hidden local gems. Along the way, you’ll refuel on local delights like pastechi – Aruba’s answer to the empanada traditionally stuffed with Dutch cheese – and discover an island highlight, an emerald green mansion with quite a history. Eloy Arends Manor, modeled after a Colombian mansion, was built in 1925 by a doctor named Eloy Arends for his bride Maria. As tradition once dictated, a man had to present his new wife with a fully furnished house and Dr. Eloy spared no expense making sure he built the most beautiful one on the island (much to the envy of his brother who built a rival property next door). Throughout the years the mansion has been a restaurant, election center and was ruined by fire. It was restored to its former glory in 1997 and today serves as City Hall, ironically presiding over marriages 

Tribe Tip: Do your tastebuds a favor and book the nightly food tour with Aruba Walking Tours to embark on a 2.5-hour adventure through the culinary melting pots and flavors that ignite Aruba’s foodie scene – you’ll visit five restaurants to sample Jamaican, Cuban, Dutch, Italian, and traditional Aruban fare. 

Alto Vista Chapel: Up a winding dirt road lined with cactus and white crosses, Alto Vista Chapel sits on the site of Aruba’s original Catholic church (the island is predominantly catholic). The small picturesque yellow chapel, where locals come for sacred moments of prayer and reflection, has its own Peace Labyrinth and bright blue interiors which provide a stark contrast to the surrounding desert landscape while offering panoramic views of the ocean.  

Natural Bridge: Naturally formed entirely of coral limestone and once part of an ancient cave,  Aruba’s Natural Bridge was one of the largest and most photographed bridges in the world before it collapsed into the sea in 2005. Visit what’s left of this natural wonder today to marvel at the turquoise waves crashing into its remnants.

California Lighthouse: A beautiful beacon atop Aruba’s northwestern tip, the California Lighthouse is a must-see island landmark. Now retired, the old stone whitewashed lighthouse built in 1910 has the most spectacular views of the island’s western coast and shorelines from its hillside setting. Climb all the way to the top for 360-degree views or to get a birds-eye view of the full moon during one of the islands Full Moon Night Viewing Celebrations.  

Ayo Rock Formations: Aruba’s rich history can not only be felt but seen, especially at the massive and awe-inspiring Ayo Rock Formations. This ancient site composed of intricately placed towering rock boulders was once considered a sacred site by the island’s first inhabitants, the Arawak Indians. Today, visitors can discover rock drawings dating back thousands of years and walk through vast stone pathways to gain a deeper understanding of Aruba’s ancient roots. To elevate your experience and immerse yourself in the magic and tranquility of this ancient site, the team at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba can pack guests luxe picnic lunch complete with charcuterie, fresh wraps, tropical fruits and champagne to enjoy a light bite and toast to one of Aruba’s most striking backdrops. 

Natural Pool: Inside the rugged terrain of Arikok (Aruba’s National Park) uncover one of the island’s most remote hidden gems, the Natural Pool. Known as “Conchi” or bowl for its round shape, the unique volcanic rock stone formation is truly a mystical natural wonder.

Tribe tip: The Natural Pool is only accessible by foot, horseback, or a 4×4 vehicle so planning ahead is a must.

Aruba Aloe: In Aruba, aloe is a big deal — it’s even featured in the country’s coat of arms –  and its introduction to the island in the late 1890s kickstarted the economy. Aruba’s desert-like environment intensifies the plant’s natural healing properties, meaning the most potent aloe vera gel in the world is produced here. So naturally, no visit is complete without a visit to the island’s oldest company, Aruba Aloe , which as you might suspect specializes in the creation of aloe-infused cosmetics. We were treated to a tour of the factory and fields where one million aloe plants are grown – and discovered how each aloe leaf is hand-cut and quickly harvested to protect its rich nutrients before being created into Aruba Aloe’s signature skin care products, lotions, soaps and shampoos (we also got to take some home). 

Where to Eat Like a Local

Italy In the World: This historical gem, a stop on our Aruba Walking Tour that we made a point of returning to experience, is located in the oldest house in Oranjestad and exudes a warm Euro-Caribbean vibe. Stepping through the tiny door of Italy In The World into the intimate bright yellow restaurant, you’ll discover only a handful of tables, a curated wine stash lining the walls, and a menu of handmade pastas scribbled on a blackboard that changes daily which if you’re lucky come paired with the chef’s favorite wines. +297 748 8985

Barefoot Restaurant: Enjoy dining on fresh-caught seafood with the sand between your toes underneath a traditional palapa (umbrella) overlooking the Caribbean sea at Barefoot Restaurant . The ocean-inspired menu, enhanced by local flavors, produces standouts like Dutch crab cakes or Romance Of The Sea, a delicious combination of grouper, snapper, and Mahi served with a lemon-garlic sauce. Did we mention shoes are optional? +297 588 9824 

Flying Fishbone: The perfect place to catch an Aruban sunset, Flying Fishbone is just steps from the shoreline. Indulge in fresh seafood to the sounds of rustling palm leaves in a tropic-chic setting in the heart of Savaneta, a traditional fisherman’s village. The menu changes daily according to the catch but you certainly can’t go wrong with the Seafood Pasta served with scallops, shrimp, mussels, calamari and the fish of the day in a light marinara sauce. Be sure to leave room for dessert, the chocolate ravioli with poached pear and vanilla ice cream drizzled in chocolate sauce is out of this world. +297 584 2506

Zeerovers: A local gem, Zeeovers (translation pirate) is where you go for traditional Aruban fare by the ocean. This rustic culinary haunt redefines catch of the day – fishermen literally pull their boats into the wharf beside your table and clean and cook your meal in front of you – and the menu features one or two daily fresh catches served with local sides. Simplicity at its finest and freshest. +297 584 8401

Quinta Del Carmen: Embark on a culinary journey and Aruban history lesson at Quinta Del Carmen . Built in 1916 as a luxe Caribbean style home, today it’s a foodie hotspot and beautifully restored landmark complete with lush expansive courtyard and grounds. Enjoy a casual tapas-style experience in the alfresco courtyard, or head inside to indulge in fine dining Dutch cuisine with a Caribbean flail – think cheese croquettes served with a raspberry coulis and traditional Dutch Sucade Lappen, iron steak stewed for hours in red wine and served in its own gravy. The wine list is extensive so we suggest taking a look at the Treasure Cellar Collection, a bespoke showcase featuring rate and vintage vinos from around the globe. +297 587 7200

Best Hotels in Aruba

A romantic beachfront oasis steps from Palm Beach’s pristine shoreline, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba seamlessly blends tropical Caribbean style and elegance with the best of five-star luxury and modern amenities. The resort has six onsite culinary hotspots, (the team can also arrange private dining experiences on the beach), a lively 24-hour casino, and an ultra-luxe  15,000-square-foot spa with 13 treatment rooms.

A long palm tree-lined driveway took us to the grand lobby where we were greeted with a warm “Bon Bini” (welcome) and floor to ceiling glass windows offering endless views out over the ocean. The hotel has 320 guest rooms all designed in quintessential Caribbean style with expansive private balconies and lush marble bathrooms with soaker tubs. There’s really no reason to leave the resort, so like us, you may want to spend your days soaking up the sun and the resorts relaxing Caribbean vibes at either of the two pools (both come with stunning ocean views) or beachside in your own private cabana (your wait staff will arrive on speed segues). 

For Club Level guests, the 7th floor is home to a chic private lounge where you can enjoy stunning seascape views and a curated menu of complimentary bites. A dedicated concierge service is also on hand to take care of every aspect of your stay to ensure its unforgettable. 

Tribe tip: The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba welcomes dogs under 20 pounds and caters to your fur baby with exclusive dog beds and bowls, a curated doggy menu complete with delectable treats and even in-room massages for you and your pup. For little ones of the human variety, Ritz Kids will keep your kids entertained with a curated supervised program of experiences and activities so you can enjoy some R&R. 

Family-friendly option:   If you are traveling with the family, we recommend checking into the beautiful Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino . Also a tropical island paradise overlooking the Caribbean sands of Palm Beach – stunning views from your own private balcony await – the hotel is just steps from shopping, restaurant and entertainment hotspots and filled with luxury resort amenities and activities for everyone (including the H2Oasis adults-only pool and Tradewinds Club). Spend your days sipping on handcrafted cocktails in your private cabana, relaxing in the sauna or whirlpool, or indulging in massage treatments at the hotel’s Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa . Come evening, dine in style at either Ruth’s Chris Steak House , Atardi , or La Vista before trying your luck at the buzzing 24-hour Stellaris Casino.

Best Restaurants in Aruba

The perfect way to kick off your day in paradise, Solanio is a casual indoor/outdoor trattoria offering a delicious assortment of breakfast options from pastries to a bubble bar and a full menu of favorites like avocado toast and mango breakfast parfait. 

Madero Pool & Beach Grill

Our go-to spot for a casual cocktail and bite by the pool and ocean, we couldn’t get enough of the poolside classics like the fish tacos and Fisherman’s Hut Sandwich with grilled mahi and sweet plantains. 

Papagayo Bar & Grill

A culinary gem and a highlight of our day trip to Renaissance Private Island where you’ll be treated to the sight of wild flamingos (more on that later), Papagayo Bar & Grill offers an unforgettable alfresco dining experience on the beach. The octopus salad with coconut-infused balsamic vinaigrette and classic shrimp tacos are always a hit but also bringing the star factor are the restaurant’s signature inventive cocktails served in beautiful decorative glasses. Order a Tropic Like It’s Hot, infused with ginger and elderflower syrup, fresh lemon juice, tequila and splash of ginger ale, or the Flamingo named after the island’s stunning inhabitants made with a fresh blend of lemon juice, raspberry, gin, and egg white. 

Divi Sushi Bar & Lounge

The buzzy lobby bar hub of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, Divi Sushi Bar and Lounge is the place to go for an expertly crafted cocktail, fresh sushi and light bite. Enjoy sips while admiring the statement wooden light fixture overhead, a glamorous nod to the natural landscape just beyond the outdoor terrace. 

You’ll find BLT steak, a modern American steakhouse with a classic bistro ambiance on the ground floor of The Ritz-Carlon, Aruba. Expect foodie nirvana thanks to the specialty steaks which come seasoned with Aruban spices and flavors and served with mouthwatering sides. Our expert server Andres and his team walked us through the culinary intricacies of our meal – we opted for the 7oz USDA Prime Filet Mignon in garlic butter, we chalked this up the best Filet Mignon we’ve ever had. This melt-in-your-mouth experience was washed down with a bottle of Bodega Catena Zapata Mendoza Malbec (we highly recommend). 

Tribe tip: Every dish comes accompanied by BLT’s famous popovers so be sure to just have a nibble and leave room for the main events. Especially when the appetizers include a rich liver pâté crostini chilled East Coast oysters served with mignonette and cocktail sauce and burrata, featuring toybox tomatoes, basil oil, basil seed and ginger vinaigrette that’s like no burrata we’ve ever tried before.

Waves Beach Bar & Grill

Poolside and by the beach, Waves Beach Bar & Grill at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is the place to go for light bites and specialty cocktails anytime, but especially as the sun sets on another day in Caribbean paradise. The cuisine is casual American and the signature cocktails are designed to keep the party going.

The signature restaurant at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, enjoy spectacular ocean views from the open-air terrace at La Vista where it’s all about al fresco dining. Start your day right with their fresh breakfast buffet, and then gather family and friends for lunch or dinner – the culinary specialty here is elevated international with a focus on Italian classics. Seafood pasta anyone?

Casa Nonna New York

The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba’s other fine-dining outpost, Casa Nonna New York serves elevated Italian comfort food in a chic, sophisticated setting. We dined with our gracious host, Hotel Manager, Louella Brezovar on the restaurant’s signature fresh pastas by talented Chef Luis Duarte and his team. The evening kicked off at Louella’s recommendation with a blood orange margarita before ordering a crisp white from the curated wine list. As is the Italian way, Casa Nonna New York specializes in family-style dining, there’s a lazy susan perched atop the table so you can sample all the delicious options. Like the grilled octopus in a sherry vinaigrette, spinach salad with toasted almonds, strawberries and ricotta and the Polpettine beef and pork meatballs with warm ricotta – a house favorite. As for the fresh homemade pastas, expect to be spoilt for choice. We went for the best of both worlds by ordering the Siamese Agnolotti made with savory veal ragu and truffled pecorino fonduta finished with a marsala glaze, followed by the Pansotti Di Zucca featuring squash ravioli made with brown butter, sage, walnut pesto and dusted with amaretti cookie which could almost double as dessert. Speaking of, do leave room for Zio Steve’s Spumoni a rich blend of chocolate, pistachio, and cherry almond ice cream inside toasted meringue or the Crostata Di Pera, a pear tarte on a bed of almond paste topped with salted caramel and vanilla gelato (we’re still thinking of both). 

Atardi For a real toes-in-sand luxury dining experience, Atardi, shoreside at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino , is one of the best-kept secrets in Aruba and the place to go for an epic sunset and cocktail amid the blow of tiki torches. A true pop up dining destination, every afternoon Atardi is set up to create an intimate one-of-a-kind experience.  As if it isn’t romantic enough, you can also enhance your experience by having your own candlelight table set up steps from the sand. Specializing in elevated seafood, the highlight dishes by Chef Caesar and his team include zucchini short rib rollup amuse-bouche on a bed of mango chutney topped with bleu and parmesan cheeses and cilantro. An exquisite slow-cooked octopus a la plancha, Caribbean grilled lobster tail served with a tarragon-Pernod sauce and last but by no means least fresh sea bass with a cauliflower puree and delectable champagne sauce.

caribbean lobster

Best Things To Do in Aruba

Private Cabanas

Take relaxing to the next level in your own private cabana. Luxuriously outfitted with plush lounge chairs and beds, personalized amenities, and elevated service (think snacks and refreshments served by your own dedicated team), the hardest decision you’ll have to make is deciding between lounging pool or beachside. For cabana package information or to make a reservation ahead of your arrival contact the team at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba here . 

Mixology Experience & ‘Bahada di Solo’ Sunset Celebration

Celebrate the island’s tropical cocktail history with a curated mixology experience at Divi Sushi Bar & Lounge. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba’s resident mixologist, Greg, showed us how to master the hotel’s signature, the Cadushi. A sweet refreshing blend of white rum, orange liquor, water, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and special secret ingredient – a native cactus known for its health benefits, the cocktail pays homage to the island’s desert landscape. 

Renaissance Mall Aruba

A playground for stylish tastemakers, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is home to the island’s high-end shopping hub Renaissance Mall .  Here you’ll find over 75 boutiques, including local gems, alongside luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel. Make sure you have extra room in your suitcase.  

Renaissance Private Island

For a day trip you’ll never forget, Renaissance Private Island is a must-see-to-be-believed experience. The 40-acre luxury island paradise is home to the only private beaches in Aruba, including the famed Flamingo Beach, a tropical fantasy and Aruba’s most Instagrammed destination where flamingos wade freely in the crystal waters and strut across its glittering sands. The island, which is accessible only by water taxi (see below for travel tips) also has its own curated watersports program and the luxury Spa Cove, a private sanctuary where rejuvenating treatments are enjoyed overlooking the Caribbean sea. For a totally indulgent curated experience, you can also book an overnight stay for two where you will be treated to a 5-course dinner on the beach under the stars of your own private island, beach bonfire with marshmallows, overnight cabana access and complimentary breakfast at Papagayo. 

Tribe Tip: Access to Renaissance Private Island is complimentary to guests staying at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. Day trips can also be arranged via your hotel concierge and ours was seamlessly planned thanks to the team at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. 

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Aruba

Another highlight of our getaway was our trip to The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Aruba . This beachfront rejuvenation sanctuary has 13 treatment rooms, a high-tech fitness center, relaxation lounges with whirlpool, saunas and steam rooms, hair and nail salon, and an oxygen bar for when you need an instant energy and skin-boosting hit. Our journey started in the calming ambiance of the relaxation lounge before we were greeted by our therapists, the lovely Robyn and Wendy, who led us into our private treatment rooms to undergo the blissful Misterio Di Aloe (read on) . Also on the must-try signature treatments list are indigenous inspired scrubs and baths infused with natural ingredients from the island and centered around the four elements of fire, water, sky, and earth.

Misterio Di Aloe

Meaning, “Mystery of Aloe”, embark on a nearly two-hour pampering session and wellness journey utilizing the healing, hydrating properties of Aruban aloe during The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Aruba’s signature spa treatment. Misterio Di Aloe includes a full body massage, rejuvenating facial, and reflexology of the feet to aid the release of toxins in the body through the foot’s pressure points. Mind, body, and soul restored, we returned to the relaxation lounge and tucked into a detoxifying aloe juice with an incredible gel texture and an aloe and white chocolate mousse treat topped with a delicate lavender macaroon, because, well let’s face it, in Aruba, there’s no such thing as too much aloe.  

Tierra del Sol Golf Course

The 18-hole Tierra del Sol Golf Course , only a 5-minute drive from The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, is a unique desert-links course designed by famed golf architect Robert Trent Jones II. The championship course, designed to bring the elements of wind, sea, and earth into harmony is perfect for players of all levels and also offers private lessons, clinics, a full driving range, rentals, pro shop, beverage cart and grill. As an access partner, arrange tee-times through The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba concierge. 

After long days soaking up the sun at the beach or poolside in your own private cabana, Aruba turns things up a notch come nightfall with their electrifying casinos. Enjoy an evening with Lady Luck at The Casino at The Ritz-Carlton , a glamorous 15,000 square foot casino outfitted with 17 tables for traditional table games, 265 dazzling slot machines, two sporting bet kiosks, luxury bingo, and where complimentary drinks are served to players 24/7. Up your game with a BlackJack clinic or enroll in the VIP membership program to enjoy a host of benefits, complimentary services, and rewards that can be redeemed towards the hotel’s luxurious amenities. While you’re on a roll, also make sure to try your luck at the glamorous Stellaris Casino at Aruba Marriott Resort . Experience dazzling entertainment with Vegas-style gaming home to over 26 gaming tables and impressive Aruba poker tables featuring Let It Ride Poker, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, and Blackjack. Sports fans can find their fun at Stellaris Casino’s state-of-the-art Race and Sports gaming kiosks to get in on the action ahead of kickoff.

The Travel Curator team wants to extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the stellar welcome, service and safety protocols put in place by the country of Aruba and the incredible teams at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, and Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, during our trip to beautiful Aruba.

Imagery Credit: Natalie Goenaga

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Helene in Between

Helene in Between

Lifestyle and Travel blog helping Bloggers Succeed Online.

The Perfect Travel Guide to Aruba

By Helene Sula

Escaping the chilly weather, we landed in Aruba the week before Christmas and were greeted with a tropical oasis. The crystal blue waters lapped lightly along the soft white sand. In the background I could hear Dutch, American, Aruban, and a plethora of other accents. The island is a great mix of cultures, natural beauty, and cuisine. My travel guide to Aruba will share everything you need to know about what to do on the island. 

discovery travel aruba

The island of Aruba is relatively small, which makes it easy to get around and see everything in a few days or a week. We rented a car, which is the perfect way to explore the island. There are a lot of things to do near the hotels but my favorite spots were usually found by car, so I highly recommend renting a car (I almost always recommend that for almost every destination!). 

After years of wanting to go, the Aruba Tourism Authority contacted us to visit and we knew it would be the perfect warm weather adventure. Aruba is one of the ABC islands which are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This means there’s a great influence of many different cultures which makes Aruba stand out from some of the other islands in the Caribbean. People who grow up on the island learn four languages.

There’s a variety of trees, mesmerizing beaches, and luxury stays that make for a vacation that’s suitable for everyone. Aruba is nicknamed “One happy island” and after talking to the locals I can definitely see why! People are helpful and friendly and will always give you a recommendation.

Whether you’re looking for the best places to stay, see what to do, what to pack, or what excursions to choose, this Aruba travel guide will share everything you need to know.  

Traveling to Aruba during COVID-19

Aruba at a glance, things not to miss in aruba:, where to stay in aruba – boardwalk hotel aruba, what to do in aruba, best beaches in aruba, excursions in aruba, things to see in aruba, where to eat in aruba, what to pack for aruba.

One of the biggest benefits of going to Aruba is feeling safe during the pandemic. Before arriving Aruba requires you to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before your arrival. Almost all dining options are outside which is perfect in the evening with the warm breeze. Our temperatures were taken before arriving at most locations and they’ve taken all procedures to keep things clean and safe. Check out all you need to know about entry requirements for Aruba here .

discovery travel aruba

How many days to visit Aruba ? 3-7 days, we spent 5. 

When to visit the island? Because of the beautiful weather year-round, you'll find the island a great to place to visit any time. But October – April is when it’s most popular. Aruba gets more sunny days than any other island in the Caribbean. 

What’s the weather like in Aruba? Warm and windy. Temperatures average in the mid-80s. 

Currency in Aruba? Everywhere accepts USD but the currency is Florian (exchange rate is about half of USD.)

How to get to Aruba? There’s only one airport in Aruba so it makes it easy! You’ll fly into Reina Beatrix International Airport (AUA). This is also where to pick up your car rental. 

How to get around Aruba? We went with Amigo car rental. There are also cruises that go to Aruba as well. You will need a passport to enter Aruba. Located in the south (almost to Venezuela) it’s just outside the hurricane belt, stretching 19.6 miles long and 6 miles wide. Aruba is very safe – considered the safest island in the Caribbean. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are referred to as the ABC islands of Netherlands Antilles or the Dutch Antilles.

discovery travel aruba

  • Go beach hopping and check out the incredible white sand beaches
  • Try the cuisine! There’s so much diversity, but I’m partial to the Dutch pancakes 
  • Go horseback riding on the beach
  • Explore the Arikok National Park 
  • Go snorkeling on a cruise 

This is a beautiful, small boutique hotel within walking distance to the beach. Stepping inside is like a jungle oasis – there are palm trees throughout and iguanas that skitter by when you walk the boardwalk. The boho chic vibes make me want to completely redo my home and I loved the pops of pastel pinks and blue. But the best part is the rain water shower. This is especially important at the beach as I usually shower twice a day!

discovery travel aruba

Aruba offers plenty of activities and adventure that will please all ages and activity levels. There are beautiful beaches, of course, but take time to go on some excursions around the island.

I was so shocked by the calmness of the water and by just how clear and turquoise it is. I can definitely see why people flock to the beaches of Aruba.

Eagle Beach  

Find pristine white sand and palm trees right next to the iconic Divi Divi trees. This is known as one of the best beaches in the world!

discovery travel aruba

This is where all the high rise hotels are located. You'll find a lovely beach with great restaurants nearby. You’ll find extremely soft sand. That’s because the sand is sifted to remove pebbles and shells so you can walk with ease!

discovery travel aruba

Mangel Halto

A great beach for snorkeling and little hidden coves surrounded by trees. It’s a rocky cove with ladders that go down into the crystal water. 

Great place to watch the sunset and go snorkeling. Just a short drive from Palm beach, but less crowded.

A pretty and popular beach and a great place to feed the wild donkeys! This is a very shallow beach that’s great for families.

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A popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Druif Beach

A rocky beach with cool rock formations and a break from the white sand.

Here's where Aruba really shines! There are so many excursions and options for what to do on the island.

Horseback riding

My favorite experience on the island! We took a tour with Goldmine Ranch that took us through the northeast coast of Aruba with a beautiful landscape of beaches and cactus strewn landscapes. It was exhilarating to gallop on the beach on a horse as the waves crashed nearby. I will admit I was a bit nervous for the ride but our guide, Andres, was incredible and made me feel so at ease. We opted for the Private Paradise tour which I highly recommend.

discovery travel aruba

Our first cruise was a snorkeling cruise with Jolly Pirates . We stopped at 3 different locations to snorkel. The first was a stop was the Antilla WWII ship wreck. The next two spots were clear, turquoise water that were perfect for seeing colorful fish and coral. The cruise includes unlimited drinks and lunch. 

discovery travel aruba

We also sailed with Red Sail to watch sunset at sea. This is also an open bar and comes with appetizers. The water is so calm it was amazing! I usually get seasick and I didn’t on either excursion.

discovery travel aruba

A great way to see some of the top sights in Aruba is with a De Palm Jeep Tour . The 4-hour tour will take you to the National Park , the Natural Bridge Ruins which fell in 2005 (it was the largest natural bridge in the Caribbean at the time), the Casiburi rock formation (an unusual rock formation), the Alto Vista Chapel dating back to 1750, the California Lighthouse , named after the S.S. California that wrecked here in 1852. The lighthouse was finally completed in 1916. Be on the lookout for cactus across the arid landscape, it makes for a different view from other Caribbean islands.

discovery travel aruba

Snorkeling or Scuba Diving 

This is a great place to snorkel and there are a number of beaches to do this around the island. Our best snorkeling experience was definitely on our Jolly Pirates tour.

There’s nothing like getting a massage or facial after a long day in the sun. We had a couple's massage at the Marriott Aruba .

On the north side of the island you’ll find high rise hotels and luxury shopping. On the east side of the island has a rugged, rocky coast that’s less developed. This coastline is full of volcanic formations. 

Explore the Arikok National Park – we went here on our Jeep Tour and got to see sweeping views of the island (this is the highest point on the island). Then you’ll drive down bumpy roads to the Natural Pool, an excellent place for snorkeling. The Natural Pool or “conchi” called “Cura di Tortuga” is a secret, hidden pool on the windward coast surrounded by rugged terrain.

discovery travel aruba

Renaissance Beach – This is the insta-famous beach where you can feed the flamingos. Located off Aruba’s downtown you'll find this beach by ferry – they run every 15 minutes. Keep in mind a day pass is not cheap, $125 for the day. Or, you can stay at the Renaissance Hotel for about $200 a night.

California Lighthouse – Located in the Noord aka the northern tip of the island. The stone lighthouse took years to construct and is 100 feet high. There’s also a restaurant located here that has sweeping views. 

discovery travel aruba

Bushiribana   Goldmine  – Here you’ll find cool ruins of a goldmine made to look like a fortress with beautiful views of the water. In 1825, the Aruba Gold Mining company built this smelter to extract gold from ore and left it to be destroyed by the sea water. 

Oranjestad  – This is the capital city and the colorful downtown is usually very busy since this is the harbor for cruise ships (although currently none are running). You’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants alongside historical buildings. This is also a great spot for nightlife. 

San Nicolas – This is known as the “Sunrise City” as the best place to see the sunrise if you’re up for it! This is a beautiful place for beaches including Baby Beach. 

There’s over 200 restaurants on the island with a wide range of cuisine. You’ll find surprisingly good Italian, fresh fish and seafood, delicious fine dining, and even traditional Dutch pancakes. 

Wilhelmina – My favorite meal of the trip! This was a decadent 4 course dinner with some of the most delicious fresh fish dishes and scallops. You can sit outside in a tropical oasis with warm candle light. We started with the homemade truffle ravioli and seafood salad and both were perfect. Then I had the catch of the day, red snapper, and lemon tart for dessert. 

discovery travel aruba

Zeerovers – This is a local favorite serving up fresh, fried fish. Almost every local recommended this one to us. 

Quinta Del Carmen – Located in a 100 year old mansion, the restaurant is full of history and is a delight for your tastebuds. Classic and inventive dishes in a beautiful, outdoor setting.

Linda’s – casual and traditional this is an inexpensive lunch spot that will give you a taste of Amsterdam. 

discovery travel aruba

Dutch Pancake House – for more inventive pancakes and lots of options, go to the Dutch Pancake house. I tried the Peach on the beach made with Grand Mariner! I loved that the wait staff was direct from Holland. 

Hilton Romantic Dinner for Two – Definitely the most Instagrammable. You’ll have a romantic setup on the beach with just the two of you to watch the sunset and pick from a selection off a set menu. Make sure you book at least 24 hours in advance.

discovery travel aruba

Madame Janette –  Another fine dining option in a casual atmosphere with Caribbean cuisine. Also great ambiance!

Moomba Beach Bar – great place for frozen pina coladas as you gaze over the water. 

Eduardo’s Beach Shack – A great place for breakfast (this was actually where we could get breakfast from our Boardwalk Hotel). You’ll find fresh smoothies and açaí bowls. 

Pinchos – A favorite around the island, this casual bar on a pier with beautiful views of the water. Classic Caribbean fare.

Aruba is a casual, beach destination, but there are a number of fine dining restaurants so I suggest bringing a dress or pants to wear for a nice evening dinner or photos on the beach. Here's a quick look at what to bring:

  • Negative Covid Test Results
  • Flip Flops  
  • Light jacket at night
  • Tennis shoes/ hiking shoes
  • Aruba has the same voltage as the US so no need to bring a power adapter

Aruba is a happy island that full adventure. There’s so much to see and do it makes it an easy destination to plan a trip back!

discovery travel aruba

Big thanks to the Aruba Tourism Board for hosting us so we could experience Aruba’s unique offerings. All opinions from the trip are my own.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Helene Sula

I believe that one trip can change your life. It did for me. I'm a self proclaimed home body that quit her job, moved abroad, and more often than not, lives out of a carry-on bag. If I'm not traveling, I'm most likely re-reading Harry Potter or watching "Midnight in Paris" while snuggling my dogs. I'm a digital marketing expert who turned my love of travel into a full-time career. And I help others do it too.

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Plan Your Aruba Effect

Explore the Aruba Effect below to browse custom itineraries from our local experts. Save places and activities to plan your perfect trip and discover how Aruba will uniquely affect you.

Select your effect

Sun, sand, serenity.

Your time in the Aruba Effect starts with our island’s most desirable feature - the beach. Sporting endless white sand and crystal blue water, a day on our beaches is a day well spent. Lay in the sun. Float in ecstasy. And fill up on some much-needed Aruban warmth for your trip home.

Savor it all

With over a hundred nationalities represented on island, Aruba is filled with flavors from every corner of the globe. From the classic tastes of Europe to more exotic offerings from South Asia to fresh local seafood, Aruba is a playground for your taste buds. Just don’t be surprised if you leave with a new favorite dish.

One With Nature

We don’t really do “indoors” in Aruba. The natural beauty of our island is meant to be experienced freely and fully under our signature sunshine. There’s no wrong way to be one with nature in Aruba but we have a few suggestions to get you started.

One happy family

The Aruba Effect doesn’t care if you’re 5 or 50 – it’s felt by anyone who opens themselves to Aruba's magic. So if you’re looking for something that parents and kids can love equally, look no further than One happy island.

Slow it down

Sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet to reconnect with those who matter most to you. Aruba is filled with the peaceful solace you need to slow things down and reground your relationships surrounded by breathtaking paradise.

Instant Local

All it takes is just a few minutes on Aruba to feel like you’re a local yourself. So pull up a seat at a local rum shop or go off the beaten path to the find the best local swimming spot – either way you’ll feel like you’re home.

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Sun, sand, serenity

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50 shades of blue

Eat a pastechi at Bright Bakery

Enjoy the shallow waters at baby beach, visit the iconic stairs at rodgers beach, snorkel at mangel halto, enjoy a lunch at surfside beach bar, take a dip at druif beach, visit eagle beach, #1 in the caribbean, gaze at the sunset at arashi beach, indulge in seafood at papiamento.

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Take your taste buds on an Aruban tour

Have pancakes at Linda's

Explore at casibari rock formations, eat keshi yena at the old cunucu house, visit rescued animals at philip's, savor every bite at quinta del carmen, your aruba escape, jane vermaas.

Escape from the daily hustle and bustle during your Aruba vacation!

Enjoy a breakfast at Matthew's.

Pay bubali bird sanctuary a visit, arikok national park awaits., lunch at o'neil caribbean kitchen, get inspired by aruba mural tours., take a dip at rodgers beach, time for a local dinner at zeerover, happy kids, happy vacation, jennifer richardson.

Your kids will love this one!

Have a nice breakfast at Salt & Pepper!

Have fun at butterfly farm., make friends at the aruba ostrich farm, lunch time at cadushi sunset terrace, let's go for a climb at hooiberg, more friends at donkey sanctuary., time to relax at baby beach, eat local dinner at saco di felipe., in the lap of luxury.

Enjoy your luxurious getaway and indulge in all the best Aruba has to offer.

Breakfast is served at Windows on Aruba!

Treat yourself at kay's fine jewelry., explore the island with de palm tours, wine and dine at pure ocean, enjoy a relaxing massage at eforea spa., sail with tranquilo sailing charters., dine at papiamento restaurant, try your luck at ritz-carlton casino, riding solo, glendeline maduro.

Just you and the island!

Breakfast at Santos Coffee with Soul!

Soak up some history at fort zoutman., take an aruba e-bike tour, relax on hadicurari beach., enjoy lunch at hadicurari restaurant, hit the waves at armando's kite shack, dinner time at blt steak.

Save your favorite places and experiences to a custom itinerary you can manage while you're visiting the island.

Get inspired with locally-sourced itineraries

We’re just getting started with the amazing effects Aruba has to offer. Dig into your trip details below to unlock a Caribbean experience that will fill you with sunshine and send you home with a happy afterglow that never fades.

Plan Your Effect

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Save your favorite places and experiences to a custom itinerary you can manage while you're visiting the island: Start Planning

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This Rare Earth

A travel resource for the adventurous and often-solo female

  • A Complete Aruba Travel Guide

Aruba , Blog , Caribbean / July 26, 2023 by Monica / Leave a Comment

Here is everything you’ll ever need to know about travel in Aruba, all in one place. This complete Aruba Travel Guide covers what to see in Aruba, currency and costs in Aruba, can’t miss attractions in Aruba, and what to pack for Aruba.

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A Complete Aruba Travel Guide - currency, flaminos, beaches.

Picture this; I’m standing on the rocky eastern shore of Aruba, taking in a stunning view that I never expected to see.

The milky blue tidepools, tucked haphazardly in between black lava rocks, are surreal. Beyond is the glowing cotton candy sunrise, casting crimson and pink across the sea, which seems to be just waking up.

After visiting the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico – I knew that this Caribbean country would be pretty. I knew the waters would be blue and the sun would glow golden. But I just wasn’t prepared for this .

Aruba is the kind of place that will give you more than you asked for. If you need some assistance in planning for the best vacation possible, you will find it here.

Buckle up, your complete Aruba Travel Guide begins now!

A girl snorkeling on the island of Aruba.

Multi-Beach Aruba Snorkeling Tour !

✅ Stop at world class beaches, Mangel Halto and Baby Beach!

✅ See angel fish, parrot fish, turtles, and more!

✅ Get roundtrip hotel transfers.

BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE!

The colorful Aruba - one happy island sign.

Full Day Aruba Sightseeing Tour!

✅ Get a great introduction to the island on this full day tour!

✅ See the iconic California Lighthouse, Ayo Rock Formations, Gold Mill ruins, and more.

✅ Stop at Baby Beach for an optional swim.

Table of Contents

An Aruba Travel Guide: Planning the Perfect Trip

I recently flew to Aruba on an impromptu but much-anticipated trip to the Lesser Antilles. It had been in my head for some time – I need to check out Aruba .

I’m not even sure where that compulsion came from. But boy, am I glad it listened. There is a lot to see and do within this small country’s borders!

Here is everything you need to know before you go!

Where is Aruba?

Located in the southern part of the Caribbean, Aruba sits just 48 miles to the west of Curaçao and a mere 15 miles north of Venezuela.

Along with its neighbors Bonaire and Curaçao, this trio of islands are referred to as the “ABC islands”. In 1986, this nation acquired the formal name of “Aruba” and became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Learn more facts about Aruba’s location and geography here!

When is the best time to visit Aruba?

Aruba sits just north of the equator, out of the dreaded hurricane belt within the Caribbean. This means that Aruba (and the rest of the ABC’s) are pretty lucky in avoiding any hurricane devastation that some of their island neighbors have endured!

Aruba experiences an uptick in rain beginning in September and lasting through December. But, the rain typically comes in short bursts.

My first visit to Aruba was in September and October, and I honeslty have zero complaints to report.

The best months to visit Aruba to avoid rain are from January through August. The weather is tropical year round, but not extreme, with a fairly constant temperature of 82-90 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

The busy tourist season in Aruba spans from January to March, making hotel room prices soar. Accommodations and even certain activities can cost a bit more at this time.

My personal recommendation is to travel to Aruba in September. During this shoulder season, the heavier rains will typically not yet be present, and you are more likely to catch discounts on hotels and activities.

What Language is spoken in Aruba?

Dutch, English, and Papiamento are all spoken in Aruba.

Is Aruba safe?

Yes, I felt safe the entire time I was here! I traveled solo and didn’t spend even one night in a resort. I was out and about among the locals, driving a rental car the entire time.

Check out my post on solo female travel in Aruba for more information.

A Complete Aruba Travel Guide - Florin currency and costs.

Currency and Costs in Aruba

Currency in Aruba: Aruban Florin Current Exchange Rate: $1 USD = $1.80 AWG Are US Dollars Accepted? Yes, almost everywhere. However, sometimes you will be charged more to pay in USD.

Aruba, like most islands in the Caribbean, can be quite expensive. There is no shortage of fancy resort hotels and beachfront accommodations to throw money at.

However, it is possible to visit Aruba without breaking the bank! It just depends what your priorities are.

I personally chose not to stay in a beachfront property. I was planning on renting a car in Aruba regardless of where I stayed, to explore the hidden corners of the island.

GET THE BEST CAR RENTAL PRICES HERE!

Additionally, since Aruba is so small, staying beachfront was not a priority for me. I would be able to get anywhere quickly with my rental car. I could drive to the various beaches of Aruba and Arikok National Park easily.

Accommodations in Aruba

I was able to get a small studio apartment equipped with a kitchen and full sized bed for only $40 USD per night in Oranjestad. This worked as a perfect base for me.

Aruba is such a small island – roughly 20 miles long and 6 miles across – that I could drive anywhere in under an hour.

I ALWAYS GET THE BEST HOTEL PRICES HERE!

Depending on your tastes and priorities, you can book hotels for anything from around $25 USD per night for a dorm bed in a hostel up to and beyond $700 USD for a luxury hotel.

So, it is possible to be budget-minded in Aruba, though you will not find the same bang for your buck as you would in, say, Bali .

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Food in Aruba

Much like lodging, food prices can vary depending on your tastes and budget.

The most common food types you will see in Aruba include Dutch fare like waffles and pancakes, healthy and/or vegan smoothie cafes, and Caribbean-influenced dishes.

Local Food Spots ($10 – $25)

While I did cook most of my meals, I ventured out to a few local spots on days that I was on-the-go all day.

I got some great meals for cheap prices in Aruba. for example, I had a great $10 USD vegan burrito at Happy Bowl inside of the Renaissance Marketplace. On another day, I had a very filling $12 USD breakfast at a small roadside stop.

Restaurants & Seafood ($25 and up)

Depending on what you order, the larger restaurants can cost anywhere from $25-$50 USD for a large meal.

I’ve seen Zeerovers recommended over and over for freshly caught seafood, though I cannot vouch for it myself. Other seafood and resort type restaurants are plentiful around the island.

You May Also Like: Can You Drink The Water in Aruba?

Monica on the rocky eastern beaches in Aruba - A Complete Aruba Travel Guide.

What to see in Aruba

Pro Tip: If you are a first time visitor to Aruba, a full day guided island tour is a great way to get your bearings and see what sights you would like to explore further, later. You will hit all the best stops on this one, from beautiful beaches to ruins to rock formations.. BOOK YOUR FULL DAY ARUBA SIGHTSEEING TOUR HERE!

Aruba is well-known for its white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters.

On the western and southern coasts of the island, these beautiful beaches are relatively sheltered from aggressive currents and instead present fairly calm and relaxing coasts.

On the northern and eastern coasts, the rocky shores have rough waters and waves that batter the lava and coral covered shores. As a result, these areas have been left largely untouched and feature a violent but natural beauty I was not fully expecting.

You will also find the desert-beauty known as Arikok National Park in the northeast. Here you can go hiking, explore Aruba’s caves , and see very unique island landscapes.

Oranjestad and Noord – the two most popular areas on the island for tourists – are home to famous beaches like Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. While these spots are pretty, they were not the most visually stunning options by any means!

Check out my in-depth list of the most stunning beaches in Aruba if you’re looking to get outside of the tourist center. I highly recommend Baby Beach to the south and Malmok Beach to the north, not to mention the rough Dos Playas to the east (but not for swimming.)

Also, no trip to Aruba is complete without a visit to the famous Flamingo Beach .

If you are looking to explore more than just the beaches, hop over to this post about the most unique things to do in Aruba .

A Complete Aruba Travel Guide - Monica in the Quadirikiri Cave.

How to get around Aruba

As I previously mentioned, my plan was to rent a car in Aruba, and I am so glad that I did.

The amount of driving and exploring I did in that rental ended up to be much cheaper than either hiring a guide or taking taxis .

That said, if you would rather avoid the hassle of driving in a foreign country, taking taxis and tours might make more sense for you. I have a full guide on transportation in Aruba to help you decide.

One thing to note, taxi prices in Aruba are regulated by the government. You will not need to haggle over pricing or worry about being price-gouged for your trip.

Additionally, you could use public transportation via the public bus. The Arubus service offers daily rides all along the hotel strip.

Buses run every 15 minutes from 5:45 am through 6pm. After 6pm, buses run every 40 minutes until 11:30 pm. Current routes, schedules and prices can be found here .

One last option would be to rent bicycles and bike around the island. I think this is a reasonable option in the main tourist areas, but not so reasonable if you need to go very far.

Pro Tip: The Aruba sun is no joke. Plan your bike rides around the midday heat. Always wear a wide brim hat , sunscreen, and carry your reusable water bottle for hydration.

You May Also Like: Solo Female Taxi Safety Tips

A Complete Aruba Travel Guide - flamingos on the beach.

How long should I spend in Aruba?

This question is of course subjective, but I would recommend around 7 days in Aruba.

For those looking for a relaxing beach or resort vacay, one week in a beachfront hotel with a couple of excursions thrown in should be fabulous for you.

For those looking to explore the various sights around the island, I would still say one week is ideal.

My first trip to Aruba was just under one week, and if I hadn’t needed to return on a set date, I could have stayed longer. I felt like I could have used at least one more day to revisit some key spots or even just try to relax (not my strong suit!)

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What to pack for Aruba

No Aruba travel guide would be complete without discussing what to pack. Aruba is hot and fairly humid, so I suggest packing loose clothing that breathes and allows air flow.

While I do have a complete Aruba packing list available, here are some of the basics.

On beach days I opted for the following:

  • a swimsuit, of course
  • a light fabric kimono cover-up
  • loose shorts or a lightweight romper
  • reef-safe sunscreen (“normal” SPF containing Oxybenzone is banned in Aruba.)
  • sunglasses and a wide-brim hat (this adjustable-size hat is the exact one I brought)

On hiking or exploring days I recommend the following:

  • my most favorite trekking sandals of all time
  • basic leggings or capri leggings
  • a lightweight tank top or a tee shirt
  • flowy palazzo pants

I would also recommend bringing a reusable water bottle , as the tap water in Aruba is safe to drink! I highly recommend the Hydro Flask because it is pretty lightweight and will keep your beverage cold for hours !

And there you have it! All of the background and basics you need to plan for the perfect Aruba vacation. I hope that this complete Aruba travel guide helps you prepare for a great time on the island.

Looking for more Aruba inspiration? Check out these posts!

  • The Ultimate Aruba Packing List for Women
  • Unique Things To Do in Aruba
  • Is Aruba Safe for Solo Female Travel?
  • Visiting Quadirikiri Cave in Aruba
  • Everything You Need to Know about Arikok National Park
  • Visiting Flamingo Beach, Aruba on Renaissance Island
  • Is There Uber in Aruba? A 2023 Transportation Guide
  • Can You Drink The Water in Aruba?
  • The Best Beaches in Aruba
  • Are There Sharks in Aruba?
  • Is Aruba in South America?

Have you been to Aruba? What was your favorite part?! Let me know below!

A Complete Aruba Travel Guide - flamingos, rocky beaches, and the California lighthouse.

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  • The Perfect Day Trip to Malibu: A One Day Itinerary [2024]

discovery travel aruba

About Monica

Monica has been a solo female world traveler for over 15 years. She is an expert on outdoor adventures, solo female travel, and off the beaten path destinations. She is the founder of This Rare Earth and is a firm believer that the world is not as scary as the media might have you think! Learn more about her here . Connect with her on Instagram .

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Monica in the Egypt, UAE, California and New Mexico deserts.

The Ultimate 5-Day Aruba Itinerary 2024

11/29/2023 by Kristin Addis 13 Comments

As I wrap up my second visit to Aruba I can’t help but feel amazed by how adventurous this island can be and by how much variety there is for such a small place. I got to see all kinds of landscape, have daily experiences that were all totally different, and get a tan in the process!

Many who visit Aruba are happy to lounge on a beach chair all day and don’t need much adventure to enjoy their vacay. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I just can’t do it for long and need to be either walking on the beach, swimming, or doing something active.

If you’re like me, the following itinerary will get you out and exploring the adventurous and outdoorsy side of Aruba, with some beach time included, of course!

Table of Contents

Day One: Go for a Swim, Check out the Lighthouse for Sunset

Aruba has tons of beaches – either long stretches of sand or hidden behind rocky coves and inlets. I stumbled upon them constantly during my exploration, though some are much friendlier for swimmers than others. The following are the best ones for snorkeling, swimming, and general chilling:

palm beach aruba

Palm Beach is the most touristy beach with high-rise hotels and lots of restaurants and water activities.  When you see the white sand and the clear baby blue water, it’s clear why. You can standup paddleboard, parasail, and of course swim. You’ll find people all along the sand offering activities, and most hotels also offer a free mask and snorkel.

Chances are you’ll be staying on either this beach or the next one, so check it out, especially at sunset.

aruba things to do

Baby Beach on the southern tip of the island is known for having great snorkeling and white sand. It also has fewer tourists than the beaches up north. I was a big fan of this one!

Eagle Beach

eagle beach aruba

Eagle Beach is slightly less crowded than Palm Beach and is famous for its perfect white sand and baby blue water. It is west facing and therefore perfect for sunset. 

tres trapi aruba

North of Palm Beach, you’ll find Malmok Beach and a few other great swimming and snorkeling spots. The picture above is at Tres Trapi, which are three stairs carved into the volcanic rock that lead to this lovely blue water. Many of the snorkeling tours stop here, so you can plan on seeing sea birds all around and fish under the water if you bring your mask and snorkel.

California Lighthouse

what to do in aruba

In the afternoon, I recommend heading to the California Lighthouse on the northern tip of the island for sunset. You get a fantastic view, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot as well.

I also enjoyed driving around the coastal roads nearby where you can find sand dunes, beautiful rocky outcroppings, and a more rugged Aruba experience. If you stick to the trail that borders the water, a normal car is probably OK as the road is mostly dirt with a few rocks and potholes, but a 4×4 will give you ultimate flexibility.

what to do in aruba

If you have a 4×4 and feel like continuing onwards, I had a lot of fun on the rocky road from the lighthouse to the Wariruri rock bridge. Following the collapse of the Natural Bridge in 2005, this is now the largest natural bridge in Aruba. The road is rough, but to me that’s a lot of fun, and you can plan on having it almost all to yourself. I made plenty of stops along the way and truly enjoyed this solo adventure.

what to do in aruba

Day Two: Arikok National Park – Caves and the Natural Pool

You can’t go to Aruba without visiting the Arikok National Park! This is where you can find the famous caves, the natural pool, and a much more rugged stretch of coast.

You absolutely do need a 4×4 for this trip, which you can self drive, although most people join either a Jeep tour or an ATV tour that takes you to the following spots:

Guadirikiri Caves

discovery travel aruba

The caves and the stairway outside of them were my first introduction to the rugged side of Aruba when I visited a year and a half ago and I was absolutely delighted! The ride there is an adventure in itself, along bumpy terrain and through cacti forests. I had so much fun getting there that the cave was the cherry on top.

discovery travel aruba

Depending on time of day, you can get some lovely light beams coming through the opening in the cave’s ceiling.

The Natural Pool

what to do in aruba

The highlight to Arikok National Park is undoubtedly this beautiful rocky pool that forms an almost perfect circle. The waves crash over the sides and there’s even a ‘natural jacuzzi’ slightly above, which you can see to my right in this photo.

This was my favorite thing in Aruba – it was so magical it didn’t seem real.

discovery travel aruba

I went with ABC tours to book this adventure. They have both big truck and ATV options. Some are full-day and some just take you to the natural pool. Choose your own adventure here .

Day Three: Flamingo Island

flamingos aruba

After a few days exploring Aruba’s more rugged and natural side, I feel we have to talk about Renaissance Island. This man-made flamingo island is undoubtedly beautiful. It’s also where you can take pictures with the famous flamingos on the beach and lounge in hammocks in the sun.

There are several beach huts that you can rent to hang out in for the day, and you can eat and drink on the island as well.

aruba flamingos

There are a few things to know about the island, such as the entrance fee, the best way to get in, and figuring out how to get shade while you’re there. I have an entire post dedicated to Flamingo Island with all of the info here .

Day Four: Pick an Aquatic Activity, Sunset Cruise

what to do in aruba

On day four I recommend picking one or two of the adventurous activities available on the island and then a nice relaxing sunset on the water or on a beach nearby.

The following are some great options:

The water is clear and there are plenty of fish in Aruba. There is also a shallow wreck, which is a rare find in the diving world. All of these are great reasons to jump in and see what’s up unda da sea.

I did a morning dive last time I was on Aruba and was impressed by the corals and fish. If you are used to Southeast Asia, don’t expect the same that you would find in Sipadan or Raja Ampat , but still, for those who love diving this is a great spot to get under the water.

You can rent stand up paddle boards all along Palm Beach where the water is calm enough to head out for an hour or two of activity. The nice thing about Aruba is it’s almost always breezy so standup paddleboarding is quite pleasant in Aruba. Be sure to check out the partially submerged wreck around Malmok Beach for a unique experience!

Snorkel a Wreck

If you’re not into diving, you can still snorkel around a wreck near the California Lighthouse. Multiple boat trips depart at different times per day to take you out there. I did a cruise in the morning and an evening sunset cruise last time I was here, both of which went to the wreck. I would give the edge to the sunset cruise as there were fewer people in the water then, but being able to get on a boat and get out on the water is a must no matter what time you choose to do it in Aruba. You can book it here .

Day Five: Sunrise at Trinity Bridge, Sunset at Mangel Halto

what to do in aruba

Let me just start by saying I’m not sure what the proper name of this place is – I’ve heard ‘tripod bridge’ and I see it as the ‘trinity bridge’ on maps.me, but either way this bridge is neato. It’s a set of three sea bridges that look gorgeous in the early morning hours when the sun comes up and illuminates the rocks. You’ll need a 4×4 to get here but if you have one handy from the other activities, be sure to get there in the early morning, before the tour groups arrive.

You can explore the cacti, Ayo Rock Formation, and rugged coastline along this part of the island in the AM, or just chill out – I know this has been a pretty packed itinerary.

what to do in aruba

For the afternoon/evening, I highly recommend heading to Mangel Halto for a secluded beach, lovely mangroves, and perfect positioning for the sunset. From there you’re close to Zeerover, a famous seafood restaurant.

Aruba has some gorgeous resorts to choose from, but I’m partial to the Ritz Carlton, with direct access to one of the best beaches on the island and some wonderful rooms. I can help you get the following when you contact me to book :

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom.
  • $100 USD equivalent in local currency Resort or Hotel credit utilized during stay.
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability.

Getting Around

what to do in aruba

Although many of the options I mentioned above are made easier or are only possible with a 4×4 rental (all the major car rental companies are available at the airport – but do book ahead of time), you can also join a tour to see almost everything listed above. If you have specific things from this itinerary you want to see, ask the guys at ABC which tour would be the best one.

I found driving in Aruba to be pretty easy and straightforward. There are lots of roundabouts, and sometimes people will turn out of roads right in front of you, so just drive defensively and don’t go too fast. Overall it was fine and fairly stress-free. I also highly recommend downloading the Aruba map on maps.me offline maps. It’s free, it worked great, and I never got lost with it.

Other Things To Do in Aruba

discovery travel aruba

If you have more time in Aruba and would like to add on to the 5-day itinerary, then I highly recommend checking out more of Santa Cruz or visiting Noord in the northeast part of the island. The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary, located in Santa Cruz, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of the island’s donkey population, and an awesome place to hug a donkey.

If you decide to head to Noord, I recommend checking out the Gold Smelter Ruins, the remnants of a gold mine. Just a short walk to the east, you’ll find a wooden sign and the top of a steep stepladder. This will lead you down toward a plateau of volcanic rock and to the Aruba Natural Cave Pool. Be warned, though! This local spot is best for adventurers. You’ll need to jump about fifteen feet to get into the pool and then climb up slimy rocks (and avoid the crabs!) to get out.

If you want to learn something new, I also recommend checking out Hadicurari beach where Vela offers windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons. The wind and waves are calmer here making this an ideal spot for beginners to learn.

Aruba itinerary

Happy travels in Aruba! I hope this itinerary helps you to see a more adventurous side of the island and to fall in love with it as much as I did. It’s the perfect place to unwind – just small enough to see a ton of it in just a few days, but just big enough to keep you wanting to come back to see more.

*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Aruba Tourism Authority , however this itinerary was entirely crafted and created by yours truly. 

About Kristin Addis

Kristin Addis is the founder and CEO of Be My Travel Muse, a resource for female travelers all around the world since 2012. She's traveled solo to over 65 countries and has brought over 150 women on her all-female adventure tours from Botswana to the Alaskan tundra.

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12/25/2018 at 7:14 pm

Your itinerary looks super fun, you’ve got me looking at flights for 2019!

Agness says

12/29/2018 at 4:27 am

I really appreciate your Aruba itinerary Kristin. I can’t stop thinking of the beach…

Kristin says

12/29/2018 at 7:58 am

Hey long time no talk! I hope you get to visit and enjoy it!

Colleen rott says

02/03/2019 at 6:58 am

Single woman traveling to Aruba no families, no fancy hotels, just snorkeling and paddleboarding

Shante 4rm shantedidathing says

05/21/2019 at 10:44 am

I’m planning a 7 dat trip and just wanted to see how others planned their. Most tours are in the daytime or do similar places so was looking for ideas in the afternoons. Looms like mostly beaches and rare secluded spots. I can do that. Thanks

12/06/2019 at 2:18 pm

Do you have to have international drivers license to drive in Aruba

12/07/2019 at 11:43 am

They did not ask me for one. They might if your license is not in English or Dutch.

Crooze Photography says

11/01/2020 at 4:17 am

Beautiful photos of a beautiful island!

11/02/2020 at 9:47 am

Victoria says

11/06/2020 at 10:20 pm

Hi!! Your itinerary looks amazing!! I’m headed to Aruba next week, and can’t wait to escape to some of these beaches. May I ask which company you rented your 4×4 from?

11/08/2020 at 3:23 pm

That’s awesome. I’m here now actually! I rented from Amigo at the airport both times I’ve rented a car. It was an old beat up Jeep but that’s exactly what I needed and wanted 🙂

12/13/2020 at 6:13 pm

How crowded is tenths island during pandemic? Are the flights going full? Planning to go right after holidays.

12/14/2020 at 10:12 am

My flight wasn’t full and it was not crowded for me. I think it helps that almost all the things to do are outside.

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Island Life Mexico

Aruba Visitors Guide

How to get there, things to do & more.

Updated May 2024 ⋅ Written by Vanessa Howard ⋅ Edited by Laura Schulthies

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 Map

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: A sprawling ariel view of the seaside Barcelo Aruba resort complex.

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.

Aruba Visitors Guide: Beautiful Sunset

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.  

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.

discovery travel aruba

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.  

discovery travel aruba

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.

  S earch for great deals on flights here .

discovery travel aruba

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 .

discovery travel aruba

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. You can find shared shuttles to your accommodations in the city of Oranjestad for around $10, and private shuttle services cost around $50. If you are looking for more relaxation, consider a luxury shuttle service, which costs around $125.

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

discovery travel aruba

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 $70 a day for an economy car and range to $90 per day for a standard SUV.

Gas stations in Aruba may work a little differently than you are used to. At most gas stations you’re not allowed to pump gas yourself, instead, an attendant will do it for you.

  Compare the best deals on rental cars here .

discovery travel 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.  

discovery travel aruba

Wander The Shops 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 .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Hike Arikok National Park

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.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Standard health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country so travel insurance will cover any emergency medical needs as well as trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), flight delays, missed connections and more. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Beach Hopping

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 Beach ,  Baby 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 .

 Check out more in our Aruba Beach Guide .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Snorkel & Scuba Dive

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.

  For more information, check out our Aruba Snorkeling Guide .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Visit Fort Zoutman Museum

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.  

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Take Adventure Tour

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 .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: California Lighthouse

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 .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Cruise Around Aruba

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 .

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Visit Natural Bridge

Visit Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge is a remnant of a limestone cave that was hollowed out by the surf and collapsed. This bridge-like rock formation, on the ocean cliffs makes a great photo op. The larger bridge collapsed in 2005, but the remains are still there, and they are stunningly beautiful. The remaining natural bridge formation is often called “Baby Bridge.”

The Natural Bridge is on the east coast of Aruba, just north of Arikok National Wildlife Park. For those seeking more natural wonders, a few other gorgeous natural bridges can be found on the southern coast near Black Stone Beach.

If you don’t want to explore alone, check out this Full-Day Aruba History and Must-See Landmarks Tour , which includes a stop at Natural Bridge, among other highlights.

Don’t have a full day? Check out this great Half-Day Aruba Island Tour from Oranjestad that allows you to explore the Natural Bridge and other attractions.

The Best Things To Do In Aruba: Explore Flamingo Beach

Explore Flamingo Beach

Also known as Flamingo Island, this mesmerizing beach is on Renaissance Island. The private island is connected to the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort , and the hotel only allows limited access to Flamingo Beach . You’ll need to take a 10-minute water taxi ride to get to this tropical private island paradise.

For those not staying at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba, there’s still a way to witness the famous pink flamingos. A day pass, priced at $125, grants you access to the island for the day. This option includes a boat transfer, lunch on the island, and a drink. Secure your spot in advance here .

Keep in mind that day passes are only available when the hotel is below 80% occupancy, and the hotel sells a maximum of 30 passes to the island per day to non-guests.

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: A large swimming pool at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort 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

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 .

What to Pack For Your Mexican Vacation

Check out our guide for what to bring on your Caribbean vacation!

Islands, Beaches, Cuisine and More

Aruba Hotel Guide: The Best Hotels in Aruba

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This post has 15 comments.

Do we need to be vaccinated to enter Aruba? Tia

Take a look at our Caribbean Covid 19 Update page.

Aruba is a dream. Thank you for the recommendations!

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!

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!

Hello, What beach in Aruba is the best for visiting with children?

Eagle Beach is a popular choice for families. Enjoy!

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

Is Aruba safe for solo travel?

Yes, but take all the normal precautions.

How many days do you recommend for visiting Aruba?

I always say it takes 3 weeks to truly get to know a place 🙂

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!

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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I didn't have the time to take the certification course so I am planning on doing the discovery dive when I visit later this month. I also think this will help me solidify my decision on whether I want to get the certification in the future.

I know diving places can be a bit more limited since it's a discovery dive, but wanted to get your thoughts on which location would be the best, and which company/diver I should work with based on your experience.

I'm assuming I'd like to do a boat dive than a shore dive but honestly, I don't know enough to make that decision either. So any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you

5 replies to this topic

' class=

This is the operation I have used for diving. I have seen the DSD people while I was getting off the boat form the morning dives so I guess the DSD are only in the afternoon. I think they are done from the boat but you would have to contact. https://se-aruba.com/discover-scuba-diving/

You can look into other operations too like Aquawindies but I believe they do their DSDs as shore dives.

https://www.aquawindies.com

' class=

If you are going to do the DSD then I don't think you will get a choice of where you want to go, they generally take you where THEY feel comfortable taking you.

You can ask them but don't get your hopes up.

In all likely hood, with a Discovery Scuba class, your most probable dive site will be the Pedernalis, located off the west coast, roughly in front of the Holiday Inn and Marriotts. It's about a mile offshore in 25 feet of water.

A lot of experienced divers may look down on Pedernalis as an uninteresting dive since it lacks challenges, but I enjoy it. It's peaceful and relaxing and has a lot of marine life. Even some big fish.

The South Coast has some of the better dives, but they're not for inexperienced divers.

Virtually all dives are boat dives, although I have done a handful of shore dives.

Most of the sites are along the West Coast from Arashi Reef, down to the harbor and then along the South Coast from Rennaissance Island to Mangel Halto.

Thank you SubaBOS. do you have a company you recommend I work with?

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