White sandy beaches, clear water, colorful fish, picturesque vistas, cooling trade winds and warm, friendly people are just a few reasons why so many people return to Aruba year after year. Like most other Caribbean islands, Aruba is very expensive. You will pay a premium for hotels, food, and activities.
Things Not to Miss in Aruba
- Snorkeling – Snorkeling is the number one thing to do on the island. The shores are filled with coral and beautiful, brightly colored fish. Many hotels offer guests free use of snorkeling equipment.
- Scuba diving – Known as the wreck-diving capital of the Caribbean, Aruba’s entire south coast is a coral reef with over twenty dive sites and eleven diver-friendly wrecks such as a plane, tugboats, cement cargo ship, war and historic vessels sunk by destiny or design. Reef, wreck and night diving can all be arranged. Shore dives are possible off De Palm Island, Baby Beach and Pos Chiquito. Divers in Aruba will behold an array of brilliantly colored sea life and coral formations.
- Kite Surfing – Aruba is the perfect place for kitesurfing; the trade winds, shallow blue waters and soft sand beaches make the learning process easy and enjoyable. Aruba Kitesurfing is a member of the National Surf Association in Aruba (Arusurf) and offers a variety of classes, from beginner to expert level lessons in kitesurfing, surfing and body boarding.
- Oranjestad – Aruba’s capital city is lined with typical Dutch architecture and plenty of pastel colored buildings. The downtown area is good for shopping, with stalls and small boutiques, while the harbor is the place to buy fresh fish. There are a couple of museums in the city that highlight the history of the island, but these are smaller destination.
- ATV Tours – Aruba off road tours run all the way down the rugged northeast coast, visiting such sites as the Alto Vista Chapel, Bushiribana Gold Mill and natural bridges. For those who would rather go it alone, George’s Cycle Rentals is a reputable company for quadracer rentals. Riders should make safety a priority, wearing a well-fitting helmet and paying great attention to the road at all times.
- Bus and Jeep Tours – Organized jeep tours often stop at the California Lighthouse, charming Alto Vista chapel, Seroe Crystal, the Bushiribana gold mill ruins, famous Natural Bridge, through the back roads to the Guadirikiri caves and finishing off on a private island that is located just a five minute ferry boat ride from the main land.
- Donkey Sanctuary – This is a fun place to spend the afternoon, especially for a family. Watch over 100 donkeys wander around while feeding and interacting with them.
- Horseback ride – Another way to tour the island is by horseback. There are various companies to choose from, all of which have very well-cared-for and very well-trained horses that give you the opportunity to ride through the hillside and along the coast.
- The Arikok National Park – The Arikok National Park is a great place to spend the entire day enjoying the dramatic landscapes. There is a small entrance fee that goes towards the preservation of the park and the animals who roam freely throughout the 7907 acres.
- Carubbian Festival – Most visitors don’t have the opportunity to experience Aruba’s cultural highlight of the year – Carnival, but you can discover the colorful spirit of Aruba’s Carnival and island culture every Thursday evening at the Carrubian Festival. Situated on the island’s southern tip in the heart of San Nicolas, the Carrubian Festival brings Aruba’s culture to life with live music and shows, stilt walkers, handicrafts, delicious, traditional homemade cuisine of the Caribbean region, and a parade of glittery dancers showcasing many of our past Carnival’s gorgeous costumes.
Cell Phones – Your cell phone will work here but check on roaming charges. GSM phones will work in Aruba only if you have an unlocked SIM phone. Contact your local service provider before traveling to Aruba. It is possible to rent a cell phone or purchase a SIM card right at the airport in the arrivals terminal at Setar or Digicel. A deposit and proper identification is required when renting a phone. Repeat visitors may consider the purchase of an inexpensive cell phone instead of renting one. Teleshops are also located in the hotel area.
Driving – The road signs in Aruba are different from those in the US. Familiarize yourself with traffic rules and signs before driving. Roads are very slick after a rain; drive cautiously. For off-road adventure, consider renting a car with 4-wheel drive or a jeep.
Internet Access – Wi-Fi is available at most hotels in public areas and rooms as well as at many “hot spots” throughout the island. For more information, please check the profile page of your resort or contact Setar at 525-1000.
Legal Age – Drinking age is 18. Gambling age is 18. Identification may be requested in both cases.
Medical Facilities – We have a first-class hospital just a few minutes from the hotel sector, and ALL hotels have a doctor on call 24/7. Drug stores cannot fill a prescription from a doctor who is not on the island, but will advise you on how to obtain one if necessary.
Public Transportation – There is daily bus service all along the hotel strip. Fare is US $ 2.30. There is bus service every 15 minutes from 5:45 am until 6 pm; buses then run every 40 minutes until 11:30 pm. The central bus station in downtown Oranjestad is located across the road from the cruise terminal next to Royal Plaza.