VacationWiser.com Guide to Aruba

Why go to Aruba

You can sum it up in 3 words, that serve as the slogan for Aruba


But, if you need to know more:

Located 15 miles north of Venezuela in the warm waters of the southern Caribbean, Aruba is home to beautiful white-sand beaches, 82-degree days and some of the warmest people in the world.

Our island is 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles. We’re located just below the hurricane belt, and unlike many islands in the Caribbean, our climate is dry, so we rarely have a rainy day. On the south and west coasts of Aruba, you’ll find Oranjestad, our capital city, and miles of beaches that have been named some of the best in the world. Here, you’ll find most of the hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Aruba, and Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA).

In the interior of the island, you'll find Arikok National Park, a desert-like preserve with a variety of wildlife, cacti and dramatic rock formations. You’ll also find some of Aruba's most striking views, as the ocean crashes against the rugged shoreline below.

On the northeast coast, along the windward shore, you'll see our island's unofficial mascots, the fofoti trees. The constant trade winds have permanently sculpted them into graceful, southwesterly bending forms.

From 5Ks to festivals, from contests to Carnival, there is never a dull moment on our happy island.


Many visitors say that Aruba is the most relaxing place they’ve ever been. There’s something about our warm, dry air and cooling trade winds that help people unwind.

As soon as you unpack, reserve a treatment in one of Aruba’s spas. Many resorts offer massages and facials right on the beach, featuring aloe cultivated on our very own island.  If you like to relax and rejuvenate with a little physical activity, try a morning run on the beach, a yoga class at one of our resorts or even try something new, like paddleboard yoga.


Where to stay in Aruba

The bulk of the hotels can be found in Palm Beach, on the Northwest coast.   As you move south along the beach, hotel row thins out a little but there are still plenty more hotels along Eagle Beach, Manchebo Beach and Divi Beach.  Proceeding southeast you will reach Oranjestad and Queen Beatrix International Airport.  You can find a few hotels in this vicinity.  There are no hotels along the northeasterly side of the island which has a more rugged coast line but offers great views.

Riu Palace Antillas - All Inclusive

The Riu Palace Antillas is located at the southern end of Palm Beach, near the Bubali Bird Sanctuary. Its adults only facilities are the ideal place to relax, complete with a gym, a spa, and a beauty and hair salon inviting you to a wide variety of treatments. It is perfect for those who enjoy the sun, offering free lounge chairs, sun umbrellas and towels, both at the wonderful swimming pool and on Palm Beach itself.

A complete entertainment program offers the possibility of trying out many different activities: water sports such as windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking, and even a diving test in the swimming pool. A golf course, bicycle rental and interesting hiking routes are all available in the surrounding area.  At nighttime, you can enjoy RIU’s program of shows, dance at the club or try your luck with the casino games.

The buffet restaurant invites you to enjoy the colorful Caribbean cuisine at lunch and dinner. At the same time, you will find different world flavors in the three thematic restaurants, and you can cool down in the patisserie/ice cream shop, open 24 hours a day. 

As low as $108.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 - 11, 2019

As low as $125.00 bi-weekly for 2 people March 1 – 4, 2020


Divi Aruba - All Inclusive

The ultimate beach, and breezy, sunny days, located steps from the ocean pristine Eagle Beach. Choose from ten dining options and eight bars, most with ocean views. Try our water sports, seaside fitness center or spa. And, all guest rooms are just steps from the sand and pools and feature satellite TV, air-conditioning, mini-fridge, in-room digital safe, free WI-FI and a spacious patio or balcony. There's live entertainment nightly or take a quick stroll to the Alhambra Casino. Stay at the Divi Aruba and dine and play at the adjacent Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive.

As low as $100.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 - 11, 2019

As low as $127.00 bi-weekly for 2 people March 1 – 4, 2020


Barcelo Aruba - All Inclusive

Nestled in the white, powdery shores in the center of Palm Beach, the all-inclusive Barceló Aruba provides a new level of service along with a new concept of delivering distinctive experiences that anticipate the desires of all guests. This intimate Caribbean oasis of relaxation and delight features seven restaurants, three bars, a large free-form swimming pool, daily activities, some of the best nightly shows on the island and more. Let the gentle Caribbean breezes carry your worries away.

For those seeking a more elevated experience at the all-inclusive Barceló Aruba, our Royal Level accommodations offer a unique experience. Guests receive accommodations offering the best views, priority reservations at á-la-carte restaurants including exclusive access to the Royal Level Restaurant, complimentary room service, personalized check-in, concierge service, premium brand drinks, complimentary Wi-Fi and more. Live more at Barceló Aruba.

As low as $87.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 9 - 12, 2019

As low as $127.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 25 - 28, 2020


Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino

Facing the world-famous Palm Beach, this distinctive resort is luxury redefined for families, spa-lovers and couples looking to tie the knot or enjoy a romantic escape. Here, an open-air lobby immediately transports you into a world of complete relaxation, while the resort’s extensive children’s program; romantic wedding services; elegant spa; enjoyable casino; 5 dynamic restaurants and sparkling three-tiered pools featuring cascading waterfalls and a waterslide ensure unforgettable stays for each and every guest.  This resort is not a all-inclusive so you have the freedom to sample the extensive offerings along Palm and Eagle Beach.


As low as $60.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 - 11, 2019

As low as $117.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 25 - 28, 2020


What to do in Aruba

Even though Aruba is a small island, there is so much to see and do we cannot fit it all in here.  Go to https://www.aruba.com/us/things-to-do for a complete list.


 Get into the spirit of Aruba’s biggest party of the year — a month-long celebration with festive street parties known as "jump-ups" and spectacular parades. Lovelies of all ages strut their stuff at Carnival Queen elections, competing for the coveted crown. Aruba Carnival events are remembered for their powerful music. Winning songs selected at carnival competitions in Aruba include the best calypso with politically-charged lyrics and social commentaries, and the best road march with catchy lyrics and melodies and movements all perform together. Years later, many still "do the wiper", "hit the floor", and "jump with your towel!" Grand Parades in San Nicolas and Oranjestad are the biggest celebration parties of the season and shut down both cities.  Carnival season officially begins in November with the majority of events, celebrations and parades taking place in January and February until the Burning of King Momo, marking the end of the Carnival season.

Food & Wine Festival

The Annual Food and Wine Festival in Aruba is a tasting event featuring a pastry extravaganza with famous invited chefs showcasing their talents. Delicious food presentations with a Caribbean touch are paired with excellent wines and champagnes. This culinary event in Aruba is combined with a local art exhibition showcasing some of Aruba’s best artworks by residential artists and photographers.

Bonbini Festival

Bonbini means "Welcome!" in Papiamento, and this weekly folkloric music and dance festival is the perfect introduction to the warmth and hospitality of Aruba’s people. The Bonbini Aruba Festival takes place in downtown Oranjestad every Tuesday at 6:30 pm in the outdoor courtyard of Fort Zoutman, Aruba’s oldest building. Enjoy the flavor of the island, its history, people, music and cuisine during this entertaining evening held every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m, and entrance is only $5.


Aruba Regatta

This sailing event features fun, action and competitions among yachts, catamarans, sunfish and windsurfers during the day, and music, parties and dinner at night. Crews from different countries try their skill in such events as the "Around Aruba Race" for cruising and racing yachts.


Aruba beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From calm serenity to extreme adventures, Aruba has a wide variety of beaches for every beach lover to explore and the best part is……all public beaches are free!  Eagle Beach is the most popular and was ranked #3 Best Beach in the World by Trip Advisor.

Waters Sports

Aruba Surf & Paddle School: Aruba Surf & Paddle School is located directly in front of the Marriott Surf Club, beach side on Palm Beach. Our main goal is to introduce the exciting and fast growing sport of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding to beginner paddlers of all ages in a very fun way.

Aruba Outdoor Adventures: Our pedal kayak & power snorkel trips are full of excitement for you and your family, no kayak experience is necessary. The excursion involves culture, nature, and plenty of corals and tropical fish.  Guests of any skill level can easily operate our innovative pedal kayaks, which are fun and easy to use, unbeatably fast and incredibly maneuverable. Our trips are recommended for adults 16 years up.

Aruba Mahi Mahi Fishing: We fish out of Seaport Marina, a small harbor in downtown Oranjestad, just across Renaissance Marketplace. We operate two Hatteras 42 ft. sport fisherman motor yachts, and one Bertram 54 ft. sport fisherman motor yacht, which is air-conditioned.  We offer 4, 6 and 8 hour fishing charter trips, making sure you will return to the harbor with a great 'catch of the day'.

For a complete list of water activities go to https://www.aruba.com/us/things-to-do/on-the-water

Natural Wonders

Natural Bridges: Explore the rugged northern shore of Aruba to discover the many natural bridges.  Before collapsing in 2005, the largest and most photographed of these bridges was the famous Natural Bridge between the Bushiribana gold mine ruins and Andicuri Beach. The remains of this bridge are still a tourist attraction in Aruba, with the adjacent intact Baby Bridge also meriting a visit.

Sand Dunes: Escape the crowds in snow white landscapes of powdery soft sand, an oasis of tranquility along the rugged north shore.  California Dunes" at Hudishibana, the isolated northwestern tip of the island, features some of the most spectacular scenery, with expansive sand dunes sitting in the view of the old stone lighthouse and a spectacular rock hewn coastline.

Arikok National Park: Nearly 20% of Aruba is a designated National Park and home to a long list of animal species and plant life. The Arikok National Park is home to rare priceless gems that are indigenous to our island.  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, educational programs and the animals who roam freely throughout the 7907 acres.

For more information go to https://www.aruba.com/us/things-to-do/natural-wonders

Sightseeing and Tours

ABC Tours & Attractions: Excursions in custom made Land Rovers with easy going guides. A highlight of our tours are the off road experience, where guests have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of our 4x4 Land Rovers. While thrill seekers also have the opportunity to jump 30 ft. off a cliff at Moro, a unique rock on a secluded beach, only available on selected tours of ABC.

We offer half day and full day excursions to the island’s most breathtaking sceneries, and to well-known sites such as Baby Beach and the Natural Pool. The full day tour is a favorite for its variety of sites as well as a deluxe Aruban BBQ at our own Waka Waka Restaurant.

For a complete guide of tours go to https://www.aruba.com/us/explore/abc-tours-and-attractions


What to eat & drink in Aruba

From traditional Dutch to Asian, African, and Spanish, dining options are as diverse and welcoming as our people.  You can eat fresh fish straight from the sea, share a glass of wine at sunset with your toes in the sand, or indulge in classic Italian in the shadow of a century-old lighthouse.  Aruba’s vibrant restaurant scene is your happy opportunity to sample delicious cuisine inspired by over 90 unique nationalities. To sit at our tables, savor the rich flavors of our keshi yena, and taste an authentic side of Aruba prepared with love.

In Aruba’s restaurants, you’ll find fresh Mahi-mahi, red snapper, and barracuda pulled from the sea and rubbed with creole seasoning. In upscale restaurants and small local gems, stew pots bubble with rice, meats, and rich Latin and African flavors.

All in the same day, you can indulge in traditional Dutch pancakes, sip ice-cold Aruba Aribas by the sea, and pile your plate high with pastechi—with a dash of spice from our local hot pepper sauce, pica di papaya.

Local Favorites

Gasparito Restaurant and Art Gallery: known for its dishes from Aruba, such as goat stew, Pan Bati, Funchi, Arró.  A star among Aruba's local restaurants, Gasparito Restaurant and Art Gallery is renowned for authentic Aruban dishes, the historic architecture of their building and inspiring Aruban art.  Near Palm Beach, behind Bubali Bird Sanctuary.


O’Niel Caribbean Kitchen, San Nicolas: Combining Local and Caribbean cuisine on a single menu gives you many unique options.  Visitors are delighted by the Lamb, Ribs, Jerk Chicken and so many other dishes. The efficient and friendly staff makes for a pleasant experience.  You know It's good if the locals eat there! O'Niels' has become a staple of San Nicolas dining attracting people from all over the island.


Old Cunucu House Restaurant:  Enjoy homemade local cuisine and warm island hospitality in an authentic atmosphere at the Old Cunucu House Restaurant.  Choose to have your lunch or dinner on the outside veranda or inside the historic, charming cunucu (translated: country side) house built 150 years ago.  The criollo menu of Aruban specialties includes hearty servings of keshi yena (stuffed Gouda cheese with savory filling), stewed chicken and goat and fresh local fish, accompanied by pan bati, funchi and rice with beans.  There is also an international menu that features pasta, steak, lamb and veal. For dessert, the quesillo (caramel custard) and fresh baked cakes are popular selections.


Restaurants that won’t break the bank

(reviews courtesy of www.aruba.com/us/things-to-do/dining unless otherwise noted)


Pinchos Grill & Bar: Perched at the end of a pier at Aruba Surfside Marina is one of Aruba's most romantic restaurants, Pinchos Grill & Bar. The best time to book a table is just before sunset: Start with a cocktail on the outdoor patio overlooking the water and watch the stunning vista close on another day in paradise. Dishes include spicy Aruban fish cakes drizzled with pineapple mayonnaise and grilled Aruban mahi prepared with a tomato, basil and rosemary sauce.

Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant: Enter a wonderful, tropical, casual place to enjoy the best Caribbean nights on the beautiful white sand beach of Aruba.  Hosting two gigantic palapas on the white sand beach, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, one contains the laid back beach bar, while the other invites you into the open-air seaside restaurant.  Located ocean front right on the sands of Palm Beach.


Sundays at MooMbaare are fantastic. Expect spectacular sunsets and enjoy wearing your coolest beach outfits and flip flops for the MooMba BBQ buffet with All-u-can-eat ribs, chicken saté, sausages, beef steak, chicken legs, and more for just $29.50 per person.

Azia Restaurant & Lounge: Azia Restaurant and Lounge is a rather new place in Palm Beach and part of the Gianni Group which owns several good Aruba restaurants. Indulge in delicious sushi, other Asian-style tapas and cocktails.  Sit in comfortable lounge chairs on the large terrace, which has a “ceiling” of little lightbulbs that add tons to the ambiance once the sun has set. (“14 Aruba restaurants that’ll rock your taste buds.  Tested and Approved”, updated 4/26/19)



Gianni’s Ristorante Italiano Aruba: Enjoy authentic Italian food in a most vibrant location. Gianni’s combines attentive service with a comprehensive menu, fine wines, and the freshest ingredients.  Gianni’s authentic Italian specialties range from salads, soups, and antipasti to entrées of seafood, ossobuco, steaks, scampi and chicken, delicious creamy desserts and after-dinner aperitifs. House specialties include fresh-caught whole red snapper, fresh seafood and the best pasta dishes featuring spaghetti al formaggio parmigiano, prepared in a cheese wheel and flamed with whisky at your table.

Gianni's is located on the famous strip of Palm Beach and an ideal spot for people watching and taking in the vibrant ambiance of this lively area.

Gelatissimo Aruba:
on Palm Beach strip.  Cozy outdoor seating near the sidewalk and a fancy bar lay-out, add a pleasant feeling to the hoppin’ Palm Beach scenery. It is the perfect place for a delicious treat after dinner or simply to meet and greet.  Gelatissimo is a unique gelateria, famous for its mouthwatering gelato with more than 30 delicious flavors to choose from. Made with only the highest quality products using fresh local Aruban grown fruits. Lunch items include Panini’s and deliciously fresh salads that keep our guests raving. Our drink menu includes refreshing cocktails, martini’s and fresh smoothies.

West Deck Aruba: The West Deck probably comes in second place on the “cozy ambiance” ranking, after Barefoot Restaurant. It’s located along the Linear Park, on a large wooden deck that overlooks the water and is great for a casual lunch or dinner.  The menu consists of hot and cold Caribbean appetizers that are best ordered to share family-style. For dessert, we recommend both the cheesecake and the dark and white chocolate mousse cake. (“14 Aruba restaurants that’ll rock your taste buds.  Tested and Approved”, updated 4/26/19, www.WonderfuWanderings.com/aruba-restaurants)


Zeerover Aruba: Come to Zeerover, a local fisherman's wharf in Savaneta with the freshest seafood, cleaned and cooked in front of you.  Zeerover is a local hangout that over the past years has become a destination by itself. Locals relax, eat and drink here, shoot pool, and have a great time while fishermen prepare their fresh catch.  Zeerover is located oceanfront, on a fish pier in Savaneta, on the coastal road to San Nicholas.  The freshly caught fish is served in 'finger-food' style, straight from colorful baskets.  While the menu is simple and features one or two daily fresh catches, along with some local sides, the backdrop is a most gorgeous ocean view. Prices? Local. A very good deal but cash only.


Breakfast and cocktails and Dessert

Craft: popular for breakfast (especially for its crispy Belgian-style waffles and Samba Acai bowl), although the coffee bar also serves alcohol, is open until 1 a.m. and hosts DJs a few nights throughout the week. Desserts, such as key-lime cheesecake, are served in Mason jars, and baristas like to play around with creative latte art.


Good things to know about Aruba

Go to www.visitaruba.com/about-aruba/ for a complete listing

Banking and Currency: Aruba's currency is the florin (AWG or AFL), but the US dollar is widely accepted.  Traveler's checks are widely accepted and there is normally no charge for using them in hotels, restaurants and stores. Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments (valid ID is required) while personal checks are normally not accepted.


ATM machines are available for cards compatible with the Cirrus or Visa Plus system. ATM facilities exits at most banks, but also at all gas stations and popular supermarkets.


CLIMATE: Aruba is situated 12 degrees 30' north of the equator. The weather is tropical but not extreme, with a median and fairly constant temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit 

It is important to mention that Aruba lies south of the general hurricane paths and usually only experiences fringe effects of nearby tropical weather. Trade winds cool the island, making lying in the sun on one of the many beaches much more tolerable.


 The rainy season runs from October to January but is heaviest in November and December.   Even then rains tend to be erratic and in short bursts.


WHAT TO WEAR: With Aruba's tropical climate, you will be comfortable in casual summer wear plus some light evening wear for restaurants, nightclubs and casinos (men might need a light jacket for some of these). Shorts and slacks can be worn on the streets of Oranjestad. Bikinis are not permitted in shopping and business areas.

No real need for elegant evening wear, casual silk or linen dresses & slacks will do. A light sweater for the cooler evenings might come in handy.


COMMUNICATIONS: Aruba has a modern telecommunications network. Long distance calls can be placed from any telephone or from SETAR (Aruba's Telecommunications organization) locations around Aruba. Cellular phone rental is also available.


The international dialing code for Aruba is 297. Area codes do not exist in Aruba, all numbers start with 5 except for cellular telephone numbers which start with 9, 7, 6 or 5.


There are a number of companies that specialize in cell phone rental in Aruba and they make it very easy. In fact, many providers will bring the phone to your hotel on the day you arrive. It doesn't matter if you book online in advance or if you call from your hotel after arriving in Aruba.

Some resorts, restaurants and bars offer free Wi-Fi access to their guests; although it may be limited to public areas.


With Wi-Fi Aruba you can get high-speed wireless internet access on your laptop, tablet or smartphone at several hotspots on the island, including restaurants, resorts, bars and even on the beach. You can access the Wi-Fi Aruba service using a Wi-Fi prepaid card or your Credit Card. Prepaid cards are sold at Hotspots locations and Setar teleshops.


DRIVING: Aruba is a very small island, which makes everything of interest close to everything else of interest. If you don't know where you're heading to, just keep driving, since eventually you will end up where you need to go. A good trick when getting lost is to look at the direction in which the Fofoti trees are bent, since they will always point west towards the hotel and resorts area.


Those driving with a foreign or international driver's license issued by a member country of the Geneva Convention, are valid.


Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in urban areas is 30 km/h, out of town it's 60km/h and on faster roads its 80km/h.  Much of Oranjestad's traffic is one-way. When there's a two lane street you drive on the right hand side of the road and you overtake on the left hand side.  Right turns on red are prohibited.


ELECTRICITY: Aruba decided to adopt the North American voltage standard of 110 A.C. (60 cycles), the same as in the United States and Canada. Electricity is a by-product of the water desalination process.


LANGUAGE: The official languages on Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento, but most Arubans are multi-lingual and are able to communicate in English and Spanish as well.


TIME ZONE: Aruba is in the Atlantic Time Zone and is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC -4). Aruba does not utilize Daylight Saving Time.


Drinking Water: Aruba's water meets the highest quality standards of the World Health Organization thanks to our desalination plant, the world's second largest.  There is no need to buy bottled water in Aruba. 


TIPPING: Tipping is not obligatory but is at the discretion of the visitor. However, some restaurants and bars add a service charge to your bill. When included, the service charge on food and beverage is normally around 10 to 15 percent. At one's own discretion an extra amount can be added for good service.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND VISA: A passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay in Aruba. If the tourist holds a passport from a visa required country then he/she must have a valid visa sticker in his/her passport.  US citizens do not need a visa to enter Aruba.  The maximum period of time that a person can be admitted to Aruba as a tourist is 30 days. Upon entry in Aruba, US citizens can apply for an extension of their stay for more than 30 days but not exceeding 180 days.  Other entry requirements are:

  •     * A completely filled-in and signed Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED-card);
  •     * A valid return- or onward ticket;
  •     * If so requested, the tourist has to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the migration officer that he/she has a valid reservation for an accommodation in Aruba or that he/she owns.


For more information see www.aruba.com or call your VacationWiser.com travel specialist at 800-358-2883 or send an email to vacationadmin@vacationwiser.com

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