A popular cruise ship stop-off, this beach-fringed Dutch Caribbean island has a colorful colonial capital and ample opportunities for both lounging and adventure.
Travelers dream of visiting Aruba, a sunny Dutch country in the Caribbean that enjoys dazzling natural scenery, sparkling warm waters and friendly multicultural residents. Go diving among shipwrecks, celebrate Carnival in the capital city and descend underground into mysterious caves under the island.
One of the best ways to discover Aruba’s history is to start in the capital, Oranjestad. This city has a unique blend of influences, featuring the colonial architecture typical of the Netherlands and the bright pastel colors characteristic of the Caribbean. Attend a service at Saint Franciscus Church to meet local islanders. Take the whole family to the Butterfly Farm to get up-close to these beautiful insects.
For peace and quiet, head to the coastal town of San Nicolas, southeast of Oranjestad. Wander around the art gallery, buy an ice-cream cone from a snack shop and listen for the sound of steel pan drums at the town’s weekly Carubbian Festival.
Watersports are popular on the island, especially on the western and southern coasts, which are sheltered from strong ocean currents. Splash around in the waters of Eagle Beach, where clear waters and soft sand provide perfect swimming conditions. Try parasailing or kitesurfing on the beautiful Malmok Beach.
Getting around Aruba is easy. A frequent bus service up and down the coast ensures you don’t need a car to get to the resorts and popular tourist spots. If you’re considering venturing into more remote parts of Aruba, rent a car or moped from Oranjestad. Dutch, together with the local language Papiamento, are most widely spoken. However, many Arubans speak additional languages, including English.
Aruba has a semi-arid tropical climate, meaning that you can expect both warm and dry conditions year-round. Visit in February to experience the colorful Carnival celebrations that take place throughout the island.
Whether you want to laze by the beach or try thrilling watersports and scenic hikes, Aruba can accommodate you.