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Aruba Travel Guide

View of Palm Beach Aruba

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Sugary white sand beaches? Check. Amazingly clear turquoise waters? Check. Action-packed casinos, delicious restaurants, and exciting nightlife? Aruba has all of these and more.

Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, Aruba is one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the world. It is the perfect place for a relaxing family vacation, a fun-filled trip with friends, or a romantic retreat for a special birthday or anniversary. Quite simply it is one of our favorite places to visit.

The developed tourist areas and desert landscapes give Aruba a decidedly different feel than many Caribbean islands. The island’s friendly atmosphere, solid taxi system, and well-maintained roads also make it easy to navigate on your own.

And, let’s not forget about the beaches.

Aruba is home to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find on the planet. From Arashi Beach in the north to Baby Beach in the south, Aruba’s coastline is absolutely packed with stunning beaches – all of which are available for public use.

Whether you want to dive into a shipwreck, explore the island by ATV, or simply relax on the beach, Aruba has something that everybody can enjoy!

Hilton Aruba Resort & Casino – This is a great hotel with nice rooms, immaculate grounds, and a spectacular location. In fact, it just might have the prettiest spot on Palm Beach, which is saying something. Our favorite casino on the island is also located here, especially if you enjoy live poker. Check rates and availability >>

Barcelo Aruba – All-inclusive resorts can be hard to find in Aruba, especially on Palm Beach. The Barcelo Aruba delivers. With nice rooms, very good food, and a beach that is hard to beat, this is one of our favorite spots to stay on the island. Check rates and availability >>

Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort – Located on its own marina in Oranjestad, this hotel is a great spot to spend a few nights. The rooms and casino are nice, but our favorite part is the hotel’s private island. There, you can relax on the beach while getting up close and personal with live pink flamingos. Seriously, it’s a really cool experience. Check rates and availability >>

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba – Located in the heart of the action on Palm Beach, this is a three star resort sitting on a five star beach. It offers exactly what you’d expect from a Holiday Inn Resort – clean rooms, solid amenities, and a family-friendly atmosphere at an affordable price. If you’re looking for great value in Aruba, we highly recommend this hotel. Check rates and availability >>

Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino – Occupying the same stretch of Palm Beach as the Barcelo and Hilton, the Hyatt Regency is another great spot to stay. Like the other hotels in this area, the Hyatt Regency offers easy access to the shops, restaurants, and nightlife along the “Palm Beach Strip.” Check rates and availability >>

Barefoot Aruba – We’ve eaten at a lot of great restaurants in Aruba, but if you’re looking for an elegant yet relaxed spot for a special meal, we highly recommend Barefoot. Dip your toes in the sand, sip on a mojito, and enjoy some of the best seafood dishes on the island. Oh, and the sunsets are to die for.

Sunset Grill – The Sunset Grill is another nice spot to splurge on a good meal. Located inside the Hilton, the menu includes steak, seafood, and vegetarian options. As the name suggests, try to get an outdoor table so you can enjoy great views of the sunset, beach, and the beautiful pool area.

Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill – Sitting at the end of a pier between the Hilton and Riu hotels is Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill. This lively spot is good for a late lunch or a delicious dinner. Here you’ll find burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. It’s also a great spot to grab some drinks, listen to live music, or belt out your favorite songs during karaoke!

🌴🌴🌴 Palm Beach – If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll likely spend most of your trip on Palm Beach – and for good reason. High rise hotels line the sugary sand while travelers immerse themselves in the beach’s delightfully calm and brilliant blue waters. There is also a very nice pedestrian walkway that meanders along the beach, making its way between the numerous resorts.

🌴🌴🌴 The Strip – Running along Palm Beach is “The Strip.” In addition to hotels and casinos, you’ll also find hundreds of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s a wonderful and walkable area that you should definitely get out and explore.

🌴🌴 Arashi Beach – Quite simply, we think this pristine beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the world. Just a few minutes drive north of the hotel zone, this uninhabited beach is exceptionally more subdued and less crowded than Palm Beach. If you get a chance, make an effort to check it out.

🌴🌴 Eagle Beach – To the south of Palm Beach lies Eagle Beach. This is another popular area for tourists, especially for those looking to stay in a condo rather than a hotel. It is considerably less busy than Palm Beach, and – for better or worse – you won’t find as much to do here.

🌴 Baby Beach – Baby Beach is often mentioned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and we have to agree. Shaped like a half moon, you’ll find nothing here but a wide expanse of sugary white sand, dazzling turquoise waters, a few palapas, and couple of food tents. If you don’t mind driving about 45 minutes from the hotel zone, it is definitely worth a visit.

🌴 Oranjestad – With great food, entertaining events, and enjoyable casinos, Aruba’s largest city is also worth a visit. As we mentioned above, staying at the Renaissance for a few nights allows you to experience Oranjestad and check out the flamingos on Renaissance Island.

Snorkel/Diving Tours – Aruba has plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and diving. From reefs to shipwrecks, the waters here hold plenty to explore. Find your tour here >>

ATV/UTV Tours – Aruba’s desert interior provides for some unique “on land” experiences you won’t find on many other islands. Hike through the sand dunes or explore the rugged desert on an ATV. Adventure awaits! Find ATV tours here >>

(Key: 🌴🌴🌴=Must See, 🌴🌴=Make an Effort to Visit, 🌴=If You Have Time, None=Worth Mentioning)

Getting to Aruba – To get to Aruba, you’ll need to fly to Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad. Most major American carriers have daily flights to and from the island.

Getting to Your Hotel – Once you arrive, you have several options for getting to your hotel.

  1. Private hotel transfer. – This is a good way to simplify the arrival experience and enjoy peace of mind. Find private hotel transfers here >>
  2. Grab a taxi. – Taxis are not metered but instead charge standard rates between destinations. They are widely available and relatively affordable.
  3. Rent a car. – If you’d like to explore the island, renting a car in Aruba is a good way to do it. The island is relatively small, typically safe, and easy to navigate. Check rental car rates here >>

Getting Around the Island – Again, Aruba is relatively small and easy to navigate. If you stay on Palm Beach, many of the the places you’ll want to visit are within walking distance. Taxis are also widely available and relatively affordable for shorter distances. If you plan to thoroughly explore the island, however, renting a car could save you money.

Tours and Activities