Are you dreaming of a Caribbean vacation on an island with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back vibe? Look no further than Aruba!
This charming Dutch Caribbean island has something for everyone, whether you’re a beach bum, a foodie, an adventurer, or just looking to relax in paradise.
But before you pack your bags and head to the airport, you should know a few things about traveling to Aruba. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve got everything you need to know before you go, from getting there and finding a place to stay to exploring the island and enjoying its unique culture and cuisine.
So sit back, grab a piña colada, and let’s get started!
Getting to Aruba is easy and hassle-free, thanks to its modern airport and convenient flight options. Several airlines offer direct flights to Aruba from major US cities and other countries, including American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United, and Southwest. Flight times can range from 2.5 to 8 hours, depending on your starting location.
Once you arrive at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), you’ll find a modern and spacious terminal with all the necessary facilities for a comfortable arrival or departure. The airport has several shops, restaurants, duty-free stores, free Wi-Fi, ATMs, and currency exchange services. You can also rent a car or take a taxi to your hotel or another destination on the island.
If you’re looking for more affordable transportation options, public buses run from the airport to several areas of the island. You can also book a shuttle service in advance or take advantage of your hotel’s complimentary transfer service.
Whichever option you choose, getting to and from the airport is a breeze in Aruba.
Aruba is known for its year-round warm and sunny weather, making it the perfect destination for those seeking sunshine and warmth. The island has a tropical climate, which means temperatures are consistently high, with little variation throughout the year.
The average temperature in Aruba ranges from 80-85°F (27-29°C), with little rainfall and low humidity. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape colder climates or for a winter break.
The best time to visit Aruba is between April and August, when the weather is warm and dry, and the island is less crowded. Here are some things to consider when planning your trip:
- High season: Aruba’s high season runs from mid-December to mid-April, which is when the island is most crowded, and hotel rates are at their highest.
- Low season: The low season in Aruba runs from mid-April to mid-December, which is when hotel rates are generally lower and the island is less crowded.
Here are some essential items to pack for your trip to Aruba:
- Lightweight, breathable clothing: As Aruba is generally warm and sunny year-round, you will want to pack lightweight, breathable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses.
- Swimwear: Aruba has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, so you will definitely want to pack swimwear for a dip in the crystal-clear waters.
- Sunscreen: The sun in Aruba can be extreme, so it’s important to pack a high-SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Sunglasses and a hat: These will help protect your eyes and face from the sun and make for some great photos.
- Comfortable walking shoes: Aruba has some great hiking trails and natural attractions, so be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes if you plan to explore the island.
Aruba has a wide range of accommodation options catering to different budgets and preferences. Here are the types of accommodation available in Aruba:
- Luxury resorts and hotels: These are some of the most popular options in Aruba, offering top-notch amenities such as private beaches, gourmet restaurants, and spas. Many are located in popular areas such as Palm Beach and Eagle Beach.
- Guesthouses and small hotels: These options offer comfortable accommodations at an affordable rate and a chance to connect with the locals. They are scattered throughout the island, and many of them offer personalized service and a unique experience.
- Vacation rentals: These include apartments, villas, and houses you can rent for short-term stays. They are an excellent option for families or groups who prefer to have their own space and amenities.
- Palm Beach: This is one of the most popular areas in Aruba, known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It offers various accommodation options, shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
- Eagle Beach: This is another popular area known for its beautiful beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and proximity to nature reserves and hiking trails.
- San Nicolas: This is a quieter and more secluded area in the southern part of the island. It offers a chance to experience the local culture, art, and history and has a few guesthouses and small hotels.
- The Ritz Carlton Aruba: This is a luxurious resort located in Palm Beach, offering stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, top-notch amenities such as a casino and a spa, and gourmet dining options.
- The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino: This is another popular resort located in Palm Beach, offering a wide range of activities such as water sports, tennis, and golf, and several dining options.
- The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort: This is an adult-only resort located in Eagle Beach, offering a romantic and tranquil atmosphere, gourmet dining, and a beautiful beachfront location.
No matter what your preferences or budget, Aruba has a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, ensuring you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay on the island.
Let’s talk about money matters in Aruba!
Knowing about the currency, payment options, and budgeting tips can help you plan your trip and avoid any unexpected expenses. Here’s what you need to know:
Aruba’s currency is the Aruban Florin (AWG), but don’t worry, the US dollar is widely accepted too! The exchange rate is fixed, with 1 USD equaling 1.79 AWG. You can exchange your currency at banks and exchange offices, but some hotels may offer this service too.
Most businesses in Aruba accept credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially for small purchases or tips. Some businesses may also accept traveler’s checks, but they’re not as commonly used.
Aruba can be an expensive travel destination, so budgeting is important.
Prices for food, drinks, and activities can be high in tourist areas, so consider exploring off-the-beaten-path locations for more affordable options. Some hotels and resorts offer all-inclusive packages that can help you save money on food and drinks.
And, booking activities and tours in advance can also help you save money and avoid last-minute markups.
Aruba is a multilingual island with a diverse mix of cultures and languages.
Aruba’s official languages are Dutch and Papiamento, a Creole language that combines elements of Portuguese, Spanish, and African languages. However, English and Spanish are also widely spoken on the island.
Learning a few basic phrases in Papiamento can go a long way in connecting with locals and showing your appreciation for their culture. Here are a few common phrases to get you started:
- Bon bini – Welcome
- Danki – Thank you
- Ayo – Goodbye
- Mi ta bon – I’m fine
- Bon dia – Good morning
- Bon tardi – Good afternoon
- Bon nochi – Good night
While many people in Aruba speak multiple languages, you may encounter some language barriers when traveling around the island. To overcome these barriers, consider carrying a translation app or phrasebook. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use gestures or visual aids to communicate your needs.
Most importantly, always approach language barriers with patience and a willingness to learn.
Aruba has relatively relaxed visa requirements, with citizens from over 100 countries, including the US and Canada, able to visit visa-free for up to 30 days. However, you must check your country’s specific requirements to ensure you comply with all regulations.
US citizens must have a valid passport and return or onward ticket to enter Aruba.
Non-US citizens may require a visa or other documentation, so it’s important to check with the Aruban embassy or consulate in your home country before you travel.
Upon arrival in Aruba, all visitors must pass through immigration and customs. You’ll need to present your passport and any necessary visas or documentation.
Overall, Aruba’s visa and entry requirements are relatively straightforward. Just be sure to check with the appropriate authorities before you go to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip!
- The sun in Aruba is strong, so it’s important to wear sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion.
- Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and Zika virus have been reported in Aruba. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or screens on doors and windows.
- Aruba has safe drinking water, but it’s still recommended to drink bottled water to avoid stomach problems.
- Aruba has a well-equipped hospital, the Dr. Horacio E. Oduber Hospital, and several private clinics and medical facilities.
- In case of an emergency, dial 911 for the police or ambulance services.
- Aruba is generally a safe destination, but it’s important to take the usual precautions to avoid theft or pickpocketing.
- Avoid leaving valuables unattended on the beach or in your rental car.
- It’s recommended to use a safe in your hotel room to store your passport and other important documents.
- The roads in Aruba can be narrow and winding, so it’s important to drive with caution and follow traffic rules.
Aruba is a beautiful Caribbean island that boasts a plethora of tourist attractions and activities. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, Aruba has something for everyone.
Here’s a rundown of the top things to see and do in Aruba.
- Arikok National Park – This stunning natural reserve covers 20% of the island and features diverse landscapes, including sand dunes, rocky cliffs, and cacti-studded hills.
- Oranjestad – Aruba’s capital city is home to colorful Dutch colonial architecture, duty-free shopping, and a bustling harbor.
- Natural Pool – Also known as “Conchi,” this hidden gem is a secluded swimming hole nestled in a rocky cove on the island’s northeast coast.
- Eagle Beach – This pristine white-sand beach is consistently rated as one of the best in the world, with crystal-clear waters and a laid-back vibe.
- Snorkeling and diving – Aruba’s waters are teeming with vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life, making it a top spot for underwater exploration.
- Off-road adventures – Get off the beaten path and explore Aruba’s rugged terrain on an ATV or jeep tour.
- Water sports – From parasailing to jet skiing, Aruba offers a variety of adrenaline-pumping activities for thrill-seekers.
- Sunset sailing – Watch the sun dip below the horizon as you sail along Aruba’s picturesque coastline on a romantic sunset cruise.
- Take a hike – Aruba has several scenic trails that offer stunning views of the island’s natural beauty, including the Hooiberg and Arikok National Park.
- Visit the Butterfly Farm – Get up close and personal with exotic butterflies and learn about their life cycle in this unique conservation facility.
- Go birdwatching – Aruba is home to over 200 species of birds, including the rare Aruban burrowing owl, which can be spotted in several locations across the island.
With so much to see and do in Aruba, you’ll want to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your trip. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or culture, this tropical paradise has something to offer everyone.
When it comes to dining and drinking in Aruba, you’re in for a treat! Aruba’s culinary scene is diverse, with options ranging from local Caribbean cuisine to international flavors.
Aruba’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its location in the Caribbean and its history of Dutch colonization. Expect to find a lot of seafood, tropical fruits, and spices in the dishes. With over 200 restaurants on the island, there is no shortage of options for dining out.
If you’re looking for a fancy night out, head to the Papiamento Restaurant, which is set in a 126-year-old Aruban house and features a romantic atmosphere and exquisite food.
For a more casual vibe, try The West Deck, which has a laid-back beachy atmosphere and a menu featuring fresh seafood and local Caribbean dishes.
And for those who enjoy a good cocktail, the speakeasy-style bar The Rum Reef should definitely be on your list.
When it comes to local dishes, you can’t leave Aruba without trying its national dish, Keshi Yena. It’s a savory dish that consists of a ball of melted cheese stuffed with meat, vegetables, and spices.
Another local favorite is Aruban-style BBQ ribs, which are slow-cooked and smothered in a tangy BBQ sauce.
As for drinks, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing Aruba Ariba cocktail made with rum, vodka, and fruit juices. And if you’re a beer drinker, try Balashi, Aruba’s very own beer.
With all these great dining and drinking options in Aruba, you will surely find something that suits your taste buds!
Aruba is an island paradise that has something for everyone. From pristine beaches to thrilling outdoor adventures, there’s never a dull moment in this Caribbean gem. Whether you want to relax and unwind or seek adventure, Aruba has it all. With its warm climate, friendly people, and diverse culture, Aruba is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty and charm of this breathtaking island. The island awaits you with open arms and an unforgettable experience you will never forget.
Featured Image Credit: Kireyonok /Depositphotos.com.
This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.