Catamaran docked at pier at sunset on Aruba, Caribbean

Aruba

Aruba is an island in the Caribbean that lies approximately 15 miles off of the coast of Venezuela in South America. It was colonized by the Dutch, but is now a dependent but autonomous colony of the Netherlands. The entire island is only 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, so it is not a large landmass. It is a relatively flat country without any rivers; however, its beaches are world-renowned. The climate is tropical, with a constant temperature of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The country is hardly affected by hurricanes, as it lies outside the normal pathway that hurricanes take through the Caribbean.

Baby beach

Baby beach

The entire country is divided by the northeast and southwest coastlines. On the northeast coast, there are fewer beaches and the climate is more dry with cacti and rocks. The opposite coast, however, has many beautiful sandy beaches and warm, calm waters.

Getting Around

When it comes to getting around on the island of Aruba, taxis are a popular option. They are available at most hotels and from the airport. However, they aren’t cheap, with a trip from the airport to Eagle Beach costing about $30 including a tip. Going byad to any tourist hotel costing a mere $1.50. However, the bus stops running at 9 in the evening.

Other tourists choose to rent their own vehicle and drive. This is a good option since the entire island is small and you can choose your own itinerary fairly simply. But keep in mind that if you’re staying in a resort, you might not need a car as you won’t have to go far. In many cases, all of the amenities are within a few minutes’ walk from the hotel. If you do have some sightseeing trips planned that are farther away, renting a car or a jeep is easy.

Things to See & Do

Oranjestad architecture, Aruba

Oranjestad architecture, Aruba

Some of the most popular attractions in Aruba are the beaches. There are many beaches to choose from and most offer the same postcard-perfect scenes of calm waters, palm trees, and white sands. The waters are usually ideal for swimming, although some beaches are known for their surf and attract those who want to experience waves.

Other activities include horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, parasailing, cycling, windsurfing, boating, fishing, rock climbing, scuba diving, and wildlife tours. Most of these options can be planned through your hotel or are offered through resorts.

Finally, there are some wonderful natural landmarks to take in in Aruba. A trip to the Natural Pool makes a popular day trip, although it is only accessible by a four by four vehicle or ATVs. The California Lighthouse is a scenic viewpoint that offers a stunning vantage of the northern shoreline of the island. Finally, if you’re interested in seeing a historic church, go to the Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel.

Food & Drink

Aruba caters to North American tourists with a number of fast food chains available on the island. You can find fare from Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Subway, and Tony Roma’s for sure. Most hotels and resorts also feature upscale restaurants if you’re looking for fine dining. The menu options available at these places vary from typical North American cuisine to local fare.

Local restaurants also offer traditional meals such as cheese that has been baked. Soup made from Iguana is a wilder option, as are burgers made from ostrich meat. Most food places in Aruba are relatively safe to eat at, so don’t be afraid to try the local food when you’re out and about as they are a cheaper option and the food is tasty.

Most liquor stores sell imported beer from the Netherlands, which are an economical option. One of the island’s most famous drinks is the Balashi Cocktail, which is a beer brewed locally in Aruba. Tours of the brewery are also an option for visitors.

Man sitting on boat looking out over beach in Aruba

Man sitting on boat looking out over beach in Aruba