Sunshine, beautiful beaches and lively nightlife can be found on most Caribbean islands – and Aruba certainly has plenty of all three. Add to that its abundance of activities to keep you busy 24-7, and little chance of rain to hinder those activities, there’s a lot to be happy about in Aruba. No wonder Aruba welcomes about 1.5 million visitors each year (60% of them from the US).
Hotels and resorts to fit any budget and taste abound here. And many provide on-property activities like paddleboats, waterskiing, diving, tennis, catamaran rides and other ways to enjoy Aruba’s perpetual sunshine. Of course, lounging on the beach or by the hotel pool is always an option.
Where To Stay
Accommodation options include the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino, and the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa. Notice a common denominator? It’s a popular pastime for vacationers in Aruba – gambling. With a dozen casinos offering blackjack, roulette, baccarat and slot machines, deciding where to test Lady Luck may be the hardest decision you’ll make here.
Though popular, gambling isn’t the only evening amusement. There’s always late night action at any number of local watering holes. For a laid back evening, head to Eetcafe The Paddock, located in Aruba’s historic center in Oranjestad. Also in Oranjestad, 7 West Bar boasts a budget friendly gourmet menu by day and heart-pumping dancing and drinks by night. Chic and urbane, BLUE BAR is an extremely popular nightclub, with a live DJ from Thursday to Sunday.
Lively nights may tempt you to snooze through the day, but diversions along beaches and around the unique interior are not to be missed.
Less populated beaches like Rodger’s Beach and Baby Beach are located at the island’s southeast tip. Baby Beach also provides good snorkeling, and its shallow areas are perfect for inexperienced swimmers or families with young children.
On the northern coast, areas around Arashi, Malmok, and Boca Catalina beaches showcase great diving and snorkeling, one being the WWII German freighter wreckage, the Antilla. This 440-foot wreckage, which lies on her side in 60 feet of water, is the second largest shipwreck in the Caribbean.
If you don’t dive, but want to experience it, try SNUBA. You’ll observe the underwater world at 30 feet. Participants are free from wearing restrictive scuba diving gear, and no scuba certification is needed.
For land-lovers who don’t mind a little dust (okay, maybe a lot of dust), a jeep tour around Aruba’s desert-like interior is exciting and informative. Popular sites include the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, and the Bushiribana gold mill ruins. Your tour might also include the Natural Bridge, which is the Caribbean’s highest and most dramatic coral structure.
Hikers should check out the Arikok National Park, which makes up almost one-fifth of the island. Several miles of trails lead to historic and cultural gems like the Fontein Cave and Cunucu Arikok.
Don’t forget the souvenirs! Picturesque Seaport Village teems with boutiques, themed stores, restaurants, and local cafes. Benches lining the sidewalk provide a welcome respite for weary legs.
Foodies Take Note
Restaurants in Aruba are diverse and plentiful. Historic Chez Mathilde, situated near the Seaport shopping area, boasts classic French cuisine in the romantic and elegant setting.
Enjoy a breathtaking sunset and a delicious meal at recently opened ArubaVille (previously Marandi). Offering the same stellar sunset dining, ArubaVille’s menu includes steak, seafood, salads, and a healthy variety of wines and cocktails.
Savor traditional Aruban fare at Gasparito’s. Dishes like Stobe Di Bestia, Keshi Yena Chicken, and Filet Mignon Aruba style will certainly sate your appetite for local cuisine.
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