Aruba

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A mere 19 miles long and 6 miles wide, this Dutch island is a paradise for all. Known for it's long stretches of white sand beaches and beautiful coast lines, this desert island offers plenty of adventure or quiet relaxing, just take your pick.

NOORD

Things to Do

Noord (Palm Beach) is the main tourist area in the northern part of the island where the luxury and all-inclusive hotels live. Eagle Beach is a popular place if you are not staying in one of the big names by the ocean. 

Check out Oranjestad below for more active activities. Most excursions offer hotel pick up from most places around the island. 

Places to Eat

Azzurro: Italian cuisine on an inviting terrace by the ocean. The sunset views are always a plus.

Gianni's: Huge Italian restaurant on the main tourist strip. If you're in the mood for the full experience, take your pick of favorite pasta to be tossed in a flaming cheese wheel.

Lola: Cute outdoor Mexican restaurant also on the strip.

Nos Clubhuis: Casual seafood spot with incredible views. Order the battered grouper and take in a sunset over the ocean. The ceviche is also delicious.

The Old Cunucu House: The best authentic cuisine you can find on the island.

Papiamento: Fancy seafood restaurant with a cozy outdoor set up. 

Places to Drink

Craft: Trendy, open air cocktail bar in the heart of the Palm Beach action.

Gusto: High energy, open air club that always draws a crowd.

Moomba: Casual beach bar with live music on the weekends. A must visit for a sunset drink.

Sand Bar: Rowdy outdoor bar with a younger, local scene. 

South Beach: Right across the street from Sand Bar, similar set up with more of a Latin flair.

Places to Stay

Marriott Stellaris: Utter luxury. This is the place to stay if you can swing the price tag. 

Hilton: Large property that's slightly less expensive than the luxury hotels but still close to the action.

Airbnb is a great affordable option, but we highly recommend renting a car as it may not be in a busy area and taxis often need to be called for you.

Transportation

Taxis are abundant but extremely expensive. If you plan to go anywhere farther than a few miles on the island it will cost at least $20 each way. We recommend renting a car for convenience and cost. You may have to shop around a bit though, as many rental places have a 3 day minimum.

ORANJESTAD

Things to Do

Take an ATV Tour with Aruba Go Cherry. This is a MUST DO!! Easily the highlight of our trip. While the tour is long (don't book anything back to back with it), it was the best way to see remote places on the island not easily accessible by car. Think black pebble beaches, natural pools and unparalleled views. Disclaimer: It's not for the faint of heart, as the off-roading can get intense (but so fun) and don't forget a bandanna or sunscreen!! You will need it. 

Go scubadiving with JADS. Aruba is a diving playground of airplane crashes, ship wrecks and beautiful reefs.

Spend the day on Flamingo Beach. This can be tricky as it's mostly reserved for Marriott Renaissance guests. There are two ways to get there: a small amount of tickets (think 20-50 depending on the time of year) are sold same day at 7am. If you are up for the challenge (and price tag of $125) aim to be in line by 6am to snag a spot. The second option, which we highly recommend, is booking a massage at Spa Cove. It includes the boat ride to the island and you can spend the day there before and after your appointment. Well worth it.

Places to Eat

Pinchos: Upscale restaurant on it's own little pier. It is said that an episode of the Bachelor was filmed here. Make a reservation in advance as it is usually booked.

The West Deck: Casual seafood spot right on the water. The grouper is some of the best we have ever had.

Places to Drink

Cafe Chaos: Casual, pub-style bar across from the Marriott. 

Most of the nightlife is in the Palm Beach (Noord) area above. 

Places to Stay

Aruba Surfside Marina: This place is a gem.  Small villa-style building with perfect views and a quiet beach. Included in the super affordable price is private breakfast served on your balcony each morning. Worth the taxi to the Palm Beach area.

Marriott Renaissance: Main resort in the downtown area. Not as steep as the pricetags in the Noord area and gets you entrance to Flamingo Beach. The grounds are really nice but expect a great deal of kids. 

Transportation

Oranjestad (downtown) is only about 15 minutes from the heart of Noord. The whole island is very easy to get around, just expect the hefty price tag on taxis.

SAN NICOLAS

Things to Do

San Nicolas is a local area that is home to Baby Beach and Zeerovers. Both of these are a must do if you have time to venture south for the day. Baby Beach is a huge, beautiful lagoon at the southernmost point of the island perfect for lounging or snorkeling. Catch lunch before or dinner after at Zeerovers where they serve ONLY the catch of the day fresh and fried right in front of you. If you love fresh fish, this place cannot be missed (cash only).

General Tips

The local currency is the Aruban Florin but most of the tourist areas accept US dollars, so money exchange is not super necessary. 

Taxis take cash only. It is said only about 4 taxis on the whole island take card. Rates are preset by a chart all drivers carry around based on the area you were picked up in and the area you need to go.

Fun fact, Aruba is a Dutch island with a local language called Papiamento. In addition, almost every person that lives there can also speak Dutch, Spanish and English.

 

Black Pebble Beach

ATV Tour - Aruba Go Cherry

 

Aruba Surfside Marina

Oranjestad

 

Oranjestad

Oranjestad

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