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The 2019 Aruba Travel Guide – Insider Travel Trips & Vacation Advice from the ATA

Find locally-sourced and expert advice on When to Visit, Where to Stay, What to Do and How to Get the Best Deals!

The best way to maximize your happy memories on the One Happy Island is to spend some time researching options ahead of your arrival so that you can spend every moment in Aruba enjoying the sights, attractions, activities, and entertainment on offer.

With that goal in mind, here’s the latest version of our Aruba Travel Guide, featuring tons of insider travel trips and vacation advice from those who know Aruba best: locals and expert travel writers from the Aruba Tourism Authority.

Whether you’re looking for help with picking accommodations, finding things to do, or deciding what to pack, this Aruba Vacation Guide was prepared to help you walk through each step of the travel planning process so that you can spend less time wondering or worrying and more time enjoying your time on the One Happy Island!

What Makes Aruba So Special?

If you’re still on the fence about where to spend your next Caribbean vacation, let us help make that choice a little clearer.

Aruba gets more repeat visitors than any other Caribbean island for one simple reason: it’s by far the best travel destination in the entire region.

But what makes Aruba so special? For starters, Aruba features perfect weather, friendly and embracing locals, and an assortment of fun and exciting things to do, but it’s also incredibly safe and completely affordable as well!

No matter where you’re coming from or when you’d like to visit, Aruba offers an excellent vacation experience that rightly deserves to top your list of potential vacation destinations.

Aruba's 64th Carnival Celebration

When is the Best Time to Visit Aruba?

Though Aruba features excellent weather year-round, the most popular time to visit the One Happy Island is January through March, also known as our High Season, when we’re blessed with absolutely perfect weather as well all sorts of other excellent travel opportunities, like our once a year months-long street party, Carnival.

Fortunately, we’re blessed with more sunny days than any other Caribbean island and exceptional cooling trade winds virtually every day of the yearwhich means that great Aruba vacations aren’t tied any specific time, so feel free to book your vacation whenever it fits into your schedule!

Out of about 700 different islands in the Caribbean, we get the least amount of rainfall, averaging just 15 inches a year, and because we’re situated well outside of the hurricane belt, it’s almost a certainty that your trip to the One Happy Island will feature gorgeous, perfect weather no matter when you choose to visit.

Our temperature averages in the low 80’s year-round, with a slight warming between May and October, and a slight cooling between December and March, so feel free to book your trip to Aruba whenever you’ve got time to visit the island, because weather-wise, it honestly won’t make much of a difference.

Here’s a breakdown to three distinct travel periods of the year, including some details on what makes each of them a great time to visit Aruba.

January through March

Visitation peaks during the winter months, as North Americans seek to escape the bitter cold conditions back home, opting to over-winter in Aruba instead.

Temperatures are remarkably steady during this part of the year, with typical lows in the mid-seventies, and highs in the mid-eighties, and rain almost never appearing on the forecast.

However, be advised that this is High Season, when prices rise, so if you’re a budget-conscious traveler, there may be a better time to visit.

One other compelling reason to visit Aruba in the Winter is to witness or even participate in Carnival, our high-energy, month-long celebration of pageants, music competitions, street parties, and spectacular parades, all of which amount to an adventure vacation experience you’re sure to enjoy!

April through August

Travelers looking to score a great room rate may want to book their stays during this part of the year, when temperatures are slightly higher and visitation tends to be lower, resulting in a more affordable vacation.

Fortunately, our summer weather remains excellent, with the dry, desert climate and trade winds ensuring that you won’t feel too sticky, and temperatures remaining comfortably in the 80’s.

There’s also plenty to experience during this part of the year, as our Soul Beach Music Festival kicks off in May, the Aruba Wine, Food & Art Festival occurs in June, and the Aruba Hi-Winds Kitesurfing Competition takes place in late June-early July.

September through December

This is another great time to visit on a budget, as we’re well-outside high-season, and you’re sure to be able to score a great deal on your room, without having to make any sacrifices in terms of the weather!

While we get more rain during this part of the year, most days don’t experience any rain at all, and the typical shower only lasts a few minutes before moving on, while our temperatures continue to hold steady in the 80s, making for an excellent, comfortable experience.

The Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival also occurs at this time of year, typically in October, making it an excellent time to visit if you’re into the Jazz scene.

Family Cruise

What is the Best Way to Get to Aruba?

Once you’ve chosen when to visit the One Happy Island, the next question is to determine just how you’re going to get here.

While the vast majority of our visitors arrive via plane, it’s not the only option, and we want to make sure that everyone’s aware of the alternative.

Flights to Aruba

Aruba enjoys over 100 direct flights each week from 14 different North American destinations, and offers one-stop connections from virtually any major city in the U.S. and Canada.

We’re just four hours from New York City, and two and a half from Miami, which is what makes air travel to Aruba by far the most popular option for vacationers.

We also feature international flights from several European and Latin American countries, making it easy to access Aruba from just about anywhere in the world!

For full details on air travel, be sure to visit our page on Flying into Aruba.

Cruises to Aruba

Aruba’s Cruise Terminal in Oranjestad is another excellent entry point to the One Happy Island, regularly receiving visits from some of the world’s most prestigious and respected cruise lines.

Arriving in Aruba via cruise liner may take longer than flying, but it can certainly offer a more relaxing, luxurious experience as well, so for those travelers with additional time, it may be an option worth exploring.

Get the details on Aruba cruises by visiting our page on Cruises to Aruba.

Duna Aruba E Miho Dibo Campaign

Do I Need a Passport or Visa for Entry?

When entering Aruba, you will be required to present a current passport, but visitors from the United States, Canada, and the EU do not require visas, and most South Americans won’t need one either.

Additional rules for entry include that your passport can’t be over 10 years old, must be valid for the entirety of your stay in Aruba, that you can provide proof for the reason you’re staying in Aruba (a hotel reservation or invitation from friends and family), that you have enough money to cover your stay and any other expenses, and that you are not considered a threat to public order, public health, national security or international relations.

To view full details on our entry requirements, including the full list of countries that do not require a visa, be sure to visit our page on Aruba Passport & Visa Requirements.

Can I Fill Out an Embarkation-Disembarkation Card in Advance?

The best way to ensure the smoothest entry into Aruba is to fill out your ED-Card (Embarkation-Disembarkation Card) before arrival, via our new Online ED-Card program.

Why would you want to fill your card out in advance? So you don’t have to frantically search for a pen, fill out the form in the cramped confines of an airplane seat, and because it’ll reduce your wait time upon arrival in Aruba!

To get the full details on this program, visit our page about the Online ED-Card.

Children enjoying the beach while playing around

What Should I Bring To Aruba?

One of the best things about visiting Aruba is that it’s exceptionally easy to pack for, especially because our weather and climate are so reliable!

You definitely won’t need heavy jackets in Aruba, and rain gear is mostly unnecessary as well, but we do highly recommend ensuring that you bring bathing suits or swim trunks, flip-flops and sandals, as well as considering water shoes if you plan on visiting any of our pebbly beaches.

You’ll certainly need sun protection, and should include a cover-up of some sort (pareo, rashguard, etc.), as well as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen!

If you plan on taking any off-road adventures, going hiking, horseback riding, or doing anything else that requires strenuous activity, then study shoes, a hat, and a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of long pants should probably be in the plans as well.

We do suggest bringing a light jacket, sweater or shawl to keep yourself warm in air-conditioned restaurants, hotels, and casinos, or at night when it could become cool and breezy.

Along with your attire, we highly suggest bringing whatever sundries you prefer, but do be aware that you can purchase most of these on-island from hotel gift shops, grocery stores, and pharmacies, so if you forget something, don’t be too alarmed!

The one thing we’d highly advise planning out in detail is ensuring that you bring any prescription drugs that you need with you, because prescriptions from doctors in your home country may not be honored at our local pharmacies.

For the full details on what you should consider packing, check out our page on What to Bring to Aruba.

Aerial shot of Oranjestad at day time.

Where Should I Stay in Aruba?

Now it’s time to start making the big decisions, like where you’ll end up staying during your trip to the One Happy Island.

And this is where things get truly interesting because while Aruba is small enough that you can stay anywhere and still enjoy everything the island has to offer with ease, your choice of accommodations can also help establish the style of vacation you want to take by setting the mood for your trip.

Do you want to stay in a high-rise hotel, a small luxury resort, at an all-inclusive destination where you never need to leave the grounds, or would you prefer your own private villa?

There are all sorts of options in Aruba, so be sure to spend some time thinking about the accommodations you want to stay in and reviewing the many places available for each category.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of some of our favorite destinations for each of the most popular accommodations categories.

All-Inclusive Accommodations

If you’re looking for convenience, and want to spend the majority of your vacation at a single destination, then an Aruba All-Inclusive Resort may be the perfect ticket to your One Happy Getaway.

Each of Aruba’s all-inclusive properties offers something unique, so we suggest spending at least a few minutes looking into the top-rated options so that you can choose the one that’s just right for your needs.

As of this year, here is a handful of our most popular and best-rated all-inclusive destinations:

Traditional Hotels & Resorts

The majority of our visitors end up staying at a traditional hotel or resort, which is an excellent option for people who don’t want everything in one place (like at an all-inclusive property).

If you’re interested in visiting a variety of destinations, trying different restaurants, and doing a little exploring, then one of our traditional hotels or resorts will probably be your best bet.

Check out this short-list of Aruba’s Best-Rated Hotels & Resorts:

Luxury Accommodations

Visitors with a taste for the finer things in life and a more flexible budget will be pleased to know that Aruba caters to affluent tastes as well, offering a full spread of luxury hotels and resorts at a reasonable rate.

Whether you’d like a larger room, one with finer appointments, or better views of the water, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s a handful of Aruba’s Top-Rated Luxury Hotels & Resorts:

Budget-Friendly Options

Visitors looking to score a great deal, operating on a limited budget, or simply looking to get the best value for their travel dollars will surely be happy to find out that Aruba also offers affordable accommodations as well.

And one of the best things about Aruba’s Budget-Friendly Hotels is that they don’t require giving up much in the way of niceties, as the destinations listed below offer full-featured accommodations, great rooms, and ample opportunities for exploring different parts of the island!

If you’re looking to score maximum value on your next trip to the One Happy Island, be sure to give a look at these affordable hotels:

Vacation Rentals

Not everybody wants to stay in a traditional Hotel or Resort during their vacation, and for those of you looking to live it up like an Aruban local, vacation rentals may be just the ticket to finding your own slice of happiness.

The best thing about vacation rentals in Aruba is that we offer a full-spread of all sorts of different styles, from over-the-top private Villa’s located directly on the water to smaller, much more affordable apartments or private homes located inland, well-off the beaten tourist track.

To get a better feel for what we have to offer, please visit our page on Aruba’s Top-Rated Vacation Rentals for a full breakdown of the opportunities in store!

Timeshares

Guests looking for an extended stay or fully-featured accommodations including fully-equipped kitchens, larger living rooms, separate bedrooms, and on-site laundry facilities may want to opt into staying at one of our excellent Timeshares.

Aruba has a long history with Timeshares, with our first Timeshare Resort opening way back in 1977, and featuring thirteen different properties scattered throughout the island as of the time of this writing.

That may not sound like a lot of options, depending on where you’ve traveled in the past, but we’re pleased to announce that we have more timeshares than anyone else in the region, making us the true timeshare capital of the Caribbean!

Get the details on our incredible timeshare resorts by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best Timeshare Rentals.

Pool area.

Accommodation Suggestions for Different Types of Vacations

Not sure whether you’d rather stay in a traditional hotel or resort, at a timeshare, or in a vacation rental? Perhaps we can make things a little easier for you by suggesting specific properties based on the type of vacation you’re looking to take!

Certainly, you’ve got a feel for whether you crave family-friendly fun and entertainment vs. a romantic adults-only getaway? Most of us know whether we’d prefer an adventurous vacation vs. a relaxing one, right?

To use this part of our Travel Guide to Aruba, first look for your preferred vacation type, then review our suggestions for the perfect destination!

Family-Friendly Vacations

Many of our visitors are here on family vacations, and fortunately, Aruba is jam-packed with family-friendly accommodations, including traditional hotels and resorts, all-inclusive properties, timeshares, and vacation rentals all perfectly suited for families.

A few of our favorite destinations for families include:

For full suggestions on taking a family or kid-friendly vacation to Aruba, please visit our page on Aruba Family Vacations, which offers expert suggestions on where to stay, what to do, and how to ensure that your stay on the One Happy Island pleases people of all ages!

Romance Vacations

Aruba is widely regarded as the Caribbean’s most romantic island, bathed in warmth and love, and the perfect destination to fall in love or rekindle the flame.

With so many accommodations destinations built to inspire romance, it may be difficult to choose the perfect fit for your romantic vacation, but here are just a few of our favorites:

For additional details on what makes Aruba so special for couples, make sure to check out our page on Romantic Things to do in Aruba, where you’ll find the full details about crafting a unique, special, and romantic experience on the One Happy Island.

Adults-Only Vacations

For visitors coming without kids, we’ve got good news: Aruba offers several destinations providing adults-only stays, featuring peace of mind, quiet, and comfort in an idyllic setting.

And if you just want a slice of “me” time, we’re happy to announce that some of our resorts also offer partial adults-only experiences, like the Marriot Resort & Stellaris Casino, where you’ll find dedicated adults-only floors and adults-only swimming pools.

If you’re looking for a true adults-only vacation, then we suggest looking into the following properties:

For further information about our adults-only opportunities, please be sure to visit our page on Adults Only Vacations in Aruba, where you’ll find additional details on where to stay, what to do, and how to enjoy your adults-only time on the One Happy Island.

Adventure Vacations

Coming to Aruba for adventure and excitement?

Good news, we’ve got it in spades! From off-roading trips through Arikok National Park to hikes up and down our gorgeous beaches, parasailing, skydiving, snorkeling, and other options, Aruba is truly the Caribbean’s best vacation destination for adrenaline junkies!

Here’s a list of properties perfectly suited to those looking for a bit of excitement and adventure:

And as usual, we’re happy to offer more specific suggestions on how to build your own exciting vacation, via our guide to Aruba Adventure Travel. If you’re looking for fun and excitement, then be sure to check out this link because we’ve got plenty of suggestions in store for the wild at heart!

Culture Vacations

Aruba is unique in the Caribbean, with a rich and winding history, featuring centuries of stories, countries, and cultures all harmoniously intertwined into One Happy People, offering an unforgettable cultural experience that you’re sure to enjoy!

If your ideal vacation involves inspecting the history, stories, cuisine, art, and architecture of the destination, then the One Happy Island is sure to strike your fancy.

For those seeking out the most authentically Aruban experience on the island, we highly suggest looking into the following properties:

To learn more about our 90+ nationalities from over 130 countries, please be sure to check out our page on Aruba Culture Vacations, where you’ll get the full perspective on our happy and harmonious history.

Wellness Vacations

Aruba is the perfect destination for disconnecting from the world and discovering yourself, making it an excellent place to work on mind, body, and soul.

Featuring indulgent spa packages, soothing massages, nature-inspired yoga classes and an assortment of other soul-connecting activities, there’s no better place to get in touch with your higher self than on the One Happy Island.

If you’re interested in taking a wellness vacation, here are few of our favorite places to stay:

To find out more about the many health, wellbeing and happiness-building activities available here, please make sure to look at our page on Aruba’s Best Spa Vacations & Wellness Retreats.

Culinary Vacations

Those looking to eat and drink their way through a vacation are sure to enjoy their stay on the One Happy Island, where we’ve got over 250 eateries on offer, including all sorts of different options for styles and types of food.

Whether you’re looking to score some food that reminds you of home or try something entirely new, Aruba’s many restaurants have got you covered, and are sure to offer something that pleases the palate.

Foodies will want to look into staying at one of the following destinations, as these are all situated well within walking distance of an assortment of fantastic restaurants:

To view additional information about the One Happy Island’s exceptional dining opportunities, be sure to visit our page on the Best Restaurants in Aruba, where you’ll find suggestions for top-rated food, covering fine, casual and niche dining.

Beachfront Vacations

There’s truly no better reason to visit Aruba than to enjoy our striking and exceptional white-sand beaches, and if your goal is to take a remarkable beach holiday, then we’re simply the perfect destination for your next vacation.

Featuring pristine white sand and a gleaming turquoise sea, we’re proud to be known for offering some of the world’s top-rated and most beautiful beaches, but where should you stay if your intention is to remain on the water for as much time as possible throughout your trip?

Here’s a short list of our favorite beachfront hotels on the One Happy Island, each of which would be certain to provide the stay of your dreams:

For additional details on our incredible beaches and coves, be sure to visit our page on Aruba’s Top-Rated Beaches, where you’ll find suggestions on the best beaches for a variety of activities, including pictures, write-ups, highlights and even video of our island’s most spectacular asset.

Casino & Gaming Vacations

Not everyone visiting Aruba is here to relax, and for those who like a little casino gaming, we’re happy to share that we deserve our reputation for being the “Las Vegas of the Caribbean”.

As the originator and home of Caribbean stud poker, our casinos’ sizzle with expectation and excitement, offering the very best gambling you can find anywhere in the region.

If you’re looking to stay somewhere you can also play, then be sure to spend some time reviewing the following hotels and resorts which also feature full-fledged casinos:

And for full details on all the exciting gaming opportunities available on the One Happy Island, please visit our page on Aruba’s Top-Rated Casino Resorts, where we’ll provide additional information about all of our on-island casinos.

Weddings & Honeymoons

As we mentioned earlier, Aruba is known as the most romantic island in the Caribbean, and the perfect location for a destination wedding, or incredible honeymoon.

Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong when picking romantic accommodations here, because all of our hotels and resorts pay special attention to creating an environment where love can flourish, but here’s our short-list of the perfect digs for Wedding Parties and Honeymooners alike:

To get the full details on wedding and honeymoon packages, be sure to check out our pages on Aruba’s Best Wedding Packages, and Aruba’s Top-Rated Honeymoon Packages, where you’ll get all the details you need to plan the perfect wedding or honeymoon.

Close-up of yellow flowers along with a Jeep on tour in the back of the image, taken at Arikok National Park.

What Should I Do in Aruba?

Aruba may be a small island, but it’s chock-full of fun and exciting things to do, offering more activities than any other Caribbean island.

Featuring perfect weather and a wealth of things to see and do, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy, from immersive cultural experiences to exciting adventures, we’ve got you covered!

Below, you’ll find a list of the most popular sights, activities and attractions the One Happy Island has to offer. Feel free to browse through the list, click-through for more information, and start setting up the itinerary for your perfect vacation today!

Beaches

Graced with pure alabaster sand and crystal clear Caribbean waters, Aruba’s beaches are our sanctuaries, and they can be yours as well! There’s natural beauty to be found everywhere you go on Aruba, but especially on our coasts, which feature gentle waves and beautiful native fofoti trees.

Feel free to relax and enjoy our cool trade winds with a drink in hand, or plunge headfirst into a wealth of diverse watersports; the choice is entirely up to you!

Start planning your own perfect beach-front vacation by visiting our page about Aruba’s Best Beaches & Coves.

Waterfun

Aruba’s turquoise waters are as warm as the air above, bursting with life and just begging to be explored. Feel free to grab a mask and snorkel or don some scuba gear so that you can visit our vibrant reefs or mysterious shipwrecks.

Alternatively, should you choose to remain on the surface, have no fear, because you too can enjoy world-class kitesurfing, windsurfing, water skiing, sailing and more! Aruba’s perfect waters offer an incredible array of fun and exciting opportunities for adventure.

Get the full details on planning your waterfun adventures by visiting our page about Aruba’s Top-Rated Water Activities.

Natural Wonders

Aruba may be small, but it’s been blessed with a bounty of natural wonders like nowhere else the planet!

Top-rated natural hotspots include our innumerable sandy stretches of spectacular coastline, windswept, limestone cliffs in the North, rugged yet inviting deserts to the East, the spectacular Fontein Caves and our Natural Pool, “Conchi”, one of the most unforgettable natural wonders in the entire Caribbean.

Find out about our incredible natural attractions by visiting our page on Aruba Nature Travel, where you’ll get details on each of these amazing destinations, plus information about all the different ways that you can embrace our beautiful island!

For those who want to reconnect with nature, revel in the splendor of their surroundings and re

Restaurants

Featuring over 200 restaurants, including at least 25 directly on the water, there’s no better destination for Caribbean culinary vacations. From Italian to Japanese, Belgian to Mediterranean, and Brazilian to American cuisine, we’ve got the perfect dish for every palate.

Most of our restaurants also offer fresh seafood, while our local restaurants delight with traditional Aruban dishes. Whether you’re looking for an upscale steakhouse and seafood restaurant, or a romantic beachfront dinner, Aruba’s many restaurants are sure to please your palate.

Start planning your selections by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best Restaurants

Nightlife

As our warm sun sets, the cool evening breeze carries sounds of laughter, dance, and Caribbean rhythms.

Aruba is home to some of the best nightlife in the entire Caribbean, featuring a wealth of beachfront lounges, exciting casinos, and lively clubs. Whether you choose to gather your friends or fly solo, there’s no wrong way to enjoy the nightlife in Aruba.

Visit our page on Aruba’s Best Nightlife for additional details about our amazing Casinos, Dance Clubs, Festivals, Bars, andLounges.

Arts & Culture

Aruba’s story is told on the faces of our diverse and friendly people, and in the beautiful structures they’ve established throughout the island’s incredible landscape.  No matter what kind of art you’re interested, be it paintings, music, dance, cultural events, architecture, or some other form, we’ve got it in spades here in Aruba.

Featuring colorful buildings and pastel-lined streets, home-cooked meals, calypso music and hundreds of other cultural experiences worth exploring, Aruba is simply the best destination in the Caribbean for a cultural vacation.

Visit our page on Aruba’s Art Scene for suggestions on how best to explore our incredibly colorful mix of people, history, art, and architecture. 

Sightseeing & Tours

Exploring Aruba by land, by sea or even by submarine, offers an excellent chance to experience the One Happy Island in all its natural glory.

Whether you’re looking to ride through Arikok on horseback, tear up the dunes in an off-road ATV, or explore our rich cultural and artistic history via a walking tour of downtown Oranjestad, there’s plenty to do here to ensure you’ll never be bored.

Get the details on all the sightseeing tours the One Happy Island has to offer by visiting our page about Aruba’s Top-Rated Tours.

Shopping

There’s no better place to shop in the Caribbean, as Aruba is truly a shopper’s paradise, featuring not just interesting locally made crafts, but also a wide array of high-end goods from the finest international brands.

If you’re looking for Aruba aloe products, Cuban cigars, Dutch delicacies, jewelry, fragrances, designer stores, art galleries or other specialty shops and boutiques, you’ll be able to find all of this and more right here on the One Happy Island, and all for an exceptional price.

Plan your shopping spree by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best Shopping Destinations, where you’ll get details on local stores, shopping centers, specialty shops, duty-free shopping opportunities and more!

Wellbeing

The One Happy Island is the Caribbean’s most remarkable destination for wellness vacations, spa holidays and relaxing, rejuvenating, soul-enriching getaways.

Whether you’re looking for spa treatments, beach medications, unique yoga experiences, or to reconnect with nature, and yourself in the process, there’s no better place to do it than in Aruba.

Find out how we can help you disconnect from the world and rediscover your true self by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best  Health & Wellness Retreats!

Sports & Golf

Aruba is the Caribbean’s best destination for golf getaways, providing two gorgeous, yet challenging courses, each sporting unbelievable ocean views and incredible desert scenery.

Serious golfers flock to Aruba year after year to play Tierra Del Sol’s 18-hole, PGA-approved course, rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest, while those looking for a half day of fun on the links tend to prefer Divi Links’s beautiful 9-hole course, designed to blend into Aruba’s indigenous vegetation and wildlife.

Get the details on the Caribbean’s best golf getaways by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best Golf Vacation Packages, where you’ll get details on our golf courses, golf resorts and more!

Events

Aruba’s far from a sleepy little desert island! In fact, we’re the events-capital of the Caribbean, featuring a wealth of holidays, celebrations, festivals, cultural events and athletic performances.

No matter what time of year you choose to visit, there’s sure to be something going on, so be sure to review our Calendar of Events before planning how to spend your time on the One Happy Island.

Our Island

The One Happy Island lies in the southern Caribbean, just outside the hurricane belt, stretching 19.6 miles long and 6 miles wide, but featuring more warm sunny days and happier locals than any other destination in the entire Caribbean!

Aruba brims with all sorts of exciting and adventurous things to do, from our incredible beachfront resorts to amazing shopping opportunities, and vibrant nightlife in our bars, clubs, and lounges to the spectacularly sprawling desert landscape of Arikok National Park.

This section of our Aruba Travel Guide will introduce you to the story of the One Happy Island, offering information about our history and culture, cities and regions, as well as our landscape and wildlife. Feel free to sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy this helpful tour through some of Aruba’s most interesting facts and features.

Aruba’s History & Culture

Aruba’s history is evident in a variety of places, from cave walls to pastel facades, and museums to the faces of our happy locals.

Tracing way back to our Caiquetio Indian roots, through the Spanish and then the Dutch, our history is centuries old, making us a proud and exceptionally diverse group of over 90 unique nationalities.

Get a peek behind the curtain into Aruba’s distant past by visiting our page on Aruba’s Best Historical Vacation Packages, where we’ll cover all of the island’s historical and cultural hotspots, helping history buffs craft an ideal Aruban vacation.

The People of Aruba

One of the reasons so many visitors choose to return to the One Happy Island is our local population, who are widely regarded to be the friendliest, happiest and most hospitable people of the entire Caribbean.

But who makes up the 110,000 inhabitants of Aruba? We’re a broad mixture of well-educated, highly-hospitable, open and welcoming people of mixed ancestry, including Caquetio Indians, Africans, and Europeans.

Arubans warm smiles and friendly demeanors bring people back to the island year after year and if you’d like to learn more about the locals, please visit our page on The People of Aruba.

Cities & Regions of Aruba

Aruba’s not very big, but we make the most of our limited square footage, offering tremendous amounts of excitement between our gorgeous white-sand beaches to the West, forbidding shores to the North and dry desert to the East.

Every part of Aruba is different, offering several unique reasons to get off the beaten track and do some exploring of your own so that you can uncover delights from different areas of the island.

Every square mile of the One Happy Island is truly a treasure waiting to be uncovered, so to find out which areas would be most interesting to you and yours, please be sure to visit our page on Cities in Aruba for details on what you can expect to find within each part of Aruba.

Oranjestad

Oranjestad is a bustling harbor city offering a distinct blend of old and new, featuring a wealth of international luxury stores, spectacular boutiques and dazzling jewelry, all situated amongst restored historical buildings.

The city is filled with restaurants, cafes, clubs, lounges, bars, and casinos, offering excellent opportunities for fun and excitement, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of things to see and do.

Get the details on the One Happy Island’s capital city by visiting our Guide to Oranjestad, where you’ll find all the details you need about things to do, places to stay and much, much more!

San Nicolas

Located at Aruba’s Southern tip, San Nicolas may be far from the glitz and glamor of Palm Beach’s high-rise resorts, but it offers iconic beaches and incredible charm that can’t be found anywhere else in the Caribbean!

Aruba’s “Sunrise City” is a quiet coastal town offering a quaint promenade, art gallery, stores, snack shops, restaurants and bars, and some interesting architectural points of interest as well.

Find out about all that the One Happy Island’s second-largest city has to offer by viewing our Guide to San Nicolas, where you’ll get information about everything on offer in this quiet, charming city!

Noord

Noord is the most Northern region in Aruba, and perhaps the perfect reflection of Aruba’s incredible diversity, since it’s boundaries include both Palm Beach, home to our high-rise hotels and resorts, world-class restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, bars, casinos and shopping, as well as the California Lighthouse, a historic monument towering over our windswept limestone Northern coastline.

Many locals have settled in Noord, especially because of its easy access to the hospitality center of Aruba, making it the most populated part of the One Happy Island, and a great destination for experiencing authentic Aruban culture, cuisine, and local flavor.

Before your arrival in Aruba, be sure to visit our Guide to Noord, where you’ll be able to find full details on Palm Beach, the Fishermans’ Huts, Malmok, Boca Catalina and Arashi beaches, the California Lighthouse and everything else that this exciting region has to offer!

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the most centrally-located district in Aruba, with about half of the area being made up of family neighborhoods, grocery stores, local restaurants, bakers and shops, while the eastern portion of Santa Cruz is dominated by Arikok National Park.

Covering nearly 20% of the island, Arikok is one of the true natural wonders of Aruba, featuring incredible opportunities for excitement and adventure, including hiking, horseback riding, off-roading and more!

Get the details on everything this excellent region of the One Happy Island has to offer by visiting our Guide to Santa Cruz, where you’ll discover all the details about the area’s points of interest, attractions, things to do, and local history.

Paradera

Paradera is one of the smallest districts in Aruba, but home to three of our iconic landscapes, the Hooiberg, Casibari Boulders and the Ayo Rock Formations, each of which are absolutely worth a visit.

But Paradera also has other things to offer, like the Roman Catholic Church, Santa Filomena, one of the most popular photo ops on the entire island, as well as beautiful, sprawling horse ranches and an assortment of excellent vacation rentals and local restaurants.

Find out how to take advantage of the excellent and authentically Aruban activities available in Paradera by visiting our Guide to Paradera, where you’ll get all the info you need to work this interesting region into your travel plans!

Savaneta

The island’s former capital, Savaneta, is located on the Southwestern coast of Aruba, and the oldest house in Aruba, a mud hut, is still standing within this historical and rustic town.

But that’s not all you’ll find in Savaneta, because this casual retreat offers tons of relaxation and revitalization, drenched in local charm, including Mangel Halto, one of our most interesting beaches, as well as tons of opportunity to take advantage of the proximity to the sea, like Zeerovers, a fisherman’s wharf-like roadhouse offering some of Aruba’s most authentic seafood.

Get the details on everything on offer in this fantastic part of the island by checking out our Guide to Savaneta, where we’ll cover accommodations, points of interest, and local history!

Aruba’s Weather

Aruba offers perfect weather, year-round, averaging 82 degrees and experiencing very little rainfall. No matter what time of year you’d like to visit, our climate is perfectly pleasant, featuring more sunny days than any other island in the Caribbean.

Get the full details on our weather and climate, including average temperatures and rainfall by month, by visiting our page on Aruba’s Weather & Climate.

Aruba’s Languages

While the official languages of Aruba are Dutch and our local Papiamento, you’ll find that most Arubans also speak English and Spanish as well.

One of the best reasons to visit Aruba is that our locals aren’t just friendly and accommodating, welcoming visitors with open arms, but that they’re fully capable and happy to speak with guests in English, meaning you’re never far from directions, suggestions or assistance in your native tongue!

Find out about the history of the One Happy Island’s languages by visiting our page about the Official Languages of Aruba.

Aruba’s Currency

Another excellent reason to visit the One Happy Island is the fact that even though our official currency may be the Aruban Florin, U.S. dollars are widely accepted, meaning you won’t have to deal with confusing currency exchanges during your stay.

Visit our page about Aruba’s Currency for details on exchange rates and information about credit cards, traveler’s checks, and more.

Carnival in Aruba

What better way to finish our exploration of the One Happy Island than to mention our biggest party of the year, Carnival, which we hope you can join!

Carnival is a several-months-long celebration incorporating pageants, music competitions, street parties, and spectacular parades, and if we had to pick a suggestion for the best time to visit Aruba, we’d certainly say it’s during Carnival.

Celebrated across the globe, no one quite does Carnival like the Arubans, who spend the entire year looking forward to catchy roadmarch and calypso tunes, glittering costumes, magnificent floats, the Lighting Parade, Children’s Parades, Pajama Party, Queen’s coronation and the culminating Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad, topping it all off.

Find out all about Carnival, including the dates it’s happening this year, where and when certain parts of the festivities will occur, and how you can join us in celebrating this most spectacular of all Arubans grand traditions, by visiting our Guide to Carnival in Aruba.

Vacation Deals & Special Offers

Finally, before we leave you, we’d be remiss to neglect mentioning that Aruba is not just the best Caribbean vacation destination, but also one of the most affordable, especially if you take advantage of the many travel deals and special offers regularly provided by our local hotels and resorts.

And there’s no better way to shop the discounts and find that perfect vacation deal than by visiting our official page on Aruba’s Best Vacation Packages, where you can sort through our Accommodations, Dining, Nightlife, Shopping and other discounts to ensure you’re getting the absolute best deal on your next trip to the One Happy Island.

Be sure to browse through these deals before booking your trip, because there’s no better way to enjoy the wonderful island of Aruba than knowing you’ve secured the best rate on all your travel expenses!

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Aruba Travel Guide


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