Aruba, Aruba Vacations

Our Opinion of Aruba

The capital city of Oranjestad, located in the southwest of the island, is absolutely charming. Dutch colonial homes in pastel colors give it a real European flair. Although a few resorts offer all-inclusive packages, the majority of hotel rooms are sold by the night without meals. Aruba is a great vacation destination for couples and honeymooners.

This small island is a true jewel for tourists seeking out a tropical destination with a touch of European flair. Although many nationalities have shaped the culture, the Dutch influence is particularly present in the language, the architecture and the windmill-turned-restaurant. Aruba has a wonderful culinary reputation and a bold and exciting nightlife with numerous clubs, evening shows and casinos. Oranjestad, the island's capital, is a paradise for shoppers.

Sun seekers will rejoice. Aruba's coast is surrounded by beaches of pure white sand which are particularly rugged and beautiful on the northern side. The unusual shape of the divi-divi trees, trunk bent by constant trade winds, is also a symbol of the island. Inland Aruba is more reminiscent of a desert landscape with cacti, aloe and dramatic rock formations.

Things to know about Aruba, Aruba Vacations

Activities and Sports
Water sports abound on the beaches and resorts of Aruba but the most popular are wind related activities like sailing and windsurfing. You can also rent boats, jet-skis, kayaks and a multitude of other beach activities are offered. Fishing expeditions are available for a half or full day.

Aruba is a paradise destination for diving enthusiasts. A great variety of dive sites can be explored, notable ones include: Arashi Reef, Malmok Reef and Debbie II, Renaissance Airplanes, Kantil Reef, Jane Sea Freighter Wreck and the Natural Bridge Dive. Some dive sites are reserved to experienced divers only due to the strong water currents. Snorkelling may be practised in various spots around the island as well.

Horseback riding tours let you explore other part of Aruba and those who enjoy hiking should head to the Arikok National Park. There is even a paintball facility on the island.

Golf lovers can practice their swings at one of two golf courses open to visitors. The Tierra del Sol is an 18-hole, par 71 course. The Aruba Golf Club, has 9-holes and can be challenging with 20 sand traps, 5 water traps, steady trade winds, and the occasional roaming goat.

Most shops can be found along Caya G. F. Betico Croes street. Dutch porcelains, figurines, hand-embroidered linens and cheese make wonderful souvenirs. Hot sauces, spices and an array of local alcoholic libations will keep your mouth watering long after your return home. Paintings, pottery, woodwork and jewellery make up the majority of the handicraft. Aloe Lotions, suntan creams, hair care products and fragrances are made locally and make great buys. Stamp collectors will rejoice with the many stamps series created by the island's most respected artists to commemorate local events, holidays and flora and fauna.

Local Aruban restaurants serve up freshly caught seafood and fish, or stews made of goat, beef or vegetables. Other traditional fare includes: Pastechis (spicy filled pastries), Bitterbal (meat croquettes), Erwten Soep (pea soup), Krokechi (fish croquettes), Tutu (corn-meal mush with black eyes peas), Kesio (Caramel Custard) and Pudin di Coco (Coconut Pudding).

Another great place to enjoy local temptations is at the Bonbini Festival which takes place every Tuesday night at Fort Zoutman.

For those preferring a more international experience, sometimes fused with the local dishes, restaurants specializing in Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, French and Cantonese cuisine can be found.

Try your luck at the many baccarat, roulette and blackjack tables or at the slot machines in one of Aruba's many casinos. The Crystal Casino is popular and open 24 hours. The nearby Crystal Theatre offers live entertainment as well. There is also the Allegro Casino and the Copacabana Casino, to mention a few.

Clubs abound on this tiny island so you will surely find one to your liking. Try Carlos & Charlies offers a wide variety of music, Mambo Jambo, Choose a Name or La Fiesta. More relaxed atmospheres can be found at Plaza Café, Chaos or Scandals. Many hotels organize theme party nights open to all tourists. The Let's Go Latin Show at the Renaissance or the Cuban Revue at the Wyndham Aruba offer dinner shows. makes every effort to ensure that information on this page is current, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice.