• Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

Aruba travel guide: where to stay, what to eat and more

ByKeith M. Jones

Sep 7, 2021

Aruba has a nickname – One Happy Island, a well-deserved description. A former Dutch colony, this Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela is an extremely safe tourist paradise, filled with sparkling white sand beaches and endless entertainment options. Aruba also has a unique climate, combining the Caribbean tropics with a beautiful desert landscape. Travelers to Aruba will have plenty of outdoor and indoor activities to choose from, making the island an ideal destination for a romantic vacation or a family vacation.

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Where to stay

As a tourist destination, Aruba is full of hotels and resorts. Whether you are traveling as a couple, with friends or family, the range of choices on the island gives you great flexibility.

Palm Beach: Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino Stellaris

Aruba Marriott Resort aerial view with swimming pool and Palm Beach in the background.

The Aruba Marriott Resort is conveniently located on prime real estate in Palm Beach, Aruba’s most famous beach. Due to the resort’s convenient location, guests can be at the beach in minutes from their room. Besides the beach, the complex also has two swimming pools (one reserved for adults) and several bars and restaurants like The Vista and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse located on site. The Aruba Marriott Resort also has a casino for those who want to try their hand at slot machines or other casino games.

  • Time: 18 minutes by car
  • Distance from the airport: 7.8 miles

Eagle Beach: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

Couple in a beach hut at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.
bucutitara/Instagram

This adults-only resort is the perfect splurge for couples on a romantic trip. Rooms and suites are very intimate with private balconies and an emphasis on environmental care (solar-heated showers, local Aruba aloe bath amenities). One important aspect: room rates don’t cover lunch, dinner, or drinks, though a free breakfast buffet is included.

  • Time: 16 minutes by car
  • Distance from the airport: 6.5 miles

Oranjestad: Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort

Woman poolside at sunset at Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort..
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino/Facebook

This resort caters to couples and families with an adult-only section and kid-friendly suites. Although there is plenty to do in the resort (two casinos, numerous restaurants and bars), its location in Oranjestad (Aruba’s largest city) gives guests plenty of choices for restaurants, nightlife and shopping in the city.

  • Time: 10 minutes by car
  • Distance from the airport: 2.9 miles

what to eat

For a relatively small island, Aruba has an incredible array of dining options. Almost every type of international cuisine is available in Aruba, ranging from Japanese sushi to Mexican tacos. The overwhelming majority of tourists to Aruba come from America. For this reason, Aruba has many American fast food and casual dining chains. Restaurant menus will also be in English, so language will not be an issue.

Food in Aruba is not cheap. Sit-down restaurant prices will be similar to any major US city. Although affordable food options are available, don’t expect your dollar to travel far in Aruba.

  • “$” = economy or cheap
  • “$$” = medium
  • “$$$” = expensive

Better Atmosphere: Atardi

Macadamia Grouper at Atardi Restaurant on Palm Beach

delayed is a dinner-only pop-up restaurant located directly on Palm Beach at the Marriott Resort. The location is spectacular. Diners eat directly on the beach, with their toes directly in the sand and the sun setting on the horizon. Atardi’s cuisine is elegant seafood cuisine at its finest, showcasing the freshest Caribbean seafood. A highlight is the Macadamia Grouper, a crispy grouper fillet served with a delicious red curry sauce. For dessert, be sure to try the Tropical Coconut Cake, a perfectly sweet and balanced vanilla cake with layers of white chocolate mousse and coconut.

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Best Peruvian: Lima Bistro

Dining room of Peruvian restaurant Lima Bistro in Aruba.

Located just off the South American coast, it’s no surprise that Aruba offers stellar Latin American cuisine. One of Aruba’s most exciting new restaurants is Lima Bistro. The chef’s idea Teddy Bouroncle, Lima Bistro showcases authentic Peruvian flavors and ingredients with creative presentation and styling. Try their Local Fish with Black Rice entrée, a perfectly cooked piece of locally caught fish served with jet black squid ink rice. Lima Bistro’s cocktail program is also excellent, as evidenced by their outstanding Pisco Sour. Portions here aren’t too big, so big eaters should consider ordering appetizers to complement their entrees.

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Best Breakfast: Linda’s Dutch Pancakes

Dutch Pancakes from Linda's Dutch Pancakes in Aruba.

As a former Dutch colony, the influence of the Netherlands is still present in Aruba. For a taste, look no further than Linda’s Dutch Pancakes. Compared to American pancakes, these Dutch versions are thinner with a slightly crispy exterior. Dutch pancake syrup is also different. Instead of maple syrup, Dutch syrup is pure sugar and is similar to caramel in both texture and taste. At Linda, diners can choose between savory (bacon, mushrooms, cheese, etc.) or sweet (strawberries, apples, etc.) toppings. For the best of both worlds, try drizzling some syrup over a bacon and apple pancake for a sweet and salty combination.

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Local Favorite: Zeerovers

Fresh fish at Zeerovers restaurant in Aruba.

Located by the sea, this no-frills seafood restaurant is a local favorite. Here, fresh fish and shellfish are brought directly from the boats to the restaurant. Diners can choose between fried fish or shrimp, all sold by weight with fries and tartar sauce. Be sure to ask for some of the local hot sauce, pica di papaya, an orange-colored elixir made from papaya to accompany your fried seafood. For the perfect meal, savor it all with a chilled bottle of Aruba Balashi beer, brewed right on the island.

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What to do

If there’s one thing travelers needn’t worry about in Aruba, it’s that there aren’t enough entertainment options. The island has a wonderful mix of tropical beaches ideal for relaxing or practicing water sports. Of course, if you get tired of the beaches, there are other outdoor activities such as bus or UTV tours, allowing tourists to see Aruba’s unique desert landscape.

For indoor fun away from the tropical heat, Aruba also has plenty of shops located in Oranjestad, the island’s capital and largest city. For those looking for nightlife, Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are lined with bars and clubs filled with partiers and many drinks.

palm beach

Palapas on Palm Beach in Aruba Marriott

Palm Beach is a perfect tropical beach. One look at the white sand and warm water and it’s easy to see why. It is also a very active beach with lots of people sunbathing or swimming throughout the day. At the Aruba Marriott Resort, hotel guests can reserve a palapa on the beach and order drinks directly to them. There are also various activities in Palm Beach. For example, you can book a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga lesson via Vela Aruba. Instead of an indoor yoga mat, SUP yoga takes place on paddleboards directly in the water.

From Palm UTV Tours

UTV tour in Aruba.

For the adventurous traveler, book a UTV tour with From Palm Excursions. Although De Palm also offers jeep and bus tours, getting behind the wheel of a UTV is an experience not to be missed. A word of warning: this tour will take you off the beaten track over rough and bumpy terrain. An adventurous state of mind is therefore necessary. But it’s also the best way to see the whole island. Just make sure you have your driver’s license if you want to book a UTV tour.

San Nichols Murals Tour

Lizard mural in San Nichols Aruba

Located in the town of San Nichols on the southern tip of Aruba, this tour is a visual feast. Founded by Tito Bolivar, the tour features street art and murals (40 in total and growing) painted on the sides of walls and buildings in the area. Artists come from all over the world, stemming from Tito’s vision of making San Nichols the arts district of Aruba.

How to save money on your trip to Aruba

Experiences

There’s no doubt that Aruba is probably one of the best tropical places to visit, given its remarkable blond beaches and wind-sculpted sandy landscapes. Not to mention it has the best wreck dive sites in the Caribbean. We also cannot forget the top-notch local cuisine and restaurants, the welcoming locals, and the exceptional cultures of the island. For this reason, there are plenty of things to do in Aruba. Fortunately, offers great deals for your wallet so you can enjoy these things without breaking the bank.

Hotels

Of course, Aruba doesn’t just offer great blonde beaches. It also has the best and widest variety of hotels and other accommodations, which will surely let you relax – from the cheapest to the most luxurious, Aruba has it all. However, if you lean towards the former, offers some of the best deals on the market.

Vehicles rental

Although public transport in Aruba is inexpensive compared to urban areas, it is much more convenient to rent a car or jeep if you want to explore the wonders of the island. With a rental vehicle, you will be able to reach places that most tourists cannot reach. It also saves you a lot of time. cars/Oranjestad,Aruba-c26259/2021-09-03/2022-02-10;map?sort=rank_a” data-title=”” data-cta=”Kayak” data-pid=”” > also offers great deals if you ever decide to rent a vehicle and take a trip to Aruba.

Read more: Best places to visit

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