Why Aruba is a great destination
Aruba is a unique Caribbean destination that offers something for everyone. With the “One Happy Island” tourism slogan, travelers are guaranteed to have a great time. The island boasts beautiful beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a vibrant and diverse culture.
Aruba’s climate is perfect for outdoor activities all year round, and visitors can indulge in a range of activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and windsurfing. The island is family-friendly and offers a wide variety of attractions, from exploring national parks and wildlife reserves to taking cultural tours. Aruba is a safe and beautiful destination that will surely be etched in your memory after you leave.
21 Travel Tips for the Best Experience in Aruba
1. Research and plan your trip
Planning your trip to Aruba in advance is a great idea as it allows you to make the most of your time on the island. The fact that you are reading this article means you are already on the right path! Good job!
By planning ahead, you can decide on your budget and whether you want to book a premade tour package or plan your itinerary. It also allows you to research and book activities before you arrive, saving you money as most tour operators offer discounts for booking in advance.
In addition, planning ahead allows you to ensure that you don’t miss any of the must-see spots on the island and experience all the activities that you enjoy.
Furthermore, planning ahead can help you avoid common mistakes that many first-time visitors make. Reading this article on Aruba travel tips will make your vacation even more memorable.
2. Check visa requirements
Visitors from the US, Canada, and the EU do not need a pre-arranged visa to enter Aruba. Upon arrival, travelers must present their passports to an immigration officer and receive a free visa stamp that is valid for 30 days.
You will need to ensure your passport does have at least 6 months of validity from the date of entry. For more information, check the Aruba tourism website and your local embassy for the latest requirements.
3. Book your flight ticket in advance
Booking your flight ticket in advance when planning a trip to Aruba can save you money and ensure that you get the best deals. My favorite websites for finding the best deals on flights are Google Flights and Skyscanner.
They search small websites and budget airlines to find you the best deals. To get the best deals, booking your flight ticket at least two months in advance is recommended.
4. Book good quality accommodations
When booking your accommodations in Aruba, it’s important to consider location, amenities, and reviews. Look for accommodations close to the beach and popular attractions that offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Before booking, read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the quality of the accommodations and the level of customer service.
To find the best deals, consider using reputable booking websites or apps such as Booking and Expedia, which consistently provides the cheapest hotel and resort rates, or Hostelworld, which has the largest inventory of hostels.
5. Invest in a good travel insurance
When visiting abroad, investing in a good travel insurance policy is important to protect yourself from unexpected events. While the island is generally considered safe, there are still risks such as lost luggage, trip cancellations, and accidents.
By purchasing a policy, tourists can enjoy their time in Aruba without worrying about the financial consequences of unforeseen events. Don’t let a mishap ruin your vacation – invest in travel insurance.
6. Consider activities that interest you
When planning a trip to Aruba, it’s important to consider the activities that interest you. First, research the different options available such as water-based activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, and windsurfing, or land activities like hiking and jeep tours.
Consider your personal preferences and prioritize the activities that appeal to you the most. Don’t be afraid to ask locals or tour operators for recommendations.
Lastly, be open to trying new activities that you may not have considered before. Aruba offers plenty of unique and adventurous experiences like kite surfing, parasailing, and deep-sea fishing. Trying something new can make your trip even more memorable.
For a complete list, also explore Things to do in Aruba.
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7. Check the weather conditions
It’s crucial to check the weather conditions before visiting Aruba to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Aruba’s climate is typically dry and arid, with constant trade winds that keep visitors cool. The island experiences little rain and is located outside of the hurricane belt, making it a great destination all year round.
However, visitors should still take weather warnings seriously as even a tropical storm or heavy rain can cause flash floods and dangerous conditions. Packaging appropriate rain gear and waterproof items is recommended just in case. The best time to visit Aruba is from April to August when there is less rainfall.
8. Be conscious of safety precautions
To have a safe trip to Aruba, it is important to take some safety precautions. Here are some tips:
- Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a sunhat or visor
- Avoid unlit areas at night and do not wander alone in unfamiliar places
- Be cautious of strong ocean currents and follow the lifeguard’s instructions
- Protect your valuables and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry
- Follow weather safety warnings and pack accordingly for any potential storms or heavy rain.
9. Plan your budget and expenses
When planning a trip to Aruba, starting with your budget is important. Aruba caters to luxury travelers, but there are still ways to save money. Look for affordable accommodations such as family-run apartments or local hosts on Couchsurfing.
Eat local fish and cook your own meals to save money on dining, and bring a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic use. Book activities online for discounts, and enjoy Aruba’s natural beauty for free by relaxing on the beach or going for a hike.
Keep in mind that transportation options are limited, but renting a car or using public transportation can be affordable. With these tips, you can have an amazing vacation in Aruba without breaking the bank.
10. Make sure to bring the necessary items
When packing for a trip to Aruba, it’s important to keep in mind the warm and sunny climate. Don’t forget to pack high-SPF sunscreen, as the sun can be quite strong on the island.
Other essential items to bring include beachwear, cool and comfortable evening clothing, and snacks or breakfast items to save money. To make the most of your Aruban vacation, be sure to ask locals for recommendations on where to eat and what to do.
Related Article: Aruba Packing List
11. Familiarize yourself with the local culture
To familiarize yourself with the local culture in Aruba, it’s important to respect the customs and traditions of the Aruban people. One way to do this is by striking up a conversation with locals and asking for recommendations on where to eat and what to do. Arubans are friendly and welcoming; getting to know them can lead to lifelong friendships.
Another way to immerse yourself in Aruban culture is by trying the local cuisine. Some unique dishes to try include keshi yena (stuffed cheese), pastechi (deep-fried pastries filled with cheese or meat), and pan bati (a type of cornmeal pancake). It’s also customary to say “bon dia” (good morning), “bon tardi” (good afternoon), and “bon nochi” (good night) as a greeting.
Finally, Arubans love to celebrate their culture with music and dance. One traditional dance is the waltz-like tumba, which is performed during Carnival season. Another popular dance is the salsa-inspired zouk, which originated in the French Caribbean. Just remember to always be respectful and ask for permission before joining in on the fun.
12. Plan ahead for transportation needs
When planning your transportation needs for a trip to Aruba, several options exist. Renting a car is a popular choice and can be done through various airport or town rental agencies. Be sure to book in advance and familiarize yourself with the island’s traffic laws and roadways.
Public transportation is also available throughout the island, with buses running frequently to popular destinations. Taxis are another option but can be more expensive. Keep in mind that driving is on the right side of the road in Aruba and that some areas may have limited parking.
Additionally, be sure to bring a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance if renting a car.
13. Take advantage of the island’s natural beauty
Aruba’s natural beauty is truly breathtaking, and there are many ways to make the most of it. The island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, each with its own unique charm. For a relaxing day at the beach, head to Eagle Beach, which is known for its soft white sands and crystal-clear waters. If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, try Baby Beach, a small crescent-shaped beach perfect for snorkeling.
Aruba also has several national parks that are worth exploring. Arikok National Park covers nearly 20% of the island and is home to a variety of wildlife, including iguanas, parakeets, and rattlesnakes. The park also features hiking trails that lead to natural wonders, such as the Natural Pool, a secluded swimming hole surrounded by volcanic rock formations.
For those who love the water, snorkeling is a must-do activity. Aruba’s waters are home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish and even shipwrecks. Boca Catalina and Arashi Beach are popular spots for snorkeling, and there are many tour companies that offer guided snorkeling trips.
Finally, don’t forget to take a leisurely beach walk to search for treasures like seashells and coral. The island’s beaches are known for their unique rock formations and hidden coves, making them the perfect place for beachcombing.
To make the most of Aruba’s natural beauty, be sure to pack sunscreen, plenty of water, and comfortable shoes for hiking. Consider renting a car to explore the island’s many natural attractions, or join a guided tour for a more in-depth experience. With so much to see and do, Aruba’s natural beauty is not to be missed.
14. Check the local attractions and sights
Aruba is a Caribbean island with stunning natural beauty and plenty of exciting activities to enjoy. Here are some of my favorite places:
- Arikok National Park: This is the perfect place for nature lovers. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including cacti, iguanas, and even wild donkeys. You can explore the park on foot, on horseback, or on a jeep tour.
- Natural Pool: This natural pool is a hidden gem in the island’s northern part. You’ll need a 4×4 vehicle to get there, but it’s worth the trip. The pool is surrounded by rocks and cliffs, creating a beautiful and secluded swimming spot.
- California Lighthouse: This lighthouse offers stunning views of the island’s coastline. You can climb to the top for panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding landscape.
- Oranjestad: This charming capital city is a must-visit for history buffs. You can explore the colonial architecture, museums, and local markets on foot or by bike.
- Eagle Beach: This beach is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
15. Research dining and food options
When researching dining and food options in Aruba, avoid tourist traps and expensive restaurants by eating at local places. Ask locals for recommendations on where to eat and what to do.
Look for local restaurants serving traditional Aruban cuisine, as they are much cheaper than restaurants in tourist zones or hotels. Gasparito Traditional Aruban Restaurant is a great option, offering discounts on a 3-course meal. Popular local dishes include seafood, stews, and soups.
Happy hour is a great way to save money on food and drinks, and many restaurants offer outdoor seating options with beautiful views.
16. Read some reviews of the places you’re thinking of visiting
Reading reviews before visiting tourist destinations in Aruba is crucial in ensuring that you have the best possible experience. Reviews provide valuable insights into the quality of service, cleanliness, and safety of tourist spots, accommodations, and restaurants.
By reading the reviews, you can avoid tourist traps and expensive places and, instead, find hidden gems that locals recommend. You can also learn about any potential safety concerns and make informed decisions before visiting.
Additionally, reviews can help you plan your trip by giving you an idea of what to expect and what activities to do.
17. Learn some basic words in the local language
While English is widely spoken in Aruba, learning some basic words and phrases in the local language, Papiamento, can enhance your travel experience. It shows respect for the local culture and can help you connect with locals on a personal level.
Useful phrases include “bon dia” for good morning, “danki” for thank you, and “te aworo” for see you later. It’s also important to have a friendly tone and be open to learning from locals, who are happy to share their language and culture with visitors.
18. Check for updates on festivals or events
Aruba’s vibrant and lively cultural scene makes it an exciting destination for travelers. To fully experience the island’s unique culture, checking for updates on festivals or events before planning your trip is important.
One such event is the annual Aruba Carnival, which takes place in February and is known for its colorful parades and lively music.
Another event to watch is the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival, which features world-renowned jazz musicians and takes place in September.
Travelers can fully immerse themselves in Aruba’s rich cultural offerings by staying up-to-date on these events and more.
19. Bring a journal and write down your experiences
One of the best ways to make your Aruba vacation unforgettable is to bring a journal to document your experiences. It will give you a chance to reflect on your trip later and a great way to remember all the little details that make Aruba special. Jot down your favorite local foods and drinks, the names of the beaches you visit, and the people you meet along the way.
Take note of the sights, sounds, and smells that make Aruba unique, and don’t forget to include any funny or interesting anecdotes that happen along the way. With a journal in hand, you’ll be able to relive your Aruba adventure for years to come.
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20. Explore the different beaches
Aruba is home to many beautiful beaches, each with its own unique characteristics. Plan to visit as many beaches as possible to make the most of your trip. Here’s a list of some of the best ones to explore:
- Palm Beach: This beach is perfect for those who want a lively and energetic atmosphere. It’s located in the high-rise section of the island and has calm waters. You can enjoy water sports, happy hour bar crawls, and nearby restaurants.
- Eagle Beach: This is the most iconic tourist beach and is known for its wide expanse of white sand. It’s located just south of Palm Beach and is popular for water sports and dining on the beach.
- Flamingo Beach: This beach is located on Renaissance Island and is where you can see the famous flamingos. It’s a great place for snorkeling and swimming.
- Divi and Druif Beaches: These beaches are next to each other and are an under-the-radar gem. They’re perfect for those who want a quieter and more secluded atmosphere. You can enjoy water sports, nearby restaurants, and stunning views.
- Baby Beach: This beach is on the island’s southern tip and is a man-made lagoon with incredibly calm waters. It’s perfect for families with small children and those who want a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
- Arashi Beach: This beach is on the island’s north end and is known for its clear blue waters and white sand. It’s perfect for snorkeling and diving.
If you want to learn more about Aruba’s beaches, also read this article on Aruba’s Best Beaches.
21. Have a great time!
Aruba is a perfect vacation destination if you want to relax, be adventurous, and have fun. To have an unforgettable time in Aruba, here is my bucket list of activities:
- Don’t miss a sunset in Aruba.
- Take a day tour to see the sights.
- Try some local delicacies such as Keshi Yena, Funchi, and Pan Bati.
- Visit the Arikok National Park and explore the natural beauty of the island.
- Go snorkeling or scuba diving to see the colorful marine life.
- Enjoy the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.
- Take a stroll in the charming streets of Oranjestad, the capital city.
Also check out other Amazing Caribbean Islands to Visit.
What is the currency used in Aruba?
Aruba’s official currency is the Aruban Florin (AWG), also known as the guilder. However, the US dollar is widely accepted on the island, and many ATMs dispense both currencies. Florin banknotes come in denominations of 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200, and coins are available in 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 5 florin coins. Travelers can exchange money at most banks and ATMs. It’s not necessary to exchange for the local currency ahead of time, and there’s no advantage to using florins over dollars.
Which are the best beaches in Aruba?
Aruba has many beautiful beaches to choose from, each with its own unique personality. Here are some of the top beaches to visit:
- Palm Beach: Calm waters and plenty of nearby activities make this a popular choice for visitors.
- Eagle Beach: Widely considered one of the best beaches in the world, this iconic spot is great for watersports and dining.
- Baby Beach: A man-made lagoon with calm waters, perfect for families with young children.
- Flamingo Beach: Located on Renaissance Island, this beach is home to the famous flamingos.
- Divi, Druif, and Manchebo Beaches: A hidden gem with a chill vibe and no motorized watersports allowed, making it a great spot for relaxation.
What is the best way to get around Aruba?
The best way for tourists to get around Aruba is by renting a car or taxi. Renting a car is the cheapest and easiest option, offering more freedom and flexibility with your travel schedule. You won’t need an international driver’s license, just your state-issued driver’s license.
Taxis are fixed-rate and can be called ahead of time. The bus system is also pretty solid, with a major line running up and down the main beaches. Walking is also possible if you don’t mind the exercise, but be sure to cover yourself from the sun, wear comfy sneakers, and carry water.
If you plan on exploring all the island has to offer, I recommend renting a car, at least for a few days.
What are the best things to do when you visit Aruba?
Aruba is a tropical paradise with plenty of exciting activities to offer. Here are the top five things to do in Aruba in 2023:
- Snorkeling: Aruba has some of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. You can find brightly colored coral and a wide variety of sea life at many beaches on the island.
- Explore Oranjestad: Aruba’s capital city boasts Dutch architecture and a rich history. Hop on and off the free streetcar to explore the shopping district, museums, and Fort Zoutman.
- Sail around: Sailing is a popular activity in Aruba, with options ranging from snorkeling and sunset cruises to dinner and party cruises. Take in the beautiful views while enjoying refreshments on board.
- Scuba diving: Aruba has numerous dive sites, including sunken airplanes and the famous Antilla wreck. Get up close and personal with marine life like stingrays and moray eels.
- Hike Hooiberg: Hooiberg, also known as Haystack Mountain, offers panoramic views of the island from its peak. It’s a steep climb with 587 steps, so bring plenty of water and a hat.
What type of accommodations are available in Aruba?
Aruba does lean more towards luxury travel, but you can find other various types of accommodations as well. Here’s a list of the different types of accommodations available in Aruba:
- Budget hotels – Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel, Sasaki Apartments, and the Coconut Inn are some budget hotels offering reasonable rates.
- Airbnb rentals – For those looking for a more personalized experience, there are plenty of affordable vacation rentals on Airbnb.
- Luxury hotels – Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Riu Palace Aruba, and Barceló Aruba are some of the most exclusive luxury hotels in Aruba.
- Regular Resorts – Aruba has many regular resorts, big hotels, and cute boutique hotels offering comfortable accommodations.
- All-inclusive resorts – While Aruba doesn’t focus on big all-inclusive resorts, a few are available for those who prefer that kind of experience.
What kind of food is available in Aruba?
Aruba offers a diverse range of food options for visitors to try. Seafood is prevalent, with fish, oysters, lobsters, and shrimp being eaten in abundance. The island’s cuisine is influenced by Dutch and South American flavors. Plenty of restaurants are catering to tourists, ranging from Starbucks to steakhouses. Here are some good options for those looking for something different:
- Eduardo’s Beach Shack,
- Yemanja Woodfired Grill,
- Pinchos Bar and Grill,
- Madame Janette,
- and Zeerovers.
Visitors can also try local dishes such as fresh fish and seafood, pastechi, hot papaya sauce, fried plantains, ayaca, and pan bati. Eating outdoors is a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather while trying out some delicious local cuisine, with many restaurants offering outdoor seating options. Visitors on a budget can also try cheap eats available on the island, such as food trucks and street vendors.
What is the climate like in Aruba?
Aruba has a desert-like climate with nearly 80 °F and sunny days throughout the year. The island is located outside of the hurricane belt, so there are rarely any storms. Trade winds keep the island cool, and any rain lasts for about two minutes.
The best time to visit is from April to September, with clear skies and minimal clouds. January through March is peak season, while October to December brings the highest amount of precipitation. Overall, Aruba’s climate is perfect for beachgoers and anyone looking for warm, sunny weather.
Are there any safety concerns during your Aruba trip?
Aruba is generally considered a safe travel destination with low rates of both petty and violent crimes. However, travelers should still practice basic safety measures such as staying in well-lit areas, not wandering around unfamiliar, dark places alone at night, and taking measures to keep valuables safe.
While Aruba occasionally receives hurricane warnings, the island is rarely in its path, making visiting during hurricane season safe. Travelers should also be mindful of strong currents in the water and avoid swimming on the island’s northern end. The San Nicolas area should be avoided at night if traveling alone.
It’s important always to trust your gut instinct, make copies of personal documents, and purchase good travel insurance. Overall, while there is no 100% guarantee of safety anywhere in the world, Aruba is considered one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean.
Is it safe to go snorkeling in Aruba?
Snorkeling in Aruba is a safe and exciting activity that should not be missed. The island’s crystal clear waters are home to a variety of marine life, including brightly colored coral, angelfish, clownfish, and even the occasional octopus.
The best snorkeling spots include Arashi Beach, Boca Catalina, and Catalina Cove, all of which offer shallow waters and sandy bottoms. Many hotels offer free use of snorkeling equipment, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own.
Overall, snorkeling in Aruba is a safe and enjoyable experience that should be on every traveler’s itinerary.
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21 Aruba Travel Tips
So there you have it – our 21 essential Aruba travel tips for 2023! We hope you found this guide helpful and that it inspired you to start planning your trip. If you have any questions or want to share your Aruba travel tips, please comment below.