TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ARUBA VACATION
As romantic destinations go, the island of Aruba is a shining star in the Caribbean, thanks to its convenient location just north of Venezuela.
Arubans speak their own language of love and romance.
The word “dushi” translates to “sweetheart” and you will hear it frequently.
It is the perfect destination; reflecting the warmth and passion Arubans feel for each other and their visitors.
People the world over come to this special place to get married and spend their honeymoons.
Here you will find welcoming hosts, endless white sand beaches, fun activities to enjoy, great shopping, and after-hours entertainment.
All of this with gorgeous weather and fresh seafood makes Aruba the perfect choice to spend your vacation.
Along with romantic couples, Aruba is also a great place for families and adventure travelers, with a wide array of activities for young and old to enjoy.
There really is no “bad” time of year to enjoy Aruba.
The weather is amazing all year round.
Most people visit around January – June, and the latter half of the year may be a bit quieter with respect to less visitors.
This tiny little island is only about 20 miles in length, so you will have the chance to explore most all of it during your visit.
All hotels are within a 30-minute drive from the airport.
And all of the major credit cards are widely accepted.
Explore Aruba’s Beaches
Exploring the beaches of Aruba is the ultimate way to spend your holiday!
The entire island is lined with white sand and turquoise waters.
Sip pina coladas, work on your tan, and swim in the inviting waters.
Go for long, romantic walks – the sunsets are unreal in Aruba.
Go snorkeling, then have a quiet and romantic picnic lunch oceanside.
Here are some great beaches not to miss:
- Eagle Beach – Rated by TripAdvisor as the #4 top beach in the world, it offers the longest and widest stretch of sand on the island. Here the sunsets turn shades of pink and purple and the waters gently lap the coastline. This is the perfect beach to spend the entire day, into the night. After enjoying the beach during the day, have dinner and cocktails at the nearby oceanfront hotels.
- Baby Beach – Here there are shallow and calm waters, and while this is a good beach for families, it is also a great romantic beach, with a lovely half-moon bay, perfect for snorkeling and swimmers who like to reach the bottom of the sea. Snorkel gear is available for rent, and complimentary beach huts are scattered throughout.
- Palm Beach – For couples looking for a bit more of a party atmosphere, this beach is located on the side of the island alongside high-rise hotels. This beach is livelier than most other beaches, with shops, beach bars, and restaurants that are open day and night.
Get to Know All About Aruba
As previously mentioned, there’s a ton of stuff to do.
Here is just a sample:
- UTV Tours – Go off-roading and get a taste of Aruba’s “wild side.” This is perfect for adventurers who don’t mind getting a little dirty! During the off-road tour, explore the natural pools and get a real feel for Aruba’s countryside. Bring your swimsuit. These off roads can get bumpy, so ladies, bring a sports bra!
- Sunset Cruise – Nothing is better than experiencing a breathtaking sunset on the water with your “dushi” than a cruise.
- Watersports – Take a private windsurfing class, or go kitesurfing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding or snorkeling. Thanks to the perfect combination of wind strength and water temperature, water activities are incredibly enjoyable in Aruba. Rent some snorkel gear and experience the wonderful sea life.
- Hang out with Flamingos at the Renaissance Hotel. Spend a night here, and you can hop on a boat for a short ride to their private island to visit and feed the flamingos for a true Caribbean island experience. While on the island, you can also rent a private cabana and/or book a romantic couples’ massage.
- Arikok National Park – Comprising about one-fifth of the island, this park offers a stunning mix of rugged terrain and gorgeous coastline! Rent a Jeep for the day and explore on your own, or with a tour. Check out Fontein Cave, Quadiriki Cave, natural pools and Prins Bay. Several hilltops offer stunning views.
- Visit the Peace Labyrinth – This sits atop a bluff overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean, and is located next to a small chapel. The grounds are free to wander, and is a great way to spend an hour of quiet solace.
- A nice place to bring the family is the Donkey Sanctuary. Back before cars were the main mode of transportation, donkeys ruled the road! But today, they are living out their lives in this non-profit sanctuary in Santa Cruz. You are invited to feed and care for the donkeys, but no riding is allowed, and admission is free.
Some Things You Should Know Before You Go to Aruba
Aruba consistently ranks as one of the safest islands in the Caribbean to visit, with low rates of both violent and petty crime.
That said, don’t exactly let your hair down with regards to safety.
Always stay alert and use common sense, no matter where you go.
You won’t need a visa to enter Aruba, but you WILL need your current passport.
Also, Aruba is expensive, but you don’t have to exchange money – U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
Expect to pay around $60 per person/per day on food, and about $200 for a mid-priced hotel per night.
One way to offset the food bill is to get some of your meals at the local fish and shopping market.
There is a local currency.
The Aruba florin (Awg.) is used and the exchange rate is around 1.75 to 1.80 per U.S. dollar.
Tipping is not mandatory, but if you want to show your appreciation for good service, 10 to 15 percent is the standard.
That said, a few restaurants do add an automatic gratuity onto your bill, so be aware.
The main language is Papiamento, but most locals understand and can speak both Dutch and English, as well.
Spanish is another popular language in Aruba.
But if you really want to impress the locals, have a few phrases of Papiamento handy to use.
Aruba is to the south of the Hurricane belt, and as such, does not usually get hit by hurricanes.
The operative word here is usually.
There is still a chance, so if you are coming anytime from June to November (hurricane season) be sure to be prepared, just in case.
It is safe to drink tap water in Aruba.
When you are out and about, it is okay to refill your water bottle with available tap water.
The island is a veteran of the desalination process and has been treating their water like this since 1932.
The peak season in Aruba is January through March.
Warm temperatures and blue skies dominate, and the trade winds are pleasant.
This also means that you will likely pay more for your vacation here than if you go during other times of the year.
Instead, try to go anytime from April through September.
You will see far less expensive hotel rates.
It is probably best to avoid going October through December, as the weather is not as good as the rest of the year.
Having said that, you will not have a bad vacation due to the weather, no matter what time of year you visit.
How to Get Around Aruba
The bus system is pretty reliable in Aruba and many places of interest are within walking distance.
There is a major bus line that runs up and down the coastline, taking you to all of the major beaches.
And when you have to get somewhere quickly, you can always flag down a taxi. (Uber and Lyft are not present in Aruba.)
But if you want the freedom to fully explore the entire island, then I recommend renting a car, at least for the days you plan to explore outside of town.
And don’t worry, Aruba roads are the same as in the U.S. – you drive on the right side.
However, the street signs are different, so be aware and vigilant; and there is no turning on red.
Bike rentals are a fun way to get around town.
Just know that there are no bike lanes in Aruba, so you will have to really watch the traffic around you.
This is made a bit more challenging by the fact that many of the roads are sandy.
Still, it is nice just roaming around on a bike for an afternoon.
Better yet, rent a mountain bike and go on a mountain biking trip!
Probably the best advice of all is to take it easy!
Aruba truly celebrates the “island life” and so things move at a slower pace than most Americans are used to.
The people here tend to worry less, knowing that everything will be alright!
No rushing – just enjoy your vacation.
Where to Eat in Aruba
Whether it is for your wedding anniversary, or any other celebration of love, Aruba is a culinary delight.
The Flying Fishbone restaurant has a unique, feet-in-the-water experience. Located on the shoreline, dine on fresh fish – you have the choice of sitting inside away from the water, on the beach with your feet in the sand, or at the edge with your feet in the water.
For a true dinner-in-bed experience, why not try the Screaming Eagle restaurant. You have the option of dining on their comfy lounge beds with a full dinner brought to you on trays. They also have a bar, and regular indoor/outdoor seating.
For a fun and laid-back atmosphere perfect for couples, try The West Deck restaurant and bar, located just above the white sandy beach at the water’s edge. Every table has a stunning view of the sea; you can dine on sumptuous Caribbean fare, and have a hand-crafted cocktail made with local fresh fruit. They also are next to Linear Park and the Queen Wilhelmina cruise ship, so you may just see it coming and going!
Lastly, take advantage of happy hours in many bars and even a few of the restaurants to save a little money.
Make your next trip to Aruba something to remember and treasure by following these great travel tips for Aruba!
What are your travel tips for Aruba? If you have any, leave a comment below!
If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to help you plan your trip to Aruba, check out The Ultimate Guide to Trip Planning.
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