60 hotels in this place
Aruba is a Caribbean island 15 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. The island is an autonomous dependency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is 30 kilometers (19.6 miles) long and 9 kilometers (6 miles) across, at its widest point, with an area of approximately 70 square miles (184 square kilometers). This flat, riverless island is renowned for its white sand beaches. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27°C (81°F). The yearly rainfall usually does not exceed 20 inches. Aruba lays outside the Caribbean hurricane belt. Aruba is divided into the northeast and southwest coasts. The southwest has the white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and warm waters. The northeast coast, exposed to the Atlantic, has a few white sand beaches, cacti, rough seas with treacherous currents, and a rocky coastline. The time in Aruba is Atlantic standard time; it is the same as Eastern Daylight Savings time all year round. (less...) (more...)
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Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Curacao, the ABC Islands) in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important (both ended in 2009). The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level.
The climate is tropical marine, with little seasonal temperature variation. Because of its location south in the Caribbean there is very strong sun, but a constant light breeze keeps the temperature pleasant. (These persistent winds out of the east shape the island's distinctive, lop-sided divi-divi trees.)The divi-divi trees have become a signature tree to Aruba's landscape. The weather is almost always dry, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while.Temperatures in Aruba do not change dramatically. Between the months of January and March the temperatures stay around 76-85 degrees; this being their high season. However starting in April and through December this is considered off season and temperatures do not change much beyond 79 and 88 degrees.It lies outside the zone usually affected by hurricanes.
- Baby Beach - Southern Tip of the island. It's called Baby Beach because it is no more than five feet deep at any point - like a giant wading pool. This beach also has some of the best snorkeling on the island.
- San Nicolaas Beach
- Eagle Beach – Often called "1 of the 10 best beaches in the world"
- Hadikurari Beach a.k.a Fisherman's Huts. This is where the High Winds Pro AM windsurfing world championship is held every June.
- Palm Beach White sand and excellent swimming conditions in calm water. Nearby hotels allow you to use public areas for changing. Accessible by bus, car or taxi.
- Malmok Beach
- Arashi BeacH - Calm water, white sandy beaches with palapas and huts for shade.
- Boca Catalina- Shallow waters with plenty of fish, good place to snorkel. White sandy beaches with some pebbles and stone.
- Manchebo Beach- Gentle surf, long white beach. Hotels near by.
- Andicuri- Not advised for swimming,tough currents and big waves. This is a good beach for someone looking to go surfing.
- Druif Beach- Excellent for swimming with calm waters. Hotels near.
- Surfside Beach- White sandy beach with some pebbles and stones. Calm water good for swimming.
- Dos Playa- can get there by 4 wheeler, not good for swimming strong currents and big waves. A nice place to have a picnic to check out the view.
- De Palm Island- Waterpark for kids, great place to snorkel, with shallow waters.
- Mangel Halto- Shallow waters,Can be reached by car or taxi.
- Santo Largo-Shallow waters, good place for picnic. Can be reached by car or taxi.
- Boca Grandi-Good for people who enjoy extreme sports, not good for swimming tough current.
- Bachelor's Beach- A good beach for windsurfing or snorkeling. Not really good for swimming.
- Rodgers Beach-Very calm water with white sandy beaches.
The most famous dish in Aruba is Keshi Yena. It is a spicy mixture of chicken and peppers, capers, olives and tomatoes traditionally baked in a Gouda cheese "shell". This is often considered to be the national dish of Aruba.
Many chain restaurants, both fast food and upscale, from the United States are present in Aruba (i.e. Texas de Brazil, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Hooters, Subway, Tony Romas). You'll find some downtown, and many near the large resort hotels.
The upscale restaurants near resorts vary in quality as there are a limited number of them and they have a steady stream of tourist customers, as they advertise in pamphlets available in the hotels. The fast food places are essentially no different than their American counterparts.
Also good are some of the local fare restaurants. While obviously relying on tourist income, good food can be had. Nos Cunucu is a good example of such. With meals like the traditional baked cheese and some more interesting items such as Iguana soup. Don't be afraid to eat at random bars and such along the road, (with normal caution of course). Good food can be had for relatively low cost. These pander to locals.
By the glass, sixpack or case, imported Dutch beers are relatively good buys. Balashi Beer - Aruba's National Beer...a must-drink beverage, perfect after spending all day at the beach. Don't, however, confuse it with a "Balashi Cocktail", which is a local term for the equally enjoyable Aruban water. Founded in 1996, the name Balashi is derived from the words Bala Bala and Balana and means "near the sea." It is the only beer brewed on the island of Aruba. Daily tours of the brewery are available with an open-aired bar and restaurant on the premises. Balashi Brewery / Tel. 592-2544 / 523-6544. Balashi Gardens open from 6:30AM – 4:00PM. Tours Monday - Friday. There is also a Balashi logo store, with mostly t-shirts, and a few other things located on L.G. Smith Boulevard, right before the Harley shop and after the Caribbean Mercantile Bank. Very easy to miss but worth a trip if you enjoyed the Balashi! There is also a drive-thru beverage store next door that is nifty.
Most stores open from 9 AM to noon or 1 PM and from 2 PM to 6:30 PM, although some remain open between noon and 2 PM. Shops are open from Monday to Saturday. Hotel stores have varying open hours so check at your hotel for these.
Above all, it appears that Arubans are very aware that their economy is completely dependent on tourism - so Arubans are polite to tourists, and even street vendors don't generally seek to rip off their customers (though as in all traveling, don't let advice like this lull you into a sense of complacency). This may be helped by the fact that Aruba is a relatively expensive place to visit, so it tends to attract the reasonably well-off.
American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate. If you have U.S. dollars, there is no need to change money into the local currency, the Aruban florin. The current exchange rate (as of April 2008) given in shops is about 1.79 florins to the dollar. Because the island is a Dutch dependency, Dutch currency is easy to spend, and small change for purchases in dollars may be in florins. The island is actually not duty-free, but merchants respond well to competition on other islands, and duty free goods are offered by a few shops at the airport as visitors depart.
Oranjestad's waterfront has many vendors/stalls selling souvenirs. Ironically, many of these souvenirs are imported from the United States with island scenes/slogans, only to be purchased by Americans and brought back to America.
In Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall contains various American and European major apparel brands (i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci) at essentially the same prices as in the United States. The mall and the rest of the downtown area also hold numerous other types of stores catering to visitors, to include jewelers, souvenir shops, clothers, and two modest grocers.
You'll find strip malls and grocers at modest (not easily walked) distances west of downtown and elsewhere. They offer most everything a visitor or resident might need for short stays or living there. Groceries and other supplies are all imported, so prices tend to be high. You can catch the bus from the hotel areas to the Grocery shops which are about 10 mins from Eagle beach but before you get to Oranjestad, cost's $3 return just ask the driver.
With numerous cruise ships visiting, downtown stores offer buys in jewelry, etc., typical of that in other Caribbean cruise ports, some at "duty free" prices. For cheese lovers, mild Dutch Gouda, in boxes or wheels, is a popular buy in super markets, though not the great bargain it used to be. Do ensure the integrity of the package seal from the maker to avoid spoilage and difficulty at customs inspection.
If you've flown to the island and are returning home, the airport duty-free store offers some items at slightly better prices than downtown, e.g., a decent selection of rums.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Aruba on Wikivoyage.
Cities in Aruba
20 hotels in this place
There is more than one place called Palm Beach:
- Paseo Herencia Shopping Mall
- Palm Beach
- Excelsior Casino Aruba
- Butterfly Farm
- Old Windmill
20 hotels in this place
Oranjestad is the capital city of Aruba.
- Royal Plaza Mall
- Crystal Theater
- Numismatic Museum of Aruba
- Parliament Building
- Convention Centre
15 hotels in this place
Noord is in the northern part of the Caribbean island of Aruba.
- Hyatt Regency Casino
- California Lighthouse
- Palm Beach Plaza
- Arashi Beach
- Arashi Park
4 hotels in this place
Savaneta is a city in Aruba.
1 hotels in this place
- Gold Mine Ranch
Points of Interest in Aruba
- Natural Pool (Conchi) - On the northern side of the island and only accessible via ATV or Trail Rated 4x4. This is a small pool of water hidden in natural rock formation that jut into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba. This location makes for a great day trip - make sure your vehicle has a spare tire.
- California Lighthouse - On the northernmost tip of the island. Many scenic views and is also the location where you can access the dirt trails to travel down the northern shores of Aruba.
- Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel - On the northern side of the island. The chapel is very picturesque and historic.
- Aruba Aloe Factory. – You can take a short tour and learn some interesting facts about aloe farming, production and uses.
- Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations – You can climb and explore these formations, the tops of which provide a great view of the countryside.
- Natural Bridge @ Boca Andicuri – There are 7 "Natural Bridges" in Aruba. The original (biggest and most famous bridge that people are referring to when they say Natural Bridge) collapsed in 2005 leaving a pile of rubble in the bay. There is a smaller bridge right next to the fallen bridge that still stands.
- Bushiribban Gold Mill / Smelting Station – The ruins of the smelting station are the way to the Natural Bridge. Climbing the ruins you can get great photos of the coastline.
- Aruba Ostrich Farm. – The tour walks you around the ostrich pens and incubator. The Aruba farm is more for educating people, while the meat that is used for food in Aruba actually comes from the sister island of Curacao. (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.)
- Boca Catalina and the Antilla Shipwreck – These are 2 of the many sites snorkel tours will take you. The Antillla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled 400-foot German cargo ship that was anchored off of Aruba during WW2. It was thought that this ship was supplying German U-Boats in the Caribbean and after The Netherlands was invaded in 1940, the captain was given notice to surrender the ship. Instead of surrendering the ship to the Dutch Marines the captain sunk the ship by blowing up the boilers. (The crew swam to shore, and were taken POW and shipped to Bonaire.) The joke you will hear is "They did not want to surrender the cargo and they also wanted to provide future tourists with a site to see." The remains are off of Malmok beach. After the war, the captain and his crew purchased their former POW camp and converted it into a hotel. Today the site is the Divi Flamingo resort.
- Arikok National Park - The park consists of lava formations, a quartz diorite formation and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline. These formations have played a pivotal role in the history of Aruba.
- Guadirkiri Caves
- The Palm Island
- Hooiberg (Haystack Mountain) a.k.a simply "the Haystack" – Standing over 500 feet, the haystack is in the center of the country and provides a breathtaking view of Aruba. People suggest going on a cool & clear day because it will be easier to climb the 561 steps required to reach the top and you can see the coast of Venezuela to the south!
- Butterfly Farm - set in a tropical atmosphere, tour guides at the Butterfly Farm will elucidate butterfly habits and metamorphosis.
- Bubali Bird Sanctuary - over 80 species of migratory birds reside in the sanctuary. Get the best view of the birds, by using the observation tower.
- De Oude Molen/ Windmill First built in 1804 in Holland then shipped to Aruba in 1906.
- Donkey Sanctuary. 9 am-12pm. A home for many rescued donkeys, who roam wild on Aruba and are often killed by cars or dogs. Staffed by volunteers who offer information about the donkeys and the sanctuary program. For a small fee, you can feed the donkeys pellets or apples--petting them is free! All proceeds from the feeding program and the small but well-stocked gift shop are used to care for and rescue the donkeys. free.
Royal Plaza Mall - Oranjestad
Paseo Herencia Shopping Mall - Palm Beach
Hyatt Regency Casino - Noord
Baby Beach - San Nicolas
Conchi Natural Pool - Santa Cruz
Mangel Halto Beach - Pos Chiquito
Gold Mine Ranch - Paradera
Crystal Theater - Oranjestad
Numismatic Museum of Aruba - Oranjestad
Parliament Building - Oranjestad
Convention Centre - Oranjestad
Seaport Village Mall - Oranjestad
Fort Zoutman - Oranjestad
National Archaeological Museum Aruba - Oranjestad
Oranjestad Protestant Church - Oranjestad
Wilhelmina Park - Oranjestad
Eagle Beach - Oranjestad
Aruba Town Hall - Oranjestad
Druif Beach - Oranjestad
Palm Beach - Palm Beach