The Best Of Oranjestad
Nice as this walk is with great high-end shopping and wonderful views of the bay and marina, you would be missing the best of the city. Havenstraat and Schelpstraat are the main streets to explore. These run parallel to the L.G. Smith Boulevard and you just need to turn inland to find them.
Royal Plaza, Aruba
Surely you will not miss any of these streets if you look out for the tram tracks or the tram itself which offers both transportation and sightseeing to Plaza Nicky and back.
Street Car, Aruba
In between these major streets, or very close by, the cruise traveler will find most of the landmarks and highlights of Oranjestad: the Archaeological Museum of Aruba, the Protestant Church, the Fort Zoutman Historical Museum, the City Hall, the Renaissance Mall & Marketplace, shopping and more shopping and very nice restaurants to taste local delicacies.
Insiderâs Tip: The Editor has always preferred to start the walk around town on the inland streets of Oranjestad, return to the port along the Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard and stop midway for a quick bite with a fabulous view of the marina â The Paddock has been a favorite for many years.
If you wonder why most savvy cruisers talk about Aruba as a top beach destination and why many get off the ship to go straight to the beach and bask in the sun, you should plan to spend a couple of hours at Eagle Beach.
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Snorkel At Baby Beach
Baby Beach is a protected shallow beach with clear calm waters. The left part of the beach near the rocks is great for snorkeling. But always ensure you snorkel in the marked area to avoid places with strong currents.
Baby beachs soft white sands are perfect for sunbathing and its a very peaceful beach unlike the crowded beaches of Oranjestad. Enjoy your afternoon tucked away under a palapa with a cold drink in hand.
Take a look at this full faced snorkel mask from Amazon.
The cute bar on site keeps the refreshments coming. The beach has a chargeable washroom but getting drinks or food from Big Mamas will save you the $2 charged.
Best Things To Do In Aruba On Your Cruise
Looking for the best things to do in Aruba on your cruise? You wont be bored. We listed the top 15 activities, excursions, and sights to check out on this beautiful island oasis in the southern Caribbean Sea.
Aruba is a 69 sq. mile island that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is located just north of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curacao, Aruba helps make up the illustrious ABC islands. With luscious beaches and emerald forests, the consistently sunny and arid island has become a favorite destination for cruisers.
Whether you are into relaxing and taking in the sights as you stroll through town, or you want to take a trip into the natural wonders of the area and have a wild adventure, you can do all that and more in Aruba.
Before we get into the 15 best things to do in Aruba, here are some helpful tips about where your cruise will dock and what to expect when you get off the ship for the first time.
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Kite Surfing In Aruba
Take advantage of the windiest island in the Caribbean and go kite surfing. Aruba is a mecca for kite surfers. It even has kite surfing schools such as Armandos Kite Shack. Tick kite surfing off your bucket list and get to see Aruba from another angle while riding the offshore winds.
One of the best places to kitesurf is at Boca Grandi on the southern tip or at the northeastern ends of the island. Try Armando kite surfing school, to learn how to kitesurf. He is the best at kite surfing in the Caribbean and handles his students with utmost care.
Aruba Cruise Port Map
Renaissance Marina, where many water-based shore excursions begin, is a quick walk to the right from the cruise terminal.
Palm Beach, four miles north of the cruise terminals, is the dominant attraction on the island. The beach is lined with hotels, resorts and restaurants that face Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard. The beach is great, and so is the nightlife. A simple shore excursion will cost around $30, but a taxi or the cheap public buses are better options for budget-minded cruise visitors. The bus terminal is right in front of the cruise terminal.
The other side of the street in front of the Palm Beach hotels is packed with shops and restaurants. Go to the Palm Beach Plaza at the north end of Smith Boulevard for free nightly entertainment.
A half-day or full island tour is an inexpensive way of seeing points of interest worth seeing on this small island with the help of a knowledgeable guide. A half-day tour will probably cost less than $50 while a full tour will cost about $60 to $75.
Quite a few cruise shore excursions go through Arikok National Park, which covers nearly one fifth of the island. It is a good option for touring a rough, arid and cactus-filled landscape via horseback, jeep or ATV.
One of the main attractions is the Natural Pool, a rock-lined pool by the sea that gets showered by crashing waves. Shore excursions via ATV that go to Arikok sites including Natural Pool usually cost at least $75 or more. A tour via horseback or jeep will cost $100 to $150.
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Awesome Things To Do In Aruba During A Cruise
Find out about these awesome things to do in Aruba, one of the most stunning cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Cruise port details and shore excursions.
You would be forgiven for thinking that there arent many things to do in Aruba other than lie on beaches. When the fact is, Arubas strategic location and its incredible landscape makes it one of the most popular Caribbean destinations. Evidenced by the fact that over 1.2 million tourists visit the small island yearly.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which we could earn a commission from if any purchases are completed.
Aruba is the A in the ABC islands of the southern Caribbean and is found just off the hurricane belt. This strategic location and the fact that it enjoys more sunshine days than any other Caribbean destination makes it a popular port of call.
Aruba offers you miles and miles of world-class, white soft sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters. While its unique desert/semi-arid/cactus spotted landscape makes for exhilarating outdoor adventures. Spice things up on your next Aruba cruise vacation with this list of 20 Awesome Things to Do in Aruba, During a Cruise.
But first, know your way around the port
Aruba Shore Excursions And Tours
As much as it is very easy to explore Aruba on your, on foot around Oranjestadt, by public bus or taxi farther away attractions. Some sites are beter explored on a shore excursion. In partcular if you wish to discover scenic and cultural sites. Naturally, all cruise lines offer many and diverse shore excursions in Aruba. Celebrity Cruises offers as many 43 shore excursions and Royal Caribbean has 43 cruise excursions. Carnival lists 28 shore excursions. Norwegian Cruise Line has available 24 shore excursions. Oceania Cruises organizes 13 shore excursions, Holland America offers 19 cruise excursions, and Princess has 26 excursions available.
Besides the cruise excursions organized by cruise lines, there are also shore excursions and tours offered by the following reputable private online services:
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Uncover Arubas History At Fort Zoutman
While on your tour of Oranjestad, make sure to stop by Fort Zoutman. A small fort museum and the oldest building still standing in Aruba. Built in 1796, this fort was used for coastline protection. The tower at one end of the fort was added in 1868, which acted both as a lighthouse and clock tower for the city.
Go learn Arubas history in a guided museum tour, and if you happen to be there on a Tuesday evening stop by for the weekly cultural night dubbed the Bon Bini Festival.
For exceptional views of the town and some good exercise climb the tower. The museum charges $5 per person. Its a great place to take a break and cool down from the intense island heat while learning interesting facts about Aruba.
Aruba Cruise: Things To Do Near Aruba Cruise Port : : Caribbean Cruise
If youre off on a cruise to Aruba soon to the southern Caribbean, here are some iconic pictures of Aruba that you can take that are located within walking distance near the Aruba cruise port.
In addition to pictures on the ground, arriving to Aruba by cruise means that you can take some unique pictures that you can only get from a cruise ship!
Here are some instagram-worthy snapshots that you may want to consider taking when your cruise gets to Aruba! The types of pictures from the cruise ship or of the cruise ship will also depend on where your ship docks at the cruise terminal.
Downtown Oranjestad is located within walking distance of the Aruba cruise port, so you will likely have time to go even if youre sign up for a shore excursion.
Following the pictures below, youll find a map of the Aruba cruise port area, so you can pinpoint the exact location of where to go to get a similar picture.
Things To Do In Aruba In March
The National Anthem and Flag Day is held each year on March 18th and celebrates Arubas independence.
This patriotic holiday is celebrated with a scout parade, a classic car parade, sporting events, many cultural events showcasing gastronomy of Aruba, and games throughout the island for kids and adults. Because this is an official Aruban holiday, some shops may close early or not open at all.
In Aruba International Half Marathon, competitors from around the world participate in Arubas longest road race covering the length of the island from San Nicolas to Oranjestad. The course ends in front of Alhambra Casino Aruba. This event takes place on March 22, 2020.
What Youneed To Know
- Port Name & LocationShip will DOCK at this port.
- Time Zone
- The local language is Dutch. Say “thank you” in Dutch. “dankjewel”
- Currency & ShoppingPerfumes, liquor and souvenirs. View our Port Shopping Guide.
- Best Way to Get AroundOrganized Shore Excursions for submarine, snorkel, beaches, sightseeing and more! Less than 5 minutes walking from ship dock to downtown. Golf cart rides, buses, bicycles, and taxis are available.
- Famous ForOranjestad is home to some of Aruba’s residents as well as many governmental buildings Fort Zoutman & Historical Museum is the island’s oldest building.
- Fun Fact #1Today, Aruba has 80 separate nationalities due to its turbulent past you can still see the influence of each one.
- Fun Fact #2With quite a bit of culinary variety, you will find no less than 72 different eateries in this capital city.
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Transportation / Getting Around
Getting around Aruba is quite easy. The island is small and public transportation readily available.
Reliable and cheap bus service is available between Oranjestad and resort areas such as Palm Beach. Taxis are always available and have set rates.
The island is small and easy to navigate, so renting a car is a good option for cruise visitors who want to see it all. Most car rental agencies are based at the airport, but they usually have pickup and dropoff at the cruise docks.
Driving is on the right side of the road. Foreign and international driving licenses accepted. Free parking is available throughout the island. Drivers cannot turn right at red lights.
Visit A Donkey Sanctuary
No, this is a real thing! You can hitch a ride to the sanctuary and get the chance to see over 100 donkeys being raised there. After coming close to extinction with only 20 animals left of their kind, this sanctuary has raised many donkeys out of those few and kept them safe from disease and accidents.
At this sanctuary, you will be able to pet these adorable and loving creatures and let them eat from the bags full of fruits and vegetables for them as you want the space. With these furry animals walking around and begging for visitors to pet them, you will fall in love within minutes.
This sanctuary doesnt have an entrance or ticket fee to enter the premises, so it is great for families on a budget, but you can offer a small cash donation to support the important work that they are doing to keep the donkey population from dying off.
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Where Cruise Ships Dock In Aruba
The cruise ships dock in Aruba in piers that are next to the north end of Oranjestad downtown, the main city and capital of the Island . There are four docking spots two of which with Terminal Buildings. Depending on how many ships are in port and where these are docked, the walk to the main street â Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard â may take anything between 5 and 10 minutes.
At The Pier, Aruba
Aruba Aloe Factory Museum And Store
Aruba is billed as the worlds largest exporter of aloe. This museum, factory and story provides an opportunity to learn about the history of aloe cultivation on the island, as well as its present day production. The 15 minute tour is free. You can also visit the store where youll find a wide array of aloe based products that could make perfect souvenirs and gifts. Or, just stock up for your own personal supply.
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Things To Do In Aruba In July & August
Arubas highly favorable wind and water conditions and year-round pleasant weather, make it a windsurfing mecca. And it hosts this annual amateur competition for windsurfing, kiteboarding, and related activities in July. Amateur competitors are grouped by age and sex, and theres also a separate Pro category.
All events are held at Fishermans Huts .
A fun event for competitors and spectators alike. In addition to a slate of exhilarating competitions that are exciting to watch, other festivities on the beach include beach chic fashion shows, live concerts, and beach parties. July 2-6, 2020.
For the fourth year in a row, Aruba will be hosting the Caribbeans largest Vow Renewal Celebration. Couples from all over the world participate in this grandiose affair on Eagle Beach. This years event takes place August 19, 2020.
Arubas Annual International Regatta
This sailing event features fun, action, and competitions among international yachts, catamarans, sunfish, kitesurfers and windsurfers during the day, combined with music, beach parties, and dinners at night. Events take place at Surfside Beach. August 21-23, 2020.
Aruba Has The Caribbeans Best Shopping
If youve had enough sun lounging on the lido deck, checking out some of Arubas premier shopping is a great way to spend the day. A laundry list of major retailers and island boutiques are located close to Port of Aruba so youll find something for everyone. Renaissance Mall and Marketplace is one of the most popular spots for retail therapy. If youre looking for high-end brands, the Mall is the place to be.
Renaissance Mall is just steps from port | Photo: Renaissance Mall/Facebook
- Kate Spade
The Marketplace, just down the street from the Mall, is where hungry shoppers should go next. It has 17 places to eat and drink, some familiar, others unique to the island of Aruba. Grab a pizza pie with the whole family at Casa Tua Pizzeria or enjoy a romantic evening for two at Aged. wine bar. Looking for fresh seafood? SeaSalt Grill in the marketplace has all the best fish and crustaceans fresh from the ocean and prepared in authentic Caribbean style.
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Top Things To Do In Oranjestad
See the Aruba Butterfly Farm
A unique habitat for thousands of butterflies, moths, and plants, the butterfly farm is a must-experience activity for nature lovers, kids, and families. A guided tour will walk you through the entire caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation. Informative and incredible, there arent many other butterfly farms quite like this.
Check out the Bon Bini Festival
On cruises to Aruba, dont miss the chance to see the Bon Bini Festival, a weekly celebration that happens each Tuesday evening. Its a great way to learn about Aruban cultural practices, including traditional dances, local art, and folklore.
See the Donkey Sanctuary
Venture beyond Oranjestad to the Santa Cruz Donkey Sanctuary, which is dedicated to saving the islands donkeys and rehabilitating them. Donkey feedings are a fun activity you can do with the kids while educating them about how to treat precious animals.
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