I wanted to put together my top travel tips for Aruba, ready for you just in case you’re planning a trip there anytime soon.
This time last year I was fresh back from my week’s trip soaking up those rays and exploring as much of the island as possible. Such an incredible week.
Aruba is a Dutch island, but in the Caribbean. When I think about my week in Aruba I think of how colourful it was, the stunning blue waters, the amazing food, the amount of things to do, and the beautiful coastline. If you haven’t been to Aruba you might just think of beaches and flamingos, but there’s a lot more to a holiday in Aruba than that.
I’m going to answer some of the most popular questions I get asked about Aruba, and what I think you need to know, to prepare you for your trip to one of the most majestic islands in the world. Here are all my travel tips for Aruba.
Travel tips for Aruba
1. Where is Aruba?
Aruba is in the Caribbean, next to Curaçao and just 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela. Look at this Aruba map to get your bearings. On a clear day you can see Venezuela over the water.
2. Is Aruba part of the Netherlands?
Aruba is Dutch, yes, and a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Curaçao, Saint Maarten and of course, the Netherlands.
If you’re born in Aruba, you’re also a citizen of the Netherlands.
3. Can I smoke weed in Aruba?
NO! No, you cannot. Just because Aruba is part of the Netherlands, doesn’t mean you can smoke weed there. Weed is totally illegal on Aruba for tourists and there are some pretty hefty sentences, or if you’re lucky, fines.
4. What is Aruba known for?
Aruba is known for being one of the most developed islands in the Caribbean. Visit Aruba and you can enjoy yoga classes, vegan diets, a laidback American vibe and lots and lots of aloe vera – it’s grown here.
Aruba is known for its beaches – Aruba beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world and being an island, there are plenty to choose from.
It’s also world renowned for its flamingos.
5. Where can I see the flamingos in Aruba?
I didn’t see the flamingos in Aruba. Yes, I wanted to when I was planning to go, but on arrival I realised it wasn’t actually the most eco friendly thing to do (check out my post on responsible tourism for more on that). Basically there are only a few flamingos, and then thousands of people every year who feed them and take selfies. Not really very good for the flamingoes happiness now, is it?
Up to you though. Who am I to judge?
If you do want to see flamingos in Aruba, you’ll need to get to Flamingo Beach from Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, and get there early. And when I say early, around 7am for the best pics.
Maybe on the first day when you’re slightly jet lagged?
Things to Do in Aruba
Watch my video to see what I got up to during my week in Aruba.
6. What do I need to pack for Aruba?
Packing for Aruba is actually pretty simple – pack for the beach!
I have a full Caribbean packing list here that will help you. Basically, you need your swimmers, and something nice and cool to wear in the evening.
The most important travel tip for Aruba is to pack high SPF sun lotion – Aruba is a scorcher!
If you forget then you can always visit the Aruba Aloe Farm and pick up some all natural aloe vera sun cream instead. I got some after sun and after putting it in the fridge it was a delight to lash upon my slight shoulder sun burn!
7. Which are the best beaches in Aruba?
My favourite Aruba beach was Baby Beach, although the famous Eagle Beach is often voted as the best in the world. THE BEST!
Lucky for me I got to stay on it at the Amsterdam Resort where I was for the week.
Baby Beach in St Nicolas was just more chill though, and had this wonderfully shallow bay you could stand in to cool down in the hot sun. If you get too hot, my top travel tip for Aruba is to get down there!
As well as the idyllic sandy beaches, there are also more rugged beaches up in the Arikok National Park – great for a hike.
Palm Beach is really popular – this is where you’ll find all the watersports, cafes and huge hotels. I did a water yoga class here, and had a great poke bowl from Eduardo’s Beach Shack.
8. Best restaurants in Aruba?
If you want to know the best food in Aruba, it depends who you ask. A week definitely wasn’t enough time to give a definitive answer to this, but let me introduce you to some of the best places I ate at during my week in Aruba.
What is Aruban food?
Well, you can expect a whole range of international cuisine when travelling around Aruba. My favourite meals of my trip to Aruba include the sushi at Sensi, the poke bowl on the beach, and the prawns at Zeerovers. This breakfast at Craft on the main Palm Beach strip was pretty sweet too.
Make sure to try the local Aruban favourite pastechi – delicious filling in fried dough.
If you want to know all the best restaurants in Aruba, click here.
9. What’s the money situation in Aruba?
The currency in Aruba is the florin, but dollars are also used. You can get both out of the ATMs in Aruba.
One of my top travel tips for Aruba though, is to make sure you have some coins if you want to ride the buses at all. I ended up with a very long walk in new flipflops as I couldn’t get on the bus and no taxi would stop for me for some reason.
10. Is Aruba safe?
Risks are everywhere in the world, of course, and you can never truly say anywhere is safe but Aruba consistently ranks as one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. When I asked my guide about this he said that everyone knows everyone as the island is so small, and so crime just doesn’t happen.
There are low rates of both violent and petty crime in Aruba.
One of the reasons why Aruba looks so colourful and fresh compared to other Caribbean islands is because it lies to the south of the Caribbean hurricane zone, meaning it doesn’t get hit nearly as much as everywhere else.
Do check the up to date Zika situation if you’re planning on making babies anytime soon.
11. Are you allowed a drone in Aruba?
I took my Phantom 4 drone to Aruba and didn’t have a problem. I enjoyed flying it on the beach both in the day, and in the evening – and flying it at the California Lighthouse at sunset was fun too. There are some incredible sights in Aruba, and it was great having the car for the day to explore more of the island too.
Top drone spots in Aruba include Baby Beach, the Arikok National Park, Eagle Beach and the California Lighthouse. Don’t leave the island without checking these top Aruba drone spots out!
12. What are the absolute top 5 things to do in Aruba?
Oo, good question for this list of my top travel tips for Aruba.
Ok, top 5 activities are:
- Exploring Arikok National Park – be wary of doing it in an ATV though, there’s a lot of local resentment towards the effect these are having on the National Park.
2. Visit the Ritz – the massage and the pool were just… everything.
3. Relax on Baby Beach – the bay here was the perfect depth for keeping cool in the sun. Bring a picnic and enjoy the natural delights of this famous Aruba beach. And rent a car to get down there – much more fun than relying on taxis!
4. Visit St Nicholas for the street art – once upon a time it was known as a bit of a no go area in Aruba, but with a dash of colour and some cool arty shops, St Nicholas is now a great place to visit.
5. Go on a snorkelling trip with Tranquillo Charters Aruba – seriously, you can’t visit Aruba without going out on a yacht for the day to enjoy the sea, and all the delights underneath it.
Can I have 6? I also loved visiting Oranjestad – the capital. We went on a tram through the ‘city’ and got to see the highlights in one afternoon.
13. Is there any shopping in Aruba?
Yes! I had a good look around the shops – moreso than I ever would normally as unfortunately my luggage was delayed on the way. On the plus side it meant I had over £100 in credit to spend in the stores in Aruba, and ended up with some great new sunnies and a new dress, and flip flops.
The shopping in Aruba is pretty extensive – there are several malls in Aruba, Renaissance Mall, Palm Beach Plaza Mall and Paseo Herencia Mall to keep you looking slick on the beaches!
14. Best time to visit Aruba?
I went to Aruba at the end of October into November – it was a great time of year to be there!
When is the best time to go to Aruba? Whenever you have the money! It’s a fabulous island year round and one of the best winter sun destinations.
Aruba remains a fairly consistent 29-31C year round, and it stays warm in the evening. Most of the rain falls between September and January.
15. What can you do in Aruba?
There are so many fun activities to try in Aruba – did you watch my video above?
You can see the flamingos, hire a car for a road trip, go scuba diving, try snorkelling, take a jeep tour, relax at a spa, go wind surfing, paddleboarding or rock pooling. If you like to try new things while you’re on holiday, there’s plenty of choice in Aruba.
But also, my number one travel tip for Aruba would be to just CHILL OUT!
Final few Aruba travel tips for you
– You can drink the tap water in Aruba.
– The main language in Aruba is Papiamento, but Dutch and English are also understood.
– US, Canadian, and EU citizens do not need a visa to enter Aruba.
– The electric points are the same as in the USA and Canada – Brits, bring your adaptors!
– Over 60% of visitors to Aruba are returners – you’re going to love it!
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