The InteleTravel Island Guide: Aruba

The InteleTravel Island Guide: Aruba

When it comes to Caribbean vacation destinations, Aruba stands a cut above the rest. Simply hearing its name conjures images of white-sand beaches, crystal-clear seas, and absolutely stunning desert vistas. 

Averaging more than a million visitors annually, this tropical paradise is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, for many reasons. Aruba is home to world-class resorts and restaurants, pristine beaches, and some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. 

Here’s our definitive guide for what you need to know about vacationing in Aruba. 

Lay of the Land

Aruba is one of the Lesser Antilles islands, located in the Southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. It’s only 20 miles long and six across, and surrounded on all sides by white-sand beaches and rugged coastline. 

More than 100,000 people reside in Aruba, with 28,000 in the capital city Oranjestad, which serves as the island’s main port and cultural center. 

The island boasts a rich culture and history, and visitors are invited to discover and participate in its events and festivals throughout the year. From the Dande Music Festival to the Aruba Carnival, its largest annual cultural event, plenty of opportunities exist for vacationers of all types to immerse within the local customs, and indulge in delicious traditional cuisine.

Devoid of sprawling urban centers, Aruba is one of the best escapes for relaxing and enjoying the wonders of nature—with wind-sculpted desert beauty, caves of prehistoric petroglyphs scattered across the island, diving tours to observe the diverse sea life, and beautiful beaches.

It’s an ideal destination for travelers looking to get away from it all, which is why it's become such a popular tourism hotspot.

When to Go 

There’s really no bad time to visit Aruba, since it sits south of the so-called Hurricane Belt of the Caribbean—making direct hits rare. The best time to plan your Aruba vacation will depend on what exactly you’re looking for. 

  • High vs. Low Season

    Typically, between April and August is when you’ll find a notable dip in the prices of hotel rooms, airfare, and other expenses. You can also discover discounts if you travel in the early fall. The most expensive time to book is January to March, when hotel rooms are at their highest prices.
  • Weather

    Aruba has the most sunny days on average than any other island in the Caribbean. Typically, temperatures stay around 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, and its arid desert climate and frequent winds keep the humidity to a minimum.

Its position at the southern edge of the Caribbean, well outside the traditional trajectories of hurricanes, avoids most tropical storms, as well. 

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Getting There

If you plan on traveling by air, you’ll arrive through Queen Beatrix International Airport, generally referred to as Aruba Airport, located in Oranjestad.

Despite the island’s close proximity to Curaçao and Venezuela, boat crossings are not typically available, and there are no public transportation options by sea. It’s possible to charter a boat to make the trip, and if so, you will most likely end up using one of the three major ports and harbors on the island: Barcadera, Oranjestad, and San Nicolas.

There are a number of viable ways to get around Aruba once there. Taxis, buses, and cars are the most common modes of land transportation. There are plenty of convenient rental car options— with Hertz, Avis, and Alamo operating nearby the Aruba Airport. Local rental car companies are also available. 

There is also Arubus, the government-owned bus company. Its fleet of 29 busses provide service throughout the island.  

Where to Stay

Aruba is a small island, so you won’t have to worry too much about the location of your hotel—all are within short distance to its many activities. Focus instead on finding the right accommodations to fit your needs. Where you stay will largely depend on what you want to do, and the group you’re traveling with. 

Here are several options to consider depending on the type of vacation you’re looking to plan: 

Adult Groups 

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a boutique, adults-only property prioritizing environmental protection and conservation. Each room offers an intimate setting with balconies and terraces, free Wi-Fi access, and solar-heated, walk-in showers. There’s a private cabana on the beach for romantic dining, and other on-site amenities including a fitness center, spa, and infinity pool. 

If you’d prefer a lively scene, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is an ideal adults-only resort. With eight floors, beach access, and the Stellaris Casino and Tradewinds Club—with exclusive H2Oasis adults-only pool and poolside bar—guests will find endless entertainment. Rooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs, private 100-square-foot balconies, walk-in closets, and wet bars.


For family vacations, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is perfect. On a private beach close to the airport, visitors can explore Arikok National Park Visitors Center and Baby Beach to enjoy the area's natural beauty, check out Renaissance Mall Aruba and Cosecha Aruban Craft Design & Heritage for some shopping, and visit Bushiri Karting Speedway for an interactive, fun-filled experience with the kids. 

Alternatively, Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort in Noord provides great access to both Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. There are plenty of fun, family-friendly activities to enjoy, such as a few rounds of golf at Links at Divi Aruba, butterfly watching at the Butterfly Farm, and countless outdoor recreational activities, including hiking and biking. 

Luxury Seekers

For those craving luxury, the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Aruba is the perfect spot. With glorious beachfront access to Eagle Beach, two outdoor pools and spas, and plenty of in-room amenities such as private bathrooms with free toiletries, mini-bars, flat-screen TVs, and scenic balconies. 

The luxurious Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is another. Each room features a TV and private bathroom, and either a balcony or patio. Guests also have access to a spa center, water sports facilities, and transportation services. Enjoy fresh seafood in the Sunset Grille Restaurant, or relax with an international cocktail at Mira Solo Bar. The sky’s the limit. 

What to Do

Aruba has endless activities for every traveler. From exploring natural wonders to dancing the night away at spectacular clubs to relaxing in the sunlight and lounging along the sea—there’s plenty of opportunities to appreciate all of this island paradise! 

Outdoor Adventures

Aruba’s Natural Pool and Baby Beach is homebase for an unforgettable Island Ultimate Jeep Safari. Cruise along in a 4x4 Land Rover specially designed to traverse the rugged terrain of Arikok National Park. Stop by landmarks such as the California Lighthouse and Natural Bridge, with free time for snorkeling and swimming at the Natural Pool. Explore Gold Mill Ruins, and learn as you go, during this incredible guided tour excursion.

For fans of water sports, Fisherman’s Hut has all you’ll need for some serious aquatic-based fun. Try kite or windsurfing, or post up onshore and enjoy the show!

Rest & Relaxation

Those who just want to zone out and get away from it all can check out Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. Pitch an umbrella, lounge on the soft, white sand, or enjoy a swim in turquoise waters. 

If you’d prefer to be pampered, Mandara Spa at Aruba Marriott Resort is just what the doctor ordered. With a distinct Indonesian influence, it soothes the body and mind with everything from body wraps to hand massages and facials. 

Urban Exploration

Aruba doesn’t really have any densely populated cities, but those seeking some quality urban exploring can look no further than the capital, Oranjestad. The cultural center of the island, its unique charm and warm, welcoming vibe will leave a lasting impression. 

Replete with colorful Dutch colonial architecture, shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and other prime entertainment destinations, this amazing city is perfect for exploring and soaking up island culture.

Renaissance Shopping Mall nearby features high-end retail shops such as Chanel, Gucci, and Cartier for those itching to splurge. Ride the Aruba Streetcar—a free, open-air bus running  between all the top attractions in the city—for some truly magnificent sightseeing. 


Aruba is renowned for its vibrant and festive nightlife. Whether enjoying a night out with friends, significant others, or solo, a remarkable evening is guaranteed. 

If you’re looking to cut a rug on the dancefloor, Aruba Salsa Dance Company offers complimentary workshops to tourists from all ages and every corner of the world. Operating at several locations throughout the island, learn to move and groove like a superstar! Merengue, Kizomba, Bachata, and many other dances are on the menu, with super-friendly instructors and an extremely welcoming environment for newcomers. 

Casibari Cafe is another great place to embrace the nightlife. Surrounded by Aruba's incredible rock formations and island-life ambience, it regularly hosts live music and Reggae festivals, Salsa nights, jam sessions, and more!

What to Eat & Drink

Aruba is home to a vast array of bars and restaurants to satisfy any taste, occasion, or price point—whether you’re looking for somewhere low-key and serene, or a bit more lively. 

For a great atmosphere, affordable food, and large portions, Barney's Bar & Restaurant is a must-visit. With a nightly all-you-can-eat menu and raving customer reviews, it’s a great place to unwind with your favorite drink, family, and friends.

La Trattoria El Faro Blanco is a picturesque restaurant built more than a century ago, and  features many Italian menu items, with a special emphasis on Neapolitan cuisine and seafood. There's breakfast, lunch and dinner options, as well as full-bar service starting at 9 a.m., so early bird diners can enjoy the sun and the scenery over a cocktail. It also conveniently offers disposable cameras, film, bottled water, and unique lighthouse souvenirs.

Papiamento, named after the native language of the island, is an authentic Aruban villa built in 1886 and transformed into one of its most famous restaurants. Adorned with Dutch antiques and hand-carved furniture, it is an ideal location for a romantic meal. Guests can request to sit outside by the pool, surrounded by a vibrant tropical garden, fairy lights, candles, and the stars. As one of the oldest family-run restaurants in Aruba, Papiamento is recognized for its consistently high quality of fabulous food and friendly service.

For a unique, one-of-a-kind dining experience, look no further than Senses Fine Dining. This new, exclusive restaurant at the world-class, award-winning Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is designed to entice and delight all your senses. 

From the moment you walk through the doors, everything you see, smell, taste, hear, and touch exudes the highest quality. This exclusive experience is limited to 16 guests at a time, and features an eight-course meal and glass of prosecco for $110. 

With so much to do and see in Aruba, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, forget something important, or miss out on some great deals. Skip the stress of planning your next Caribbean vacation, and connect with an InteleTravel Advisor today, at no extra cost! 

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