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 Aruba

Port of Aruba
Typical Aruba Beach Day

Aruba Information
Tom Ogg

Language and Currency
What is Aruba Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?

Aruba Port Reviews

Language and Currency

The official language for Aruba is Dutch, but English (and Spanish) is spoken just about everywhere on the island. The currency is the Aruban Florin, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. There are numerous ATM machines for additional cash.

What is Aruba like?


Aruba's Baby Beach

Once a Dutch colony and part of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba is a sophisticated island blessed with eternal sunshine. Many folks are surprised to see how arid Aruba is when compared to other islands in the Caribbean. The capital city of Aruba, Oranjestad is a fascinating city that everyone will enjoy. Aruba's beaches are legendary. The Dutch influence can be readily seen by the pastel colored row houses in the downtown area of Oranjestad. These date back to the 1800s.

What is the weather like?

Aruba is blessed with perfect weather (if you like sunshine.) With less than 20 inches of rain annually, Aruba basks in a perfect climate that averages 82 degrees year around.

Where does the ship dock?


Ships Docked at the Port of Aruba

The cruise ship terminal is located in Aruba's capital city of Oranjestad and is within easy walking distance of town.

Where is the shopping?


Aruba's Main Shopping Street in Oranjestad

Oranjestad offers numerous shops, boutiques and malls that are all within easy walking distance of the ship. Just head for the main street in Oranjestad and you will find many stores, shops, boutiques, restaurants and street vendors to investigate.

What is there to buy?

Many of the shops in Oranjestad offer duty free shopping so look for bargains on jewelry, watches, crystal, fine collectibles, designer clothing and accessories, perfumes and cosmetics, porcelain figures, fine Dutch china and lace work, as well as the usual tee shirts and souvenirs and tourist items. Many of the stores price their wares in both Florin and dollars.


The Royal Plaza Mall

Close to the cruise ship terminal is the Royal Plaza Mall, which offers a wide selection of local handicrafts and art and collectibles. Also located in the same area is the Seaport Village Mall featuring lots of designer clothing and shops of interest to visitors.

What is there to do?


Baby Beach, Aruba (Near the Southern Tip of Aruba)

Besides shopping and barhopping, Aruba offers great beaches.


Eagle Beach (Just North of Town)

I like the beach at Eagle Beach (about 10 minutes away by taxi) and adjacent to the hotel and resort district.


Aruba's Natural Bridge

One of the main features on Aruba is the Natural Bridge on the windward side of the island. The 200 foot opening that forms the natural bridge was carved out of solid rock by the surf and wind. While interesting, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are tired of shopping, beaches and want to see something unique. It does offer a great photo opportunity however. HINT: Driving in Aruba is difficult, at best. The roads are not marked with street names and the maps are of little use. I would suggest taking a taxi or a local tour rather than renting a jeep or automobile to see the sights if that is your objective. A visit to the National Park and the Natural Bridge would cover the most interesting points and would only take a couple of hours.


Typical Aruba Beach

Besides exploring Aruba's many beaches and villages, there are a good number of opportunities for snorkeling, SCUBA diving, horse back riding, fishing and all water sports. Cruise ships normally offer an island/city tour, SCUBA diving, a booze cruise, fishing, snorkeling, 4 X 4 island tour and horse back riding.


Aruba's Casino in Downtown Oranjestad

Of course, if you are a gambler, visit Aruba's excellent casino located right in the heart of downtown.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?

I would say that you shouldn't miss the shopping and also the great beaches.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?


Fresh live lobster at Don Carlos Restaurant

There are actually two that I would recommend. If you like fresh lobster, don't miss Don Carlos Restaurant right in the heart of Oranjestad on the harbor side of the main street. There is a large aquarium with numerous large live lobsters in it. Pick out the one you want and they will cook it for you any way you would like.


The Beach at the Havana Beach Club
(Note Proximity to the Port of Aruba)

The Havana Beach Club is another great spot that we discovered on our last visit and I would highly recommend it as an excellent solution for a day at the beach, dining and entertainment.


The Havana Beach Club

The Havana Beach Club is located about 1/2 of a mile south of the port within easy walking distance of the ship. There is a great beach (no charge for the lounge chairs or to use the beach) and an excellent restaurant and bar that serves wonderful food and drinks at reasonable prices.


Movies On the Beach at the Havana Club

On Monday nights the Havana Beach Club offers "Movies on the Beach". For $3.00 one rents a lounge chair to enjoy first run movies shown on a large screen right on the beach. The bar serves drinks during the show and overall, the experience is wonderful.

(Note that there are few cruise passengers that make it here so the vast majority of people using the Havana Beach Club are locals (primarily Dutch) as such, this may not make a good choice for families sensitive to topless sun bathing.)

 Port Reviews

  • Jonathan Jay Gibian,

    Aruba is truly a desert island, and its small size (something like 9 by 16 miles) allows one to see the entire island well within a day. On its western coast are...read more

    158 users found this review helpful.
  • Amy White,

    Aruba is a beautiful island – the beaches are awesome. We booked a 4 hour trip in the morning on the Jolly Pirates – snorkeling at 3 sites, including 2 shipwrecks. Also...read more

    133 users found this review helpful.
  • Shannon,

    We booked this excursion through the cruise for $47 a piece. Free rum punch (50% rum, 50% punch). The schooner takes you out to a beach for 45 minutes of swimming...read more

    143 users found this review helpful.
  • Judy and Roger Best,

    We didn’t make any solid plans for Aruba before arriving, and this is my one regret. I wish we had booked a water excursion in Aruba, because the water was...read more

    122 users found this review helpful.
  • Rich Bigg,

    Aruba is a beautiful island. I would seriously consider retiring there. The island and the people are prosperous. In some ways, it reminded me of Bermuda (another of...read more

    19 users found this review helpful.
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     Aruba Shore Excursions

 

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