Flight and hotel Aruba
An overview of Aruba
Located 30km north of the Venezuelan coast, the Caribbean island of Aruba is part of the Dutch ABC island group along with Bonaire and Curacao. Take your pick from the soft, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters of Aruba's southwest coast, or the atmospheric rocky outcrops of the island's Atlantic-facing northeast coast. Sunshine-soaked hospitality, celebrations and a plethora of food options are quintessential to the island. Your flight to Aruba awaits.
What to know before visiting Aruba
The island nation is served by Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), named after the former Dutch monarch. Flights from Washington or New York to Aruba are easily accessible. Aruba's capital city, Oranjestad, is a popular port of call for cruise liners.
The official currency in use is the Aruban florin. ATM machines are widely available in supermarkets and casinos, and some will dispense cash in US dollars. The United Kingdom is just four hours ahead of Aruba. While the official languages are Papiamento and Dutch, Spanish and English are widely understood.
When is the best time to visit Aruba?
Mid-December to mid-April is peak season, at which time you may want to book your Aruba flight and hotel in advance. April to August is a pleasant time to visit, as the dry winds keep humidity in check and vacation packages to Aruba may be cheaper at this time. Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt, making it a safe destination year round.
Aruba celebrates a festival every Tuesday evening! The Bon Bini Festival brings together steel drums, dancers, musicians, local food and hours of dancing. You could also time your holiday to see the grandiose annual Carnival, which features gorgeous floats, pulsating calypso beats and the traditional Burning of King Momo. Fly in for the Aruba International Film Festival in June, or visit in September, again a time for music and dance as locals gear up for the Aruba Piano Festival and the Electric Festival. Watch out for those wild boat parties and block parties.
What to do in Aruba
Mingle with locals and fellow vacationers at any of the pier bars lining the coast from the capital, Oranjestad. The downtown areas are also buzzing with nightlife options, with karaoke bars, swanky bistros, after-hours clubs and martini bars. Hit the casinos for some after-dark gaming action and live house bands.
Sporty travellers can take advantage of Aruba's excellent weather conditions to enjoy kite surfing, beach tennis, scuba diving and even surfboard yoga! Reconnect with nature with some horseriding, biking and hiking through Aruba’s national park, Arikok. Beachside fun is mandatory during weekend getaways to Aruba. Enjoy calm blue waters and water sports at Eagle Beach, or surfing at paradisaical Andicuri. Bachelor's Beach beckons with its windsurfing and snorkelling prospects.
Accessible by ATV or horseback, the Natural Pool (Conchi) features dramatic water sprays spouting from a unique rock formation in one of the island's most rugged terrains. You'll need to walk down 85 steps to the pool. The drive is quite adventurous and not for the faint-hearted.
Places to visit in Aruba
It's little surprise that the travel industry is the mainstay of the Aruban economy. The beaches and sunny skies are a big draw but there's more in store as you'll discover.
- Kick off your weekend in Aruba with a visit to the Archaeological Museum in downtown Oranjestad. It's a treasure trove of Amerindian heritage. Meanwhile, the Historical Museum in Fort Zoutman traces the island's history and development through the 1920s.
- Wedged on the northernmost tip of Aruba, the old stone California Lighthouse in Hudishibana offers jaw-dropping views of the coral shorelines and the Tierra del Sol golf course. Come here to watch the setting sun light the Caribbean waters afire with bright hues at dusk.
- Plan a visit to the beautifully laid out Aruba Ostrich Farm, where you can feed the friendly gigantic birds. Join a tour to observe the incubators and ostrich pens up close.
- Snorkel tours will take you to the Boca Catalina and the Antilla shipwrecks, the latter being the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. The sea is rough, so an organised tour is a good idea. Shipwreck tours are part of most Aruba vacation packages.
- Finally, don't forget the awe-inspiring Natural Bridge, which sits seven metres above sea level. The bridge was formed from coral limestone cut by aeons of pounding surf. The smaller Baby Bridge is nearby.
What to eat in Aruba
With a mélange of world influences, gastronomy in Aruba is no ordinary affair. Dig into hearty seafood dishes featuring it all, with barracuda, mahi mahi, wahoo and red snapper. Other favourites include galina stoba (chicken stew) and cabrito stoba (goat meat) served with delicious beans and rice. Bolita di keshi, a deep-fried dish cheese and egg dish, is loved by local kids. The crescent-shaped pastechi pastry is the unofficial national dessert. Wash it down with popular 'cool island soup' made from tropical fruit juices and nectars.
What souvenirs can you bring home from Aruba?
Known as a shopping paradise of the Caribbean, Aruba boasts a fantastic range of international brands, often sold at lower prices than in the United States. Downtown Aruba's main shopping boulevard, Caya G.F. Betico Croes, and the Port of Call Marketplace are popular with cruise vacationers looking for trinkets, island memorabilia, gouda cheese, chocolate and Delft porcelain. Take home bargain-priced Swiss watches, Cuban cigars, Danish crystal and premium liquors, all excellent souvenirs of weekend getaways in Aruba. Consider a flight to and hotel in Aruba for that next holiday break.