No trip to Aruba would be complete without a visit to Palm Beach, the island’s flagship beach. For two stunning miles, Palm Beach offers some of the island’s finest restaurants and most luxurious hotels, as well as a range of water sport activities. If you enjoy scuba diving, see shipwrecks and coral reefs from up close by taking a dive tour through Red Sail Sports; for those who prefer to stay above the water, rent a sunfish or wave runner and explore the coastline. In the evening, take in a vivid Caribbean sunset while drinking a daiquiri at Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill, or just stroll along the beach before eating at one of the many oceanfront restaurants.
Take a relaxing ocean tour around the island through Pelican Adventures, and enjoy a Champagne Brunch while cutting through the water onboard a luxurious catamaran. Or, visit some of the island’s most popular destinations – including the historic gold mine ruins and the popular Baby Beach – on a Jeep tour offered by Watapana Tours. For the more adventurous-minded, Watapana also offers guided dune buggy and ATV tours.
Whether you are in the market for luxury jewelry and designer clothes, or are simply looking to pick up a few local souvenirs, Aruba has plenty of shopping opportunities. Make sure to visit the Royal Plaza shopping mall and Paseo Herencia, an outdoor complex of stores and restaurants featuring fireworks, live music, and several movie theaters. If your feet start to tire, order a sumptuous Belgian waffle, find a good seat, and watch one of the many live shows that are constantly being staged.
Sights and Museums
If you want to get a sense of Aruba’s long and colorful history, pay a visit to the Museum of Antiquities – easy to spot thanks to its striking copper, onion-shaped roof. Or stop by the Fort Zoutman Historical Museum, Aruba’s oldest building, where you can take a walking tour museum tour led by a knowledgeable, multilingual guide. If you want that perfect photograph, make sure to stop by the California Lighthouse, located at a rocky elevation high enough to see much of Aruba’s coastline and interior. And to get a real sense of Aruba’s ecosystem and geography, the Arikok National Park is a can’t-miss destination.
Have a martini and enjoy some classic hits at the Sopranos Piano Bar, or try your luck at one of Aruba’s many casinos. If local music is what you’re looking for, make sure to get to the Bon Bini Festival, held every Tuesday from 6:30 – 8:30 in Oranjestad, where you can listen to steel drums and Latin music while browsing through booths featuring the work of local artists. For those looking for a truly memorable nightlife experience, book a few tickets on the Tattoo Party Boat, an evening cruise complete with dancing bartenders and a rope-swing.
Red Sail Sports (297-586-1603); Pelican Adventures (297-587-2302); Watapana Tours (297-583-5191); Paseo Herencia (297-586-6533); Museum of Antiquities located at: Tanki Leendert 158-G; Fort Zoutman (297- 588-5199); Tattoo Party Boat located at Palm Pier (297-586-2010). Click here for a list of hotels to stay at while at Aruba.