It’s very likely that you’ve hummed to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo,” which mentions the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba. And thereinafter, you’ve also likely pictured white sandy beaches lined with palm trees and turquoise waters. Aruba, located in the southern Caribbean, is indeed that and more.
Those seeking adventure, pampered indulgence, and a bit of history will find themselves satisfied with what the island has to offer. It’s not unsurprising to know that Aruba is a preferred travel destination for many in America and Europe wanting to escape the dreary winter.
This Aruba travel guide is nowhere near comprehensive, but will give you a taste of what to expect and what not to miss – whether you’re here for a week or merely a few hours.
Arikok National Park
If you’re staying in Aruba for more than just a few hours, spend some time in Arikok National Park. The park, which takes up almost 20% of the island, lies on the eastern coast and has a setting not limited to sandy beaches. There are rugged rock formations, desert-like terrain, and forests. The most famous attraction within however, is the Natural Pool. Locally known as “conchi,” the pool can be reached by either a 4WD or by hiking. If you choose the latter, prepare for a 3.5-mile hike from the park’s visitor center.
Possibly the highlight for many travelers in this Aruba travel guide is the capital city of Oranjestad. Located on the southern shore, it’s a bustling harbor city with colorful buildings featuring Dutch colonial architecture. Main Street is the heart of the city’s nightlife, with restaurants, nightclubs and casinos, just to name a few.
Those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere can head for Eagle Beach, said to be one of the best beaches in the Caribbean according to a number of traveler polls. It’s both long and wide and features soft, powdery white sand. Even at its busiest, the beach can still feel intimate. Folks who come here typically sunbathe, swim, or partake in a variety of water sports. The beach also features two of the most photographed fofoti trees in the country, as well as sea turtle nesting grounds.
Fort Zoutman and Aruba Historical Museum
No Aruba travel guide is complete without a mention of Fort Zoutman and Aruba Historical Museum. The building that houses the museum is Aruba’s oldest and traces the country’s history from prehistoric to modern times. The museum is open on weekdays from 9:00a.m to 4:30 p.m. and charges a small fee. If you’re disembarking from your Caribbean cruise, it’s a leisurely 15-minute walk from the dock. It also hosts a welcome party every Tuesday night, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you happen to be in town for it, consider taking part to experience a bit of local flare.