General Description: Aruba holidays have long held a certain mystique for holiday makers from all over the world. Lying just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba has mastered the rare trick of catering for just about everybody offering a heady mix of South American vibrancy, Caribbean chill and Dutch organisation. The island offers some of the best shopping in the region and a buzzing night life not to mention lots of fantastic tour options to neighbouring islands. Located away from the hurricane belt, the island has an arid dry climate (Approx 50cm of rain for the whole year). This is reflected in the interior of the island which is very sandy and dry with lots of cacti. The east coast faces the Atlantic where you can witness the big rollers crashing against the rocks. Only the very brave and the very stupid head here to catch the waves. The west coast by contrast is every bather’s dream with soft white sand and long safe beaches that seem to go on for miles.
Oranjestad the capital sits on the waterfront where yachts and fishing boats mix in close community. However, what every visitor first notices is the ornate and colourful architecture of the buildings in the town centre. Oranjestad is justifiably famous for its great shopping especially for items such as jewellery, watches & perfumes from many leading international brands. In recent times a historic style tram operates up and down the main street which is car free and is a lovely free service to assist you carry all your bags!
Most hotels on the island are grouped into two broad categories with smaller hotels located on Eagle Beach and the larger international brands of hotel on Palm Beach. Eagle Beach which is just a 5 minute cab ride from Oranjestad is very relaxed and has an easy pace about it with many nice restaurants. Hotels here include Bucuti Beach Resort, Manchebo Beach, Divi Village.
Palm Beach which is a further 5 minute ride is renowned for its buzzy atmosphere, trendy bars and huge variety of eateries and the next best shopping on the island. Hotels here include the Divi Phoenix, RIU Palace Aruba, Hyatt Regency Aruba, Holiday Inn Aruba and Hilton Aruba.
Our Opinion: There is so much to do you could spend two weeks here and never repeat yourself twice. If staying in the high rise area try to get a garden or beach view room as street view rooms can be quite noisy if you are sitting out on your balcony.
The Capital: Oranjestad
International Airport: Queen Beatrix Airport (AUA)
Getting There: Connections are available with KLM via Amsterdam. Many options are also available via the United States.
Entry Regulations: Passport valid for at least 6 months after travel date.
Departure tax: It is usually included in the purchased airline ticket
Did you know: Indigenous divi-divi trees are permanently bent southwest by the trade winds toward Eagle Beach where many of the main hotels are located. If you loose your way in Aruba, a divi-divi tree will point you in the right direction.
Cost of living: Perfumes & Electronics are 100% duty free, but cost of living while not cheap is noticeably cheaper than Ireland.
Local Currency: Aruban Florin. US Dollars are widely accepted.
Official Language: Official languages are Dutch and Papiamento (local dialect), but English is widely spoken.
Don’t Miss: The Antilla wreck – a German freighter destroyed in 1941 when Germany invaded Holland during World War II. This is one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean at 400 feet long.