Oranjestad is the duty-free capital of Aruba. Known for its impeccably white sand beaches and cobalt blue seas, Aruba is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. While there might be some debate whether the eastern or western Caribbean areas are the most beautiful, the truth is that anywhere in the Caribbean is lovely to visit.
This small, yet picturesque town is the quintessential Dutch-painted seaport that island-hoppers are accustomed to. Unlike many of the mountainous islands in the Caribbean, Aruba is flat with enchanting beaches, colorful flowers, and of course the inviting climate of relaxation.
Where You Dock in Oranjestad – Aruba
The Port of Oranjestad is the main port on Aruba and located in the southwestern end of the island. The port allows for both night and day navigation and provides five cruise ship births ranging from the smallest of 557 feet to 1,443 feet and 1910 feet. Considered one of the prettiest ports to enter in the Caribbean, ships come up along the capital’s water-edge giving easy access to shopping, beaches, museums, and more that the island offers.
Getting Around Oranjestad – Aruba
If you’re from a major city, you’ll quickly notice that taxis on the island do not have metered. This is because the local government maintains fixed rates for travel from the port to major destinations on the island. For example, from downtown to popular Palm Beach you can expect to pay $11.
In addition to taxis, several also offer tours of the island from the port. The tours frequently travel from the California Lighthouse, to the Casibari Rock Formations and then the chapel along the northwest coast of the island. You can expect to pay about $20 for four people and a tour just under three hours long.
If you are casually traveling around the island an inexpensive sightseeing and travel option is the Arubus—Aruba’s bus system. Arubus runs until 9:00 PM and travels from the Oranjestad to the far end of the island with several stops along the way including hotels. The rate for a trip is about $1.50.
Aruba offers several common-brand rental car services with vehicles of all sizes. However, to rent a car you need to travel outside the port to the airport where most are found. Since travel is on the right side of the road, vehicle travel is especially nice if you are going to be on the island for half a day or longer.
Shopping In Oranjestad – Aruba
Oranjestad has become known as one of the best shopping destinations in the Caribbean featuring the typical tourist items such as t-shirts, hats and souvenirs. The duty-free port also offers Swiss watches, French perfumes, jewelry and a large supply of locally made products.
The main shopping destination is the Renaissance Marketplace where you can also find free WIFI and local cafes and coffee shops. Yes, there is also a Starbucks!
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Considered as the capital of downtown dining, Renaissance Marketplace offers more than 10 restaurants with daily live musical entertainment. The perfect place for a night out in town. #RenMarketplace #Aruba #OneHappyIsland #Capital #DownTown #Lunch #Dinner #Entertainment #Family
Dining In Oranjestad – Aruba
If you are a foodie, then coming into port is the perfect place for you. Oranjestad has some of the best restaurants on the island offering up a diverse array of cuisines. With exceptional views of the harbor, you can sit back and relax as you try gourmet Dutch, Cuban, and local seafood.
Things To Do in Oranjestad – Aruba
The weather in Aruba tends to stay around 81º F (27ºC) year-round, however, the regular flow of Tradewinds keeps a frequent breeze making the island ideal for sightseeing.
If you’re not into the local shopping, Aruba offers a wealth of options such as the Aloe Museum and Factory, the Fort Zoutman Historical Museum, and National Archaeological Museum. For other casual activities visit the Butterfly Farm, Ostrich Farm, or the Arikok National Park where you could take a walking tour, or even one on horseback.
Aruba also offers a variety of water sports and local beaches. However, if you want to take a seriously cool dive check out the underwater submarine tours which dip as deep as 130’ into the ocean giving you an up-close view of amazing coral and tropical fish.
Aruba offers two golf courses—and 18-hole course, Tierra del Sol, and a 9-hole course, The Links at Divi Aruba.
Let’s face it, despite the island’s small size, when people hit the port, they want to find a beach. Aruba has over fifteen beaches to choose from, some with considerably notoriety. Here are three of the best:
Eagle Beach: Noted as one of the top beaches in the world, Eagle Beach is conveniently located close to the port and in Oranjestad. The area is known for low-rise resorts, but more so for the expansive powdery white beach. With a ton of beach toys and activities as well as proximity to local restaurants and cafes this is a sure stop on your destination plans.
Malmok Beach: A little north of Eagle Beach and on the way to the California Lighthouse you’ll find Malmok Beach. Known for its crystal-clear water and limestone coastline, the beach not only offers a stunning view but also some of the best SCUBA diving on the island with reefs and shipwrecks.
Baby Beach: Well-known Baby Beach is near the southern end of the island outside San Nicolas. Due to its half-moon enclosure the beach is shallow and particularly attractive to families. The beach is also a favorite for swimmers and snorkelers. Despite being far from much of the bustle of the port town, Baby Beach still offers a variety of refreshments from drinks to burgers, hot dogs, seafood platters and more.
Resort Day Pass: If you want to enjoy the beach with all the amenities of a resort, like loungers, pool, food and drinks, check out these options for Aruba with ResortPass!
Check out these excursions in Aruba.
Top Tours & Excursions In Oranjestad – Aruba
Board a 42 foot sailing yacht and experience the freedom of sailing through the crystal waters of Aruba on your way to snorkel at the famed Antilla Shipwreck, then head to a vibrant local reef to see amazing sea creatures and coral....
- Duration: 3 hours
- Activity Level: Moderate
- Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes – collapsible wheelchairs only