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Aruba Travel Guide: Where To Stay, What To Eat, and More

Couple under Fofoti tree on beach in Aruba Marriott.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Aruba has a nickname — One Happy Island, a description that’s well deserved. A former Dutch colony, this Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela is an extremely safe tourist paradise, filled with glistening white sand beaches and countless entertainment options. Aruba also has a unique climate, combining Caribbean tropics with a beautiful desert landscape. Travelers to Aruba will have plenty of outdoor and indoor activities to choose from, making the island a perfect destination for a romantic holiday or family vacation.

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Where to Stay

As a tourist destination, Aruba is filled with hotels and resorts. Whether traveling as a couple, with friends, or family, the array of choices on the island gives you plenty of flexibility.

Palm Beach: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Aruba Marriott Resort aerial shot with pool and Palm beach in the background.
Marriott

The Aruba Marriott Resort is ideally situated over the prime real estate of Palm Beach, the most famous beach in Aruba. Because of the resort’s convenient location, guests can be at the beach in a few quick minutes from their rooms. Besides the beach, the resort also has two pools (one for adults only), and several bars and restaurants like La Vista and Ruth’s Chris Steak House located on premise. The Aruba Marriott Resort also has a casino for those looking to try their hand at slot machines or other casino games.

  • Time: 18 minutes via car
  • Distance from Airport: 7.8 miles

Eagle Beach: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

Couple in a beach hut at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.
bucutitara/Instagram

This adults-only resort is the perfect splurge for couples on a romantic trip. The rooms and suites are very intimate with private balconies and a focus on environmental protection (solar-heated showers, local Aruba aloe bath items). An important aspect: The room rates do not cover lunch, dinner, or drinks, although a free breakfast buffet is included.

  • Time: 16 minutes via car
  • Distance from Airport: 6.5 miles

Oranjestad: Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort

Woman by the pool at sunset at Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort..
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino/Facebook

This resort caters to both couples and families with an adults-only section and kid-friendly suites. While there’s plenty to do in the resort (two casinos, plenty of restaurants, and bars), its location in Oranjestad (the largest city in Aruba) gives guests plenty of choices for dining, nightlife, and shopping in the city.

  • Time: 10 minutes via car
  • Distance from Airport: 2.9 miles

What to Eat

For a relatively small island, Aruba has an incredible array of dining options. Almost any kind of international cuisine is available in Aruba, ranging from Japanese sushi to Mexican tacos. The overwhelming majority of tourists in Aruba are from America. Because of this, Aruba has plenty of American fast food and casual dining chains. Restaurant menus will also be in English so language will not be an issue.

Food in Aruba is not cheap. Sit-down restaurant prices will be similar to any large American city. Although affordable food options are available, don’t expect your dollar to travel far in Aruba.

  • “$” = budget-friendly or cheap
  • “$$”= average
  • “$$$”= expensive

Best Atmosphere: Atardi

Macadamian grouper at Atardi restaurant on Palm Beach
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Atardi is a dinner-only pop-up restaurant located directly on Palm Beach at the Marriott Resort. The location is spectacular. Diners eat right on the beach, with toes directly in the sand and the setting sun on the horizon. The food at Atardi is elegant, seafood-forward dining at its finest, showcasing the freshest Caribbean seafood. A highlight is the Macadamia Grouper, a crispy grouper filet served with luscious red curry sauce. For dessert, be sure to try the Tropical Coconut Cake, a perfectly sweet and balanced vanilla cake with layers of white chocolate mousse and coconut.

  • $$$

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Best Peruvian: Lima Bistro

Dining room of Peruvian restaurant Lima Bistro in Aruba.

Located right off of the coast of South America, it’s no surprise that Aruba has stellar Latin American cuisine. One of the most exciting new restaurants in Aruba is Lima Bistro. The brainchild of Chef Teddy Bouroncle, Lima Bistro highlights authentic Peruvian flavors and ingredients with creative presentation and style. Try their Local Fish with Black Rice entrée, a perfectly cooked piece of locally caught fish served with jet black squid ink rice. The cocktail program at Lima Bistro is also excellent, demonstrated by their outstanding Pisco Sour. The portion sizes here are not overly large so hearty eaters should consider ordering appetizers to complement their entries.

  • $$$

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Best Breakfast: Linda’s Dutch Pancakes

Dutck Style Pancakes from Linda's Dutch Pancakes in Aruba.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As a former Dutch colony, the influence of the Netherlands is still prevalent in Aruba. For a taste, look no further than Linda’s Dutch Pancakes. Compared to American pancakes, these Dutch versions are thinner with a slightly crispy exterior. Dutch pancake syrup is also different. Instead of maple syrup, Dutch syrup is pure sugar and akin to caramel in both texture and taste. At Linda’s, diners can choose between savory (bacon, mushrooms, cheese etc.) or sweet topping (strawberries, apples, etc.). For the best of both worlds, try drizzling some syrup on a bacon and apple pancake for a sweet and salty combination.

  • $$

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Local Favorite: Zeerovers

Fresh fish at Zeerovers Restaurant in Aruba.

Located on the oceanfront, this no-frills seafood spot is a local favorite. Here, fresh fish and shellfish are brought directly from the boats to the restaurant. Diners can choose between fried fish or shrimp, all sold by weight with French fries and tartar sauce. Be sure to ask for some of the local hot sauce, pica di papaya, an orange-colored elixir made with papaya fruit to compliment your fried seafood. For the perfect meal, enjoy everything with an ice-cold bottle of Aruban Balashi beer, brewed right on the island.

  • $

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What to Do

If there’s one thing travelers don’t have to worry about in Aruba, it’s not having enough entertainment options. The island has a wonderful mix of tropical beaches great for relaxing soak or water sports. Of course, if you’re tired of the beaches, there are other outdoor activities such as bus or UTV tours, giving tourists a chance to see the unique desert landscape of Aruba.

For indoor fun away from the tropical heat, Aruba also has plenty of shopping outlets located in Oranjestad, the capital and the largest city on the island. For those seeking nightlife, both Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are lined with bars and clubs filled with partygoers and plenty of drinks.

Palm Beach

Palapas on Palm Beach at Aruba Marriott
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Palm Beach is a picture-perfect tropical beach. One look at the white sand and warm water and it’s easy to see why. It’s also a very active beach with plenty of people sunbathing or swimming throughout the day. At the Aruba Marriott Resort, hotel guests can reserve a palapa on the beach and order drinks delivered directly to them. There are also various activities in Palm Beach. For instance, you can book a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga class through Vela Aruba. Instead of a yoga mat indoors, SUP yoga takes place on paddleboards directly in the water.

De Palm UTV Tours

UTV Tour in Aruba.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the adventurous traveler, book a UTV tour with De Palm Tours. Although De Palm also offers jeep and bus tours, getting behind the wheel of UTV is an experience you won’t want to miss. A word of warning: This tour will take you off-road through some rough and bumpy terrain so an adventurous mindset is necessary. But this is also the best way to see the whole island. Just make sure to have your driver’s license if you want to book a UTV tour.

San Nichols Mural Tour

Lizard Mural in San Nichols Aruba
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Located in the city of San Nichols at the southern tip of Aruba, this tour is a visual feast. Founded by Tito Bolivar, the tour showcases street art and murals (40 in total and growing) painted on the sides of walls and buildings in the area. Artists hail from all over the world, stemming from Tito’s vision of making San Nichols into the Art District of Aruba.

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Aruba

Experiences

There’s no arguing that Aruba is probably one of the best tropical places to visit, given its remarkable blonde beaches and wind-sculpted sand landscapes. Not to mention, it has the best wreck diving spots in the Caribbean. We can’t also forget the top-notch local food and restaurants, welcoming locals, and exceptional cultures of the island. Because of that, there are a lot of things to do in Aruba. Fortunately, offers great, wallet-friendly deals so you can enjoy these things without breaking the bank.

Hotels

Of course, Aruba doesn’t just offer stunning blonde beaches. It also has the best, wide variety of hotels and other accommodations, that will surely keep you relaxed—from the cheapest all the way to luxurious ones, Aruba has it all. However, if you’re leaning toward the former, offers some of the best deals out there.

Vehicle Rentals

While public transportation in Aruba is inexpensive compared to urban areas, it’s a lot more convenient to rent a car or a jeep if you want to explore the wonders of the island. With a rented vehicle, you’d be able to reach spots most tourists aren’t able to reach. It also saves you a lot of time. also has some great deals if should you ever decide to rent a vehicle and to take an Aruban journey.

Read more: Best Places to Visit

Editors' Recommendations

Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
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