Forming part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba is a popular Caribbean island off the north coast of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it’s affectionately known as one of the “ABC Islands”. Its south-west coastline features white sandy beaches and turquoise waters while the north-east is dominated by rocky coves studded with cacti.
Things to do in Aruba
From discovering the rich history of Oranjestad to kicking back on idyllic Caribbean beaches, Aruba is a captivating getaway.
Explore charming Oranjestad. The capital of Aruba is Oranjestad, a colourful settlement on the island’s south coast that’s home to the 18th-century Fort Zoutman. Built by African slaves, its Willem II Tower houses the Historical Museum, which delves into the island’s tumultuous past. Also of note is the Archaeological Museum where ancient indigenous artefacts are exhibited.
Relax on Eagle Beach. Considered the most picturesque stretch of sand in Aruba, Eagle Beach lies within easy reach of the capital, Oranjestad. Its warm, turquoise waters offer excellent snorkelling while the surrounding coastline can be explored by sea kayak or jet ski. Just around the headland is aptly-named Palm Beach, which is a little quieter than its neighbour.
Visit the ruins of Bushiribana and Balashi. A legacy of Aruba’s 19th-century gold boom, these atmospheric ruins encompass two former smelters built by the British. In addition to exploring the fortified structures designed to intimidate invading pirates, travellers can enjoy sweeping views across the coast at the ruins of Bushiribana and Balashi.
Swim in the Natural Pool. On the rugged west coast of Aruba is a volcanic rock pool that’s renowned for its geyser-like eruptions. It’s best visited on adrenaline-pumping 4x4 excursions through the surrounding dunes.
Getting around Aruba
Reina Beatrix International Airport is the main gateway to Aruba and lies 10 minutes’ drive from the heart of Oranjestad. Buses are the main means of getting around the island, together with rental cars and private taxis. Oranjestad is also served by a double-decker tram that runs from the cruise ship port to the downtown area, with most of the town easy to explore on foot.