Aruba, part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), is an independent and autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is close to Bonaire and Curacao and can therefore be combined with a trip to one of these islands! You can work with Dutch in most places on Aruba, but almost everyone speaks English. And for good reason, Aruba is a hugely popular vacation destination among Americans. We decided to spend Christmas on this beautiful and relaxed island. Are you planning a trip to Aruba? Then make sure you tick off the following to do’s!
7x to do op Aruba
Relax on one of the many beaches
On a tropical island, a chill day at the beach cannot be missed! Or rather, it is not to be missed. The most famous beaches in Aruba are Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. These are the large and elongated beaches on the island. Almost all beaches in Aruba meet ‘the perfect beach image’: white sand and turquoise clear water. A tropical paradise!
However, there is a difference in the sizes of the beaches and the crowds. Palm Beach, for example, is surrounded by large hotels and here a lot of tourists can be found, which we preferred less. If you do come here, I do recommend getting an acai bowl at Eduardo’s Beach Shack or having a drink at Bugaloe. Be sure to visit the smaller and less crowded beaches such as Baby Beach (most southern tip of Aruba), Mangel Halto and Boca Grandi.
2. For fish lovers: fresh fish at Pirates
You don’t want to miss a visit to Pirates during your vacation in Aruba. There are many modern, hip restaurants on the island, but if you want really tasty and fresh fish in a relaxed environment, you have to go to Pirates! Corsairs is located on the water and surrounded by fishing boats. When ordering, you indicate which fish you want (this depends on the day catch of the fishermen) and you can choose the numbers or weight. Your order will be taken to the kitchen and served at your table in no time. To lick your fingers!
3. On an adventure in the Arikok National Park
We have done quite a bit of research beforehand about the Arikok National Park to see if the park was suitable for our rental car. You have different areas in the park, on the one hand with paved roads and on the other hand unpaved roads where a 4 × 4 jeep is needed. Since we had a ‘normal’ rental car, we opted for the paved roads. Please note, even on the paved roads you will find holes in the road at every turn. You have to drive over this very carefully to avoid damage! In the Arikok National Park you can follow several walking routes and you do not have to do everything by car, this is all explained at the Visitors Center. In the park you can visit several beaches (here you can not swim because of the rough sea), caves and viewpoints. Because we could only enter the area with paved roads, we spent less time in the park than expected. If you want to see the whole park well, I recommend renting a jeep.
Dinner in bed at Screaming Eagle
Dinner in bed? Sounds relaxed! When you also see the menu again, you get completely enthusiastic. A dinner at Screaming Eagle was therefore high on our list. At Screaming Eagle, located on Eagle Beach, you don’t necessarily have to eat on a lounge bed, they also have regular tables inside and outside. With a trendy, international, fusion style, Screaming Eagle has a selection of dishes that will make any food lover happy!
5. Nice breakfast at Craft
For a nice breakfast and a good cup of coffee Craft is the right place for you! In addition to the selection of waffles, fresh fruit and açai bowls, they have delicious homemade lemonades, juices and fresh coffee. For a good start to the day, I absolutely recommend Craft. In the evening you can also go here for delicious cocktails.
6. Wandering and shopping in Oranjestad
Oranjestad is the place to be for a city feeling in Aruba. At the Renaissance Mall, close to the harbor where the cruise ships are, you will find several shops where you can shop. You will often find luxury shops (think Cartier and Louis Vuitton), but also the Zara and Mango, for example. You are also in the right place for a delicious snack and drink!
7. California Lighthouse
In the very north of the island you will find the California Lighthouse. The lighthouse is named after a ship that sank off the coast of Aruba: the SS California. At the top of the lighthouse you have a beautiful view, on the one hand over the rough sea in the north and on the other hand over the island. You also have this view if you do not go up in the lighthouse. Unfortunately we could not enter the lighthouse due to Christmas. At the lighthouse you will also find an Italian restaurant called La Trattoria el Faro Blanco. This is the former lighthouse keeper’s house where you can dine with beautiful views!