Trek Tips: Aruba Travel Tips
Here are some tips for your upcoming trip to Aruba:
Be sure to pack:
•Sun hats and visors along with your swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen.
•A light sweater or jacket for indoor restaurants – the a/c is usually cranked up to compensate for the steamy temperatures outside!
•A pen in your carry on bag or purse to complete the mandatory immigration forms during your inbound flight.
At the airport:
•Have your customs forms ready.
•Expect efficient lines to get you through customs.
•Make duty-free purchases – this is the only place to buy duty free on the island.
•Consider renting a car.
Before immersing yourself in island activities, consider these tips first:
•Before you select activities for your vacation, remember that less is sometimes more. There’s nothing worse than returning from a vacation more tired than when you left. Leave some activities for your next trip to Aruba!
•Consider renting a car so you can take advantage of beaches, island sites, dining options and an impromptu sunrise (for sunrise times, check here).
•Apply sunscreen at least every two hours and stay well hydrated.
•Take a break from the hot sun in casinos, restaurants, shops, movie theaters, museums and bingo. We love playing bingo at the Excelsior Casino next to the Holiday Inn (3:30pm Mondays through Fridays).
Popular island activities include:
Beaches Water sports Horseback riding Island tours (De Palm Tours and ABC Tours) Museums Spas Island sites (california lighthouse, National park, Natural bridge, Natural pool, Rock formation, gold mine ruins,Brewery tour) Animal attractions (Donkey Sanctuary, Ostrich Farm, Butterfly Farm, Philip’s Animal Garden/Rescue) Golf Art galleries Casinos
•Sundays are lazy days in Aruba. Start off at a brunch buffet (La Vista at the Marriott $32.95, Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt $39, Sunset Grill at the Radisson, Windows on Aruba and The Promenade are popular options) then settle in for a relaxing day on the beach. From 4-6pm Pure Beach at the Divi Aruba Phoenix hosts a happy hour with a live band. In the evening, most people head to Paseo Herencia and Palm Beach Plaza for dining, shopping and entertainment (open from 5-10pm).
•The only place to find duty-free shopping is at the airport. But don’t let that discourage you from browsing the malls, boutiques and artists’ stalls for something unique to bring back home. Often, products sold in Aruba are not stocked in American stores.
•If you’re looking for that special Aruban gift to fit into your carry on, consider small-sized Aruba aloe products or a small bottle of hot sauce ( we love the sauces at Iguana Joe’s).
Dining in Aruba:
•Sample as many restaurants as possible then post your favorites on our site. If you’re a repeat visitor, make sure you try a new spot. We plan on trying Wacky Wahoo’s, White Modern and Barefoot restaurants for the first time this May.
•Beachfront dining is a must while visiting Aruba. Check out this link on visitaruba.com for some options.
•If travelling on a budget, keep food and beverage costs down by:
- refilling your water containers from the tap (Aruba has some of the freshest water in the Caribbean thanks to a large desalinization plant on the island),
- stocking up on food, snacks and liquor at the grocery store. We always stop by Ling and Sons on the way back from the airport but they also deliver.
- using the coupons you’ll get at the airport (in a Little Switzerland bag) or at your hotel lobby for dining (and activity) discounts.
- grabbing something quick from a fast food place (McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Burger King all have representation on the island)
- dining at low-cost eateries for breakfast and lunch. Options include : Dushi Bagel/Burgers & Burgers (in front of the Playa Linda Resort), Aromi di Italia (across from Paseo Harencia), Scott’s Brats (near the Playa Linda Resort), Taste of Belgium (Palm Beach Mall), Salt and Pepper (Arawak Gardens across from the Radisson), Smokey Joe’s, Tomato Charlie’s (Brickell Bay Beach Club), Pizza Bob’s (Costa Linda Resort), Linda’s Dutch Pancake House and Iguana Joe’s (downtown).
- choosing moderately priced dining options such as Bingo! (Noord), Matthew’s (Casa del Mar Resort), Fishes and More (Arawak Gardens), Cilo City Lounge (downtown) and Moomba Beach Bar (next to the Holiday Inn)
- Sampling the daily happy hours. Check out this link from restaurantsaruba.com for more details.
•Aruba is anything but a sleepy Caribbean island. There are plenty of easily accessible nighttime activities including: Casinos, movies, bowling, nightclubs, light show at Paseo Herencia, Kukoo Kunuku party bus, Karaoke (Champs Sports Bar at the Marriott on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9pm-12am, Matthew’s Restaurant on Wednesdays from 9-11pm, Piets Pier Bar at the Hyatt 8pm Wednesdays through Saturdays), hotel events (Bugaloe Beach Bar at the Hyatt, Pure Beach at the Divi Aruba Phoenix), Bon Bini Festival on Tuesday evenings and the Caribbean Festival on Thursday evenings
Leaving the island:
•Get to the airport at least two hours before your departure time. You will go through two sets of customs – Aruban and American – before you board the plane. You will not have to go through customs again in the states.
For a bit of Aruban soul:
•Try a local restaurant, tour a museum, visit a local art gallery, catch the Bon Bini Festival on Tuesday evenings or the Carubbian Festival on Thursday evenings.
Do you have any helpful tips for travel to Aruba? Is there a must see activity or restaurant you can’t miss when visiting the island? Please send us a comment!