Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba, is a popular port of call in the Caribbean. Though it preserves much of its colonial architecture, the city has a colorful collection of modern cafes, restaurants, and designer shops.
With attractions such as Arikok National Park, Fort Zoutman, and the National Archaeological Museum Aruba, Oranjestad offers visitors an extensive cultural selection as well as a stylish retreat.
Palm and Manchebo are just a couple of Oranjestad's gorgeous white sand beaches. With umbrellas and chairs for rent, settle in and enjoy the view of the crystalline waters.
Built in 1750, the Alto Vista Chapel is a simple orange and yellow structure with panoramic views of the coast. Fort Zoutman, erected in 1798 by the Dutch Army, hosts the Bon Bini Festival every Tuesday, a celebration of the island's culture.
With a selection that includes jewelry, leather goods, crafts, and Dutch cheeses, among others, Oranjestad affords an upmarket shopping experience along L.G. Smith Boulevard.
Whether it's fresh fish, ostrich, or tropical fruits, Oranjestad provides a delectable culinary experience. Balchi Pisca, Stropi di Tamarijn, Carnival Calamari, and Pan Dushi are just a few foods you'll come to love in Oranjestad.
Based around local plant extracts and sea salt, Oranjestad's spa offering includes soothing scrubs, hot stone massages, and mud wraps at its many wellness centers.
According to 'the experts', this is one of the world's finest beaches, and we won't argue with them. Pure white sands slip under soft blue waters at Eagle Beach, which is relatively underdeveloped given its high potential. When you visit, you'll have time to walk, run, swim and sunbathe without being bothered by crowds. Of course, there are a few kiosks and restaurants in the area serving food and drinks -- but not enough to cause any trouble. It truly is a sweet spot in the Caribbean. If you visit during turtle season, you might get to see Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbill turtles make their way from the beach into the ocean.
If you're a lover of the outdoors, a kid or someone who likes beautiful scenery, the butterfly farm is an absolute must. Aruba's Butterfly Farm has two areas (one tropical and one rain forest), so there's a variety of species to see that call these different habitats home. Twice a week, early risers can visit the farm to see baby butterflies hatch and take flight with the sunrise. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Almost one fifth of Aruba is a national park, making it an ideal escape for those who love nature. Arikok National Park is the crown jewel of the island with over 7,900 acres of pristine tropical habitat. The park has nature trails, rangers eager to inform visitors about endemic species of plants and animals and a visitors center with a busy list of activities that kids will love. Hike through the park and you might find yourself startling an Aruban burrowing owl, Aruban rattlesnake or Aruban parakeet. Those hoping to learn a bit about the island's history will love the Arawak Indian drawings that decorate some of the park's caves as well.
When the Dutch discovered this island, Hooiberg was already here. The dormant volcano, which they named "haystack", towers above the center of the island. Covered in trees, Hooiberg is accessible via a famous staircase built out of 900 steps. Make your way to the top and you'll be treated with an incredible view. As you climb up, you'll find a gazebo at the halfway point -- a welcome rest stop for tired travelers.
Aruba is home to a few surprises, and ostriches are one of them. This farm is home to dozens of ostriches and emus. The park offers tours to guests of all ages, and if you like, you may even get the chance to feed these flightless birds. It's definitely a highlight for kids, but adults should have plenty of fun too. In addition to the farm, the property has a bar and restaurant and a gift shop full of authentic South African handicrafts. All told, it's a great way to spend an afternoon in Aruba.
Mostly sunny is the best way to describe Oranjestad. This holds true year-round with an average temperature of 82 degrees.
The Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad has flight connections to the United States, the Netherlands, and the Caribbean, among other locations. The cost of a taxi to downtown is 44-54.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino, a four-star hotel, has a 40-acre private beach and several pools. The Paradera Park Apartments feature studios and one-bedroom rentals with private terraces, cabanas, and hammocks.
Greater Oranjestad - housing most monuments, museums, casinos, restaurants, and shopping areas, Greater Oranjestad is the island's cosmopolitan capital.
Simeon Antonio - Simeon Antonio is the location of the annual Soul Beach Music Festival, one of the Caribbean's most highly regarded live music celebrations.
Upper Town - Upper Town Oranjestad is home to the Sint Eustatius Museum, an 18th-century structure with a vast collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, slavery exhibits, Jewish relics, ceramics, and furniture.
The Arubus service stops every hour in front of most hotels. Fares are 9 for two trips.
Taxis in Oranjestad are available by phone. Rates average 16 for downtown rides.
Car rentals in Oranjestad are widely available. Rates start at 58 per day.
L.G. Smith Boulevard, which runs through downtown Oranjestad, houses most high-end shops, malls, and markets.[/
Ling & Sons IGA Super Center, a large supermarket, sells organic produce, baked goods, gourmet food, as well as select wines, liquors, and chocolates. Super Food Plaza features organic goods and deli specialties. Oranjestad is relatively expensive, with a gallon of milk averaging 9.50 and a dozen eggs 4.
Gostoso serves a blend of Portuguese and Aruban Cuisine. Specialties include espetada a la marinera and Portuguese-style bacalhau. Entrees average 45. Barefoot Restaurant offers seaside dining and specializes in fresh fish and meat dishes, such as blackened mahi mahi and tenderloin and truffles. Entrees average 54-80.