Sunny, warm, and dry year round, cruisers are hard pressed to find a bad time for visiting Aruba.
Also called “One Happy Island”, this 69-square-mile island is a popular and well-loved stop for cruisers.
Aruba is part of the ABC islands. Its neighboring islands consist of Bonaire and Curacao.
The ABC islands are located in the southern Caribbean just north of Venezuela. Because of their location, they tend to miss most of the major hurricanes and tropical storms so well known to their northern neighbors.
Aruba has a desert-like, arid climate. The island receives less than 20 inches of rainfall per year. Weather forecasts often show little to no rain in the coming days.
Year round, the temperatures in Aruba hover in the upper 80s. A constant breeze from the tradewinds keep the temperatures feeling cool and comfortable.
Arriving at Port
Cruise lines pull in to Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba. Cruise lines generally arrive at port early in the morning between 8 and 10 a.m..
Currency can be exchanged at the bank in the cruise terminal. However, U.S. currency is widely accepted across the island.
Shops and malls are located in downtown Oranjestad just minutes from the cruise terminal.
Aruba is well known for its duty free shopping. The main streets in Oranjestad are packed with places to buy jewelry, designer clothes, and handmade artisan crafts.
Chocolate, Delft porcelain, cigars, cheeses, and fragrances are among the most popular items purchased by tourists.
Cruisers staying in Oranjestad for the day will have a plethora of lunch options.
Popular restaurants in Oranjestad include Mathilde, starring French cuisine, and Eetcafe The Paddock, a cafe and bistro situated along the harbor.
For those still at port during dinner hours, Pincho’s Grill and Bar is an excellent dining option in downtown Oranjestad. Located along the pier and lit up by lights, Pincho’s Grill and Bar serves fresh seafood, salads, and plenty of meat.
Cruisers looking for a beach will likely need to rent a car or taxi, as there are no swimming beaches within walking distance of the cruise port.
Taxis are available at the cruise port, and usually charge around $35 per hour. Car rentals are also available at the port, costing between $25 and $75 for the day.
Eagle Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike. This stretch of shoreline is the longest on the island, and is famous for its white sand and clear waters.
This beach is a 10-minute drive from the cruise port.
Arashi Beach is a quieter beach on the northwestern side of the island. Its gentle currents and underwater life make it a great snorkeling location.
Palm Beach is a two mile strip of hotels, water sports, restaurants, and shops. This is where many of the island’s resorts are located.
The Butterfly Farm makes for a fun excursion for anyone, but especially for families with small children. This enclosed butterfly sanctuary is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Horseback riding excursions are available to several famous landmarks, including the Alta Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse.
Snorkeling opportunity can be found at almost every beach, and for every level of experience. Baby Beach is a good place for children and beginner snorkelers to start, and the rougher waters of Bachelor’s Beach offer an exciting challenge for experienced snorkelers.