After going through travel withdrawals and A LOT of research, I finally built up the courage to spend 5-days in Aruba. This was first international trip since visiting Lisbon this year and I was very nervous.
With the fear of getting travel shamed, I honestly wasn’t going to tell anyone, but as my trip got closer, I felt it would be a disservice to not share my experience.
Aruba, also known as “One Happy Island,” is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters, perfect weather, and year-round sunshine. With its perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, the island of Aruba is a popular destination and offers many experiences for every type of traveler.
I recently did a quick Q&A in my Instagram stories, but if you missed it here is a complete Aruba travel guide for spending 5 days on the island. This travel guide will share the best things to do in Aruba, where to stay, cultural experiences, and practical tips.
Traveling to Aruba from the US
Aruba is located just a short flight away from the United States. Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA is the airport code for Aruba) offers direct flight service from major cities in North America and Europe. The flight time from NYC was 4 1/2-5 hours.
Best Time of Year for Traveling to Aruba
Like all Caribbean islands, Aruba has a dry season and rainy season. Average temperatures in Aruba range from 75°F (24°C) to 88°F (31°C) and a great to visit is April to August. This is the time of year hotel prices are low and temperatures are moderate. Due to its location outside the hurricane belt, Aruba doesn’t get threats from hurricanes and tropical storms.
The weather from January to March is great for a winter escape, but hotels and lodging area prices are very high. If you’re a budget traveler, prices are the cheapest in September and October, but the weather is extremely hot.
Where to Stay in Aruba
Choosing the right place to stay is essential for a memorable vacation experience. There is no shortage of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. From luxurious beachfront resorts to cozy boutique hotels, Aruba offers a range of options that promise comfort, convenience, and hospitality.
We spent our 5 days in Aruba at the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba which is a beach-front property located in the Palm Beach area and close to restaurants, shops, water sports, and nightlife. We also visited The Renaissance Resort and the Divi Aruba Phoenix which are also beach-front properties.
Click the interactive map that shares accommodations with budget to luxury options.
Getting Around Aruba
Getting around Aruba is fairly easy. You can drive rental car, tale a taxi, or use public transportation. During our 5 days in Aruba, we got around using a combination of using public transportation and taxis. If you want to explore the entire island at your own pace or visit more remote beaches and attractions, it is recommended to rent a car.
5 Days in Aruba: Best Places to Visit in Aruba
5 days in Aruba was more than enough time to find things to do around the small island. Aruba is known for its gorgeous beaches but is geographically a desert island. Here are the best things to do in Noord Aruba, around the island, and activities we were able to do on our extended holiday weekend trip.
Explore Downtown Oranjestad
We took the bus from our hotel to Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba. Here you can walk around to explore on your own or learn about the city from a tour guide. Oranjestad also has tons of local and luxury stores for shopping.
Visit San Nicolas
San Nicolas is Aruba’s second-largest city and old capital which offers historic buildings, shops, restaurants, and bars. If you’re a fan of street art, there are a number of art murals here to view.
Take a Romantic Sunset Sail
Our sunset cruise with Jolly Pirate was within walking distance from our hotel and sailed from Palm Beach to Eagle Beach where cruisers enjoyed the views, music, and unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Jumping off the boat for a nice swim is optional.
Visit the Private Islands
Aruba has two private islands: Renaissance Island and De Palm Island.
To visit see the famous wild flamingos in Aruba, you have to visit Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island . Flamingo Beach is one of the most popular places to visit on the island. Here you can rent private cabanas, feed the flamingos, and take pictures for social media.
If you’re a guest at the Renaissance Hotel, visiting the island is free. If you’re not a guest at the resort, you can purchase a day pass which includes a meal and a drink.
De Palm Island is great for families and individuals looking for an adventure in Aruba, offering Seatrekking, SNUBA (a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving), zip-lining, and other water activities.
Enjoy the Beach
Aruba is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Since the island is surrounded by some of the most calm waters, you can take a trip to the popular beaches of Aruba like Palm Beach, Eagle Beach or Baby beach which has more shallow waters.
Go to Arikok National Park
20% of Aruba is designated to the National Park. Arikok National Park is home to home to various species and plant life indigenous to the island.
We took a private Jeep Tour with ABC Tours Aruba which included several stops within the National Park like Moro, Boca Prins, and Dos Playa. If you rent a car, you can spend a few days exploring the park or do it in one day.
Explore the Caves
Within Arikok National Park are Fontein Cave and Guadirikiri Cave. The caves include markings left by the Caquetio Indigenous people, as well as quartz and limestone formations.
Swim in the Natural Pool
Conchi Natural Pool is a swimming hole protected by a wall of volcanic rock. Due to the rough terrain leading to the pool, visitors are encouraged to take a Jeep Safari.
What to Eat in Aruba
Aruba is a very diverse country that offers a variety of food from traditional Dutch to Asian, African, Italian, American, and more. The best restaurants on the island offer fresh local seafood.
If you want to try traditional Aruban cuisines, order pan bati (cornmeal pancake) or keshi yena (stuffed cheese) with papaya hot sauce. Visit local food trucks, known as “trucks di pan,” for traditional Aruban snacks like pastechi (fried pastries) and batidos (fruit smoothies).
The majority of restaurants in Aruba are in Palm Beach and downtown Oranjestad.
We dined at several restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner including Iguana Cantina, Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant, The Pelican Nest Seafood Grill, The Dutch Pancake House, Che Bar, and Chillout Island.
Our favorite place to eat was Eduardo’s Beach Shack which has the BEST smoothies, açai bowls and poke bowls.
Aruba Safety Tips
Aruba is a perfect destination for travelers concerned about safety, but it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings.
Tap water in Aruba is safe to drink, so consider using a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste.
Enjoying Aruba While Social Distancing
A big question about traveling to Aruba was how we enjoyed our trip while social distancing. Here are some ways to enjoy your Aruba vacation while still practicing social distancing.
Get up early – Our mornings were spent pool or beachside while afternoons were spent doing activities. If the beach became more crowded, we moved to the pool towards the back of the resort.
Stay out Late – The Holiday Inn Aruba had gazebos, lounge chairs, and sitting areas throughout the property. In these areas, we enjoyed sunset views and late-night talks with little to no one outside.
Rent a Car – While we didn’t rent a car, it is considered the best way to get around the island. Getting a rental allows you to explore the least popular areas and decreases the risks of being in contact with someone versus if you took public transportation.
Do a Private Tour – If your budget allows, consider taking a private tour. Private tours can include horseback riding, full-day island tours, snorkeling or other water activities, and more. You can get an idea of different private tours to book before traveling to Aruba or during your trip below.
Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or a little bit of both, Aruba is a tropical paradise that caters to all types of travelers.
From its breathtaking beaches and vibrant culture to outdoor adventures and culinary delights, the island is the perfect place to have a pleasant vacation experience.
Embrace the warmth of the Caribbean sea, Aruban hospitality, explore the natural wonders, and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bathing suit, embrace the warm island vibes, and get ready to experience the magic in the "One Happy Island" that is Aruba.
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