At a Glance

The Aruba cruise port is located in the Southern Caribbean, this island is 20 miles long and is North of Venezuela and East of Colombia.

Aruba’s climate is warm, dry and sunny.  Temperatures remain around 82F.  It lies outside the hurricane belt.

In 1986, it became its own country, although it still remains a Dutch protectorate.  The languages are Dutch and Papiamento, a local dialect.

The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere, along with credit cards.

Cruise ships dock right downtown Oranjestad.  A short walk will take you to the main shopping street.

For transportation, the bus terminal is right across the main street.  Taxis can be flagged down on the street that runs alongside the port.

Aruba Boca Catalina beach
Catalina Beach for great snorkeling

Points of Interest

While Aruba’s beaches are the biggest attraction, (that’s why there’s a section below for them), this island offers other various activities.

California Lighhouse

Named after the steamship California, which sunk off the coast, the lighthouse was built in 1910 and offers stunning views of the island and coastline. If you rent a car, follow the road to the hotel sections and beaches and you’ll find the lighthouse at the end of the road.

The Antilla Shipwreck

The 400-foot Antilla is one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks and also one of its most popular attractions It was sunk during World War !! and is home to many kinds of exotic sea life. You can take a snorkeling tour to see it up close.

Baby Natural Bridge

It’s a stunning rock and coral formation.  The original Natural Bridge fell in the sea in 2005, but the smaller bridge remains a must-see island highlight.  You can rent a jeep or take an ATV excursion to make your way there.  The terrain is pretty rough and desert-like.  but it’s fun!

Baby Natural Bridge | Aruba
Baby Natural Bridge | Aruba

Ostrich Attraction

You’ll get a chance to learn all kinds of information about ostriches and emus with the guided tours.  Mating, rearing, and feeding habits will surprise you. You will even have the opportunity to hand-feed them.

Butterfly Farm

This farm is a tropical garden with hundreds of exotic butterflies.  You’ll be able to see all stages of their life cycle and even gently handle these beautiful animals.  A great opportunity for the photograph in you.

Underwater Exploration

Different ways to explore under the sea are available.  Ride aboard a semi-submarine or the Atlantis submarine,  go scuba diving at the Antilla, or try a helmet dive and walk on the ocean floor among the colorful fish.

For us, it’s the snorkeling.  Years ago we discovered a great beach for that called Boca Catalina.   It  is small with a few palapas but it’s easy to get in the water to swim to where tours take their clients who pay close to $100 each to snorkel.  We take the bus, across from the port and enjoy the 20 minute comfortable ride which cost less than $5 each.  And the snorkeling is free!

The Flamingos

These beautiful animals roam free on Flamingo Beach on a private island, called Renaissance Island (also DePalm Island) which is owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort, located downtown Orangestad.

The number of visitors is very limited and you can only get there by boat from the hotel and only if you are a guest at the Renaissance hotel in Oranjestad or if you book an excursion through your cruise ship.

There are many activities, swimming and snorkeling, as well as banana boat rides, a zip line, air jumpers and the Blue Parrotfish Water Park, which features six water slides. 

The Beaches – Miles of white sand

Aruba beaches have powder-fine, white-sand, which make them perfect for lying in the sun, walk along the shore or go for a swim.

The 2 most popular beaches are located in 2 sections, High-Rise and Low-Rise hotels areas.

Palm Beach, located in the High-Rise area, offers palapas, piers, bars, restaurants and water sports and was voted best family-friendly beach.  Calm and clear water, perfect for swimming.

Palm Beach, Aruba
Palm Beach, courtesy of Visit Aruba

Eagle Beach, located in the low-rise hotel area, is less crowded and is quieter.  It’s a long stretch of soft white sand with calm and clear water, perfect for swimming.  It also offers a variety of water sports and some palapas.

Eagle Beach | Aruba
courtesy of Visit Aruba

Snorkeling

Boca Catalina, our favorite spot. A few palapas, a few trees and an easy walk-in to spend time with tons of fish and star fish.

snorkelling in Aruba, Caribbean island
Boca Catalina Beach

Malmok a popular spot to see the Antilla shipwreck. Many catamarans will be anchored here. Not much of a sandy beach.

Malmok beach Aruba
Malmok Beach – Aruba