Located at Palm Beach across from the Aruba Phoenix and Wyndham Hotels.
Open all year from 9:00 -4:30
Step into a tropical garden filled with colorful butterflies from around the world. Observe the life cycle from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
Tour guides offer commentary on butterfly habits. Arrive early and watch new butterflies emerging from their chrysalis and taking their first flight. The butterfly farm is a rare opportunity for photography and a delight to visitors of all ages.
Aruba's sunny, pastel-colored capital is on the island's southern leeward coast, just southeast of the main resort area. The bustling city has a very Caribbean flavor, with part-Spanish, part-Dutch architecture The main thoroughfare, Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard, cuts in from the airport along the waterfront and on to Palm Beach, changing its name along the way to J. E. Irausquin Boulevard. Most tourists visit to shop in its boutiques and duty-free shops, but it has three small museums that explore the island's history.
Fort Zoutman/Willem III Tower
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There is an entrance fee.
Situated in the oldest building in Aruba, Fort Zoutman and Willem III Tower, the historical museum offers a collection of articles from the island's earliest times through early Spanish and Dutch periods, up to the present.
Zuidstraat 27, Oranjestad
Monday - Friday 7:30 - noon and 1 - 4
30,000 historic coins from Aruba and around the world.
Zoutmanstraat 1, Oranjestad.
Monday - Friday 8 - noon and 1 -4
Located on Zoutmanstraat diagonally across from the bus stop in Oranjestad, this museum's five rooms exhibit giant earthen jars of which a few contain the remains of Aruba's original inhabitants. Also displayed in glass boxes with descriptions are ancient artifacts, pottery tools and art.
Deep Sea Fishing
Numerous boats and crews are available at the docks. In the temperate waters around Aruba, a variety of Atlantic game fish can be caught year-round. Sailfish, white and blue marlin, wahoo, shark, barracuda, amberjack, kingfish, bonito, and blackfin and yellowfin tuna are abundant. The captain and his/her first mate will help the vacationing fishing enthusiast bring in any fish, even if they have little previous experience. Many restaurants will even cook and serve your catch of the day
You can sail for either a full day or a half-day on many of the fishing boats. Excursions can be arranged through your hotel activity desk or De Palm Tours, or directly with the captain of the boat of your choice.
In this harbor are moored many fishing boats and schooners ,some from Venezuela.. Nearly all newcomers to Aruba like to photograph the Colorful boats dock along the quay, and boat owners display their wares in open stalls.
Fresh fish are sold at the market nearby.
This park, named after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, is also on the sea side of Oranjestad. It features a tropical garden along the water and a sculpture of the Queen Mother.
Outside the City
A popular pastime is a drive into the cunucu, which in Papiamento means "the countryside." Here Arubans live in modest, colorful, pastel-washed houses, decorated with tropical plants that require expensive desalinated water.
Caya G. F. Croes (7A) toward Santa Cruz. Hooiberg, also known as "The Haystack." It is Aruba's highest landmark. Those with energy to spare can scramble up the steps of this 541-foot-high hill and be rewarded with a view, on a clear day, of Venezuela.
Open daily from 9 - 5, with no admission charge
Aruba is studded with massive boulders. The most impressive ones at Ayo and Casibari, northeast of Hooiberg. Diorite boulders stack up as high as city office buildings. The rocks weigh several thousand tons and puzzle geologists. Ancient Amerindian drawings appear on the rocks at Ayo. At Casibari, you can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the island or a close look at rocks that nature has carved into seats or prehistoric birds and animals.. The lodge at Casibari sells souvenirs, snacks, soft drinks, and beer.
Caves of Canashito
South of Hooiberg
Tours available. Inquire at your hotel.
Guides can point out drawings on the walls and ceiling of these unusual caves. There are giant green parakeets in the area as well.
Aruba's natural coral bridge that had been formed over millions of years by surf eating away at a portion of the
coral formations on the rocky northern shore, collapsed in mid-2005.
A slightly shorter coral bridge survives the erosion, and remains a popular
tourist attraction. The site, reached by traveling down a gravel road,
is a perfect place for a picnic. Andicuri Beach, a short stroll over the bridge, is a popular boogie-boarding location for competent swimmers.
Arikok National Park
The park is a desert like ecological preserve that covers 18% of the island's area, starting on the east coast and jutting inland almost to the west coast. The island's rich crust makes it one of the rare places in the world with geological origins traceable with the naked eye. Hiking trails make it easy to explore the preserve's unusual terrain and diverse flora and fauna. Iguanas and many species of migratory.
This park encompasses a significant area of land in the interior and a long stretch of the northern windward coast. The park contains traces of nearly all the significant forces that have impacted on Aruba's history, including Arawak petroglyphs in the Fontein Cave, the remains of Dutch peasant settlements at Masiduri, plantation houses in the Prins Valley and the ruins of an old gold mining operation at Miralamar. The park covers 620 sq. ft.
The Aruban government is working on a 10-year ecotourism plan to preserve the resources of the park. The park is topped by Aruba's second-highest mountain, 577-ft Mt. Arikok, so climbing is also a possibility.
Aruba's highest hill. There's a road running through the park, and some interesting hiking trails.
Along the highway toward the island's southernmost section is Spanish Lagoon, where pirates hid and waited to plunder rich cargo ships in the Caribbean. Today it's an ideal place for snorkeling and for having a picnic at the tables under the mangrove trees.
To the east is an area called where some of the most ancient traces of human habitation have been unearthed.
Lago Oil Transport Company
You'll see here the first oil tanks that marked the position of the the Exxon subsidiary around which the town of San Nicolas developed. San Nicolas was a company town until 1985, when the refinery curtailed operations. Twelve miles from Oranjestad, it is now called the Aruba Sunrise Side, and tourism has become its main economic endeavor.
Guadarikiri Cave and Fontein Cave.
The Guadirikiri and Fontein caves are marked with ancient drawings. Park rangers are available to offer explanations. Both caves were used by native Indians centuries ago.
Huliba and Tunnel of Love Caves
Baranca Sunu, the so-called Tunnel of Love, has a heart-shape entrance and, within, naturally sculpted rocks that look like the Madonna, Abe Lincoln, and even a jaguar At these caves, guides show visitors the carvings and natural formations. The Tunnel of Love cave requires some physical stamina to explore. It is filled with steep climbs, and its steps are illuminated only by hand-held lamps. Wear sturdy shoes and watch your step.
The closed lighthouse stands at the island's far northern end. It's surrounded by huge boulders and sand dunes tufted with scrub.
The massive boulders at Ayo and Casibari are said to be a mystery since they don't match the island's geological makeup. You can climb to the top of Casibari for fine views of the arid countryside; the main path has steps and handrails, and you must move through tunnels and on narrow steps and ledges to reach the top. At Ayo you'll find ancient pictographs in a small cave. Access to Casibari is via Tanki Highway 4A, to Ayo via Highway 6A; watch carefully for the turnoff signs near the center of the island on the way to the windward side.
Scuba Diving And Snorkeling
With visibility of up to 90 ft, Aruban waters are excellent for snorkeling and diving. Certified divers can go wall or reef diving or explore wrecks sunk during World War II. The German freighter, Antilla, is popular with both divers and snorkelers.
Mangel Halto Reef
(Also known as Pos Chiquito Reef or Bao Baranca)Mangel Halto Reef is excellent for night diving.
Beaches in Aruba are legendary: white sand, turquoise waters, and virtually no litter everyone takes the No littering signs ("No tira sushi") signs are taken very seriously. The major beaches, which back up to the hotels along the southwestern strip, are public and crowded. Make sure you're well protected from the sun with sunscreen or sunblock. Sunburns can happen quickly in the intense sun and gentle breezes. On the island's northeastern side, wind makes the waters too choppy for swimming, but the views are magnificent, and the terrain is wonderful for sunbathing and geological exploration.
Baby Beach (Seroe Colorado)
On the island's eastern tip, this semicircular beach borders a bay that's as placid and just about as deep as a wading pool.
Swimming Conditions: Excellent and a great spot for snorkeling.
White powder sand. Accessible by car or taxi.
Snack truck offers chicken legs, burgers, hot dogs, beer, and soda.
Strong swimming skills are a must at this beach near Seagrape Grove and the Aruba Golf Club toward the island's eastern tip.
Near the Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon, this beach is famous for its backdrop of enormous sand dunes. No swimming. Ideal for a picnic. Bring a beach blanket and sturdy footwear and climb down the rocks that form steps to the water's edge. Accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Boca Tabla (Bachelor's Beach)
Swimming Conditions: Better suited for snorkeling and windsurfing than swimming.
White powder sand. No facilities. Accessible by car or taxi.
Swimming Conditions: Not recommended for swimming due to huge waves and strong currents., but a beautiful spot for a picnic, or to admire the view. Accessible by 4-wheel drive only.
On the southwestern coast , and recently designated one of the 10 best beaches in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine.
This beach is a windsurfer's heaven. Take a picnic lunch (tables are available) and watch the purple, aqua, and orange sails of the catamarans struggle in the wind.
To the northeast of San Nicolas, this area of blinding white sand in the shadow of cliffs and boulders is marked by the statue of an anchor dedicated to all seamen. Swim at your own risk; the waves can be rough.
This small beach is located on the northwestern shore. It is also known as Boca Catalina, and borders shallow waters that stretch 300 yards from shore. It is a perfect place to learn to windsurf and is a favorite with divers and snorkelers. A major diving attraction is the wreck of the German ship Antilla, scuttled in 1940.
(Formerly Punta Brabo Beach) In front of the Manchebo Beach Resort, this wide stretch of white powder is a favorite spot for top-free sunbathers.
Mangel Halto (Savaneta)
Swimming Conditions: Shallow water.
White powder sand. This is a good spot for picnics, and is accessible by car or taxi.
Not a beach, but this hidden pool on the north coast offers unique scenery and solitude. Accessible by 4-wheel drive or on horseback.
This beach is behind the Allegro Resort & Casino, Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort and Casino, Aruba Grand Beach Resort & Casino, and Holiday Inn hotels. It is at the center of Aruban tourism, offering the best in swimming, sailing, and other water sports.
Next to Baby Beach on the island's eastern tip, this is a curving stretch of sand, unfortunately providing a view of the oil refinery at the far side of the bay. A new snack bar serves refreshments and hosts occasional live entertainment at the water's edge. White powder sand. Accessible by car or taxi.
Swimming Conditions: Excellent.
Swimming Conditions: Shallow water.
White powder sand. No facilities. Accessible by car or taxi.
Nightlife and Entertainment
A few casinos are open 24 hours a day. In most, the opening hours are 11 a.m. for slots and 1 p.m. through early morning for table games. Hours vary seasonally, so check before making plans. No one under 18 is allowed in the casinos.
The larger casinos feature live first class entertainment imported from other countries such as the United States and Latin America.
opens its games at 10:30am; it stays open until 1:30am.
J. E. Irausquin Blvd. 47
10am till very early in the morning, usually 3am.
The Alhambra is a complex of buildings and courtyards designed like an 18th-century Dutch village.. A busy casino operates on the premises.
Seaport Market Place
The complex has six theaters showing the latest American movies in English.
The Cabaret Royale (Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort and Casino, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 77, Palm Beach, 297/8-64466) has an entertaining Cuban review (with a bit of flesh) Tuesday through Saturday at 9 PM. Dinner (seating at 7:30) and the show cost $34; $20 gets you two cocktails (starting at 8:30) and admission to the show.
The Tropicana Showroom (J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 250, 297/8-77000 ext. 731 or 727), the Royal Cabana Casino's cabaret theater and nightclub, features first-class Las Vegas-style revues, usually showcasing female impersonators, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9 PM and Wednesday and Friday at 10 PM; the cost is $35 per person. Dinner/show combinations are available ($119 for two people).
Twinklebone's House Of Roast Beef (Noord 124, Noord, 297/8-26780) serves succulent prime rib and the like, but it's best known for the fun, impromptu cabaret of Carnival music put on by the staff every night but Sunday. Some customers find it hokey; others eat it up.
Iguana Joe's (Royal Plaza Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd. 94, Oranjestad, 297/8-39373) has a creative reptilian-theme decor and a color scheme featuring such planter's punch colors as lime and grape.
a psychedelically painted '57 Chevy bus. Weeknights, as many as 40 passengers board to make the rounds of six local bars from sundown to midnight, with a stop for dinner. Group and private charter rates are available; these include hotel pick up and drop off.
2nd floor, Royal Plaza Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd. 94, Oranjestad
Painted in sunset colors, with parrots painted on the ceiling. It offers several house-specialty drinks and a gift shop.
Weststraat 7, Oranjestad
An elegant spiral staircase leads up to a bar and dance floor backed by a mural of colorful cacti against a blue, cloud-smattered Aruban sky. Locals and tourists drink Balashi cocktails and salsa to music provided by island bands.
(Bayside Mall, Weststraat 5, Oranjestad, 297/9-36784) has a huge dance floor, walls decorated with hair-dryer tubes and slinkies, bartenders in hard hats, and a cozy VIP lounge.
(Aventura Mall, Plaza Daniel Leo, 297/8-35896), an upscale indoor-outdoor space, serves cocktails and attracts a casual yet classy crowd.
(L.G. Smith Blvd. 1, 297/8-80557) has purple walls adorned with gold-framed mirrors, antique lanterns, and dried flowers. The two oversize dance floors are often packed on weekends; Wednesday Ladies' Night draws a crowd of about 3,000. The music alternates between pop, rock, and international hits; local bands sometimes play. Escape from the crowds by taking refuge on a patio complete with a bar, a mini-swimming pool, and a private stretch of beach.
(Klipstraat 2, Oranjestad, 297/8-28567) live bands perform Monday and Thursday-Saturday; the music du jour might be blues, jazz, funk, reggae, or rock.
Garufa Cocktail Lounge
(Wilhelminastraat 63, Oranjestad, 297/8-27205 or 297/8-23677). For jazz and local music try the This cozy cigar bar serves as a comfortable lounge for customers awaiting a table at El Gaucho Steakhouse ( 297/8-27205 or 297/8-23677), across the street (you're issued a beeper so that the restaurant can notify you when your table is ready).
There are more than 30 theme nights offered during the course of a week. Each one features a buffet dinner, entertainment (usually of the limbo, steel-band, stilt-walking, variety), and dancing. The top groups tend to rotate among the resorts.
Aruba offers merchandise from six continents along the half-mile-long Caya G. F. Betico Croes, Oranjestad's
main shopping street. Technically this is not a free port, but the duty is so
low that prices are attractive, and Aruba has no sales tax. There are numerous Swiss watches; German and Japanese cameras; jewelry; liquor; English bone china and porcelain; Dutch, Swedish, and Danish silver and pewter; French perfume; British woolens; Indonesian specialties; and Madeira embroidery. Delft blue pottery is an especially good buy. Other good buys include Dutch cheese (Edam and Gouda), Dutch chocolate, and English cigarettes in the airport departure area.
Philatelists will love the wealth of colorful, artistic stamps issued in honor of Aruba's changed governmental status.
Major credit cards are welcome virtually everywhere, U.S. dollars are accepted almost as readily as local currency, and traveler's checks can be cashed with proof of identity.
Since there's no sales tax, the price you see on the tag is what you pay. Don't try to bargain. Arubans consider it rude.
Shopping Centers & Malls
Most malls are in Oranjestad and are attractive gabled, pastel-hue re-creations of Dutch colonial architecture.
Oranjestad's Caya G.F. Betico Croes
This is Aruba's chief shopping street, lined with several duty-free boutiques and jewelry stores noted for the aggressiveness of their vendors on cruise-ship days.