Things to do in Oranjestad

Things to do in  Oranjestad

Aruba’s fabulous front door

With its palm tree–lined streets and candy-colored buildings, Oranjestad provides a cheerful introduction to Aruba. As the Dutch island’s capital and main cruise port, the city serves as the entry point for most visitors and makes a solid home base from which to explore Aruba. However, you can discover plenty of things to do in Oranjestad itself, including visiting the King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman, which is home to the Aruba Historical Museum; the Aruba Butterfly Farm; and Eagle Beach—considered one of the best in the world.

Top 5 attractions in Oranjestad

Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins

Located in Aruba’s desert interior, the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins are the stone remains of a gold smelter that was established by prospectors in the 19th century. Once considered sacred by the indigenous Arawak people, the site offers a unique look at Aruba’s history and can be explored with a variety of guided tours.More

Alto Vista Chapel

With the blue Caribbean sky and calm sea as its backdrop, the Alto Vista Chapel, or “Pilgrims Church,” is one of the most photographed attractions on the island of Aruba. This bright yellow chapel, which also hosts weekly religious services, is visited by Christians and non-Christians alike and is a popular stop for small-group tours.More

Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations

The Ayo and Casibari rock formations are popular stops on many Aruba tours, despite the fact that they are basically piles of rocks woven with cacti. These natural structures offer a unique view of the volcanic forces on Aruba. Some intrepid travelers clamber on top of them to score panoramic views of the island.More
Aruba (Oranjestad) Cruise Port

Aruba (Oranjestad) Cruise Port

The Aruba (Oranjestad) Cruise Port serves as the gateway to one of the region's most popular vacation destinations—Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean. Known for year-round warm weather, excellent beaches, and several historical landmarks, Aruba makes for a great day-trip while cruising the Caribbean.More

Lourdes Grotto

Named for the French Catholic landmark, Lourdes Grotto is an ornate shrine carved into the side of a limestone hill in the San Nicolas area of Oranjestad. Built in 1958 by a local priest and his parishioners, the grotto features a 1,500-pound (680-kilogram) statue of the Virgin Mary, along with candles, flowers, and other offerings.More
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All about Oranjestad

When to visit

In general, Aruba’s weather is warm year-round, with an average temperature of 82°F (28°C), so any time of year is good for a visit, but attractions will be more crowded in winter (January–March), which is peak season. Since Aruba is situated outside the hurricane belt, tropical storms aren’t much of a threat. When visiting popular outdoor attractions, consider going early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid any crowds and the heat.

Getting around

Cruise ships dock at the port in Oranjestad. From there, you can rent a car or hail a taxi to explore. The central bus station for the island’s Arubus system is in downtown Oranjestad, adjacent to the cruise ship terminal. You can also use the hop-on hop-off trolley, which passes through Main Street from the terminal. It’s free and makes six stops at monuments and museums along the route. Consider renting an all-terrain vehicle to get off the beaten path.

Traveler tips

If you’re looking to avoid the cruise ship crowds, head to beaches that are further away, such as Baby Beach, located on the southern tip of the island, and Rodgers Beach, which is just north of Baby Beach. They’re about a 40-minute drive from Oranjestad. Note that while the official languages of Aruba are Papiamento and Dutch, most residents speak English and Spanish.


People Also Ask

What is Oranjestad known for?

Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba, a main cruise port, and the entry point for most visitors. It is known for its palm-lined streets and candy-colored buildings. As Aruba’s largest city, Oranjestad also is home to plenty of nightlife options, restaurants, cafés, and casinos, as well as bustling shopping areas.

Is Oranjestad walkable?

Yes. The cruise port is located on the northern end of downtown Oranjestad, about a five- to 10-minute walk to Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard, the island’s main thoroughfare. A tram also runs from the cruise terminal into the center of town and makes stops at monuments, museums, and shopping areas.

Is Oranjestad worth visiting?

Yes. As a major point of entry to Aruba, Oranjestad serves as the perfect starting point for a range of tours on and off the island. It’s also where you’ll find shops—from high-end boutiques to flea markets—and a variety of restaurants, many located at the Renaissance Marketplace on the waterfront.

Is Aruba safe?

Yes. Aruba is considered one of the safest spots in the Caribbean. Violent crime rates are low compared to other islands; however, petty crime such as pickpocketing still occurs, so be mindful of your surroundings, avoid taking valuables to the beach, and stay away from remote, deserted areas at night.

What are the top attractions to visit in Oranjestad?

Top attractions include the King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman, Oranjestad’s oldest building. The tower once served as a lighthouse, and today it houses the small Aruba Historical Museum and hosts the Bon Bini Festival every Tuesday, which features a cultural program with costumed dancers, local art, and food.

Should I bring cash to Aruba?

It depends on preference. Using US dollars in Aruba is widely accepted, although some shops will not accept large bills and give back Aruban currency (florin) as change. Banks exchange currency; major credit cards are accepted; and ATMs in the hotel areas dispense local currency as well as US dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions
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