Palm Beach, Aruba – Image courtesy of thomson.co.uk
Honeymoon guide to Aruba
Aruba is one of the Caribbean’s most popular islands. Blessed with a year-round sunny climate, an 11km-long stretch of powder-white sand, a vibrant nightlife scene and expansive Las Vegas-style high rise resorts featuring flashy casinos, Aruba offers all the ingredients you need for the perfect Caribbean honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Discover sugar-white beaches with warm and sparkling crystalline waters ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. And the almost-constant easterly breezes provide perfect conditions for kite and windsurfing.
Best beaches in Aruba
Aruba’s white-sand beaches are generally considered to be among the cleanest, widest and most spectacular of all the Caribbean islands.
Much of the fine white sand is ground-up coral (limestone) that has passed through the digestion system of the colourful green parrotfish.
The parrotfish use their beaks to scrape off coral rock, digest algae and then expel the algae as fine white sand; one parrotfish can produce tonnes of soft white sand each year.
All of Aruba's beaches are public, with sun loungers and palapas (shade huts or thatched umbrellas) typically provided by resorts for guests use only; otherwise, expect to pay a small fee.
The best beaches, which lie mainly along the northwest coast, are easily accessible by bus, hire car or taxi. Many are edged by rocky headlands and indented with small coves that are perfect for snorkelling.
The best beaches in Aruba, include …
Unwind on the soft sugar-white sands of this idyllic 2km-long beach fringed by towering coconut and date palms and lined with a choice of luxurious 5-star high rise hotels.
Palm Beach is rated by travel magazines such as Condé Nast Traveller as one of the world’s best beaches.
Facilities include sun loungers and palapas, with food and drink amenities just a short stroll away at one of the many open-air bars. Water sports include diving, snorkelling, parasailing, kite surfing, windsurfing, jet skis and Hobie cats.
Relax on the white sand, go swimming in the warm turquoise sea or sip a cocktail and people-watch.
Palm Beach is generally busier and noisier than Aruba's other beaches; for less crowded areas, walk south to the Divi Aruba Phoenix Resort or north towards the Marriott Resort and nearby Hadicurari Beach (or Fishermen's Huts).
Come for a day or stay at one of Palm Beach’s elegant 5-star hotels, including the luxurious Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino and the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
Palm Beach is located on the northwest coast, around 8km north of Oranjestad.
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Unwind on this gorgeous 2km-long white-sand beach that shelves into shallow water and is lined with a choice of low-rise resorts.
Sunbathe on the soft sand, swim in the calm waters, snorkel the offshore reef or sip a cold drink in the shade of a palapa.
Come for a day or indulge at a choice of beachfront resorts, including the 5-star Costa Linda Beach Resort at the southern end of the beach or the quiet boutique-styled Amsterdam Manor Aruba Beach Resort at the northern end of the beach.
Sun loungers and umbrellas are provided by beachfront resorts; expect a small charge if you’re from another resort. Water sports include snorkelling, parasailing, jet skiing and Hobie Cat sailing.
Separated by a rocky limestone outcrop that is home to a flock of green parakeets, Eagle Beach is just south of Palm Beach, around 6km from Oranjestad.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this gorgeous 100m-wide beach, offering powder-white sand just a short stroll from a choice of resorts including the elegant 5-star Aruba Bucuti Beach Resort.
Unlike Eagle and Palm beaches, there are no water sports here to interrupt your peace and quiet. Facilities supplied by the resorts include sun loungers, palapas, drinks and food.
Manchebo Beach, which is also known as Punto Brabo, is located just south of Eagle Beach.
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Escape the crowds to sunbathe, swim and snorkel on this 500m-long stretch of white sand that lies beneath the California Lighthouse at the northwest tip of the island.
With calm seas and a mainly sandy bottom, Arashi Beach is one of Aruba’s best swimming sites.
Facilities include only a few shady beach huts, so you’ll need to take food and drink supplies with you.
Arashi Beach is easy to reach by bus, car or taxi and is located around 6km from Oranjestad and roughly 3km from Palm Beach.
This white-sand beach is fringed by mature palm trees and offers good swimming in shallow water, snorkelling in numerous rocky coves and diving on a scuttled German freighter, which lies on the seabed just offshore.
A steady breeze makes the beach popular with windsurfers. There are no facilities on this beach so you need to take your own provisions. Malmok Beach lies to the south of Arashi Beach.
Unwind on this beach’s gorgeous white sand, swim in the calm, shallow waters or join kite and windsurfers riding the gentle waves.
Hadicurari is the top beach for windsurfing on Aruba and hosts the annual pro-am Hi-Winds World Challenge every June.
The powder-white sand beach is sprinkled with pebbles and shells at the water's edge. Facilities include only shade huts and picnic tables.
Hadicurari Beach (also known as Fishermen's Huts) is adjacent to Palm Beach on the northwest coast, around 8km north of Oranjestad.
Unwind on the soft sugar-white sands of this 700m-long beach that curves around a shallow 1.5m-deep cove; thanks to the protective breakwater, this beach offers perfect swimming conditions for families with small children.
Sunbathe on the powder-white sand, relax beneath shady sea grape bushes and palapas or swim out to the entrance for excellent snorkelling over the coral reef.
Facilities include sun loungers and palapas for hire, as well as food and drink kiosks and toilets. The beach is popular with locals during the weekend.
Baby Beach is located just beyond San Nicolas near Aruba's easternmost tip, around 20km south of Oranjestad.
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What to do and see in Aruba
Aruba’s warm turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and participating in a variety of water sport activities; while the island’s diverse interior is perfect for horseback, ATV and hiking adventures.
In Aruba's colourful capital city of Oranjestad, discover Dutch colonial-style buildings painted in vivid Caribbean colours of pink, blue, ochre and pistachio. Stroll the main waterfront boulevard lined with attractive gabled architecture, playing host to shopping malls, bars and restaurants.
Browse for duty free bargains such as jewellery, cameras and perfumes, as well as for Delft pottery, cheese and aloe (Aruba is the world's largest producer of aloe).
Inland, go horseback riding and hiking or hire a four-wheel drive jeep or ATV to explore the harsh desert-like lunar landscape of the interior. Discover windswept hills covered with towering cacti, unusual volcanic rock formations and the island’s wind-blown trademark divi-divi trees.
Along the way, see thousands of butterflies at the Butterfly Farm and feed a long-necked bird at the Ostrich Farm.
Visit the distinctive and authentic Old Dutch Windmill then climb the observation tower at the lush Bubali Bird Sanctuary to see more than 80 species of local and migratory birds, including brown pelicans, blue herons, snowy egrets and black cormorants as they flitter through the undulating marsh grasses.
Admire the old California Lighthouse that sits on a hilltop at Aruba’s northernmost tip then visit the picturesque Alto Vista Chapel and the Bushiribana Gold Smelter Ruins on the rugged northeast coast. Nearby stands the island’s most photographed natural attraction – the 7.5m-high Natural Bridge, with its 30m-span stretching across the sea.
Ponder reddish-brown petroglyphs at the Ayo Rock Formations and visit the Casibari Rock Formations, which resemble birds and dragons. To the south lies the pristine and wild terrain of Arikok National Wildlife Park, an ecological showcase that sprawls across roughly 20 per cent of the island.
After dark, take in a live Vegas-style show, listen to music featuring Latin jazz and Caribbean sounds or enjoy a flutter at one of the island’s 12 casinos.
With an average water temperature of 27°C (80°F), visibility ranging from 18m to 36m and numerous dive sites including coral reefs and wrecks, diving in Aruba is an unbeatable experience.
Dive amid brain, sheet, finger and star coral, and float among snapper, grunt, angelfish, damselfish and parrotfish, looking out for frogfish, seahorses, nudibranchs, black crinoids and scorpion fish.
The seas around Aruba are renowned for sunken airplane fuselages and shipwrecks.
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Aruba’s crystal clear waters and several shallow reefs provide excellent opportunities for snorkelling.
The best sites are along the southern (leeward) coast and include Arashi Reef, which features brain and star coral, sea fans, parrotfish and angelfish.
Wind and kite surfing
With the longest high-wind season in the Caribbean, Aruba offers great opportunities on the leeward side of the island, conveniently located near the major beaches and resorts.
The best times for the sports are from May to July, when wind speeds average 20 to 25 knots. The rest of the year averages 15 knots, with 10 knots in September and around 20 knots in April.
The best spots are off the northwest tip of the island at Malmok and Hadicurari beaches.
The south near San Nicolas, around Rodgers Beach and Boca Grandi, are quiet alternatives to the more popular hotel beach areas.
Typically, windsurfers and kite surfers take turns throughout the day.
Take a guided tour through the coastal mangrove forests, lagoon and small island in the calm waters around the old fishing village of Savaneta on the leeward (south) coast.
Hook up a charter to catch barracuda, amberjack, sailfish, wahoo, blue and white marlin, kingfish, bonito and black- and yellow-fin tuna.
Alternatively, buy a hand line and fish for snapper and dolphin fish. Some restaurants will even cook and serve up your day's catch!
Experience underwater life without getting wet. See coral, marine life and shipwrecks aboard a submarine (from the pier in front of the Crystal Casino in Oranjestad) or in a glass-bottom boat (from Pelican Pier on Palm Beach).
Take a sunset cruise or hire a charter yacht to cruise the calm waters of the south coast.
Hike coastal trails to find uncrowded beaches or hike hillside and cliff trails through Arikok National Park to discover abandoned gold mines and see plantation ruins, caves and limestone cliffs.
Aruba offers several riding stables that provide a range of morning, afternoon or sunset rides on calm, good-natured mounts.
Choose from several trail options, including rides along the coast to Malmok and Arashi beaches, California Lighthouse, Natural Bridge and the Ayo rock formations.
Or ride through Arikok National Park to the Natural Pool where you can stop to swim and snorkel.
Hire a mountain bike and explore this small and mainly flat island independently or take a guided ride that visits Alto Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse. For the most scenic cycle routes, head to the northern coast.
The ponds and wetlands of the Bubali Bird Sanctuary attract more than 80 species, including black olivaceous cormorants, herons, egrets and brown pelicans.
In Arikok National Park, spot several species such as the common emerald and ruby-topaz hummingbirds, rufous-collared sparrows, ospreys, black-faced grassquits, Caribbean parakeets, crested caracaras and Aruban burrowing owls.
Tee-off from one of the Caribbean's best golf courses – the championship, Robert Trent Jones II-designed Tierra del Sol, an 18-hole, par-71 course. Located on the island's northern tip, Tierra del Sol features panoramic ocean views and the California Lighthouse.
Expect to play through deep bunkers, cacti, coral rock and water hazards, but watch out for winds often gusting to 64km per hour. Or try Divi Links, a picturesque 9-hole course surrounded by landscaped water traps, lakes and lagoons, located near Druif Beach.
Island hopping in the Caribbean
From Aruba, take a short flight with Dutch Antilles Express to Aruba's neighbouring islands of Bonaire or Curacao.
Each has its own personality: laid-back Bonaire offers great beaches and more than 86 spectacular dive sites and 213 fish species; cosmopolitan Curacao provides gorgeous beaches and plenty of water sport activities.
Cruise liners stop over at Aruba and offer the perfect excuse to launch into a discovery of a string of Caribbean islands that stretch to the west and north.
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Aruba offers a varied choice of must-see sights and attractions, from the colourful Dutch colonial-style buildings in the capital Oranjestad to petroglyphs at the Ayo Rock Formations and the pristine wild terrain of Arikok National Wildlife Park (photo).
Check out these must-see sightseeing attractions while visiting Aruba.
Arikok National Park
Follow clearly marked hiking trails to explore Aruba's showcase ecological preserve, which sprawls across roughly 20 per cent of the island.
Discover a diverse landscape of wind-swept hills covered with cacti and divi-divi trees, and dotted with rocky outcrops, huge boulders and fissures.
On the coastal areas, discover sand dunes and wave-lashed limestone cliffs encrusted with sea grapes and sea lavender. Look out for endemic animal species including the Aruban cat-eyed snake and rattlesnake, the Aruban whiptail lizard, Aruban burrowing owl and Aruban parakeet, as well as iguanas, migratory birds, wild goats and feral donkeys.
Elsewhere spot parakeets, doves, troupials, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, kestrels and caracaras (huge vulture-like hawks) swooping above as they seek iguanas and cottontail rabbits.
Stroll paths past abandoned gold mines in hills scattered with yellow poui, white gum trees and eucalyptus trees.
See old aloe gardens and the remains of colourful cunucu (country-style houses), including the partially restored farm known as Cunucu Arikok. Discover fine examples of early Amerindian art, including drawings of birds and marine animals.
Alternatively, explore the park on a horseback or take an ATV tour to see the main highlights of the park, including the twin coves at Dos Playa – two coves fringed by a wide white-sand beach. Although strong currents here make swimming dangerous, the beach is perfect for a picnic.
Nearby lies the Natural Pool or conchi known as Cura di Tortuga, a great place to cool off with a dip when the seas are calm.
There are also various caves in the area, including: the Fontein Cave, which features brownish-red drawings created by Amerindians; the 30m-long Quadirikiri Cave; and the Baranca Sunu, also known as the ‘tunnel of love’ because of its heart-shaped entrance.
(Oranjestad) – Explore the Willem III Tower and Museo Arubano in this 18th century fortress built by the Dutch to defend the island against pirates. Tour the aloe garden and see prehistoric Caiquetio artefacts and remnants from the Dutch colonial period.
Enjoy the weekly Bon Bini Festival, a celebration of local arts and crafts, food, music and dance, held every Tuesday evening.
Archaeological Museum of Aruba
(Oranjestad) – See an array of pottery, shell and stone tools and burial urns, as well as skulls and bones that showcase the island's Amerindian heritage.
Where to stay
Aruba offers a huge range of restaurants, bars and hotels to suit all honeymoon budgets, most of them located along Palm and Eagle beaches…
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Location: Palm Beach
Prices: from AUD867 per room
Description: The luxurious Marriott is located on the north end of Palm Beach, less than 6 miles from Oranjestad's shopping district, and boasts the largest rooms of any of Aruba's luxury high-rise hotels. The wide beach offers numerous palapas and palm trees to relax under. Spacious guestrooms feature beds with Marriott's Revive bedding, 9 square metre patios or balconies, air conditioning, walk-in closets and high-speed Internet access. Facilities incl.: 6 restaurants, 3 bars, casino, large lagoon-style outdoor pool, concierge, 2 tennis courts, health club, full-service spa, beach volley-ball court, 24-hour room service and watersports equipment.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
Location: Palm Beach
Prices: from AUD666 per room
Description: The beachfront Ritz-Carlton, Aruba tempts guests with free WiFi, 2 outdoor pools and spa in Noord. The rooms are bright and modern. They have splashes of bright colour and elegant furniture. Each comes with a private bathroom with free toiletries, a minibar and flat-screen TV. There is air conditioning, a balcony, an iPod docking station and a DVD player. Towels and linens are included. Guests can enjoy the children’s activities and 3 onsite restaurants. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba offers 24-hour front desk assistance. The hotel offers onsite water sports facilities and a casino. There is a business centre, retail shop and concierge service. Queen Beatrix International Airport lies 11.7 km from The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino
Location: Palm Beach, Aruba
Prices: from AUD574 per room
Description: This elegant beachfront resort is surrounded by nearly 12 acres of gardens, ponds, waterfalls and pools, and the white sands of Palm Beach in Aruba's high-rise-hotel district. Spacious guestrooms are attractively furnished with Art Deco-inspired furniture and modern carnival colors, with views of the pool, ocean or garden. All include 32-inch LCD TVs offering U.S./international cable channels and iHome for iPod clock radios. The 5,200 square-foot ZoiA Spa – meaning balance in Papiamento – houses 8 treatment rooms, many of which will offer an indoor and outdoor experience, and an extensive spa menu featuring luxurious treatments with local ingredients. Facilities incl.: 6 restaurants, 4 bars, casino, 3 outdoor pools, concierge, health club and spa, 3 tennis courts, 24-hour room service and watersports equipment.
Amsterdam Manor Aruba Beach Resort
Location: Oranjestad, Aruba
Prices: from AUD272 per room
Description: Small, romantic and family-owned, this Dutch Colonial-style hotel faces Aruba's famed Eagle Beach, that is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.
Scattered around a series of intimate courtyards, the studios and one- and two-bedroom suites feature oak furniture and stylish wicker sofa sets. All units feature a balcony or terrace and kitchen or kitchenette. Standard studios have shower-only bathrooms, while superior units have a Jacuzzi and an ocean view. Suites on the top floor boast high-barn ceilings. Amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access, flat-panel TVs with cable channels, ceiling fans and air conditioning. Mango's restaurant offers an extensive buffet breakfast with live cooking, and international cuisine for dinner. You can enjoy cocktails, fresh fish and grilled steak on the beach at the Passions Beach Bar & Lounge. Free snacks at Manager's Cocktail party every Thursday. Facilities incl.: 2 restaurants, 2 bars, outdoor pool and watersports equipment.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these and more resorts in Aruba at TripAdvisor.
Best time to honeymoon in Aruba
With an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) year round and cool sea breezes, Aruba can be enjoyed at any time. Only the months of October, November and December have occasional brief showers.
For more climate info: Aruba Weather Guide…
Aruba lies in the southern Caribbean, just 20km off the coast of Venezuela. It is the most westerly of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and is located south of the hurricane belt.
By air, Aruba is serviced with daily non-stop flights from several cities in North America.
Information on how to get to Aruba… › Aruba Map
Latest update: Aruba Honeymoon Guide:
18 November, 2018
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