The Perfect Week in Aruba
Collected by Flash Parker , AFAR Ambassador
Looking for a week in paradise? Then Aruba is the island of your dreams, where the calm waters of the impossibly blue Caribbean Sea lap against white-sand beaches. But tear yourself away from your beach chair and you'll find an island brimming with other discoveries, like fascinating museums, fabulous shopping, and standout restaurants.
Bakval 20, Noord, Aruba
Aruba’s Palm Beach is known for its powdery white sand, tranquil blue waters—and sprawling full-service luxury resorts. Just steps away, the intimate Boardwalk Small Hotel is a laid-back alternative. Owned and operated by Belgian twin...
Pitastraat 115, Aruba
Featuring a series of boulders that appear to have been gathered, piled, and deliberately set across a few square miles of desert, this site carries a certain air of mystery. Scientists remain baffled about the geological event that could have...
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 230, Noord, Aruba
Dream about a Caribbean beach bar and chances are you’ll imagine someplace like MooMba, just south of Palm Beach. Here, you’ll find oversize palapas, tiki torches at night, and a crowd looking for fun with their feet in the...
Positioned on Aruba’s west coast, this protected expanse of wetlands is a landing spot for migrating birds. Of the more than 80 species that come to feed, mate, or simply rest here, black-necked stilts are the most common—keep an eye out for their...
L.G. Smith Blvd 55B, Oranjestad, Aruba
It’s easy to see why Eagle Beach is touted as one of the world’s best shorelines. Studded with iconic fofoti trees and backed by sparkling waters, the powderlike sand hosts sunworshippers and, a few months out of the year, the highest...
Eagle Beach, Aruba
In addition to its beaches, Aruba’s gambling culture is one of the island’s biggest draws, with most casinos located in the large hotels of Palm Beach and downtown Oranjestad. Stellaris, in the Aruba Marriott Resort, is one of several glittering...
L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba
Built between 1914 and 1916 on an octagonal base, this stone, double-lens lighthouse is Aruba’s marquee landmark. Standing tall at 98 feet, it’s the higheststructure on the island and offers the best views in its respective area. It gets its name...
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370, Noord, Aruba
Go Dutch with breakfast at this beachfront spot, located next to Aruba’s iconic red windmill. Here, the menu is written on a chalkboard and features all manner of sweet and savory pancakes, from apple-cinnamon-banana to Norwegian and Dutch...
Havenstraat 36, Oranjestad, Aruba
It’s all about the fruits of the sea at the Old Fisherman, a local favorite in the center of town. Although the decor is nautical and the dishes are named for seafaring icons, the atmosphere isn’t exactly what you’d expect on...
L.G. Smith Blvd 7, Oranjestad, Aruba
Instagrammers, take note: This open-air eatery is prime for watching—and snapping—the sunset. Every table is positioned on the pier, directly over Aruba’s shimmering waters. Come early to score a front-row seat for the evening...
L.G. Smith Blvd, Oranjestad, Aruba
A shopping mecca, this downtown street is lined with malls and flea markets. On Oranjestad’s main pier, across from one of the larger malls, you’ll find the site of Aruba’s first public market. Once a clearinghouse for local fruits, vegetables,...
Noord Cura Cabai 2a, Savaneta, Aruba
The Old Man and the Sea in Savaneta is an ideal place for a romantic island dining experience, amid the 'clicking palms,' overlooking the water. Feel the sand beneath your feet, and listen to the waves gently lapping the shoreline as you enjoy a...
Kadushi Largo 7 Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Skip the tacky magnets this time around and instead visit Cosecha for a souvenir truly reflective of Aruban culture. The word ‘cosecha’ translates to ‘harvesting,’ and that’s just what the curators of this shop and...
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 75, Noord, Aruba
Families will find lots to love at this 241-room high-rise property on Palm Beach. Children under 12 stay and eat for free, and the Treasures of the Caribbean kids’ club—complimentary to guests—organizes supervised scavenger...
Bringamosa 2-Z Sta Cruz, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Donkeys were once the main mode of transportation on Aruba, but after cars arrived, they were left to wander the island without purpose. To give the abandoned animals a permanent home, the island founded this sanctuary in 1997. Free and...
San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Among the 20 percent of Aruba that’s protected land, Arikok National Park boasts lava fields, limestone terrain, and a small beach, all crisscrossed with picturesque hiking trails. Paths lead to gold mine ruins, former plantations, and...
Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba
At Mopa Mopa in Oranjestad, local handicrafts aren’t just souvenirs—they’re decorative art. The gallery specializes in carved wooden figures, crafted lovingly in the traditional mopa mopa, or barniz de Pasto, style. To finish...
Wilhelminastraat 64, Oranjestad, Aruba
Located in a historic mansion on one of the oldest streets in Oranjestad, Bistro de Suikertuin is hard to miss. The building is painted a bright hue of yellow, reminiscent of the tropical birds that visit its namesake sugar garden, and the front...
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