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
Many travelers associated Aruba with mass tourism, all-inclusive resorts and cruise ships. I was determined to uncover the less explored side of the island, and ironically found the perfect base camp for my adventures right in the shadows of...
Pitastraat 115, Aruba
Since 1890, Aruba Aloe has produced the world’s finest aloe products. Their legendarily gentle and soothing lotions and moisturizers are 100% Aruban, cultivated and produced on a 150-acre factory and plantation complete with a museum well...
More than 180 species of bird can be spotted at any one time on Aruba, while during the winter migration, more than 300 call in on the island. The Bubali Bird Sanctuary's wetlands usually have visiting herons, egrets, pelicans, and more. Arikok...
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
When you and your crew need a day out of the sun, make a visit to Aruba Fun City, an amusement park featuring a labyrinth, climbing wall, playground, air-hockey tables, and more. Palm Beach Dream Bowl features eight glowing lanes, an arcade, and...
L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba
Most first-time visitors to Aruba are surprised to find that the island has an unusual natural side. Sure there are beautiful beaches surrounded by palm trees, but on the North Shore of the island you’ll find something completely different. Rent a...
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
We wanted to escape from the usual shopping euphoria of Aruba. It was Christmas Eve, and my son and I decided to explore. We walked a mile away from the shopping area and found this Oasis (The West Deck). We had a drink and spent a few hours...
Noord Cura Cabai 2a, Savaneta, Aruba
Want to escape to your own little piece of paradise? Well dip your toes in the sand and enjoy a delicious dinner at The Old Man and the Sea. It is the perfect combination of artistic flair and romance. The Old Man and the Sea is a romantic...
Zoutmanstraat 1, Oranjestad, Aruba
Housed in a 100-year-old building with a yellow facade, this famous store offers authentic Aruban items handcrafted by government-certified artisans. Look out for driftwood painted in vibrant colors; jewelry crafted from glass, ceramic, 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
Once an integral form of transportation in Aruba, donkeys were reduced to road hazard status as cars replaced them. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba was founded in 1997 to protect the animals. It’s 100% non-profit, so your adoption goes a long way to their...
San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
My first taste of the Caribbean was not a rummy cocktail or a fried plantain: It was a blast of salty dirt, delivered to my face when I stood up in the back of a Jeep as we rattled up Aruba’s hardscrabble east coast. My friend Will and I...
Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba
Hand crafted Mopa Mopa masks and figurines can be found at markets and art shops around Aruba. Artisans create the colorful, metallic overlays on each piece by boiling leaf buds in an old Amerindian tradition and stretching them into place with...
Wilhelminastraat 64, Oranjestad, Aruba
Eethuis De Suikertuin (Sugar Garden) is named for the sugar loving 'buiki heel' (yellow belly) birds that dip in and out of the back patio. It's a charming place for breakfast and lunch, that serves up good, local, dutch-influenced fare.
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