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 gorgeous white sand and tranquil blue waters—and sprawling full-service luxury resorts. While steps from the famed beach, this intimate property owned and operated by Belgian twin sisters Stephanie...
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...
L.G. Smith Boulevard 55B Eagle Beach, Oranjestad, Aruba
Regularly named one of the best beaches in the world, Eagle Beach offers soft, powderlike sand, sparkling waters, iconic fofoti trees, and, a few months out of the year, the highest concentration of nesting turtles on the island. The...
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 highest structure on the island and offers the best views in its respective area....
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...
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...
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...
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
While some resorts in Aruba have an adults-only policy, this 241-room high-rise property on Palm Beach is particularly family-friendly. Children under 12 stay and eat for free, and the Treasures of the Caribbean kids’ club—complimentary to...
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, 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 porch...
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