Whether you’re planning the holiday of a lifetime, or just want an amazing beach vacation destination, this blog, where to stay in Aruba, offers the best places to stay on this fabulous Caribbean jewel.
You’ve probably already seen the pictures: palm trees, the powdery white sand, clear turquoise water, colorful Dutch architecture and Caribbean-style boutique shops. You can almost hear the steel drum bands and taste the fried plantains. Now it’s your turn to go to Aruba!
This small island is a member of the Leeward Antilles and represents the “A” of the ABC islands. Finishing the island trinity is nearby Bonaire and Curacao.
Since March 1815, Aruba has been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, in 1976 the island gained its independence.
Aruba now operates as an independent country with special municipality status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands still oversees matters related to foreign affairs, defense, and citizenship.
The island is only 21 miles long and 6 miles wide. Most travelers will stay in Aruba on the west coast, with its long stretches of white sandy beaches.
The landscape on the island’s eastern side includes caves, dunes, and rugged hills made of volcanic lava.
Transportation around the island is possible by taxi, public bus and rental car. The modern paved roads are safe and easy to navigate. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
English is widely spoken, and although the official currency is the florin, most places accept US dollars.
You’ll find a wide range of places to stay in Aruba. Visitors choose from hotels in every price range, from budget to luxury. There are also short-term holiday rentals with kitchens and backpacker hostels.
Whether you prefer to join the party crowd in Palm Beach, check out the Dutch architecture of Oranjestad or swim with sea turtles at Baby Beach, you are sure to find a place to stay in Aruba to fit your budget.
Where to Stay in Aruba: Best Areas
1. Palm Beach, where to stay in Aurba for first timers and for nightlife
Aruba’s popular Palm Beach area holds the greatest appeal for many people. First-timers, families, and travelers interested in nightlife will appreciate the allure of a stay in Aruba at Palm Beach.
The beach is a 2-mile long stretch of beautiful white sand, palm trees and clear turquoise blue water.
The water is calm and perfect for families with children. Snorkeling here is excellent, with plenty of colorful fish and a possible sea turtle sighting.
Most of the higher-end hotels are in this area, but you can still find affordable options. Aruba’s popular casinos are in this region, plus great restaurants and shopping.
Lively entertainment after dark is available in the Vegas-style casinos and nightclubs, playing popular Caribbean dance music.
Family-friendly attractions like the Butterfly Farm, Bubali Bird Sanctuary and the Aruba Watersports Center are all in the Palm Beach vicinity.
- ($$$) Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino
- ($$$) Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino
- ($$) Radisson Blu Aruba
2. Eagle Beach, where to stay in Aruba for families and couples
The second most popular area to stay in Aruba is Eagle Beach, just south of Palm Beach.
With its windswept Divi Divi trees, Eagle Beach is postcard-perfect, and featured in many of the Aruba tourism advertisements.
This area appeals to animal lovers, golfers, honeymooners, couples, active travelers and beach bums.
You can find hotels in the budget and moderate price categories while you are still close to the nightlife and casinos of Palm Beach.
A couple of family-friendly attractions are close to Eagle Beach. The Butterfly Farm is only 7 minutes away by car and the Aloe factory can be reached in 10 minutes.
The white sand beach is 1.2 miles long and a popular nesting area for sea turtles.
If you stay in Aruba from March to September, you might see at least one of the four species of sea turtles that build their nests here, including Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, and Loggerhead.
Look for the red and white barriers placed on the beach to protect the nests. All sea turtle species are considered endangered and protected.
3. Oranjestad, best place to stay in Aruba for sightseeing
If you are the type of traveler who likes some beach time combined with opportunities to get out and explore, then Oranjestad is the spot for you.
Accommodations in the budget, moderate, and high-end price categories are available with a stay in Aruba’s bustling capital.
Located on the island’s western side, Oranjestad is where commercial airlines fly into the Queen Beatrice international airport.
Downtown is a good choice for a budget stay, where you can walk to restaurants and shops and save money on taxis or rental cars.
History and architecture buffs will love the museums and the historic Dutch colonial buildings. Brightly colored houses, shops and restaurants give the town that quaint Dutch look.
Oranjestad is less than 10 minutes by car to attractions like the Aloe factory and Casibari rock formations. In 20 minutes, you can cross the island to visit the natural swimming pool at Conchi. It’s a 25-minute drive from Oranjestad to Arikok National Park.
Plan to spend half a day at Arikok to see the Indian cave drawings, sand dunes and rough hills created from volcanic lava. Most of the island’s plants and animals are represented here.
Take a guided tour through the park and look for iguanas, birds, donkeys and goats.
Getting around the downtown area is easy, with trolleys offering free transportation.
The two trolleys, one is a single-decker and the other a double-decker, make a continuous loop with stops at:
- The Huisje Wild – Historic Kunuku townhome
- The House of Parliament
- The Archaeological Museum of Aruba
- Fort Zoutman Historical Museum
- The Historic Old Protestant Church
- Several stores and restaurants on the main street
- Aruba’s busy cruise ship port
Hop on the trolley for a free tour of the capital city and step off at any of the stops where you might want to explore more.
For some fun beach time, you can take a taxi or drive to Surfside beach in 5 minutes or Eagle Beach in 15 minutes.
4. Hadicurari Beach, where to stay in Aruba for kitesurfers and windsurfers
Active travelers, kitesurfers and windsurfers will want to check out Hadicurari and nearby Monserrat when they stay in Aruba. The constant tradewinds at 15-knots are a big attraction here.
Hadicurari Beach is north of Palm Beach, not far from the California Lighthouse and the island’s tip.
Step into one of the kite and windsurfing shops here, or work on your skills at the kitesurfing school.
You’ll find smaller, boutique-style accommodations in the Hadicurari Beach area. If you are looking for apartment-style lodgings with a local feel, check out neighboring Malmok and Noord.
There is a public bus stop at Hadicurari Beach where you can hop on the bus and head to Oranjestad.
5. Arashi Beach, great place to stay in Aruba for snorkeling and diving
For a quiet, relaxing and secluded stay in Aruba, head to the region surrounding Arashi Beach.
This location is great for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and travelers looking for a holiday stay with more of a local feel.
Arashi Beach is close to the California Lighthouse at the island’s northern point. It’s a mere 15-minute walk from the beach to the lighthouse.
The snorkeling is excellent here, with calm currents and lots of marine life. You might even snorkel with sea turtles!
Take the nearby West Point hiking trail and enjoy great views of the island and the Caribbean Sea. It’s a moderate hike on an 8.6-mile loop. You’ll see the Alto Vista Chapel at the halfway point, with its impressive views.
If you prefer to go by bike, you can rent bicycles from a nearby shop or take a guided bike tour.
Arashi Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike. It’s quiet here, with soft white sand, beach palapas, and a snack shack. Lounge chairs are available to rent, and the beach bar sometimes has live music.
Accommodation is very limited. Check out neighbouring Malmok area.
6. Savaneta, where to stay in Aruba off the well-beaten tourist path
Get off the tourist path with a stay in Aruba by staying close to the historic town of Savaneta. This former capital of Aruba, Savaneta, is at the island’s southwestern point.
Savaneta is just a 25-minute drive from Arikok National Park and the Conchi natural swimming pool. Animal lovers can visit the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba, a 10-minute drive north of Savaneta.
Some of Aruba’s best snorkeling is at nearby Mangel Halto Beach. The beach is quiet and definitely off the well-beaten tourist path.
Snorkel in the shallow water or make your way through the mangroves on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
7. Sint Nicolaas, where to stay in Aruba for a local and artistic vibe
At the southern point of the island is the second-largest town, Sint Nicolaas. For a stay in Aruba that is artistic, charming, and photogenic, stay in this region.
Sint Nicolaas is famous for its colorful street art, lively steel drum bands and San Nicolas’ Grand Carnival Parade.
The Sint Nicolaas parade is a prelude to the larger Aruba Carnival Grand Parade in Oranjestad.
You’ll find lots of quaint shops, local crafts, and restaurants in the downtown area. Most overnight accommodations here are in the budget to moderate price category.
To gain a better insight into the history of Aruba and the culture of Sint Nicolaas, check out these local museums:
- The Museum of Industry – exhibits depicting the history of industry in Aruba
- The Community Museum – explores the vibrant culture of Sint Nicolaas
- Carnival Euphoria Exhibition – showcases the history of Aruba’s colorful Carnival
Fun beaches at Aruba’s southern point include Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach.
Baby Beach is excellent for snorkeling with shallow water where you can wander out into the sea for a long way. It’s also one of the top spots for swimming with sea turtles!
Rodgers Beach is one of Aruba’s smaller, less crowded beaches. It’s just a 10-minute walk between Rodgers and its popular cousin Baby Beach.
Rodgers is favored by local families who bring their picnic lunch to enjoy on the weekends. Rodgers is a great spot to relax with a good book on mid-week days.
Snorkel and dive equipment rentals are available at the adjacent dive shop.
Unlike other areas on the island, the accommodation options in Sint Nicolaas are very very limited. There are only a few private rentals, which offer a decidedly quieter experience in comparison to the more bustling seaside hubs.