Our offers for shore excursions in Oranjestad (Aruba)
Book your shore excursion in Oranjestad (Aruba) with us. You can select the appropriate excursion for your cruise stay here:
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Useful information for trips in Oranjestad (Aruba)
We have put together the following information for you about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and many useful tips for shore excursion
The most beautiful sights in and around Oranjestad
The picturesque town of Oranjestad lies on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. It belongs together with Bonaire and Curaçao to the so-called ABC islands and is the smallest island of the archipelago. The islands are not far from the South American coast. After only 16.7 miles (27 kilometres) you reach the mainland of Venezuela.
Oranjestad is the capital with about 30.000 inhabitants, the biggest city on Aruba and famous for its interesting city centre. The colourful colonial architecture captivates with its enchanting Caribbean-Dutch flair. Most of the buildings are in a very well-kept condition and some even date back to the founding years of the city. A walk is an excellent way to get to know the city with its unique charm.
In addition, Oranjestad is considered a true shopping paradise. You will pass many souvenir shops, restaurants and shopping malls in American style during a stroll. In addition to its many shopping streets, Oranjestad is also known for its casinos. Also in the evening the place with its nightlife offers a great experience.
The 18th century Fortress Zoutmane fortress built by the Dutch is also worth a visit. The town was originally built around the historic fortress and used to defend the port facilities. In the 19th century the striking Willem III tower was built next to the fort, which long served as a lighthouse and bell tower. Today, the building complex is one of the oldest buildings on the island and houses the Historical Museum with impressive exhibits on the history of Aruba. In addition, the tower offers a magnificent view over the city.
Queen Wilhelmina Park
Not far from the Zoutman Fortress lies the beautiful Queen Wilhelmina Park. The small, well-kept park is perfect for a short stroll where you can relax and unwind. Rest on one of the benches, enjoy the view of the sea or explore the beautiful lagoon bordering the park. With a bit of luck you may also find iguanas.
Aloe Vera Museum
The Aloe Vera plant was brought to Aruba in 1840. After a very short time it had already taken up two thirds of the island area and made the island the world’s largest exporter of aloe. After the gold mining period, it contributed a great deal to the island’s wealth. Today you can visit the plantation, the museum and the factory. During a guided tour you will learn more about the cultivation and processing of the miracle plant. Aloe products can also be bought in the adjacent shop.
Gold mines & mills
The history of the gold prospectors on Aruba dates back to the 14th century. At that time, adventurers searched the Caribbean for wealth and treasure. After a long search, gold was actually found in 1824. The following gold rush brought great wealth to the island. Today the mines and mills are shut down. But at different places you can still search for traces yourself. Thus the national park Arikok accommodates the remains of historical gold mines in Miralamar. In the south of the island you can admire the Balashi gold mill as well as at the north coast the abandoned gold mill Bushiribana.
Until 2005, the Natural Bridge was one of the largest natural bridges in the world. With a length of about 98,4 foot (30 metres) and a maximum height of about 23 foot (7 metres), the bridge made of coral stones could even be crossed by vehicles. With the time some small cracks developed, which finally led to the collapse. Even if today only the remains can be seen, it is still popular with tourists. In the immediate vicinity is the still intact smaller Baby Natural Bridge, which you can still admire.
Ayo rock formations
About 1.8 miles (3 km) away from the Natural Bridge are the Ayo rock formations. The monolithic boulders seem to be scattered throughout the landscape and can be climbed and explored. In addition to an excellent view, you can marvel at the thousands of years old rock paintings of the indigenous people on the rocky hills..
Alto Vista Chapel
The chapel of Alto Vista (“the highest view”) was built in 1952 on the original site of the first Catholic church of Aruba. The yellow illuminated chapel is one of the island’s landmarks as a place of pilgrimage. It is a special place for peace and reflection, surrounded by the picturesque landscape of Aruba. Even today, church services still take place here regularly.
The over 100 years old lighthouse “California Lighthouse” is located at the northern tip and is the quiet guardian of the island. Its name is dedicated to the steamship California, which sank off the coast in 1891. After a restoration, the tower can be visited again and is one of the most popular photo motifs on the island. From above you have a fantastic panoramic view over Aruba.
The Arikok National Park is about 7.4 miles (12 kilometres) from the port of Oranjestad and reflects the exceptional nature of the island. The park occupies almost 20% of the island’s surface and is characterized by rough, wild, dry landscapes with cacti, Divi Divi trees and Aloe Vera. In mysterious rock caves you can admire drawings of the natives. Don’t be frightened if you meet one or some of the bats, because the park is also home to various animal species
Entrance to the park is currently US$11 and includes access to the Visitor Center. Since the paths can be very bumpy, excursions are usually offered in special vehicles such as jeeps or quads. In addition, there is a network of 20 miles (32 kilometres) of hiking trails across the national park, which makes the park a popular destination for hikers.
Another attraction of the Arikok National Park is the nature pool “Conchi” on the east coast. Rock formations and volcanic rocks separate the natural water basin from the rough sea, so that you can enjoy a protected and relaxed bath. Next to the water of the natural pool you will be refreshed by the splashing waves. The pool can only be reached in an SUV or other special vehicle and the last stretch to the pool must be covered on foot.
White beaches, turquoise clear water and large palm trees – this is what the beautiful island of Aruba has to offer and, not too little of it. When staying on Aruba, a visit to one of the beautiful beaches should not be missed. The choice of public beaches is large: The Eagle Beach is listed among the most beautiful beaches of the world and is well within a distance of mere 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) of the port. Also the Palm Beach in the northwest is one of the most popular beaches of the island. Both beaches are well equipped with bars, restaurants and water sports and are close to numerous hotels.
To get to the world famous Flamingo Beach and take a picture of its inhabitants, the pink flamingos, a short ferry ride is necessary. The beach is located on a private island and belongs exclusively to the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. For hotel guests, a visit to the island is included. The two possibilities to reach the island are either to rent a room in the hotel or to buy a day pass for about 100 US dollars. Admission is only granted to guests from the age of 18, so unfortunately the little ones are not yet allowed to enjoy the impressive birds on the beach..
The Baby Beach, which encloses a natural lagoon, is somewhat more tranquil with only a few beach bars and tourist infrastructure. Especially for families this beach in the southeast is very recommendable, because the water is quite shallow and the swell is low. Also at Arashi Beach in the north, near the California lighthouse, it is quieter. It is very popular with locals as well as snorkelers and divers.
If you want to stay in Oranjestad or just make a short detour before the departure of your ship, Surfside Beach with its proximity to the port is an ideal place to visit.
If you have not booked an organised shore excursion, many beaches can be easily reached by public bus at low cost. However, the cost of renting sunbeds or umbrellas in the Caribbean is relatively high.
If you want to be active on the water, we recommend a visit to the famous Fisherman’s Hut at Hadicurari Beach. This place is located in the north of the island and offers a wonderful opportunity for kitesurfing and windsurfing used by athletes from all over the world. The special thing about this place is its diversity of levels. Whether beginner, advanced or professional, everyone can use this place for training. Surf schools directly on the beach also offer special beginner courses.
Aruba is a true paradise for divers. Just off the coast at Arashi Beach lies the famous shipwreck “Antilla“. The German merchant ship was sunk about 2297 foot (700 metres) off the coast of Aruba during the Second World War in 1940. Over time, numerous sea dwellers and sponges have settled on the wreck, which is about 394 foot (120 metres) long and broken in the middle, so that the place is great for experienced divers. The wreck of the steamboat “California”, which also lies off the coast, is also populated with many corals and exotic fish. Since the wrecks lie in the open sea, the current can be a bit treacherous, so you should enjoy the experience with extreme caution and only as part of an accompanied dive trip.
If you are reluctant to get wet, Aruba offers more opportunities to explore the underwater world. During a trip in one of the submarines “Atlantis” or “Seaworld Explorer” you can admire the unique underwater world comfortably out of the dry.
Map of the Cruise Port in Oranjestad (Aruba)
The port of Oranjestad has two terminals and several berths for cruise ships, all in the immediate vicinity of the city centre. In the well-equipped terminal buildings you will find the first shops as well as a tourist information centre. If you would like to explore Oranjestad on your own, the city centre can be reached on foot in only about 10 minutes. There are numerous beautiful shops, restaurants and cafés along the Uferstraße, where you can let the flair of the city take effect on you.
If you book a land excursion with us, you will be picked up in direct proximity to the port.
Useful Facts for Land Excursions in Aruba
Itineraries and routes
Aruba is a popular destination in the Caribbean. Especially Americans use the island to spend a dream vacation or even a honeymoon. Also many cruise companies have recognized the beauty of the island. Oranjestad is regularly visited on Caribbean cruises by various cruise companies such as Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises, especially between November and April. Other ports served on classic routes are often La Romana, Roseau (Dominica), Castries (St. Lucia) as well as Bonaire und Curaçao.
Entry and Visa
No visa is required to enter Aruba. However, you will need a valid passport. An identity card is not sufficient. Experience has shown that the passport should be valid for at least six months after the end of the stay.
To be on the safe side, we recommend that you contact your cruise operator directly to find out about the entry requirements for your cruise.
Taxi and public transport
If you have not booked a transfer or a guided shore excursion, you have several possibilities to discover Aruba. Outside the terminal there are usually enough taxis available with listed fixed prices. Nevertheless, it is advisable to discuss the price with the driver before starting the journey as a precaution.
The public buses are a good and inexpensive alternative to get to one of the beautiful beaches or to explore the surroundings. The bus stop “Oranjestad Bus Terminal” is located close to the harbour and is an ideal starting point. The buses are mostly very regular and usually very punctual. Nevertheless you should inform yourself about the timetables in time and on the spot and plan enough time to return to the harbour for safety reasons.
If you would like to explore Oranjestad on your own, the city centre can be reached quickly on foot thanks to the short distances. Alternatively, the free tram “Arutram” has been available since 2013. This tram commutes from the harbour to the pedestrian zone and stops at 10 stops over a distance of almost 1.2 miles (2 kilometres). The entire journey takes 10-15 minutes and you can get on and off as often as you like at the stops.
The official currency on Aruba is the Aruba florin, which is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate. 1 EUR is currently equivalent to about 2 Aruba florins. However, an exchange of the currency is usually not necessary. As a tourist, one can pay almost everywhere with US dollars. You can exchange these before you start your Caribbean cruise. Please do not take dollar bills with high value with you, as they are often not accepted. Credit cards are also accepted as common means of payment in many places.
The climate on Aruba is tropical and characterized by the trade wind. Temperatures are warm all year round and are usually between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The air is mostly dry and pleasant, because every now and then a refreshing breeze blows. The driest and most pleasant time for the temperature is between March and September. But also the rainy season between October and February is rather harmless with only short showers. As a rule, no hurricanes are to be expected as the island lies outside the hurricane belt. In the period from December to April is the high season of the island, since in this time most cruise ships moor. However, Aruba is a popular holiday destination all year round.
Port operator and tourism organisation website
- Port operator: Aruba Ports Authority
- Official Website: Aruba
- Online Travel Guide: Wikivoyage Oranjestad (Aruba)
Cruise excursions with “My Cruise Excursions” make your cruise a wonderful experience! Book your desired trip to Oranjestad (Aruba) with us now!
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