17 Outstanding Things to Do in Oranjestad, Aruba (in 2024)

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Oranjestad for your upcoming Aruba trip? I have uncovered my top picks below! Keep reading…

Are you planning your trip to Oranjestad at the last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Oranjestad at the last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

🇦🇼  Top experiences and tours in Oranjestad:

  1. Island ultimate Jeep safari in Aruba (top-rated trip on the island)
  2. Catamaran sail with snorkeling aboard the Arusun (popular day trip!)
  3. Aruba Atlantis submarine expedition (amazing for families)

🛌  Top hotels in Oranjestad:

  1. Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort (oceanfront on private island)
  2. Wonders Boutique Hotel (1 mile from Oranjestad; free shuttle)
  3. Aruba Surfside Marina (budget-friendly at Surfside Beach)

🚗  Looking for the best way to get around Oranjestad? Click here to check rental car rates for Aruba!

Oranjestad is a colorful city in Aruba that is most notable for its pastel-hued buildings (and exciting things to do!).

This guide will dive into what to do in Oranjestad, including the best day tours, museums, and more!

Best things to do in Oranjestad, Aruba - Darryl Brooks - Shutterstock
Best things to do in Oranjestad, Aruba – Darryl Brooks – Shutterstock

Did I miss any of the best places to visit in Oranjestad? Drop your favorite Oranjestad attractions and landmarks in the comments!

Best Things to Do in Oranjestad

1. Hit the Highlights of Aruba on an Island Tour

Explore the most popular spots in Aruba with an island excursion taking off from Oranjestad.

For 7 hours, you can travel around and through the whole island, seeing the top attractions like the Casibari Rock Formations, the Ayo Rock Formation, and the California Lighthouse.

Discover Aruba’s highlights with a knowledgeable tour guide and learn about Aruba’s culture, history, and industry whilst visiting one of the world’s oldest aloe vera factories.

Ayo Rock Formation
Ayo Rock Formation

With the factory and museum tour, you can learn about the 160-year history of aloe vera cultivation on the island and have the opportunity to take an aloe vera product with you.

Take a drink or two at a 75-year-old family-run bar and be entertained with stories about Aruba’s gold-rush era and then head over to the Bushiribana gold mill ruins. From there, you can begin to wrap things up before heading to relax at the man-made lagoon at Baby Beach.

>> Click here to check tour rates and availability

2. Snorkel and Relax on Deck on an Afternoon Sailing Excursion

For three hours, you can sail on the Caribbean waters with a luxurious 70-foot catamaran before snorkeling at the famous Antilla shipwreck.

Enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks from the open bar while enjoying views of the turquoise sea from the sundeck or the shade of the cabin.

Talk to the friendly crew and captain while watching the coastline recede as you head towards the location of the shipwreck of SS Antilla, a German freighter from WWII.

Snorkeling in Aruba
Snorkeling in Aruba

Upon arriving at the wreck and after a safety briefing, you will be provided with your snorkeling and scuba equipment: a snorkel, a mask, and flippers.

Dive together with your knowledgeable guide, swim around the ship, and discover the many varieties of coral and native tropical fish living in the artificial habitat of the sunken freighter.

After the full experience, you will head back to your pick-up destination.

>> Click here to check tour rates and availability

3. Relax on Eagle Beach (Voted #1 Beach in the Caribbean!)

Eagle Beach is a paradise on Aruba that was voted #1 in the Best Beach in the Caribbean in the 2023 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.

It is Aruba’s widest beach, stretching for approximately two miles, and offers ample parking, shaded areas, and a few beach huts. It is also a popular spot for a variety of water sports.

The beach is notable for its fofoti trees, which have been featured in various Aruba advertising campaigns as one of its most recognizable features.

Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach

These divi-divi trees are distinctive with their trademark bent trunks, adding a picturesque element to the beach while also providing additional shade.

The tranquil atmosphere and gentle waves make Eagle Beach a great place for relaxation, but also an ideal location for snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and, of course, swimming.

There are also numerous resorts and waterfront dining establishments nearby to enjoy before or after a stroll overlooking the sunset.

4. Tour the Fascinating Royal Aruba Aloe Factory and Museum

Aruba Aloe grows, harvests, and processes its own aloe on-site, and is one of the few aloe companies in the world that does so. They also offer a museum and factory tour that will provide insight into the Aruba aloe production process.

Dive into the 160-year history of aloe cultivation in Aruba and learn about the desert-like environment of the island and how it intensifies the plant’s natural healing qualities and produces the world’s most potent aloe vera gel.

Aruba aloe plantation
Aruba aloe plantation

It is Aruba’s number one export product despite only being introduced to the plant in 1840; today, Aruba is the world’s largest aloe exporter, and two-thirds of the island’s surface is covered with aloe vera plants.

The complimentary tour guides will explain how the first aloe vera plants were planted at the Hato Plantation on 150 acres of land and you can see how they are still utilized today when you visit it.

5. Immerse Yourself in Aruban Culture at the Bon Bini Festival

Every Tuesday night at Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad, the popular Bon Bini Aruba Festival takes place.

The word “Bonbini” means “Welcome!” in Papiamento, and the year-round festival is one of folkloric music and dance to introduce the Aruba people’s warmth and hospitality.

It takes place in Aruba’s oldest building, Fort Zoutman, in downtown Oranjestad, and showcases the cultural heritage of the people as well as local art and food.

Learn about the people’s language while you admire the rhythmic dancing in their dynamic costumes and listen to Aruban bands. The courtyard of the fort is lively, with a carnival-themed ambiance and tons of delicious flavors and vibrant colors to enjoy!

The entertaining evening, packed with the flavor of the island’s cuisine, history, and music, has an entrance fee of $15. The doors open at 6:00 pm and the show goes on from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. 

6. Spend a Day at the All-Inclusive Day Resort of De Palm Island

Experience paradise at an all-inclusive day resort on De Palm Island. Start the 6-hour adventure with complimentary hotel pick-up and transportation in an air-conditioned bus.

Relax in a sunny hammock and sip on savory or sweet tropical beverages; enjoy views of the sandy shores on the remote island; or get involved in one of the many aquatic recreational activities.

Go for a banana boat ride, enjoy the drop slides and waterslides, the flamingo exhibit, or even join a unique underwater helmet walk!

De Palm Island - Alex Cimbal - Shutterstock
De Palm Island – Alex Cimbal – Shutterstock

You can also take a look at the world-renowned coral reefs and tropical fish ecosystems with a snorkel or dip into the sea. De Palm Water Sports provides a hybrid SNUBA package that allows you to scuba without heavy gear and to breathe easily underwater.

You can descend to a depth of 20 feet with your certified instructor for about an hour to trek the sea for an unforgettable experience. 

>> Click here to check tour rates and availability

7. Stroll Along Linear Park’s Red Brick Path

The Aruban government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into reviving the capital over the past few years.

They constructed the Linear Park Trail, which will be used to connect the island’s west coast to Palm Beach.

Linear Park Trail
Linear Park Trail

The Linear Park Trail is famous for its red brick path that runs from Oranjestad’s airport to the cruise ship terminal, measuring about 4 miles to and from.

The paved trail is lined with trees and provides easy accessibility to the beach, Queen Beatrix International Airport, and major sights and attractions in downtown Oranjestad. Surfside Beach also has a spot with stationary workout equipment. 

8. Bargain at Aruba’s Largest Outdoor Local Market 

Aruba’s largest outdoor market will give you a feel of Aruban culture with its arts, crafts, and food park.

There are several street-food-style kiosks, each with its own delicious perspective on Caribbean flavors. Don’t leave without getting to enjoy a delectable selection of ribs at Piggly ‘N Giggly Barbq!

Venture through the souvenir market and look through some hand-made bags showcasing the dynamic colors and patterns of Aruba’s cultural heritage, or look through one of the many trinket and jewelry kiosks in the traditional Dutch-style market stalls.

Market on Aruba - Solarisys - Shutterstock
Market on Aruba – Solarisys – Shutterstock

The marketplace is filled with vendors offering a wide selection of products at local prices, especially on Sundays when the Local Market transforms into a secondhand, garage sale, or bargain market since the pandemic and economic crisis.

The Local Market is located by the cruise terminal in front of the Valero Boulevard gas station and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm.

9. Sample Local Dishes on a Food Walking Tour

Aruba is a melting pot with multicultural cuisine featuring Dutch, Italian, Jamaican, Cuban, and traditional Aruban food.

Experience a diverse cuisine with a local food tour and sample different foods from select restaurants and eateries hand-selected by your knowledgeable tour guide. Sip on local beer or Cuban Rum, or taste the island’s refreshing brew and most popular cocktail, the Aruba Ariba.

Delicious red snapper on Aruba
Delicious red snapper on Aruba

Over this two-and-a-half-hour food tour, you’ll experience some of the best flavors near the capital while also learning historical facts along the way.

Get an immersive experience of traditional Aruban food, which is influenced by elements from Indigenous Arawak traditions, Spanish and Dutch colonial influences, and other Caribbean islands.

Try out the most popular and iconic Aruban dish, Keshi Yena, which is a large round ball of Edam or Gouda cheese stuffed with a mixture of seasoned meat (usually chicken), vegetables, and spices and baked until the filling is cooked and the cheese is melted.

>> Click here to check food tour rates and availability

10. Use the Free Trolley to Easily Get to the Downtown Area

You don’t have to worry about getting downtown to the main street, as Aruba offers free transportation to and from there with its trolleys. It makes every Aruba itinerary easier (and cheaper).

These two streetcars or trolleys offer a single-decker with 42 seats and a double-decker with 64 seats. This free mode of transportation works in a loop with the cruise ship terminal.

You can find the streetcars right outside the cruise port’s main gate, and the first trolley starts at 10:00 am and the last trolley departs at 5:00 pm from the cruise port.

Trolley in Aruba - Birdiegal - Shutterstock
Trolley in Aruba – Birdiegal – Shutterstock

They are programmed to depart in 25-minute intervals during that designated time frame. The double-decker trolley grants a 360-degree view of the downtown area for passengers to experience.

They can view and directly access the top attractions and highlights of Oranjestad: Huisje Wild, the House of Parliament, the Archaeological Museum, the Fort Zoutman Historical Museum, the Protestant Church, and the chain of stores and restaurants on the main street.

11. Dine at the Delicious Gostoso Restaurant

Gostoso Restaurant is a local favorite, serving up a blend of both Portuguese and Aruban cuisine.

Its small and cozy ambiance and impeccable service make it a popular neighborhood restaurant, especially with its reasonable, neighborly prices. Their signature dishes emphasize the fresh seafood in the area.

Enjoy their special Seafood Medley, which consists of clams, lobster, scallops, shrimp, mussels, grouper, and calamari in saffron coconut sauce.

You can also opt for the New York strip loin kebab, marinated and grilled with red wine, garlic, bay leaves, and sea salt, served with mushroom or green peppercorn in demi-glace sauce.

End the meal with their world-famous key lime pie and an after-dinner cocktail.

12. Discover Aruba’s Culture and History on a Walking Tour

Go on a walking tour of the capital city with a local guide and explore Oranjestad’s series of shops, monuments, and museums.

Start your journey through town with a visit to Fort Zoutman Historical Museum and climb the old clock tower for an amazing view of the downtown.

Next, head over to Wilhelmina Park to see the two impressive statues in the park, and then to the National Archaeological Museum to learn about the island’s Indigenous people through the exhibition of pottery, skulls, and ancient tools.

Wilhelmina Park - Ildi Papp - Shutterstock
Wilhelmina Park – Ildi Papp – Shutterstock

You’ll have a special tasting afterward at the Coco Plum Restaurant and try the local dish, Pan Bati.

Continue to stroll around town and catch glimpses of the iconic family mansions, and as you walk the Main Street, learn about the oldest stores still lining it today, the street car passing through it, the government buildings, and the Protestant Church before heading over to your next tasting at the Havenstraat.

>> Click here to check tour rates and availability

13. Taste the Island’s Only Locally-Roasted Coffee at Coffee Break 

Take a coffee break at a hidden gem and local coffee shop located in the historic main street district of Oranjestad’s downtown.

The coffee at Coffee Break is both affordable and delicious, and it is accompanied by a great selection of light foods crafted with quality, fresh ingredients.

Choose from an assortment of sandwiches and pastries, like a Chicken Pesto Panini, and pair it with one of their locally roasted coffee beverages, like a Mocacchino or Caramel Frappé.

They also serve gelato, which is a great refreshment in Aruba’s heat! The staff is incredibly friendly and the service is quick. The cafe is also air-conditioned!

14. Discover a Secret Beach and Cave Pool on an ATV Adventure

See a different side of Aruba’s northern coast with a high-octane ATV/UTV tour.

The tour both starts and finishes at the only Go-Kart Track on the island, Rockabeach Tours Headquarters, located at Bushiri Karting Speedway.

From there, you’ll head over to Blackstone Beach, which is known for its black sand and rounded black stones.

Pass by the 3 Sister Bridges nearby, followed by Andicuri Beach, before heading over to Natural Bridge Aruba, which includes seven natural bridges made of volcanic limestone rocks.

Natural Bridge Aruba
Natural Bridge Aruba

Go cliff jumping at the New Natural Pool Cave and swim there for about 20 minutes before departing for the Bushiribana Goldmill Ruins 650 feet (200 meters) away.

Located further west on a hill with one of the best views on the island is the California Lighthouse.

The last stop on the tour is at Arashi Beach, located on the southwest side of the island. Finally, you’ll head back to Rockabeach Tours Headquarters.

>> Click here to check tour rates and availability

15. Visit Fort Zoutman Historical Museum (in Oranjestad’s Oldest Building)

Visit the oldest remaining building in Oranjestad, dating back to 1796, and the emblem of the capital, Fort Zoutman. The fort’s museum has a historic collection of documents and developments showcased throughout the structure.

The Fort Zoutman Historical Museum is typically the place you want to go if you want to dive into Aruba’s diverse past.

Adjacent to the fort and museum is the Willem III Tower, which was built in 1868 and served as a public clock tower and lighthouse.

Fort Zoutman Historical Museum - EWY Media - Shutterstock
Fort Zoutman Historical Museum – EWY Media – Shutterstock

The light in the tower was extinguished in 1963; however, you can still climb the tower for exceptional views overlooking the city, downtown, and stunning scenery.

The fort gets its name from the Dutch Rear Admiral Johan Arnold Zoutman, who, although he never stepped foot on Aruba, defeated the English in the North Sea.

Every Tuesday night, Fort Zoutman hosts the Bon Bini Festival, which both presents and celebrates the island’s cultural heritage. 

16. Soak Up the Views While Dining at The West Deck

Located on the brand new Linear Park of Aruba at Governors Bay is The West Deck, a restaurant set on a large wooden deck over the white sandy beach and on the water’s edge.

Every table at the restaurant has a spectacular view of the ocean, especially of the cruise ships arriving and departing the island during the cruise ship season.

The setting of the restaurant is casual and fun, and the drinks and relaxed lunch and dinner menu, in addition to the gorgeous views of the beach, create the perfect, tranquil environment and dining experience.

Start the meal right with one of their hot and cold Caribbean appetizers, from perfectly marinated spicy shrimp and fish ceviche in fresh lemon juice, papaya pepper, cilantro, and red onion to Balashi grouper fingers, which are dipped in Balashi beer and fried golden and served with a creamy tarragon sauce.

Address: Lloyd G. Smith Blvd, Oranjestad

17. Snap a Photo by the Aruba Sign in Plaza Turismo

For the best Aruba sign to take photos, head over to Plaza Turismo near the airport at the beginning of downtown Oranjestad.

There is an open-air plaza just off Surfside Beach facing the island’s main boulevard with large blue and green letters artistically spelling out the name of the country. Perhaps while flying over Aruba, you were able to look down at the city and notice a welcome mat below.

An Aruba sign to get a photograph of!
An Aruba sign to get a photograph of!

As you visit this plaza, you can notice the subtly built welcome mat with polished black and white stones up close, which are arranged like a hand-woven tapestry to honor the island’s Indigenous heritage.

Tourism Plaza is included as an anchor in Aruba’s Linear Park, which is lined with trees and paved with walking and cycling paths.

The plaza primarily gets its name as it is right across from the Aruba Tourism Authority and thus is an ideal central meeting point with easy and ample parking and beach access.

Where to Stay in Oranjestad

If you are looking for the top places to stay in Oranjestad, here are some of our top picks!

Did I miss any of the best things to do in Oranjestad? Let me know your favorite places in the comments!

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