Why go to Aruba?
Its location in the Southern Caribbean nearly guarantees good weather all year-round
Very commercialized; roads are narrow
Gorgeous beaches, abundant shopping and intriguing terrain keep Aruba a cruiser favorite
Aruba Cruise Port Facilities?
You'll be anchored in downtown Oranjestad, Aruba's capital city. The terminal features the Tourism, Culture and Heritage Information Center, phones, ATMs, small souvenir shops and free Wi-Fi.
Great shopping, dining and bar-hopping are within walking distance of the dock. Several malls are located right across the street from the terminal, and as soon as you exit to the left you will find a small market in the Royal Plaza selling trinkets from stalls. A stroll along the waterfront is a great way to take in the faux-Dutch colonial architecture and tropical pastels.
Good to Know?
If you are planning on driving, use caution on the roads, as some international signs might be unfamiliar. (Driving is on the right side of the road.) Also, exercise the same common sense and safety as you would in any foreign location, particularly if your ship stays in town late and you decide to walk into town at night.
On Foot: It's an easy five-minute walk from your cruise ship to downtown shops and restaurants (take a right as you exit the port and that will take you along the main drag -- L.G. Smith Boulevard); a trip to any of Aruba's beaches requires a taxi or car ride.
By Taxi: Taxis are readily available on the dock; they do not have meters, so be sure to settle your fare up front. Fares are listed on signs at the terminals. A ride from downtown to Palm Beach takes about 10 minutes from the terminal. If you want a two-hour island tour, you can fit up to five people in a car for one flat per-car rate. Taxis can be hailed from the street.
Renting a Car: There are several car rental companies in Aruba; Royal Car Rental (+297 587 7900), Smart Rent a Car (866-581-0785) and Speed Car Rental (297-582-8045) have locations at the cruise terminal. The best way to self-explore the terrain is by Jeep. Editor's Note: You should have no problem renting a car without a reservation -- but the Jeeps do go first, so either debark the ship as early as you can, or book ahead of time.
By Bus: If you want to get out of town but don't feel like paying for a taxi or rental car, the hourly public buses that run from Oranjestad to Malmok or Arashi also make stops in front of all hotels along the beach strip (look for the L10 or L10A). The roundtrip fare is \$2.30, and exact change is appreciated, though the driver will break U.S. and Aruban bills. The main bus terminal is opposite the cruise ship pier gate.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The official currency is the Aruban florin, approximately 1.79 to the U.S. dollar. However, U.S. currency is widely accepted, and most banks' ATMs will dispense it, including the Caribbean Mercantile Bank in the cruise terminal next to the information center.