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Aruba is totally flat, has no rivers, and has hardly any rainfall. But it has some of the best beaches in the whole of the Caribbean - pristine white sand and bright azure water. And that's why it's one of the best loved of all the Caribbean islands. The best places to stay on Aruba are along the leeward (western) coast, where the waters are calm and warm. Most of the island's hotels can be found on this stretch.
Aruba is an autonomous island within the kingdom of the Netherlands, and the official languages are Dutch and Papiament. However, English is spoken everywhere and it's a very friendly place.
Aruba's largest town, Oranjested, is perfect for strolling around - there's something nice to look at around every corner and plenty of choice when it comes to bars, cafes, restaurants and cute boutiques.
Eagle Beach, just northwest of Oranjested, frequently makes it onto the list of the world's top ten beaches. But if you extend your explorations beyond the town and the best known beaches, you'll still find untouched shores backed by Aruba's famously lopsided divi-divi trees, spectacular natural rock pools and some incredibly clear waters ideal for snorkelling.
What not to miss
Arikok National Park is an absolute must! This beautiful spot is home to Aruban parakeets, whiptail lizards, goats, donkeys and iguanas so it's a perfect spot for nature lovers. There are also plenty of caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs to explore.
Whilst there are plenty of beaches on the island, Eagle Beach is without doubt the loveliest. Walk along the soft white sand and enjoy a dip before relaxing with a refreshing drink at any number of beach bars. What's more, it's conveniently located in Oranjestad, the capital.
Head over to see the California Lighthouse located at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach. This spot offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the island and the lighthouse is also now open for tours.
As the postcard perfect photos suggest, tourism is Aruba's main industry. Most of the big name hotel chains, especially the American ones, have a presence here. So the best places to stay in Aruba tend to be the larger, resort type properties (although we've managed to find an alternative).
For adults only
If you're looking for a couples only escape, then book into Bucuti Tara Beach Resort. You can indulge in candle-lit beach dinners, films on the beach, yoga sessions or merely unwind in the infinity pool! Stay in unfussy modern accommodation and make full use of the two on site restaurants. If you fancy a day trip then the hotel also organises local jeep safaris and island tours.
For beach chic
The Boardwalk Hotel is a small, but stunning, boutique hotel in a Robinson Crusoe setting, offering one and two bedroom casitas by bright white sands and bright blue waters. Each colourful little villa has its own kitchenette, BBQ area and patio. It's eco-friendly, but also very romantic and family friendly. A splendid choice!
Manchebo offers chic and private cabanas set on an idyllic sandy beach - what more could you ask for? Their three restaurants will ensure that you don't go without great food, whilst the bustling nightlife of Palm Beach is just a short distance away.
For sheer luxury
For sheer luxury it has to be the Ritz Carlton. A fantastic beach location with acres of white sand, beautifully appointed rooms and all the facilities you could wish for. Work off the excellent grub with daily Yoga, Zumba and Tai Chi sessions or head over to the hotel's casino for a fun-filled evening! Mod cons galore.
For holiday apartments and villas
If you've decided that you'd prefer to book an apartment or villa, we recommend you visit our online booking partner, booking.com, where you'll find a wide range from budget to boutique.
Visitors should fly to Queen Beatrix International Airport located in Oranjestad.
Aruba's weather is decent most of the time (it lies outside the Caribbean's hurricane belt), however it's best to visit between April and August when there are less crowds and the prices are much lower. Be aware that there is a fair amount of wind year-round (paradise for windsurfers!)
For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Aruba
Manchebo Beach Resort 72 rooms from $215Aruba
Set on white sands, next to turquoise waters, and surrounded by palms, sit beachy cabanas with contemporary classic interiors. Top of the range spa and beauty salon, swimming pool, three restaurants, and a beach bar. Ideal for total relaxation with the beach on your doorstep.Total relaxationBeach LifeLuxurySpa breaks
Bucuti Tara Beach Resort 102 rooms from $360Aruba
A couples only boutique resort on one of Aruba's best beaches. Top of the range spa, films on the beach, yoga, two restaurants, candle lit beach dinners, and an infinity pool. Rooms and suites are modern minimal with all the mod cons and balconies. Very swish with fabulous facilities.Romantic Break - Highly recommended by Conde Nast Traveller awards.Views - Great views from hotelSpa breaksBeach Life
Boardwalk Hotel 14 rooms from $346Aruba
A stunning boutique property in a Robinson Crusoe setting. One and two-bedroom casitas set amongst ivory sands, emerald palms, and azure waters. Bright chic furnishings, cream furniture, kitchenettes, BBQ areas, patios and a pool. Eco friendly, very romantic, family friendly.Beach Life - Aruba's beaches have been repeatedly voted amongst the top ten in the world.Families - The two-bedroom casitas have kitchens and BBQs.HoneymoonsRomantic Break
Ritz Carlton, Aruba 320 rooms from $499Aruba
A large resort-style hotel with all the amenities. Fantastically positioned on the beach with lots of beach equipment, candle lit dinners, and stretches of white sand to bask on. Contemporary chic rooms with all the mod cons and balconies. Restaurants, spa, casino. You don't need to leave!Families - Scheduled daily activities the whole family will enjoy.LuxuryViews - Great views from hotelBeach Life