Aruba is a pretty small island, only twenty miles long, known for water sports galore, shopping bargains from all over the world, casinos, attractive scenery, friendly people and some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Caribbean. The currency is the Netherlands Antilles Florin – the shops also accept US dollars along with major credit cards. Taxies are readily available at the pier and you can negotiate for your day plans.
Sights: Start your tour in Oranjestad, the islands lovely old Dutch-gabled capital. There is a colorful floating market at the old schooner harbor. Each morning, merchant sailors sell their fresh catch of the day, fruits and vegetables directly off their boats to shoppers.
It’s a short walk to lovely Wilhelminia Park. This tropical garden hugs the seacoast and boasts the fragrances of bougainvillea, hibiscus, oleander and other arid flowers. The park houses a statue dedicated to Dutch Queen Wilelmina. Don’t forget your camera!
Shopping: A shopper’s paradise, the main shopping area is around Nassaustraat. Enormous numbers of shops are within walking distance. Luxury articles from Asia as well as Europe can be purchased. Aruba levies a low duty on import goods so you can find some real bargains. Bargaining for price is not customary here.
Beaches: Palm Beach is the main beach area in Aruba, offering a variety of activities, such as jet-skiing, wind-sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving. We suggest taking an organized snorkel or diving tour out to a sunken German ship, the Antilla. This ship was sunk over 50 years ago and offers an abundance of marine life. For drivers the maximum depth is 60 feet offering great visibility. Be sure to take dry clothes and towels if you are going by taxi, as taxi drivers in Aruba are EXTREMELY picky about having damp clothes in their cabs.
Admiral’s tip: While in the old schooner harbor area, stop in at the exotically decorated Indonesian houseboat the “Bali” which is now a converted restaurant with an adjoining spot on the wharf for a cool refreshing drink. Try an Amstel beer, brewed in the neighboring Curacao, and don’t forget to purchase a bottle of Curacao Liqueur, made from the peel of the green orange grown only in Curacao.