Aruba: The Ultimate 4-day Travel Guide

Packing our bathing suits for a sunny trip to Aruba in December is one of the best things we did this year! We knew that the white sandy beaches, perfectly warm weather and crystal blue waters would be the perfect escape from the cold weather in Canada. In this travel guide, we’re sharing our 4-day itinerary to this beautiful small island including our best things to do, where to stay, and our top tips for making your trip to Aruba the most enjoyable!

Aruba is known for it’s year-round warm weather climate, and being just outside of the hurricane belt means that Aruba enjoys perfect temperatures no matter when you visit. Between the relaxing beaches, friendly locals, outdoor adventures and romantic nights, we seriously think Aruba is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. We’re here to convince you that Aruba needs to be added to your bucket-list!

Things to know before you go to Aruba

Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean off the coast of South America. This island has a population around 100,000 and is one of the safest vacation destinations you can choose to spend your holiday. Aruba has some of the most beautiful beaches and bright blue waters, fantastic hotels and stays, and a ton of outdoor adventures! Here’s a few things you need to know before your trip to Aruba and photos from our trip in 2022!

When is the best time to visit Aruba?

Aruba is well-known for being a sunny destination all year round! The months between December – March will have the best weather and lowest chance of rain, with September being the hottest month. Aruba is an island that is mostly desert with beautiful coral coastlines so having rain is very rare! For the off-season deals you can score some great vacation packages between March – November, but there is truly no “bad” time to visit Aruba.

We had our visit in December and it was a perfect pre-holiday getaway for us to escape the cold weather in Vancouver. The temperature ranged from 28 C to 30 C and the sun was always out. We really enjoyed our time in Aruba in December because it wasn’t too busy or crowded, we felt safe exploring the island on our own, and there was so many activities to do!

How many days do I need in Aruba?

Since there is so much to do on this small island, you can plan a trip anywhere from 4-days to an entire week! We talked to people who were enjoying 10-day and 2-week trips to Aruba, and we also talked to people that have bought property in Aruba and live there for half of the year. With that said, to get the most out of your vacation we recommend 4-7 days. In this blog, we’ll be going over all of the activities we did on our 4-day trip and best things to do in Aruba!

How to get to Aruba?

You’ll likely be flying into Aruba and landing at Aruba’s only International Airport (AUA). The airport is located to most tourist areas and it’s very easy to navigate! The capitol of Aruba, Oranjestad, is only 5 minutes away and the hotel strips and beaches are 20 minutes from the airport.

How to get around in Aruba

Aruba is such a small island, but there is so much to do and explore! For this reason, I highly suggest renting a car to get around. You can definitely get around by calling a cab or a taxi but we felt so much more relaxed driving ourselves and enjoying the views. Unlike most Caribbean Islands, they follow North American driving rules in Aruba and drive on the same side of the road (right) and the driver sits in the same seat (left).

Most rental companies are located just outside of Aruba’s International Airport and are very easy to find. Our car rental was from Amigo Car Rentals. Note that most rental companies also do not allow you to drive through the National Parks or off-road, so some people consider renting a vehicle that can handle mild off-roading like a Jeep. Make sure to check your contracts before renting a vehicle!

Currency in Aruba

Aruba’s official currency is called the Aruba Florin, however, US dollars are widely accepted as well as major credit card companies. It’s always a good idea to carry cash with you when you’re out exploring just in case cards aren’t accepted, and in case you want to tip someone (tour guide, taxi, ect).

Where to Stay in Aruba

Most visitors to Aruba choose to stay on the beautiful, white sand beaches on Palm Beach or adjoining Eagle Beach. This is where you will find most of your hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The high-rise hotels and resorts are found on the more popular Palm Beach while the smaller and quieter low-rise hotels can be found on Eagle Beach. Both are fantastic options based on your preference, and we stayed on Palm Beach!

You can find all sorts of different hotel and resort options in Aruba whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations or family-friendly resorts. I’ve come up with a list of 3 stays that we personally visited in Aruba and 1 luxury accommodation we’d love to visit, along with a quick list of other options for your Aruba trip.

Holiday Inn Aruba

Holiday Inn Aruba is where we stayed on our 4-day trip! This was a fantastic option located on Palm Beach, and if you’re looking for one of the best views from your room I suggest looking into their Ocean Front Rooms. These rooms are facing towards the beach and the ocean, and you’re located less than 2 minutes away from your room to the sand.

Holiday Inn Aruba has the largest property on Palm Beach with 2 large swimming pools, hot tubs, palapas for rent, a spa, and 4 unique restaurants on site. We felt like we were in such a great location and while it was a family-friendly all-inclusive resort, we never felt too crowded. Their location on Palm Beach was close to plenty of other restaurants outside of the hotel and beach/water sport rentals!

Hilton Aruba

Hilton Aruba is another option located on Palm Beach that we spent some time at because of their incredible restaurant views and beach-front location. This property is a bit more private than others on Palm Beach while still being in the middle of the most popular beach in Aruba. This is a newly renovated property and we loved the views on this resort!

Also a family-friendly budget with 3 restaurants, a gym, a spa, casino and bird sanctuary. Sunset Grille is known for having one of the best sunset views at a restaurant in the world and we spent our final night in Aruba having dinner here. This is another great option on Palm Beach!

Renaissance Hotel Aruba

While we did not stay at Renaissance Hotel, we did spend the day on their private island by purchasing a day-pass. One of the top things to do in Aruba is to visit Flamingo Beach, and the only way to access it is by taking the private water-taxi from Renaissance Hotel. If you’re a guest at the hotel you will have unlimited water taxi passes to the island included in your stay, which is why we choose to include this recommendation as a great option.

Aruba Ocean Villas

If you’re looking for luxury in Aruba, look no further than Aruba Ocean Villas. These beautiful ocean villas are an adults only paradise tucked away on the East side of the island. Aruba Ocean Villas is a quiet hideaway in Aruba away from the busier beaches and are the only overwater villas on the island! These villas are absolutely gorgeous and well-worth your stay in Aruba.

Other Aruba Hotel Options

Top Things to do in Aruba

Aruba is truly a destination that has it all! Whether you’re looking for an adventure, to explore the city, enjoy a romantic getaway, or to just relax on the beach you’ll find plenty of options. Here’s our favourite activities that we did in Aruba!

Beach Hopping

One of our favourite things to do on the island was spend time on the white-sand beaches. We spent over an hour just walking down the beach beside the water, and we also spent hours sitting under our palapas during the day to relax. The beaches are one of the main reasons people visit Aruba and the bright blue water is so inviting after a hot day in the sunshine!

Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are my top two recommendations for beach hopping as they’re located right beside the most popular hotel strips and are the larger beaches with plenty of room for people to enjoy. Eagle Beach has some of the most interesting trees growing in the sand called the Fofoti trees that I think are so cool.

Our next best recommendations come from the most beautiful blue water we’ve ever seen. Tres Trapi Beach and Arashi Beach are located towards the Northwest side of the island and are close to the popular California Lighthouse. Since they are all close to each other, I would suggest visiting all 3 of these in the same day!

Private Sunset Charter Cruise

This is by far the most romantic thing we’ve done on vacation, and renting a private catamaran sunset cruise is a great way to spend a night in Aruba. We went with AWA Aruba and the boat we took was incredible. Your experience takes you on the water for 3-4 hours and you’ll be sailing through golden hour and into the sunset. Our guides were really fantastic as they take care of you with food & drinks provided on the cruise. Sitting overtop of the water on a mesh net was pure luxury and I definitely suggest booking with AWA Aruba on your trip!

Jeep Tour of Arikok National Park

If you’re visiting Aruba and love adventure, I highly recommend going to see Aruba’s only National Park! This park exceeding our expectations and the large park is best explored via renting a Jeep Tour. Our guides with Depalm Tours were fantastic, and we rode in one of the coolest retired army safari vehicle. You’ll be off-roading to get to the best spots, so it was awesome to ride in the back and let someone with experience handle the driving!

On our tour we visited some of the most incredible spots in Arikok National Park and there is still so much more to see. Our absolute favourite spot was called Dos Playas or Double Beach and we took the Jeep off-road to an incredible view with some of the largest waves (and best surfing) we’ve ever seen! We also stopped at Aruba’s most popular attraction called the Natural Pool. This is incredible hard to get to, and the off-roading is intense but so worth it. The Natural Pools are carved out of the rocks and protected from the harsh waves. Finally, we explored Fontein Cave and learned about Aruba’s indigenous history.

Flamingo Beach

This is a bucket-list experience that we are so glad we were able to cross off in Aruba! Flamingo Beach is located on Renaissance Hotel’s private island and the only way to get here is by staying at the hotel or buying a day pass to take the water-taxi. Once you arrive, you’ll notice that Flamingo Beach is appropriately named as it’s home to a flock of flamingos! There is food available at the dock to feed them and they’re not afraid of humans. It was so cool to enjoy the beach with the flamingos and take some really cool photos.

Other activities to do in Aruba

  • Snorkelling, Diving, and Water Sports
  • Ride in a Submarine
  • Visit Aloe Vera Farms
  • California Lighthouse
  • Alto Vista Chapel

Places to eat in Aruba

We found that the food in Aruba is fantastic, and we wish we had more time to check out more restaurants! Aruba is home to many different cultures and influences from other nations in Aruba’s cuisine was impressive. Make sure you try an Aruba Ariba (drink made in Aruba) and we have a few favourites that were close to our hotel and easy options that we’re willing to share below!

Eduardo’s Beach Shack

This was by far our favourite spot for lunch that we kept coming back to! Whether you’re looking for a fresh smoothie bowl, tasty local poke bowl, or hand-pressed juices this spot has plenty of great options with vegan and gluten free available. It’s also a great Instagrammable spot as it’s a super cute beach shack with colourful menus and signage.

Sunset Grille

We enjoyed this modern steakhouse on our last night in Aruba and enjoyed the best steak and a local favourite fresh seafood risotto. This restaurant is known to have one of the best seating views from a restaurant in the world as its situated in a stunning location on Palm Beach. This is a fantastic sunset spot and an incredibly romantic restaurant with amazing service and food.

Other places to eat in Aruba

  • Pinchos (Casual yet chic, outdoor bar on the pier)
  • Quinta del Carmen (largest outdoor restaurant in Aruba)
  • El Faro Blanco (authentic Italian with stunning views at California Lighthouse)
  • Papiamento (Upscale, historic)
  • Screaming Eagle (romantic, intimate lounge-beds dining experience)

Aruba 4-day Itinerary

Now that I’ve shared my best recommendations with you, I’m going to go over what our 4-day itinerary looked like. We fit as much activities as possible into our 4-day trip and could have enjoyed a few more days of relaxation, so feel free to adjust our itinerary based on your needs for trip-planning purposes!

Day One:

  • Arrive in Aruba around 6PM, pick up rental car
  • Check-in to hotel after long travel day
  • Enjoy dinner & drinks at hotel restaurant, celebrate arriving in Aruba & watch the fireworks

Day Two:

  • Have breakfast at hotel restaurant
  • Spend time exploring & relaxing on Palm Beach at the palapas
  • Drive or walk to Eagle Beach to explore & visit the Fofoti trees
  • Lunch at Eduardo’s Beach Shack
  • Take a cab to AWA Aruba Private sunset charter
  • Watch the sunset over the water & enjoy dinner on the boat

Day Three:

  • Enjoy sunrise on Palm Beach
  • Head to hotel restaurant for breakfast
  • Drive to Tres Trapi Beach, Arashi Beach, and California Lighthouse
  • Return to hotel & get picked up for 4-hour Jeep tour of Arikok National Park
  • Arrive back to the hotel for sunset on Palm Beach & dinner at Sunset Grille

Day Four:

  • Have a quick breakfast at the hotel & check-out
  • Drive to Renaissance Hotel with your day-pass
  • Spend a few hours on Flamingo Beach
  • Return rental vehicle and arrive at the airport

Final Thoughts on Aruba

We absolutely loved the slice of paradise found in Aruba, and it’s a perfect winter getaway for your next vacation! Our trip-planning guide featured some of the best things to do in Aruba, best hotels and best places to eat. This romantic and adventurous destination is perfect for couples, families and special events like bachelorette parties and weddings. We found Aruba to be extremely safe and friendly and an incredible vacation destination so we hope we’ve inspired you to visit too!

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