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Oranjestad

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Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba.

Understand

Oranjestad has hundreds of local stores that sell tourist keepsakes. The city also is home to some of the island's local residents and also many governmental buildings. Along the main "drag" (Sasakiweg street) you will find most tourist walking around and shopping and can also see the cruise ships that bring more and more external tourism into the island everyday. Close to the cruise ships is the island's largest marina that provides docking space for sailboats and yachts.

Climate

Beautiful.... This word alone expresses the weather one will experience in Aruba and in Oranjestad. For example with an average temperature of "practically constant temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius" (according to VisitAruba.com). Although there are some cloudy days on, average most days have only a small drizzle of rain in the morning or evening, and the rest of the day is filled with sunshine. For example the average rainfall is anywhere from 60-70mm per month.

Get in

By plane

Get around

You can get into the downtown by bike. If the heat is too harsh a cab ride fare usually is only 8-15 American dollars. Cabs are always outside all of the resorts.

Drivers should note that road signs are in English for the most part.

Since 2013 a new tram line links the cruise terminal with the city centre along the main Caya G. F. Betico Croes street. Tickets cost US$1.

See

  • 1 Fort Zoutman/Historical Museum. Aruba’s oldest building  

Do

  • Oranjestad is a fun place for water activities such as snorkeling, boat rides, parasailing and fishing.
  • Shopping: Most stores do not have quality products (excluding the famous jewelry stores) and mostly only sell nicknacks and the typical keepsakes. Jewelry stores around the island have prices much lower than in the United States.

The leading attraction that Oranjestad holds is its natural beauty: the Caribbean sea and white beaches. There are many carnivals, festivals, and parades that take place throughout the year. For a full calendar look at the event schedule. Highlights include:

    • Annual Carnival Celebration
    • Children's Grand Carnival Parade
    • Bon Bini Festival
    • Torch Parade

A new event that has become increasingly popular is the Soul Beach Music Festival that takes place right outside of Oranjestad which included a three-night-long outdoor concert/party with big name reggae artists.

Buy

  • Shop Oranjestad's marketplace to find locally made art and handicrafts.
  • Purchase fresh fish from merchants along the wharf.

In downtown Oranjestad there is plenty of food, goods, and services to purchase.

Eat

While in Oranjestad you can look any which direction and a restaurant is surely to be within walking distance. A local corner place called "Island Breeze" is filled with local flare and has many local dishes. . The Paddock has a view of the cruise ships, and the lunch special state (skewers) are reasonably priced.

Drink

The legal drinking age is 18 but for many establishments this rule is not guarded at all.

The drink of Aruba is Balashi Beer. It is the most popular and most widely consumed alcoholic product on the island. The beer is brewed on the island and is an Aruban product.

Sleep

  • Boardwalk Aruba, Bakval #20, Noord, ☏ +297-5866654, fax: +297-5861836, ✉ info@arubaboardwalk.com. A charming property with several beautifully designed 1-bedroom & 2-bedroom cottages scattered around in a garden with a swimming pool. Every cottage has a fully equipped kitchen, A/C, private patio with hammock & BBQ, TV & DVD player, telephone and WIFI access. 150 yards from the beach, located right across the Marriott and Ritz Carlton. $140-240/$200-320 (1-bedroom/2-bedroom). 
  • Paradera Park Apartments, ☏ +297-5823289, +297 5823278, fax: +297-5823261, ✉ info@paraderapark-aruba.com. Paradera Park is a large apartment resort with studios and 1-bedroom apartments, all have private terrace/balcony and aircondition. Tropical gardens, large swimming pool, cabanas and hammocks $70-100/$95-130 (studio/1-bedroom). 
  • Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, ☏ +1 297 5 836000, fax: +1 297 5 834389. Two distinctive lodging options for young couples and families respectively. Both have pools and 40-acres of private beach. 
  • Talk of the Town Hotel and Beach Club, ☏ +297-5823380, fax: +297-582-0327. Across the street from Surfside Beach, this hotel is 1 mile away from the airport and a pleasant 10-minute walk from downtown. 

In all accounts the leading and best resorts are located outside of downtown Oranjestad about 10-15 minutes north. The hotels in Oranjestad usually have a more "city like" feel to them because the town is always busy with tourists. Furthermore these hotels have top notch amenities inside the rooms that make the sometimes pricey rooms worth the money. Also these facilities have great views of the incoming cruise-liners and yachts that enter the local marina daily.

  • Divi Aruba All-Inclusive Resort (Divi Aruba Resort), J.E. Irausquin Blvd #45, ☏ +297 525 5200, toll-free: +800 554 2008, ✉ reservation@megaresorts.com. Oceanfront resort with spacious guest rooms and suites, upscale amenities, four freshwater pools and a variety of non-motorized water sports including snorkeling, beginners windsurfing, and sunfish sailing. (updated Dec 2015)
  • Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive (Divi Tamarijn Resort), J.E. Irausquin Blvd #41, ☏ +1 297 525 5200, toll-free: +1 800 554 2008, ✉ reservation@megaresorts.com. Oceanfront resort with upscale amenities, four freshwater pools and a variety of on-site dining options, bars, lounges, and plenty of water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. (updated Feb 2016)

Stay safe

Most likely the only crime one may come across is that from other tourists. In Oranjestad the locals do not bother or even pressure tourist into their stores or to buy their products. Also as many people experience in destinations such as Jamaica, Mexico Dominican Republic. Panhandlers are not an issue at all and it is very seldom to be approached by children or homeless people for money. Overall the crime in Aruba is nothing to worry over and it is the safest place in the Caribbean to visit.

Cope

Supporting facilities are also very prevalent around Oranjestad. For example there are local laundromats that provide dry cleaning and wash services for people, mostly locals.

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