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Explore Aruba

Splash in the sparkling Caribbean or relax on a sun-baked beach on your Carnival® cruise to Aruba. Known as “one happy island,” Aruba welcomes cruisers with picture-perfect beaches, swathes of exotic blooms, and some of the top shopping and nightlife in the Caribbean. Celebrate the year-round Carnival® spirit or simply unwind to the island’s bewitching and relaxing tempo on Aruba cruises.

  • Lounge on the white sands of world-class Palm Beach.
  • Explore the caves and petroglyphs of Arikok National Park.
  • Double down at one of the island’s neon-lit casinos on cruises to Aruba.
  • Explore Aruba’s wild northeast coast by off-road vehicle.
  • Shop for fine Dutch-made porcelain and imported chocolates in Oranjestad.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

Get ready for an endless summer on your Aruba cruise: The sun shines on Aruba in the southern Caribbean Sea nearly 365 days a year. Watersports reign supreme here, from snorkeling to diving to sailing. When you’re not on the water, revel in the colorful colonial streets of Oranjestad, shop for Dutch treats, or dance to the buzzing after-hours beat.

  • Explore the petroglyphs and rock formations in Arikok National Park.
  • Sail the glassy seas at world-famous Fisherman’s Hut.
  • Spend a beach day on white sands, from Palm Beach to Eagle Beach.
  • Splash in the calm waves and build glittering sand castles on Baby Beach.
  • Shop the global marketplace along L.G. Smith Boulevard in the island’s capital.

Fun Facts

  • You can see Venezuela on mainland South America—only 17 miles away—from the top of Hooiberg, one of Aruba's highest points.
  • The hulking ruins of the Bushiribana Gold Smelter on the island’s northern coast are remnants of Aruba’s 19th-century gold-mining heritage.
  • Aruba has been under Dutch control since 1636—except for two brief periods during the Napoleonic wars when it fell to the British Empire.

Within Walking Distance

Around the Port Area

Oranjestad, Aruba's capital, has a sunny Caribbean demeanor, with Dutch colonial buildings painted in vivid colors. The main waterfront thoroughfare, L. G. Smith Boulevard, is crowded with marinas, shopping malls, restaurants, and bars. The harbor is packed with fishing boats and schooners docked next to stalls, where vendors hawk fruits, vegetables, and fish. The Atlantis Submarine excursion dives nearly 130 ft. below the ocean’s surface, allowing you to see coral and tropical fish from your thick glass window.

Beyond The Port Area

The best way to explore the island's desert like terrain from your Carnival cruise to Aruba is by four-wheel-drive vehicle. North Coast Jeep Safari starts their excursion clockwise from Oranjestad, driving toward the island’s northwestern most point. Here, you’ll see the California Lighthouse sweeping 360-degree views of gentle sand dunes, rocky coastline, and turbulent waves. The deeper you travel into the island's moonlike terrain, past heaps of giant boulders and barren shoreline, the rougher the roads. By the time you reach the Alto Vista Chapel, about 5 miles from the lighthouse, you'll probably be coated with red dust; it should contrast nicely with the quaint pale-yellow church, built in 1750 and the island’s first chapel.

Beyond the Port

Farther east, Natural Pool Off-Road Adventure will take you along the northern coast, Arikok National Park, Aruba’s showcase ecological preserve, which sprawls over roughly 20% of the island. Its premier attraction is a series of caves that punctuate the cliff sides of the area’s mesas. Heading southeast toward Aruba’s behemoth oil refinery, you’ll come to Baby Beach, at the island’s easternmost point. Like a great big bathtub, this shallow bowl of warm turquoise water is a great place for a dip after a sweaty day behind the wheel.

Beaches In Aruba

Caribbean Beaches

Palm Beach, home of Aruba’s glamorous high-rise hotels and numerous watersports operators, is great for swimming, sailing, people-watching, and snorkeling, do it all with a Catamaran Sail & Snorkel excursion. The island’s best snorkeling sites are around Malmok Beach and Boca Catalina, where the water is calm and marine life is plentiful. Dive sites stretch along the entire southern coast, you can dive the German freighter Antilla, scuttled during World War II off the island’s northwestern tip with Certified Two Tank Dive. For the non-dive certified, Sea Trek Helmet Dive at De Palm Island offers a way to see the underwater beauty without getting your hair wet. For prime windsurfing, head to Fisherman’s Hut, where you can let rip on the shallow, flat “Blue Highway.”

Shopping in Aruba

Caribbean Shopping

Because Aruba is part of the Netherlands, Dutch goods such as Delft porcelain, chocolate, and cheese are especially good buys. Creams made from locally produced aloe are also popular. Shops have the usual array of high-end luxury goods—but the small 3.3% duty and lack of sales tax make for some decent prices. Caya G. F. Betico Croes (aka Main St.) is the city’s major shopping street, running roughly parallel to the waterfront several blocks inland. Renaissance Mall, right downtown, is the number-one high-end shopping area.

Travel Tips


  • The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and Papiamentu, but nearly everyone speaks English. Spanish is also widely spoken.
  • The Aruba florin is the official currency, but U.S. dollars are just as widely accepted.
  • Aruba’s weather is consistently warm, sunny and dry, with average yearly temperatures hovering around 82 degrees. 
  • Aruba cruises arrive at the Port of Oranjestad.
  • From the pier, it’s a 5-minute walk to the shopping districts of downtown Oranjestad.