23 Best Things To Do In Oranjestad, Aruba

things to do in Oranjestad Aruba
| 11 min read

Oranjestad is the colorful capital city of the island nation of Aruba, a proud little country in the Southern Caribbean. With Aruba being an official constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it’s no surprise that Oranjestad derives its name from Dutch origins. Its name literally translates to “Orange Town”, and is historically named in honor of William I, who was the first King of the Netherlands and the Prince of Orange. Oranjestad is not only historical in its name but its implications are seen all over the town. The presence of Dutch colonial structures mixed with modern and colorful establishments makes Oranjestad a culturally rich place you shouldn’t miss. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Oranjestad, Aruba to check out when you visit.

1. Discover Aruba's pre-colonial past at National Archaeological Museum Aruba

Museum aruba - panoramio
Source: Photo by user dreese used under CC BY-SA 3.0

National Archaeological Museum Aruba is located within Ecury Complex, a property once owned by the Ecury family. In the exteriors alone, you will already notice the Dutch colonial influence on the architecture of the building. Inside, however, visitors will learn about Aruba’s history from even before the European settlers arrived. Several indigenous artifacts provide information on the early pre-historic culture and history of Aruba. The museum also houses modern art pieces from local artists, various educational programs and lectures, and cultural workshops all suitable for learning more about this country’s proud history.

National Archaeological Museum Aruba

Address: Schelpstraat 42, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: National Archeological Museum Aruba

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 2pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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2. Shop till you drop at Renaissance Mall

Oranjestad -Centro de Aruba- L.G. Smith Blvd - Renaissance Mall - panoramio
Source: Photo by user James Martins used under CC BY 3.0

Don’t think that even if Aruba is an island, there is no room here for luxury. There is! Located in downtown Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall is a fashionista’s paradise. It takes pride in being the only mall in the Caribbean that houses high-end brands under one roof. Shoppers can choose from popular luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Cartier, among others. They also have a casino on the second level for the adults, and for the kids, there is the Atlantic Submarine tour by the pier across the mall. The Atlantic Submarine tour is a unique underwater experience where you can see actual marine life up-close. For food establishments, Renaissance Mall also offers a selection of delicious restaurants to choose from.

Renaissance Mall

Address: Arnold M. Schuttestraat, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Renaissance Mall

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

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3. Get a glimpse into Aruba's colonial era at Museo Historico Aruba

Willem III Toren Fort Zoutman (2)
Source: Photo by user Natalie Liao Jen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Museo Historico Aruba, which translates to Historical Museum of Aruba, can be found inside Fort Zoutman. The oldest building on the island, Fort Zoutman was built in 1798 by the Dutch as a military fortress to protect the island from invaders and pirates. Next to it is Willem III Tower, which was built in 1868. Together they form Museo Historico Aruba. This is where tourists can learn about the history and life of Aruba during the Spanish and Dutch eras. Since 1992, the museum has been under the care and administration of the Fundacion Museo Arubano (Aruban Museum Foundation).

Museo Historico Aruba

Address: Zoutmanstraat, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Museo Historico Aruba

Opening hours: Mon, Wed - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Tue: 9am - 5pm, 6pm - 8:30pm; Sat: 10am - 2pm (closed on Sun)

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4. Try your luck at Glitz Casino

Glitz Casino is conveniently located inside La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino on Eagle Beach in Oranjestad. It’s the perfect entertainment for tourists staying within the resort, but outsiders can also enjoy the casino’s stellar activities including 33 poker tables and over 300 gaming machines. Previous guests have also praised the friendly staff of the casino. Adults need not worry about their kids because the resort offers daycare services so you can enjoy your time at the casino with reassurance. There are also several restaurants and bars located within the casino with cuisines ranging from Asian, American, and Italian.

Glitz Casino

Address: La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, J.E. Irausquin Blvd 250, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Glitz Casino

Opening hours: 10am - 4am (daily)

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5. Climb to the top of Hooiberg

Source: Photo by user Bjørn Christian T... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the top tourist destinations in Aruba, Hooiberg is a towering 165-meter (541-feet) volcanic formation at the center of Aruba. Believed to be the highest point in Aruba, Hooiberg’s name is of Dutch origin which means “haystack” because of its similar formation. Tourists and locals are free to climb the summit which is not as difficult because of its height, unlike the usual mountain treks. At present, there are about 580 steps and halfway through there’s a gazebo for a quick rest. When getting to the top, you’ll be greeted with a panoramic view of Aruba’s landscape and the Caribbean sea. You can even see Venezuela if your hike is blessed with clear skies.

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6. Take in the panoramic ocean views at Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins

Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ian Mackenzie used under CC BY 2.0

A little further from Oranjestad, on the eastern coast of Aruba, you can find the beautiful Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins. Historically, it was once a gold smelter in the 19th century but today stands as a popular tourist destination. There are a lot of guided tours to Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins but it can also be visited at your own convenience. However, past visitors have recommended that the best time to go is early in the morning to avoid the crowds and tour groups. That way, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Caribbean sea and take some stunning photographs.

Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins

Address: Ayo, Eastern Aruba

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7. Go snorkeling with De Palm Tours

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

First opened in 1960, De Palm Tours has been one of the premier tourist guides in Aruba. They have a wide range of activities fit for all ages. These include land tours, water tours, submarine tours, among others. They also offer transportation services such as airport transfers. Some of their more popular activities are the Atlantis Submarines Expedition, Coast to Coast Off-road Safari, and Snorkel Adventure. The Snorkel Adventure takes you to three sites - Antilla Shipwreck, Arashi Reef, and Boca Catalina. Whether you’re in the mood to see the beautiful sites of Aruba or swim in its crystal blue waters, De Palm Tours will be able to help you.

De Palm Tours

Address: L.G. Smith Blvd 142, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: De Palm Tours

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: From 89 USD

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8. Do some people-watching at Wilhelmina Park

Princess Wilhelmina Statue (7)
Source: Photo by user Natalie Liao Jen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wilhelmina Park is a lovely little seaside city park in Oranjestad. It’s the home of the statue of Queen Wilhelmina, the Dutch sovereign for 50 years from 1898 to 1948. Because of the Queen’s resilience during the Second World War, the people of Aruba decorated this park in her honor. Aside from the beloved royal, the statue of another popular figure in Dutch history can be found here in the person of Anne Frank. Amsterdam was her home during her childhood years. After learning a bit of history, the park is also a great place to take a stroll, go people-watching, or simply admire the views of the bay.

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9. Catch a show at Cas di Cultura Theater and Cultural Center

Cas di Cultura Theater and Cultural Center is, quite literally, Aruba’s “house of culture”. Since its opening in 1958, Cas di Cultura has been a premier destination for cultural shows and events. It proudly boasts its interiors which resemble a traditional cozy Aruban home. The main auditorium can seat 572 people but there are also smaller halls for more intimate performances. There are even a lovely little garden and a cafe for different kinds of events. Be sure to check their website for the upcoming events before you visit!

Cas di Cultura Theatre and Cultural Center

Address: Vondellaan 2, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Cas di Cultura Theatre and Cultural Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

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10. Crawl and climb through the floating obstacle course at Splash Park Aruba

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Do you like to enjoy the most exciting aquatic experience in Aruba?

Posted by Splash Park Aruba on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bring the entire family to Splash Park Aruba, an inflatable water park in Oranjestad. The floating obstacle course promises a fun-filled day for everyone of all ages. Be aware though - there are easy bits and difficult parts! Make sure you’re physically fit for such a challenge because your physical strength will be needed throughout. Among these obstacles are the Ice Tower XXL, Bouncer XXL, High Roller, Monkey Bars and many more. If you’re lucky, you can even spot an airplane right above you as their landing route passes by the obstacle course. They even offer special packages for birthday parties too so why not consider Splash Park Aruba as your party place?

Splash Park Aruba

Address: Surfside beach, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Splash Park Aruba

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Surfside Beach Experience: 45 USD; Water Park Magic: 30 USD

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11. Party by the beach at Reflexions Aruba

things to do in oranjestad aruba | party by the beach at reflexions aruba
Source: instagram

It’s not a trip to the Caribbean without a party by the beach! When in Aruba, the best place to go to is at Reflexions Beach, the premier party beach destination in Oranjestad. During the day, lounge on their beach chairs for rent with a glass of champagne. At night it turns into a party haven known for its entertainment. There’s also a restaurant and bar on site, complete with the freshest seafood and delicious cuts. It’s a great place to meet new friends or go on a romantic date amidst the beautiful Caribbean sunset.

Reflexions Beach Bar and Restaurant Aruba

Address: Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 1 D, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Reflexions Aruba

Opening hours: 9am - 9pm (daily)

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12. Hand-pick your souvenirs at Royal Plaza Mall

Royal Plaza Mall is a colorful and eye-catching structure that looks more like a cake than a mall at first glance. Located in downtown Oranjestad, Royal Plaza Mall is at the center of everything you will need - flea markets, museums, the bus station, and the pier. The second floor also offers beautiful views of the Caribbean sea. Inside the mall, visitors will find everything from top luxury brands to familiar boutique stalls to local souvenir shops. The mall also has many different restaurants and bars for your hunger cravings.

Royal Plaza Mall

Address: Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 94, Oranjestad, Aruba

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9:30am - 6pm (closed on Sun)

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13. Hop on board Aruba Streetcar

things to do in oranjestad aruba | hop on board aruba streetcar
Source: instagram

Locals and past visitors have said that the Aruba Streetcar is one of the best ways to see the downtown area of the city, whether you’re shopping or going sightseeing. Trams in Aruba are historic in origin and since then it has become an essential part of their culture and daily life. The streetcars, or more commonly referred to as trams, go through the main street with its first trip at 10am and its last trip at 5pm. The schedules usually have an interval of 25 minutes. There are two trams, a single-deck with 42 seats, and a double-deck that can seat 64 passengers. The best part? It’s free!

Aruba Streetcar

Address: Main street, downtown Oranjestad

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

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14. Taste the flavors of Portuguese and Aruban cuisines at Gostoso Restaurant

things to do in oranjestad aruba | taste the flavors of portuguese and aruban cuisines at gostoso restaurant
Source: instagram

One of Oranjestad’s best-kept secret is Gostoso Restaurant. Perhaps one of the most well-known restaurants, Gostoso is loved by many because of the delicious food, the homey ambiance, and the super friendly staff - everything Aruba stands for. Here you will be treated to the unique fusion of Portuguese and Aruban flavors such as their best-sellers–calamari in creole sauce, goat stew, bacon-wrapped grouper, and steak medallions. The sangria is also not to be missed out on as previous guests have said it was one of the best they’ve tasted. A lot of people have noted Gostoso to be one of the best restaurants on the island so that should be enough reason to go check it out!

Gostoso Restaurant

Address: Caya Ing. Roland H. Lacle 12, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Gostoso Restaurant

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 4pm, 6:30pm - 10pm (closed on Mon)

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15. Go deep-sea fishing with Driftwood Fishing Charters

Deep-sea fishing is a great activity to do with your family and what better way to experience it with Driftwood Fishing Charters while in Aruba. Venture out into the sea on at least 30 meters (98 feet) in depth with Driftwood’s experienced captain and crew. You’ll be able to catch a variety of fish from tuna, barracuda, mahi-mahi, blue marlin, and many more. The best part is you get to cook them at Driftwood Restaurant. Driftwood offers packages from four to eight hours for a maximum of six persons on board.

Driftwood Fishing Charters

Address: L.G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Driftwood Fishing Charters

Opening hours: 7am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 400 USD (4 hours); 600 USD (6 hours); 800 USD (8 hours)

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16. Stop by San Francisco di Asis Pro-Cathedral

Posted by Patricia Turitto on Sunday, 22 September 2019

Because of its colonial history, much of Aruba’s religion is Catholic. One of the popular Catholic churches on the island is the San Francisco di Asis Pro-Cathedral, or the San Francisco Church, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. It was built in 1813 and offers masses in English and Papiamento, which is a creole language in the Caribbean with roots from the Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese languages. San Francisco Church is liked by many because of the lovely interiors, quiet ambiance, and air-conditioned facilities.

San Francisco di Asis Pro-Cathedral

Address: J. Irausquinplein 3, Oranjestad, Aruba

Opening hours: Mon: 7pm; Sun: 6:30am, 8am, 10am, 7pm (closed on Tue - Sat)

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17. Fill your need for speed at Bushiri Karting Speedway

For a more exciting activity, why not check out Bushiri Karting Speedway? It’s the only outdoor go-kart racing track in Aruba where adrenaline junkies can drive up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). They offer junior kart packages for the little ones who are brave enough to try the thrilling sport, and of course the standard adult kart packages for the older folks. The best part is that it’s both fun and safe, with instructions given and helmets provided at the beginning of the drive. It’s a thrilling activity perfect for all ages!

Bushiri Karting Speedway

Address: Bushiri 25, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Bushiri Karting Speedway

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 3pm - 10pm; Sun: 1pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 25 USD

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18. Take the whole family for a fun night out at Eagle Bowling Palace

things to do in oranjestad aruba | take the whole family for a fun night out at eagle bowling palace
Source: instagram

Eagle Bowling Palace is the best place to bring your family, especially if it’s a big one. They offer packages for families, birthdays, and corporate events. The facilities may seem a bit in need of renovation but nevertheless it brings out the nostalgia for everyone. Previous visitors have enjoyed the food and drinks, too. The atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming, you can even request a song for them to play for you!

Eagle Bowling Palace

Address: Pos Abao 2N, Aruba

Website: Eagle Bowling Palace

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 4pm - 12am; Sun: 2pm - 10pm (closed on Mon)

Price: From 22 USD

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19. See the best of Aruba with Aruba Go Cherry ATV Tours

On our way to the caves! #ATV #Tour #Aruba

Posted by Aruba Go Cherry on Sunday, 12 June 2016

Aruba Go Cherry ATV Tours offers tourists to see Aruba in the best way possible - on an ATV or UTV. With their tour packages, you can see many of its natural tourist hotspots outside the city such as Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, Natural Bridge, Andicuri, Blackstone Beach, and Natural Pool. Tourists may select their mode of transportation from a five-person or three-person UTV and a double or single ATV. Aside from the exciting tours, Aruba Go Cherry ATV Tours also offers car rental and airport transfer services. Head on over to their website to book the package most suitable for you and your group!

Aruba Go Cherry ATV Tours

Address: Sero Preto 22J, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Aruba Go Cherry ATV Tours

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 310 USD (5-person UTV); 210 USD (3-person UTV); 160 USD (Double ATV); 120 USD (Double ATV)

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20. Go cycling at Aruba Linear Park

For the exercise junkies, Aruba Linear Park is one of the best spots in the city to do your workout routines. Whether it’s running, jogging, biking, doing yoga, or stretching, this is the perfect place for you. The park lies along the beach so it will also provide some of the best views while exercising. The trail is about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the area near the airport to Wilhelmina Park so you will also get to pass by some of Oranjestad’s iconic landmarks.

Aruba Linear Park

Address: Athgarvan Road, 5025 Oranjestad, Aruba

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21. Catch your favorite blockbusters at The Movies @ Renaissance Aruba

In case you were in the mood for a movie date while in Aruba, check out The Movies @ Renaissance Aruba for the best cinema experience on the island. The Movies @ Renaissance Aruba is one of two locations from MetaCorp, the company managing the theaters. The theater has six cinemas, two of which are VIP cinemas. The staff are noted to be very friendly and the price that you pay is returned as comfort and relaxation while watching your favorite movies.

The Movies @ Renaissance Aruba

Address: The Renaissance Marketplace, Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: The Movies @ Renaissance Aruba

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 3pm - 11pm; Fri - Sun: 11:30am - 11pm

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22. Have a romantic sunset dinner at Pinchos Bar and Grill

If you happen to be in Aruba spending your honeymoon or your anniversary, it’s a must-do to drop by Pinchos Bar and Grill. It is perfectly located just off Surfside Beach and is designed to be on the pier itself above the Aruban blue waters. They are most famous for their breathtaking views of the sunset and a memorable dining experience under the stars soon afterward. Pinchos also offers great drinks and grilled selections, plus the owners take their time to go around to see that everyone is being attended to. It’s the perfect dinner date idea for every couple!

Pinchos Bar and Grill

Address: L.G. Smith Blvd (Sasakiweg) 7, Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Pinchos Bar and Grill

Opening hours: 5pm - 11pm (daily)

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23. Relax and swim at Aruba Vacation Park

Posted by Ckaren Cater Dela Cruz on Thursday, 25 July 2019

Aruba Vacation Park is one of the island’s hidden gems. Located just outside Oranjestad near the foot of Hooiberg, the property consists of villas both for rent and for sale as well as a water park. The villas are a nice and cheap alternative to the expensive hotels in the city, especially if you prefer to stay in the outdoors. On the other hand, the water park has a lot of slides and features that the kids will surely enjoy. If you’re staying at the villas, the water park is free of charge but outsiders are still welcome to access it with a fee. Because it’s not yet well-known, past visitors have advised to use Google maps to find the place.

Aruba Vacation Park

Address: Oranjestad, Aruba

Website: Aruba Vacation Park

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

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Live the island life in Oranjestad, Aruba

As the capital, Oranjestad is the best place to kickstart your adventures and vacation in Aruba. Even if it’s a tiny island, you’ll never run out of things to do from fun ATV rides, historical landmarks, quirky malls, to unique dining experiences! With a unique past and a vibrant present, Aruba is sure to be on your travel bucket list in the future.

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Marga is a self-employed aspiring writer and budding artist from the Philippines. On days she's not writing, she paints and creates art which she later sells at craft bazaars. Marga also has...Read more

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