If you manage to arrive on the island of Aruba without first touching ground somewhere in the capital city of Oranjestad, you've performed a great feat, because every form of transportation to and on the island originates here. You can plan to arrive in this city and stay for most of your trip, or simply touchdown and head straight to your final destination, but skipping a chance to see the local sites is not recommended.
When you're planning a vacation in Oranjestad, there are three options available for your arrival. The first is the most popular, which is flying into the island, where there is an international airport with plenty of daily flights. The second is to sail your own personal yacht, which is an option that appeal to far fewer tourists, and the final option, which is to cruise, allows for only a short visit.
Aruba is known for a variety of reliable and sound local transportation options, and truly, you can't go wrong whether you choose to rent a car, hire taxis, or take the bus.
Located about two miles southeast of Oranjestad, Oranjestad Air Travel.is the only airport on the island. This means tourists who want to fly to their vacation don't have much choice but to fly here. Fortunately, the airport has undergone several millions of dollars worth of renovations in recent years and now boasts sleek, modern, and clean facilities that are easily navigated. Direct flights are currently available from the United States and Canada regularly, while Europe and Latin America often offer nonstop service as well. Find out exactly which airlines offer flights, as well as a bit more about the airport by reading our guide to
Home to one of the major port of calls in Aruba, sailors will likely need to enter Oranjestad even if their final destination is elsewhere on the island. Luckily, the port authority at is well equipped to handlle the crowds, and your dealing with them should be swift. Hopeful sailors already on the island will find Oranjestad to be a good source of excursions and boat charters too, making this city a good center of maritime travel for the island.
...dozens of duty free shops...
The cruise industry is fickle in Aruba. The number of tourists who sail to the island on a cruise changes each year, and sometimes the number is not a good indication of how popular the cruising industry actually is. In recent years, the number of cruisers arriving at thein Oranjestad has been in an upswing, and a lot of money has been designated by the ministry of tourism to make sure those numbers continue to go up.
When you arrive, you'll be greeted by a recently renovated terminal, complete with dozens of duty free shops and restaurants. taxi stands and regular bus services make it easy for you to pick up and tour Oranjestad on your own.
The transportation options available in Oranjestad are such that it may not be necessary for tourists to rent a car at all, though for tourists who feel compelled to do so there are plenty of rental agencies available, and the prices aren't outrageous either. If you'll spend all of your time in the capital city, you can stick to renting a compact car and save on rental fees and gas. However, if you've got big plans for exploring the north end of the island, plan to rent an SUV so you don't end up stuck on a dirt road somewhere unable to call for help.
Not everyone is legally permitted to rent a car in Aruba. Click here to learn about how you can rent a car, plus, find tips on how to drive around the island.
Although there is one main taxi service that seems to dominate the private transportation market, the rates are set by the government so tourists don't have to worry about being taken advantage of. Rather than relying on a meter, taxis have rate cards that will tell you how much it costs to get from one location to another. For example, the trip from the airport to one of the high-rise hotels is $25(USD), and it is charged per cab which will hold up to five people. A few other fees such as extra luggage rates, and the cost of having a cab wait on you while you run an errand can bring the total cost up, but if you use the services sparingly, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping within your transportation budget.
If you click here for our guide on Taxis in Oranjestad, you'll be privy to a complete listing of rates around town, plus everything else you need to know about hailing a taxi cab in the capital city.
The bus system in Oranjestad is easily one of the most reliable public transportation systems in the Caribbean. The drivers try to keep as close to their schedule as possible, plus they are general clean and offer a smooth ride. They run regularly Monday through Saturday, but also offer limited services on Sunday. The one downside to taking the bus in this town is that the cost, at $2.30(USD) a ride, is slightly high compared to other systems in the region. Still, when you stack the cost against taking a taxi everywhere you go or renting a car, you may find that you are still saving a great deal. Get a preview of regular routes and learn more about riding the bus in Oranjestad here.
In 2014, the capital city introduced a new form of transportation to its residents and tourists: an electric street trolley. In fact, there are two: a green single level and a blue double decker. Both travel in a loop around the city, remaining on Main Street, as they begin near the cruise ship pier, cross over L.G. Smith Boulevard, and continue on behind the Royal Plaza Mall and the Renaissance Mall. The trolley is available Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., takes 20 minutes to complete its loop, and is free to anyone who wants to ride.
If someone in your party has a disability or injury, or can benefit from the use of a mobility equipment, there's a bit of good news: mobility equipment can be purchased or rented from Essential Health Supplies. They are centrally located across from Aruba's main hospital, and close to the major hotels. You can reach them at (297) 587-0940.
With so many reliable means of getting to and around Oranjestad, you may need to take some time deciding which method's you'll plan for your trip. Most people will fly to the island then rent a car, but this isn't the best scenario for everyone. Plan the options that feel right to you, fit into your vacation budget, and will offer you the most flexibility, and there is no way you'll regret your decision.
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