Ahh Aruba. That white sand beach, picturesque blue ocean and swaying palm trees…Aruba is the visual of vacation. That’s why it is always a treat when you dock in Oranjestad on a Southern Caribbean cruise. Nothing can beat the guaranteed heat and good weather there!
More than one person I know has stated that Aruba is one of the most beautiful places they’ve ever been. In 2018, Eagle Beach was voted 4th Best Beach in the world by the TripAdvisor Traveler Awards. A big believer in Bucket Lists, I decided that I had to check it out.
Aruba is a great port of call to visit because it is well-organized and tourist friendly. There is no need for a cruise excursion here! We walked right into town and took the bus (yes the bus) to the beach.
The bus terminal is conveniently located in downtown Oranjestad directly across from the cruise terminal. You can purchase return tickets ($5 USD) or daily use tickets ($10 USD) right at the terminal, but single/one-way tickets ($2.60 USD) must be purchased at the time of use from the driver.
For any cruise passengers heading to Eagle or Palm Beach, the trip duration is approximately 10 and 20 minutes respectively. Route 10/10a/10b services these areas, so be sure to double-check that it is a #10 bus before getting on.
We made sure to get off at the Eagle beach stop to check it out.
Was I impressed? Although spacious and beautiful, I can’t say I would go back. It is located right beside a highway and it is rough enough to make swimming uneasy for chickens like me.
The good news is that Palm Beach is just down the road, so you can either catch the bus at the same location or walk the rest of the way. We decided to walk, as the distance from Eagle beach to Palm Beach can be covered easily on foot by an individual of average fitness in 20 to 30 minutes.
Palm Beach is one of my faves. In 2017, it was voted 6th Best Beach in the World by Condé Nast Traveler, which seems more accurate to me. It is touristy and built up, and not at all like my favourite uninhabited beach in Bonaire. We found a spot to rent a chair in front of the Hyatt, plunked ourselves down and went swimming.
Palm Beach will be expensive. Aruba is a year-round tourist destination as it sits below the hurricane belt, so it is always busy. We save money by riding the bus, but if you do not feel comfortable doing so, there are other methods of transportation available to you.
Taxis are typically available either at the cruise terminal or parked in the laneway immediately adjacent to the Renaissance Mall in downtown Oranjestad. Traveling by taxi (up to 5 passengers) from downtown to Palm Beach (or vice versa) is approximately $13 USD.
Bicycle rentals are available in downtown Oranjestad immediately adjacent to the cruise terminal, at Eagle Beach and at other locations on the island. If you are interested in doing this as your port activity, I would recommend checking out greenbikearuba.com for prices and recommended bike routes.
Driving in Aruba is the same as in North America – you will be driving on the right-hand side. There is no need for an international license if you have been licensed by a country recognized in the Geneva agreement.
And if you don’t feel like doing anything…
Renaissance mall is located right across from the cruise port. You could always go shopping as there is a selection for every budget!
I traveled here in 2017. As always, be sure to check your country’s travel advisories before booking any trips or excursions. You can check out the Canadian opinion here.