Oranjestad Port of Call
The Oranjestad port © Photocapy
On the south coast of Aruba, Oranjestad is the island's capital - a port of call warmed by glorious sunshine, lapped by turquoise waters and lined with miles of white, sandy beaches. The dock is in the northern section of town and attracts many cruise ships bringing passengers from all over the world to enjoy this island's charm.
Oranjestad offers a great selection of first-class restaurants, boutiques and shopping complexes, as well as 24-hour casinos and excellent water sports facilities to entertain cruise passengers. And if there's still time, there are a couple of interesting museums in town, and a visit to the nearby Eagle and Palm beaches wouldn't go amiss either.
Cruise ships dock at one of the three terminals operated by the Aruba Ports Authority and there are Tourist Information desks inside for any passenger queries. The port has three berths for mega cruise ships and two for medium sized ships. The maximum water depth in Oranjestad is 32ft (9.7m) and there is over 4000ft (1240m) of docking space.
Aruba Ports Authority
Tel: +297 582 6633
Tourist Information is available from inside the port terminals.
Oranjestad's shops, restaurants and casinos, as well as some of the museums, are within walking distance of the harbour. The main bus terminal is a three minute walk from the cruise terminals and buses transport visitors to the island's beaches and attractions. Taxis are available from the harbour; rates are fixed and should be checked before getting into the car. There are also cars, scooters, motorbikes and bicycles available to rent.
Many of Aruba's attractions are easily accessible from the port by bus or taxi. The closest beach is Druif, and Eagle Beach is a bit further north. For history buffs, Oranjestad's downtown streets are lined with Dutch colonial houses, the Archaeological Museum exhibits local Arawak artefacts and the Numismatic Museum houses a vast collection of coins salvaged from shipwrecks in the area. The nearby Willem III tower was built to act as a lighthouse, another notable site. There are plenty of 24-hour casinos in town for passengers to try their luck at.
The Waterfront Crabhouse - good for snow crabs cooked in garlic, herbs and butter
Bistro M and Mathilde - French restaurant serving Beluga caviare, Chateaubriand and dessert crêpes
Cuba's Cookin' - try the plantain chips with muy picante salsa (jalapeño, habanero, cilantro, garlic and olive oil)
Dutch pancakes (crêpes)
In the port terminals, there are several outlets selling a variety of local and Caribbean handicrafts and souvenirs, such as exquisite crystal, Dutch Delft (pottery) and locally-dyed batik prints. Oranjestad town centre is within walking distance and boasts excellent boutiques and shopping complexes. Duty is very low, generally making shopping good value for money - most shops price in both Florins and US Dollars.
Arawak-style pottery and Dutch shoes (El Bohio, Port of Call Marketplace)
Visit the gold mill ruins of Balashi and Bushiribana
See Indian drawings in Fontein Cave and Arikok
Explore the Tunnel of Love cave complex
Snorkell the waters off Malmok Beach
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