Oranjestad, Aruba cruises

Capital of the Dutch island Aruba, Oranjestad is a seaport located on the western coast of the Caribbean Sea. A charismatic yet rugged city, with a rustic edge, it oozes culture, authenticity, and charm.

Oranjestad port guide

As the main passenger port of Aruba, Oranjestad is where your feet will first meet the vibrant streets of this Caribbean Island. Admire the characterful skyline upon arrival, taking in the pretty rows of candy-colored buildings.

As you explore this unique capital city, you’ll encounter an array of bustling restaurants, art galleries, museums, historical sites, and of course, white sandy beaches. Read on for our guide on everything you need to know about the colorful port city of Oranjestad.

Top landmarks and sights in Oranjestad

Since the Caquieto farmers of Venezuela arrived in 1000AD, Aruba has been home to a mix of cultures. Today, the fascinating sites that prevail preserve the true history of the island and offer a perfect way to learn more about Aruba’s past inhabitants.

Fort Zoutman Museum

Built in the late 18th century, Fort Zoutman is the oldest building in Oranjestad. A former military fort, used to protect against pirates, today it houses a small historical museum that offers an insight into Aruba’s early settlers. Also found here is the Willem III Tower, a former lighthouse that’s open to climb for panoramic views across the city.

Dutch colonial architecture

Throughout Oranjestad, you’ll no doubt find yourself taking endless photos of the Dutch colonial architecture juxtaposed with colorful Caribbean accents. Among the sights are traditional country houses and several bright statues honoring Aruba’s most significant figures. Notably, a series of blue horse figures can be found in the city, commemorating the colonial-era horse trade that provided an economic boost to the island.

Hooiberg volcanic formation

Hooiberg, an imposing volcanic formation, is one of Aruba’s most prominent sites and can be seen clearly from the city of Oranjestad. Should you be looking for a challenge, why not climb the 586 steps to reach the summit of this 541-foot peak? At the top, be rewarded not only with stunning views of the island but perhaps as far as Venezuela on a clear day.

Things to do in Oranjestad

As a beautiful Caribbean Island, it will come as no surprise to learn that Aruba offers plenty in the way of outdoor activities. From sunbathing on an idyllic beach to hiking and exploring the rural side of the region, a cruise to Oranjestad provides plenty of opportunities to make new and lasting memories.

Beaches and water sports

For the water confident, Oranjestad is a popular scuba diving destination with ample natural pools and beaches. Snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving are all available at a variety of Oranjestad’s beautiful white beaches. Alternatively, you could simply lay down a towel – or hire a sun bed – and spend time relaxing with a book as the sounds of the sea fill the air.

Tierra del Sol golf

Keen golfers may wish to spend their stay in port showing off their skills at the inimitable Tierra del Sol golf course. A 600-acre green offering panoramic views of the blue ocean beyond, this excellently manicured course is a stand-out feature of Aruba’s sports and leisure scene.

Wildlife and horse riding

Horse riding is another great way to experience the sounds and sights of Oranjestad. You could ride along the idyllic coastline while listening to the crashing waves and vocal wildlife. Rabbits, iguanas, goats, donkeys, and birds are often spotted on the golden shores, so be sure to keep a camera handy.

Cunard Shore Experiences

As the capital city of Aruba, a port call to Oranjestad is the perfect chance to experience the rich culture and admire the stunning scenery this wonderful island has to offer.

Discover sites such as the Casibari Rock Formations, Baby Natural Bridge, and the California Lighthouse with our Jeep Safari. Plus, you’ll also enjoy a short stop at Arashi Beach, perfect for walking through the soft white sand and swimming in the crystal-clear waters.

Alternatively, take the wonderful opportunity to discover a world of undersea splendor on board the Atlantis Submarine. Be amazed by the schools of colorful fish and mystical beauties of the coral field as you dive to depths of up to 120 feet.

Eating and drinking near Oranjestad

Oranjestad is a haven for seafood lovers. Fresh fish and seafood are abundant here, thanks to a largely unspoiled coast that allows different species to thrive. Each morning, fishermen haul in shrimp, lobsters, and oysters and other marine delicacies that local restaurants serve up grilled, fried, or in soups.

Unique local dishes can also be found throughout the island. Pastechi, fried pies, stobas, Arubian stew, Keshi Yena, the national dish, and pan bati, a pancake-esque bread, are just some of the delicacies to try if you’d like to embrace the island’s palette.

Food in Aruba carries influences from the Netherlands, South America, and other Caribbean islands, and many other nationalities also live here, contributing to the interesting tastes found in the culinary scene. Many street vendors work to blend Caribbean flavors with European and Latin American cuisine. For a taste of something a little different try a pastiche (similar to an empanada) or Dutch pancakes filled with fruit for breakfast, or meats and cheeses for lunch.

Shopping in Oranjestad

Just a short walk from the Port, Oranjestad's vibrant shopping district features a variety of stores, including jewelry, perfume, top-tier designer outlets, Dutch delicacies, and Aruban aloe products.

Venture into the lively streets of San Nicolas to explore vibrant galleries, charming boutiques, and eclectic shops, where you can discover unique gifts, goods, and accessories crafted by Aruba's talented artists and craftsmen. Aruba's shopping scene promises an array of one-of-a-kind items, ensuring that whatever you seek, you'll uncover it amidst the island's diverse and captivating retail offerings.

Getting around, Oranjestad transport

At less than 1 km squared, Oranjestad is easily explored on foot. The center is around a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal, but local busses and taxis are available if preferred.

Oranjestad port facilities

The terminal at Oranjestad port includes souvenir and clothing stores, toilets, and a tourist information center. A bus terminal is also located nearby, and restaurants and bars are a short walking distance away.

Oranjestad quick tips


The Aruban Florin is the local currency in Oranjestad, Aruba. US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the island, along with all major debit and credit cards. If you’ll be shopping at markets or buying food from street vendors, it might be wise to carry some cash. ATMs are available throughout the city, or you can exchange currency on board your Cunard Queen.


Aruba has a tropical, semi-arid climate, which means it’s hot all year round. Throughout the year, temperatures hover at around 30°C. On average, temperatures reach highs of 33°C during the summer months of June to September, while the winter months of December to February reach lows of 24°C.