Local Culture

Aruba: Paradise Found!

Carnival in Aruba, Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Make dreams of an island vacation a reality with a retreat to Aruba. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with family, relax, and recharge.

In Aruba, the island's capital, Oranjestad, and the “Sunrise City" of San Nicholas both offer the kinds of cultural attractions, shopping, history, and dining that can lure you off your beach chair*.

Mini Amsterdam

With its brightly painted Dutch colonial buildings, Oranjestad resembles a mini-Caribbean-style Amsterdam. The city's free trolley is the best way to take in the downtown and top attractions like the 18th century Fort Zoutman, the National Archaeological Museum, and the city's shopping and dining districts.

Starting from the Oranjestad cruise port, the trolley makes a leisurely loop down Main Street and Havenstraat, allowing visitors to hop on and off to check out the shops and restaurants in the Royal Plaza Mall and the Renaissance Mall, and the boutiques and jewelry stores along Main Street. A popular stop is the Aruba Aloe Museum, Factory and Store on Pitastraat for the free tour and locally made aloe products to take home as authentic Aruba souvenirs.

Rich History

When the Dutch landed in Aruba in 1798, they built Fort Zoutman on the Bay of Horses. The city of Oranjestad, which grew around the fort, is still called “playa" by Arubans — shorthand for Playa Caballos ("Horses Beach"), a reminder that the city started as a horse-trading depot.

Within the walls of the fortress, you'll find a historical museum, which delves more than two centuries into Aruba's past. The fort is also the site of the weekly Bon Bini Festival ("welcome" in Aruba's native Papiamento language). The event offers a great intro to Aruban culture, dance, and cuisine.

Go back even further in time with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, which features exhibits on pre-European life on the island. During this period, Arawak people from nearby Venezuela established villages in the vicinity of Palm Beach and Malmok Beach.

City Hall, Aruba, Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

Aruba's Second City

Tourists were once a rarity in San Nicholas, other than a few who ventured into town to have a drink at the famous Charlie's Bar. Open since 1941, the watering hole is still a place to down a cold beer and sample their famous shrimp "scampy." But San Nicholas has long enjoyed a multicultural flair as an oil refinery town that attracted workers from all over the world.

Beginning in 2016, local and international artists began coming to San Nicholas to paint public murals. San Nicholas is now a colorful cultural center rivaling the capital, with more than 50 murals and other artwork gracing houses, businesses, abandoned buildings, and even park benches.

The proliferation of street art has spawned tours of San Nicholas, along with the annual Aruba Art Fair. The event takes place each November and provides a showcase for more than 200 local artisans. Like Oranjestad, San Nicholas also hosts a lively pre-Carnival celebration that includes months of activities before peaking on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Some of San Nicholas's murals serve as guideposts to the city's top art galleries, but the Museum of Industry Aruba uses a different appropriate marker — an Art Deco-style water tower. Opened in 2016, the museum surveys Aruba's economic history — from gold mining in the 19th century and strategic fuel sourcing for the Allied forces during World War II to a thriving tourism destination in the postwar era.

Aerial view of the pool at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Couples experience at the Trankilo Pool at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino logo

Where To Stay:

Discover serenity in the Caribbean with a stay at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino with World of Hyatt*. Immerse yourself in tranquility, relaxation, and family togetherness with irresistible amenities, including:

  • 2 swimming areas
  • A lagoon
  • Waterfalls
  • Spa
  • Casino
  • Epicurean delights
  • Pampering accommodations
  • Wellness programs
Orquedia Suite Oceanfront Balcony Seating at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Trankilo pool at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino

When you combine an alluring resort and family time with a local area rich in history, culture, and beauty, you end up with incredible moments and memories you’ll cherish forever.

Convert your Platinum Points, Portfolio Points, or Club Points to World of Hyatt® Bonus Points* and start planning your dream vacation in Aruba.

All hotel stays and other benefits offered through the World of Hyatt® program are also subject to the terms and conditions and limitations that apply to the World of Hyatt program generally, as determined by Hyatt from time to time.

Eligible Owners can convert their Platinum Points, Portfolio Points, or Club Points to World of Hyatt® Bonus Points subject to applicable terms and conditions, limitations, and payment of any applicable transaction fees. All hotel stays and other benefits offered through the World of Hyatt program are also subject to the terms and conditions and limitations that apply to the World of Hyatt program generally, as determined by Hyatt in its sole discretion. World of Hyatt is owned and operated by Hyatt.

**No inquiry has been made into the off-site locations, activities, services, or events, or the qualifications, safety, or quality of the off-site locations, activities, services, or events, and WHV Resort Group, Inc. and HV Global Group, Inc. (collectively, “HVC”) make no warranty, express or implied, as to the condition, capacity, performance, or any other aspect of such off-site locations, activities, events, or service providers listed herein. Do not consider this an endorsement of or recommendation for any of the off-site locations, activities, services, events, or providers. Neither WHV Resort Group, Inc. nor HV Global Group, Inc. assumes liability for attendance at, or visits to, any off-site locations, or the products, activities, or services furnished by independent service providers. Additional fees and costs may apply. Activities and events are subject to change. Some activities or events may require the participant to be in good health and have a certain level of skill.

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