Known by locals as “Playa”, Oranjestad is the colourful capital of Aruba surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It’s home to cultural museums and an idyllic offshore island where you can see fascinating Caribbean wildlife.
Things to do in Oranjestad
Discover the rich history of Aruba at Fort Zoutman, an 18th-century Dutch-built military fortification that houses the Historical Museum of Aruba. Learn about Oranjestad’s development as a port on the trade route between Curaçao and Venezuela and admire the Willem III Tower that was originally built as a lighthouse in 1868.
Don’t miss the National Archaeological Museum, which boasts an archaeological collection dating back to 2,500 BC. Learn about the prehistoric cultures that once inhabited Aruba and see prized artefacts excavated in the late-19th century by Father Van Koolwijk, the first archaeologist of the Leeward Antilles.
Spend a day relaxing at picture-perfect Renaissance Island, an elongated barrier island adjacent to Oranjestad. Get up close to the reptiles of aptly-named Iguana Beach and have your photo taken with long-legged flamingos at Flamingo Beach, then go diving to explore the plane wrecks of the Beechcraft and Convair.
For sweeping views of Aruba, make the steep climb to the top of Hooiberg, a volcanic mountain towering east of Oranjestad. It’s named after its resemblance to a haystack and offers panoramic vistas all the way to Venezuela on a clear day.
Getting around Oranjestad
Queen Beatrix International Airport is a 10-minute drive from Oranjestad and taxis are readily available. Buses travel throughout Oranjestad and boats access Renaissance Island, while the downtown area is easily explored on foot.