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Feel like basking in the warm, revitalizing Caribbean sun? Couple it with the cool, instantaneously-calming, crystal blue waters, friendly locals, and awesome roads to drive in; you have yourself, Aruba!
This quaint, 180km2 island sits on the western portion of the Caribbean just off the northwestern coast of Venezuela. The country is strategically located within the Lower Antilles group of islands and is constitutionally part of the Kingdom of Netherlands. Yes, Aruba is Dutch! It was once a colony of the Netherlands, gained independence, and has remained a constituent ever since.
Aruba is among the most sought-after tropical destinations in the world. Its rich marine biodiversity and white, powdery sand entice both local and foreign visitors all year round. In addition, have you ever seen a cactus that grows near the shore? If your answer is no, then you will be able to already once you set foot in Aruba! Despite the island’s relatively modest size, it actually supports rich cacti areas surrounding multiple winding dirt roads.
Top Road Trip Destinations in Aruba
Contrary to its size, the number of fascinating tourist destinations will not actually be able to cover just a day. If you’re looking for travel destinations in Aruba, check out the shortlist below!
When you fly to Aruba, you’ll land in the capital city of Oranjestad. Located on the western side of the island, Oranjestad features a variety of entertainment hotspots that could quench any vacation preference. This area alone is already lined by public beaches where you can laze around and unwind. And despite the beaches’ relative location to the urban developments and transportation gateways (i.e., airport, seaport), the waters remain crystal clear and blue.
Driving around Oranjestad is quite convenient and easy. Specifically, within all tourism and business areas, the roads are well-paved and well-lit. However, a lot of roads or streets in Oranjestad are one-way. This means that you should be mindful of where to turn right and left. When you drive, especially around Oranjestad, don’t forget to bring your International Driving Permit for Aruba.
There are plenty of white sand beaches in Aruba, but Eagle Beach commonly stands out the most in reviews. For one, it is the largest beach in Aruba, and it caters to countless numbers and types of beach activities. This is also the most crowded out of all the beaches, and many find the area uplifting because of the vibrant atmosphere.
Did you know that Eagle Beach has two (2) turtle nesting sites? If you travel to the area in the right season, you can join a guided tour to see the cute little hatchlings making their way to the sea!
Where is Eagle Beach located?
You can find Eagle Beach on the northwestern side of the island, just a short 15-minute drive from the Queen Beatrix International Airport. The area is also full of tourist accommodations, so if you haven’t decided on one yet, you can check out hotels or Airbnb near Eagle Beach.
Before driving to Eagle Beach, do not forget to secure your International Driver’s Permit for Aruba online. Getting an International Driver’s License for Aruba online through the International Driver’s Association is the fastest, most convenient way because it will only take you about 2 hours to receive confirmation.
If you have a liking for history and discovery, check out Fontein Cave. This cave contains stalactites and stalagmites that are a couple of thousand years old! Apart from that, you will see the original petroglyphs created by the original settlers of the Caribbean — the Amerindians and Arawak Indians.
Fontein Cave is just one of many interesting caves within the Arikok National Park but is one of the most visited. This may be due to its more interesting visual appeal, and oh, the ancient settlers weren’t the only ones to carve art onto the walls. Who else may you ask? Visit Fontein Cave to find out!
Where is Fontein Cave located?
The cave is about a 30-minute drive from the Queen Beatrix Airport. You’d need to drive to the eastern coast and drive through some winding dirt roads lined by giant cacti.
If you haven’t secured your International Driver’s Permit for Aruba, drivers are highly encouraged to apply for one before driving to Fontein Cave. You can check out the International Driver’s Association website to get an International Driver’s License - Aruba. Updates on the International Driver’s Permit - Aruba are also posted on the site, so it would also help that you check it out regularly.
Some sinkholes are scary, and some are fun and exciting. The Blue Lagoon off the coast of the Arikok National Park has been considered one of the world’s best natural pools! The Lagoon sits right beside the ocean, bounded by riveting rock formations. Because the lagoon is quite deep, visitors enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and jumping off the rocks!
The best time to swim at the Blue Lagoon would be when waves are not that high and intense. It would be best to check weather updates or ask your local guide when it is a good time to visit.
Where is the Blue Lagoon located?
Blue Lagoon is located near Fontein Cave. So if you happen to visit Fontein Cave, you might as well drop by the Blue Lagoon! You can reach the Blue Lagoon from the main road by foot or travel to the area on board a 4x4 vehicle.
Make sure that you have your International Driver’s Permit with you. Applying for one (1) is very easy as you don’t have to take an exam to get an International Driver’s License for Aruba. With the International Driver’s Association, you’ll only need to enter your name, residence address, contact number, other information from your native driving license, and zip code to get an International Driver’s License - Aruba.
Alto Vista Chapel
The small Alto Vista Chapel is a very special landmark in Aruba. It is the first church under the Roman Catholic faith ever to be built on the island. The original structure built in 1750 was made up of stone walls and straw roofs. This was later reconstructed to sturdier materials. Masses are held in the chapel once a week, but locals and international visitors frequent the area to experience the surrounding peace and quietness amidst panoramic views.
Where is the Alto Vista Chapel located?
The chapel is perched on a small hill just less than a kilometer away from the northeastern coast of the island. The driving time will depend on how fast you can complete an 11.7km distance starting from the Queen Beatrix International Airport.
No matter where you go to Aruba, it is important that you have an International Driving Permit. You can secure one (1) from the International Driver’s Association in as fast as 20 minutes! If you need it as soon as possible, you can opt to buy a digital IDP and choose express shipping. The International Driver’s License - Aruba template is likened to a standard-sized passport. Each page would have a different translation of your native driving license.
Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations
Aruba is influenced by an arid climate. Specifically, within the central portions of the island, dry cacti fields actually exist. Within these fields, you’d be able to find plenty of rock formations and two (2) of the most famous ones are the Casibari and Ayo Rock Formations. These formations are famous for the roles they played in the history of Aruba. These rock formations were sites considered holy by the natives. You can take a fun, easy-breezy hike up the boulders or take wonderful photos with them (the rocks make the most amazing backdrops!).
Where are the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formation located?
The Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations are two (2) separate formations but are situated near each other near the eastern coast. The area is about a 15-minute drive from the Queen Beatrix International Airport. You can go first to either of the two (2) and drive a kilometer more to reach the other one.
Do I need an International Driver’s License for Aruba to drive to the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations? Yes, all drivers are highly encouraged to have an International Driving Permit. Securing one shouldn’t be a bother because you can get an International Driver’s Permit for Aruba via the website of the International Driver’s Association. The International Driver’s License - Aruba requirements only include a valid native driver’s license, a passport-sized photo, and a credit card/Paypal account for the payment. The applicant also needs to be at least 18 years old to qualify.
If you’re planning to drive around the southeastern coast of Aruba, you can do a stopover at the Boca Prins Beach for some stretching and some downtime. The beach also features soft, powdery, white sand where you can lay in comfort with a beach towel. The area is not recommended for swimming, though, because of the strong undertow.
Where is Boca Prins located?
Boca Prins is on the southeastern coast of Aruba. It is about half an hour’s drive from the Queen Beatrix International Airport. This is the fastest route that you can take, and it traverses Rte 7.
To get to Boca Prins, you’ll need a valid driving license from your native country and an International Driving Permit for Aruba. If you don’t have one (1) yet, you can find the International Driver’s License - Aruba form on the International Driver’s Association website. It will only take you less than 20 minutes or so to complete the form, and the IDA will ship your printed IDP within 24 hours or less.
Aloe Vera Factory Museum
Some critics say that Aruba produces the finest-quality of Aloe Vera in the world. The country has been planting Aloe Vera since the 1900s, and this was one of their first agricultural products to make it to the global market. In addition, Aruba’s climate is very suitable for Aloe Vera. In fact, the beneficial oil from the species is only produced when the climate is very hot. The Aloe Vera plant, or scientifically known as Aloe barbadensis, has many health and wellness benefits. Some of them include:
It can help cure arthritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, cough, and diabetes
- It can help cure arthritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, cough, and diabetes
- It has antipruritic and anti-inflammatory capabilities
- It keeps the skin hydrated and cools of burns
- It adds volume to the hair and keeps the scalp healthy
If you visit the Aloe Vera Factory Museum, you will be able to learn and see how different Aloe Vera products are produced. You will have the freedom to tour the museum by yourself or join a guided tour around the factory.
Where can you find the Aloe Vera Factory Museum?
This destination is just located within the bustling center of Oranjestad. You just need to navigate to Pitastraat to find the museum. When you’re driving in Oranjestad, make sure that you have with you your valid native driving license and your IDP.
Oranjestad is where traffic monitoring is most intense, so driving permits are essential. If you are not sure yet about the IDP, updates and news about the International Driver’s Permit for Aruba can be found online. You can also call or email the International Driver’s Association for follow-up questions. Once you’ve decided, just go to the website of the IDA and fill in the International Driver’s Permit for Aruba form.
Boca Catalina Cove
Boca Catalina Cove is a relatively secluded area within the bigger Malmok Beach. While Eagle Beach is festive and crowded, Boca Catalina is a more peaceful option to enjoy the beach. If you want to have the beach mostly to yourself, you can visit Boca Catalina during the weekdays. The cove is also a short distance away from coral reefs and seagrass beds, where you can snorkel and see a variety of marine life, including sea turtles!
How do you drive to Boca Catalina?
The cove is located on the northwestern coast of Aruba. The fastest route from the airport would take you about 20 minutes tops, and you’ll be driving along the western coastal highway of Aruba.
Be careful not to forget your native driver’s license and IDP, especially that you’re driving within a major tourist area. If you don’t have an IDP yet, the IDA offers a 20-minute express shipping package where your IDP will be delivered to you immediately after confirmation. If you want to receive your printed International Driver’s License in Aruba, the address for shipment should be specified.
Just a short drive north of Malmok Beach, you will find Arashi Beach. This white sand is among the most family-friendly beaches in Aruba because of its more laid-back style. You won’t find so many modern developments in the area, and all you’ll see are the Palapa Huts that line the beach. Calm ocean swells characterize the large intertidal area of Arashi Beach, which makes it a very safe place to go swimming and snorkeling.
In addition, Arashi Beach has ample parking spaces. If spending a night at the beach, camping under the stars in your vehicle is something you’d like to do, Arashi Beach is a good place to be at. If you’re planning to drive to the area, you can also visit the nearby California Lighthouse.
How do you drive to Arashi Beach?
Malmok Beach is where the Boca Catalina Cove is located. Similar to Malmok Beach, Arashi Beach is also located on the northwestern side of Aruba. It is just a couple of minutes’ drive north after Malmok.
There are tourist accommodations near Arashi Beach. If you’re planning on applying for an IDP only when you arrive in Aruba, make sure to write the full address, including the correct country zip code on the International Driver’s Permit - Aruba shipping details.
Boka Keto Beach
Boka Keto Beach is a go-to destination for adventure seekers. This is because it's probably one of the farthest beaches from central Oranjestad, and you’d have to drive through the Arikok National Park to reach the beach. Apart from that, the terrain to reach Boka Keto after the main road is quite rugged, and it could only be traversed by hiking or by riding an ATV. When you plan to visit Boka Keto, we recommend that you also visit the nearby Conchi Pool — a hidden volcanic rock pool in Aruba.
Where is Boka Keto Beach located?
You can find Boka Keto on the southeastern coast of Aruba, within the Arikok National Park. Tourists are advised to drive or ride an ATV to reach the beach because of the terrain. However, the same driving rules apply. You need to have a valid driver’s license and an IDP as much as possible.
To get an IDP, you just need to fill-up the International Driver’s Permit - Aruba form at the International Driver’s Association website. Don’t forget to copy your International Driver’s Permit for Aruba tracking number, especially if you’re having it shipped outside your permanent address.
Most Important Road Rules in Aruba
Traveling to the different destinations in Aruba is generally straightforward. However, one should always remember that certain road rules have to be observed.
Legal Driving Age in Aruba
Driving in Aruba when you haven’t reached the minimum driving age is illegal. You have to be at least 18 years old to be able to drive legally in the country. Some other countries have a lower minimum driving age. However, once you set foot on Aruban soil, Aruban laws apply. This is to secure the safety of all road users.
Get an International Driving Permit in Aruba
An International Driving Permit is a valid translation of your domestic driving license. It does not replace your driving license. However, it provides additional support to prove the validity of your driving license.
Why Do I Need an International Driver’s License in Aruba?
The official language in Aruba is Dutch. Other widely spoken languages include English and Spanish. If you come from a country that does not speak at least one (1) of these languages, it is highly recommended for you to obtain an International Driving Permit.
The IDP will help you translate your native driving license to Aruban authorities when necessary. Specifically, if your native driving license is not printed in the Roman Alphabet, the more the need for you to secure an International Driving Permit.
What Are the International Driver’s Permit - Aruba, Requirements?
The qualifications to apply for an International Driving Permit is very simple. You just need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driving license from your home country. If you satisfy these, you just need to prepare a passport-sized photo, a credit card, or a Paypal account to pay for the processing fees.
How To Apply For an International Driver’s License - Aruba, Online?
An International Driving Permit is issued only by an authorized agency. The system to get an International Driving Permit for Aruba is relatively fast and easy with IDA. You can do it anytime, anywhere because the entire application process is done online.
All you need to do is to navigate to the homepage of the International Driver’s Association Website and click on the “orange button” on the upper right-hand corner of the page. The orange button is written with “Start My Application” or a shopping bag icon. Once you’ve clicked on it, you will be directed to the application page. The interface is very user-friendly, so you shouldn’t have a hard time understanding what you need to do in every step. Fill in all the necessary information on the International Driver’s Permit for Aruba form, pay the processing fee, and wait for confirmation! Regular processing times are about 2 hours, and your IDP should be sent out within 24 hours from confirmation.
Once you’ve clicked on it, you will be directed to the application page. The interface is very user-friendly, so you shouldn’t have a hard time understanding what you need to do in every step. Fill in all the necessary information on the International Driver’s Permit for Aruba form, pay the processing fee, and wait for confirmation! Regular processing times are about 2 hours, and your IDP should be sent out within 24 hours from confirmation.
When can I get my International Driver’s Permit?
As mentioned, printed IDPs under regular processing are shipped within 24 hours. The exact date when you will receive your IDP will depend on where you are having it shipped to. Nevertheless, international shipments take longer.
You should double-check your International Driver’s Permit - Aruba’s shipping address and make sure that your International Driver’s Permit - Aruba contact number is operational.
Speed Limits in Aruba
To ensure the safety of all road users, everyone is obliged to follow the speed limits. There are three (3) major speed limits in Aruba, with urban areas having the toughest. The limits are as follows:
- Highways / Major Roads - 80km/hr
- Urban Areas - 30km/hr
- Countryside / off-roads - 80km/hr
Drinking and Driving Laws in Aruba
Driving under the influence of alcohol or any substance that severely affects your mental and physical coordination is not tolerated in Aruba. In fact, Aruba has one (1) of the lowest blood alcohol concentration limits in the world at 50mg per 100ml of blood. If you’re caught driving intoxicated, you will run the risk of having your license confiscated only to be returned when you leave the country.
If you want to know more on how to navigate to the different tourist destinations in the country, other important road rules, and securing an International Driving Permit for Aruba, refer to the extended Driving Guide for Aruba!
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