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Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) is located 3.5 kilometres (2.5 miles) southeast of Oranjestad. Airport transfers to anywhere in Aruba from here typically take a breezy 5 to 15 minutes.
Many hotels and resorts include return travel from here as part of packages. Otherwise, most visitors take a taxi. Pre-set by the Department of Public Traffic, rates from the airport are $18 to downtown Oranjestad, $22 to the Low-Rise hotels near Eagle Beach and $25 to the High-Rise and Palm Beach hotels.
Add about $3 to that if it’s the early hours or a Sunday, and $2 for each additional piece of big luggage (one item is free). Tipping is not expected.
This small island has no trains, but its Arubus network is an easy way to get around Aruba. Most routes run north-south along the main east coast with some variation; lines 1-3 all take in the charming fishing village of Savaneta, as well as San Nicolas, Aruba’s second-largest town. You can also get the bus to Baby Beach, a pretty lagoon by the far southern tip.
The buses run reliably until various times in the evening, and fares are Afl4 (£1.70) for a single, and Afl7 (£3) per return. Buses also depart from outside the airport to downtown Oranjestad and its hotels.
With its rainbow-coloured buildings and tropical gardens, downtown Oranjestad is lovely to walk around; you can find suggested routes on the Tourism Authority’s website. However, it’s also big enough to warrant other modes of transport at times.
The town is notorious for traffic during high season (winter), so all hail the capital’s new streetcar system. Free to ride, its two attractive trams – one of them a double-decker – loop between the harbour and Main Street’s upscale shops, malls and restaurants. Their carriages’ renewable batteries rely on hydrogen fuel cells, themselves powered by wind turbines.
As Aruba is very flat, it’s possible to see plenty of it by bicycle, too – simply ask your hotel concierge. It’s best to go for a mountain bike as these cope better with Aruba’s coarse roads. An ability to repair punctures is recommended, too!