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You can't get everywhere by bus , but frequently scheduled services runs to many areas Monday thru Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with less frequent runs from 6:00 p.m. to midnight and Sundays & Holidays.
Have the correct change when you board the ARUBUS. A one-way ticket is $1.50 USD or 2 Florins and round-trip fare is $2.00 USD. Stops are marked by a yellow "BUSCHALTE" road sign . Regular routes are between San Nicholas on the south-west coast and the resorts along the beach on the north-west coast with stops in Oranjestad.
Hans and I took the bus to downtown Oranjestad and it was pretty simple. There was a bus stop right in front of the Holiday Inn and the trip took about 20 minutes and brings you right to the downtown bus station. On the way back just look for the bus that says "HOTELS".
Written Nov 10, 2006
We used the bus several times to get from Palm Beach to Oranjestad and back again, the one way fare is $1.30, $2.30 for a round trip. The drivers do take USD but give change in Aruban currency so it's best to bring along lots of small bills and some change if you plan on using the bus and not exchanging currency.
You can see the schedule on the attached website, the main bus station in Oranjestad was very close to Iguana Joe's.
Updated Dec 18, 2007
Chicago has direct connections to just about everywhere, but I could only find one direct flight a week on United so I had to book a layover. We went through Miami, one choice was a 50 minute layover which seemed too risky with the possibility of snow in Chicago and only one flight to Aruba from Miami. It turns out that flight from Chicago to Miami was late but they waited for the passengers anyway. Well, at least I got some good Cuban food in Miami...
There's only one airport in Aruba, Reina Beatrix, and it is small but the bags took a long time to get to us, it was late so we went outside and hailed a taxi.
On the way back to Chicago, they said it was mandatory that we were at the airport 3 hours in advance, not sure if this is true. The sign over the American airlines desk said it was mandatory to check in 60 minutes before your flight. It only took us about 20 minutes to check in and go through passport control and US customs.
I read that they were improving the dining options at the airport, right now there is a Sbarro before you go through customs that looked like it had decent slices of pizza, a Sbarro past customs that had crappy looking pizza for way too much money and a place that sold sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs that had been sitting for an indeterminable amount of time. Do your eating before you get to the airport if possible and also do your souvernir shopping as nothing is cheap at the airport.
Written Dec 19, 2007
The bus system in Aruba is so very good! The buses have many convenient stops all over the island. Visible on the Bus is a sign denoting the Hotel area, Hotel or town where the bus will stop. The buses are clean and the drivers are friendly. The cost for a trip to downtown from Palm Beach, which is a good distance away, is only $1.25. They do prefer exact change, if possible. If you get a round-trip, it's only $2.00....a steal! The buses run till late at night also....stopping at most big hotels and resorts or at least within a short walking distance. The streets are well lit for the most part too.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
We arrived rather late into the airport in Aruba so we didn't want to fuss with waiting for a shuttle or figure out where the bus stop was so we took a cab. We shared a ride with another couple so it seems it should have been split between the two parties but when we asked she said $22 to the Palm Beach area and I thought the fare would be around $20 so I suspect she gouged us a bit. On the way back to the airport, the driver quoted us $20.
I think it only took about 15-20 minutes even with a bit of traffic.
Always ask what the fare is before you get into the cab so you don't have a surprise at the end. The drivers readily accept US dollars so don't worry about getting Aruban currency. I read that you should tip 10-15%.
The DePalm airport shuttle is another alternative but it's only slightly less expensive if there are two of you traveling, $18.25 per person round trip. Plus you have to wait until everyone is on board and you may have a lot of other hotel stops so I didn't think it was worth saving a few dollars.
Updated Dec 18, 2007
Although many people may opt for a car rental and taxis can get expensive after 6 days, the bus routes are a great alternative. They run all through the island and stop in downtown "O". Stop signs are located all over and are easy to spot not too mention the price per person was around $1.10 US. It got us to downtown and the grocery store just as fast as a taxi and much cheaper. I do love the taxis though and they were great tour guides when asked.
Written Jan 23, 2008
There are various possibilities for getting around Aruba. We rented a regular car. The roads on the west side of the island are paved, but on the east side, they are sometimes sand or dirt (photo 4). You can't really get lost as the island is not very big, but not all of the signs are what you will be accustomed to. Some were easy to figure out (stop, no left turn), but some were unfamiliar to me. A yellow/orange diamond meant that it was a right-of-way road. A triangle bordered in red with a big black vertical line with a little cross in the middle mean that you have the right of way at the intersection.
I had a little difficulty with the frequently seen signs that had two cars next to each other, the right one black and the left one red. I discovered that this one meant "No passing". And a dark blue circle rimmed in red with a red slash across it was "No Stopping or Parking". Photo three shows an interesting variation on a traffic light.
You can rent a Land Rover Defender Jeep and go on a Safari (photo 5 - billed as the most fun you've had driving). Or you can get a a fully automatic All Terrain Vehicle (A.T.V.). Quad racer (photo 2).
Updated Apr 24, 2011
If you are planning to spend more than a few days in Aruba, you might consider renting a car for either the week or a day. Taxis can become quite expensive if you are shuttling into town, to the store, to other beach areas and to restaurants so having your own transportation might save you some money. Do the math and consider if it's worth it, especially if you are traveling in a group and can split the cost.
In addition, most people never travel off the hotel route and miss out on the rugged beauty of the northern part of the island, where fewer tourists travel. Unfortunately the natural bridge is no longer around, but the change in terrain on the island is interesting and worth to see the violent crashing waves on the north in stark contrast with the calm waters fronting all the hotels.
Updated Sep 4, 2007
We stayed outsite the tourist area in aruba, adn did not rent a car the first week. So when we wanted to go to oranjestad we went by bus, and to the tourist area too. It is a cheap way to travel, 2 florin. There are normal busses, but mini busses too, and you raise your hand and they stop. if the mini busses have places for passengers they switch on their lights, and then they stop. We had even an trip with a schoolbus, the driver dropped us in the hotel area. Funny thing was, he took his dog with him every day working.
Written Nov 8, 2003
Our cruise docked in downtown Oranjestad along with at least 3 other large ships, the two docks are next to each other. From both docks you can easily walk to the shops and restaurants in the city. If you want to just go to the beach there are taxis or the bus station is just across the street from where you exit the port. We walked to the nearest beach as we wanted to stop by the grocery store and get a little exercise, but I don't recommend that for most people as it took us at least 30-40 minutes, there's not much to see in between the two and you need to know where you are going.
In addition to taxis, there appeared to be folks selling organized tours and renting cars right after you left the port, I didn't pay much attention to them as we knew we were going to the beach.
Written Feb 7, 2010
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