Palm Beach is Aruba’s flagship resort – a 3-kilometre stretch of breathtaking tropical coastline on the northwest of the island. It’s gradually filled up with luxury, high-rise hotels that back onto the beach. Add to that a line-up of chic restaurants, plus luxury shops that could give 5th Avenue or Bond Street a run for their money, and you’ve got Palm Beach in a nutshell.
If you’re looking for a beach with that wow factor, try this long ribbon of gently shelving white sand. It’s washed by turquoise water and is dotted with swaying palm trees and thatched palapa umbrellas. There’s a top portfolio of watersports, plus diving trips the gigantic World War II wreck known as the Ghost Ship. And there are plenty of lively beach bars where you can stop for a bite to eat or an ice-cold drink.
Hugging the coastline is Je Irausquin Boulevard, Palm Beach’s main thoroughfare. It’s crammed with international restaurants, buzzing bars, and is also home to Palm Beach Plaza Mall, Aruba’s biggest shopping centre. Aside from a parade of designer stores, it has a multiplex cinema, bowling alley and a climbing wall. And since Aruba is the Caribbean’s answer to Las Vegas, you’ll find a number of spectacular casinos along this main strip, too.
Close to Oranjestad
Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, is just a 15-minute drive away. Filled with gable-topped Dutch colonial buildings, it’s unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean, and has become a regular port of call for luxury cruise liners. Around the harbour there are several large shopping centres. Rising above the skyline is Fort Zoutman, an 18th-century fortress that houses the Historical Museum of Aruba.