The Ultimate Aruba Packing List.
By Destination

The Ultimate Aruba Packing List

Aruba claims the most sunny days of all the Caribbean islands—reason enough, for many, to visit the Dutch-Caribbean gem lying just off the coast of Venezuela. Add in the fact that the island has some of the region’s best beaches, a cosmopolitan culture (home to more than 90 nationalities), and is fortuitously located below the hurricane belt, and you quickly realize that now is as good a time as any to start planning a trip. Before you touch down, make sure you have all you need to make the most of your “One Happy Island” vacay. Here are the essentials we recommend.

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THE PERFECT LUGGAGE

Having the right piece of luggage really does make a difference. Just ask anyone who’s struggled along the concourse with an unwieldy two-wheeled rolling case (trust us, four wheels are the way to go) or tried to stuff 10 days’ worth of clothing into an unforgiving hard-sided carry-on. For weekend trips, you can’t beat Le Sportsac’s Large Weekender. The ripstop nylon bag (which comes in more than 30 different patterns—we’re partial to the on-theme tropical-y ones) is light as a feather, roomy enough to hold all you need, and fits easily into the overhead compartment. (If you only have a weekend, why waste any time at the baggage carousel?)

For weeklong trips, we like American Tourister’s Moonlight 24” Spinner, a hard-shell case which features top and side handles and expandable zippers. It comes in a fun popsicle print that makes us feel like we’re on vacation the second we pull it out to pack.

Staying even longer? Lucky you! Tote all your gear in Briggs & Riley’s Large Expandable Spinner, which increases in size 25% to hold all the souvenirs you’ll inevitably bring back. It comes in four colors, but if you choose Fire (a high-gloss red), there’ll be no missing it on the conveyor belt.

THE 3 PAIRS OF SHOES YOU’LL NEED FOR EXPLORING ARUBA

Women’s Shoes

Men’s Shoes

Straps that dig in, flip-flops that flop off, and slides that rub: we know the folly of wearing inappropriate footwear and how it can really spoil the day. So we’ve found three styles for women and men that will take you pretty much everywhere you want to go on your Aruban adventure, whether that’s off-roading through Arikok National Park, gambling at Palm Beach casinos, or touring the Aruba Aloe Factory & Museum.

STYLE FOR ARUBA

Flamingo on a Beach in Aruba.

Forget neutral colors and all-black outfits; this is the Caribbean—home of joyful color and riotous pattern—so if you want to blend in, get with the program! Ladies should consider maxi dresses (which will take you from the beach to the nightclub with just a change of accessories); swimsuits that double as tops/bodysuits, and statement-making sunnies that transform even the simplest outfit into a showstopper. Guys will need little more than a few smart button-downs and graphic T-shirts, swimwear, shorts, and slacks for evening. But don’t be shy about throwing a little pattern and/or color into the mix for a dash of island flavor.

FIVE FOOLPROOF OUTFITS FOR ARUBA

1. WHAT TO WEAR ON THE BEACH IN ARUBA

No doubt, hitting the beach will be top of your to-do list, whether you’re wading in the crystal-clear shallows at Baby Beach, basking on the island’s widest strip at Eagle Beach, or strolling Palm Beach’s family-friendly two-mile-long shore.

2. WHAT TO WEAR EXPLORING NATURE IN ARUBA

Though it’s just 70 square miles, Aruba offers so much more than sun, sea, and sand. Visitors can explore the cacti-studded desert terrain of 8,000-acre Arikok National Park, where the volcanic-rock-ringed Natural Pool (also known as Conchi) is a remote but refreshing spot to cool off. Easier to reach is California Lighthouse, the highest vantage point on the island, where panoramic views over the northeast coast are the reward for climbing more than 100 steps. Swing by at sunset for the best photos. When visiting either of these attractions, build your outfit around closed-toe shoes (essential if you plan to ride a horse, bicycle, or ATV) and headwear (that desert dust gets everywhere) and you’ll be good to go.

3. WHAT TO WEAR ON THE WATER (SNORKELING, SAILING) IN ARUBA

Beyond just basking on the beach, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the warm turquoise waters that have made Aruba famous. Snorkeling is tops at sites such as Arashi Beach and Catalina Cove, kite- and wind-surfers harness the trade winds at Malmok Beach, and you can even pilot your own transparent kayak at Boca Catalina. And there’s always catamaran sailings to add to your itinerary. Just be sure to wear clothing that’s comfortable, quick-drying, and offers SPF protection.

4. WHAT TO WEAR HORSEBACK RIDING IN ARUBA

Saddling up? Yeehaw! Aruba has horseback adventures for every rider, from novice to expert. At The Gold Mine Ranch, for example, equine adventures include rides along beaches, through ruins of a gold mill, and to Hidden Valley and Hidden Lagoon. Just know that most tour operators require riders to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, and that you’ll need a hands-free bag for your phone, camera, water bottle, and any other essentials.

5. WHAT TO WEAR DINING OUT IN ARUBA

You gotta eat, right?! And you’ll have plenty of options here, from The Flying Fishbone in Savaneta and Barefoot Restaurant in Oranjestad, where you dine with your toes in the sand, to vegan fare at Nourish Cafe and international cuisine at Papiamento, named for the island’s indigenous language and set in an elegant 19th-century mansion. But wherever you choose, dress appropriately. Here, that means with respect for island norms (no bare feet or flip-flops, unless you’re on the sand) and never in anything overly formal. Find the sweet spot between casual, cool, and colorful—typified by these two outfits—and you’ll be golden.

WHAT NOT TO PACK FOR ARUBA

Aruba’s weather calls for a warm-weather wardrobe of quick-drying, sweat-wicking, Caribbean-cool clothing, so forget the heavy sweaters and jackets and fill your bag instead with linen and cotton pieces in colors as vivid as the island itself. Ditching umbrellas, suits, and formal wear (a colorful maxi dress or a smart slacks-and-shirt combo is all you’ll need for evening) leaves more room for souvenirs (Aruba aloe products, anyone?). Other items to leave at home include a travel iron or steamer, bulky beach towels and snorkel gear, as almost every resort here provides all three.

THE *ONE THING* WTP EDITORS ALWAYS PACK FOR ARUBA

SunnyLife Flamingo Sipper Cup.Despite what your Instagram feed may have you believe, flamingoes aren’t actually native to Aruba; they’re brought in to Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino‘s private Flamingo Beach, on Renaissance Island, for photo ops. Even if your beach isn’t graced with these famous pink waders, this flamingo-shaped sipper with a curvy straw is a welcome addition to any Aruba beach or pool outing. Use it to stay hydrated with Aruban tap water—some of the cleanest, safest drinking water on the planet. And OK, yes, it’s also good for transporting rummy Aruba Aribas from the bar to the sand. Whatever beach it’s on and whatever liquid it holds, this playfully kitsch cup makes for Aruba selfie gold.

$16 at Shopbop

ARUBA’S WEATHER AND SEASONS

Aruba Ocean View with Boat.

With temps that average in the low 80s year round, constant cooling breezes, minimal rainfall (only about 15 inches in an entire year), and low humidity, Aruba’s weather is the kind some other Caribbean countries wish they had! In the daytime, dress for heat in shorts, sleeveless tops, and sweat-wicking fabrics. Ladies may want to pack a wrap for aggressively air-conditioned restaurants and breezy evenings. Guys, follow the gals’ lead in shorts and short-sleeved button-downs, which you can swap for dress shirts and slacks at dinnertime. And everyone should include pops of color in their vacay wardrobe—it’s the Aruban way!

Note: This data comes from our friends at Weather.com. We recommend using this together with a traditional forecast as you get closer to your departure date.

JANUARY

  • Plan for day temps between 76 and 85

What to Wear in Aruba in January: It’s probably brisk at home but its positively balmy in this part of the world. Dress accordingly!

Recommendations: Free People kimono, women’s Asos sailor shorts, Madewell scalloped eyelet minidress 

FEBRUARY

  • Plan for day temps between 76 and 85

What to Wear in Aruba in February: Taking a Valentine’s Day vacay? Pack these pink- and red-hued pieces.

Recommendations: Trina Turk hot pink maxi dress, Asos color-block one-piece, Sam Edelman peony espadrille flats

MARCH

  • Plan for day temps between 77 and 86

What to Wear in Aruba in March: Spring has sprung but it already feels like summer here, so keep your cool in sweat-wicking, quick-drying, beach-worthy gear.

Recommendations: Men’s Quiksilver rashguard with UPF 30, men’s Nike quick-drying shorts, men’s Lululemon sweat-wicking baseball cap

APRIL

  • Plan for day temps between 78 and 87

What to Wear in Aruba in April: On average, Aruba only gets a half-inch of rain this month, so prep for dry days with sunny-hued necessities.

Recommendations: Pineapple-print sundress, PacSun yellow scrunchy-fabric bikini, women’s yellow Ugg flip-flops

MAY

  • Plan for day temps between 79 and 88

What to Wear in Aruba in May: Although it’s warm, Aruba may also start to get a little breezier this month. Ward off the Caribbean “chill” in these long-sleeved pieces.

Recommendations: Women’s Adidas tropical track jacket, Forever 21 boho bell-sleeve dress, rainbow stripe coveralls

JUNE

  • Plan for day temps between 80 and 89

What to Wear in Aruba in June: This time of year, there’s no denying: It’s hot! So keep your cool by the pool (and beach) in these stylish swimwear picks.

Recommendations: Red one-shoulder bikini from Target, Boll & Branch x Summersalt beach towel, Bonobos flamingo-print swim trunks

JULY

  • Plan for day temps between 79 and 88

What to Wear in Aruba in July: It’s sweltering during the day, but come nighttime, gentle breezes turn “steamy” into “sultry”—which is just how you’ll look in these colorful evening looks.

Recommendations: Women’s Yumi Kim floral jumpsuit, men’s Asos floral skinny blazer, Asos lacy lemon-colored cami dress

AUGUST

  • Plan for day temps between 80 and 89

What to Wear in Aruba in August: It’s the height of summer. Cover all of your bases (and every inch of your body) with UV-thwarting sunscreen, cover-ups, and accessories—rashguards, SPF, wide-brim hats, the works.

Recommendations: Jessica Simpson women’s rashguard, Billabong men’s rashguard, Supergoop! SPF 50 Sunscreen Mist

SEPTEMBER

  • Plan for day temps between 80 and 89

What to Wear in Aruba in September: Temps may be cooling at home, but here in Aruba, it’s an endless summer. Stock up on these warm-weather staples before fall fashions hit the racks.

Recommendations: Pom-pom tunic, silky floral Trina Turk pants, straw bag with tassels 

OCTOBER

  • Plan for day temps between 80 and 89

What to Wear in Aruba in October: Rainy season starts now and persists until mid-January. Expect short showers rather than day-long deluges, and stay dry and comfortable in these pieces.

Recommendations: Floral translucent raincoat, men’s Outdoor Voices x Teva sport sandalsTeflon-coated travel umbrella 

NOVEMBER

  • Plan for day temps between 79 and 87

What to Wear in Aruba in November: While everyone else is bundling up back home, you’ll be stripping down and showing some skin.

Recommendations: Women’s scalloped pink shorts, smocked tie-front bandeau topunisex water-friendly shoes

DECEMBER

  • Plan for day temps between 77 and 85

What to Wear in Aruba in December: The festive season is nigh, so dress like it in party pieces that will definitely get you noticed.

Recommendations: Free People ruffled one-shoulder maxi dress, men’s Asos  fruit-print vest and pants

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ARUBA

Aruba Aerial Beach View.

What are the top three beaches in Aruba that I can’t miss? 

The calm and clear shallows of the southern strand at Baby Beach are ideal for families with small children. Two-mile-long Palm Beach, bordered by Aruba’s high-rise resorts, is a coastal hub, with restaurants, casinos, and shops just steps away. Flamingo Beach, on an island that’s part of Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino (free for guests and open to walk-ins for a fee), is a must for Instagram-worthy selfies with the photogenic flock of long-legged birds.

What currency is accepted in Aruba?

The official currency is the Aruban Florin, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.

What’s the best way to get around Aruba?

Explore the island’s 70 square miles in a rental car or fixed-rate (non-metered) taxi; both are safe and plentiful. Other options include the public bus service—Arubus—and bicycle and scooter rentals.

Is Aruba safe? Are there any travel advisories?

The island has a reputation as one of the safest in the Caribbean, and the U.S. government hasn’t issued any special advisories for travel to the island at this time. Visitors from certain Central American and Latin American countries may be required to have the vaccination for yellow fever; go to airportaruba.com for more info.

What is the Aruba “sin” tax?

Intended to discourage consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, this tax was established in 2019 and applies to wine, alcoholic spirits, and cigarettes and cigars, which are now taxed at increased rates.

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