To Rent a Car or Not?
Updated: Jul 20, 2021
We visited Aruba for many years before moving here and never rented a car or UTV. It was our choice and at that time it is what we preferred. The bus system on Aruba is really fantastic. The main station is in Oranjestad (across from the cruise dock) and buses run very regularly between town and Malmok Beach with many bus stops in between. Rule of thumb, stand at a bus stop where the traffic is moving in the direction you wish to go. When the bus stops just double check with the driver if he/she is going where you want to go. It is less than $3 US per person per ride (no matter how short or long). If you plan to use it a lot you can purchase a bus card at the main station in town. Check out their schedules here.
Taxi's are a fine option but if you plan to 'go' a lot, it will add up. Taxis charge a flat rate based on destination. (Not per person or on a meter.) There are extra charges on Sundays, official holidays and after 11pm. Regular rates from the airport to the Hi-rise area is $31. To the Lo-Rise and Eagle Beach area is $26-$28 and to downtown area is $21. This does not include a gratuity.
But if you really want to get out and see Aruba I would recommend renting a car. Now that we have a home here and own a car I have decided this is the best way to see the island. I mean how lost can you get? You will hit water at some point and have to turn around. All kidding aside, if you are worried about getting lost, download the app maps.me from your app store (free). Install the map for Aruba on it (while in WiFi). This app works as an offline GPS and will be a lifesaver for the adventurous types that may be directionally impaired. In Aruba we drive on the right, just like in the States. Traffic lights are few and far between, and honestly are usually not working. Please be cautious! Traffic signs are different so I have included a cheat sheet for you to study.
Aruba also has a TON of roundabouts! Here is a guide as to how you should drive in them. And use your turn signal when exiting.
Aruba drivers, in general, are courteous and will stop to let you in front of them at any given time. So be sure to keep your eyes on the road as the car in front of you could stop to let someone in and catch you off guard. Always stop for pedestrians.
For the most part the rules are the same as in the States and locals are pretty forgiving of cars that have 'V' visitor plates on them.
If you wish to rent a car right from the airport, you will find rates and availability for Alamo and Dollar-Rent-A-Car (get up to 15% off if you prepay with Dollar, valid until Sept 26, 2021).
Or nearby the airport you will find , Thrifty or National, (this National link will get you a free single upgrade if you book by July 21, 2021. Use the links provided for pricing and availability.
If you choose to wait and rent a car later in your stay many of the companies will deliver the car to you
ATV & UTV rentals are also very popular on Aruba. We have had great luck renting from Rock a Beach Tours (located between Oranjestad and the low-rises). You can choose to go solo or book a tour with most places.
Depending on your location there are others to choose from such as, George's (near town), ABC Tours (located near Ling & Sons).
*If you go solo, please abide by the rules and stay on the defined trails.
Do not drive on the beaches or coral.
Also note that ATV/UTV's are not allowed in the national park unless you are on a tour with an approved vendor.
So it really comes down to personal choice and your comfort level. If you are a confident driver, by all means rent a car! But if you prefer to take a guided tour or travel by taxi, go for it!
And if you want to save some money,
the bus is great or if you are in the hi-rise area you can walk to so much. Bicycle and E-bikes are also an alternative.
Be comfortable, be safe, and ENJOY!!https://maps.me/
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