Tours

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Tours

You can see the main sights in one day, but set aside two days to really meander. Guided tours are your best option if you have only a short time.

Tour Operators

De Palm Tours has a near monopoly on Aruban sightseeing; you can make reservations through its general office or at hotel tour-desk branches. The company's basic 4 1/2-hour tour hits the highlights. Wear tennis or hiking shoes, and bring a lightweight jacket or wrap (the air-conditioned bus gets cold). It begins at 9:30 am, picks you up in your hotel lobby, and costs $89 per person. A full-day Jeep Adventure tour ($107 per person) takes you to sights that would be difficult for you to find on your own and includes a stop at De Palm Island for a little fun in the water. Bring a bandanna to cover your mouth; the ride on rocky dirt roads can get dusty. Prices include round-trip airfare, transfers, sightseeing, and lunch; there's free time for shopping.

Romantic horse-drawn-carriage rides through the city streets of Oranjestad run $40 for a 30-minute tour; hours of operation are 7 pm to 11 pm, and carriages depart from the clock tower at the Royal Plaza Mall.

Contacts

Aruba's Transfer Tour & Taxi (Pos Abao 41, Oranjestad. 297/582–2116.)

De Palm Tours (L.G. Smith Blvd. 142, Oranjestad. 297/582–4400 or 800/766–6016. www.depalm.com.)

Special-Interest Tours

Boating

If you try a cruise around the island, know that the choppy waters are stirred up by trade winds and that catamarans are much smoother than single-hulled boats. Sucking on a peppermint or lemon candy may help a queasy stomach; avoid boating with an empty or overly full stomach. Moonlight cruises cost about $40 per person. There are also snorkeling, dinner and dancing, and sunset party cruises to choose from, priced from $40 to $70 per person. Many of the smaller operators work out of their homes; they often offer to pick you up (and drop you off) at your hotel or meet you at a particular hotel pier.

Contacts

De Palm Tours (L.G. Smith Blvd. 142, Oranjestad. 297/582–4400 or 800/766–6016. www.depalm.com.)

Pelican Tours & Watersports (J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 232, Oranjestad. 297/587–2302. www.pelican-aruba.com.)

Red Sail Sports (Renaissance Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd. 82, Oranjestad. 297/586–1603; 877/733–7245 in U.S. www.aruba-redsail.com.)

Seaworld Explorer (297/582–4400. www.depalmtours.com/seaworld-explorer-semi-submarine.)

Submarine Tours

You can explore an underwater reef teeming with marine life without getting wet. Atlantis Submarines operates a 65-foot air-conditioned sub that takes 48 passengers 95 to 150 feet below the surface along Barcadera Reef. The two-hour trip (including boat transfer to the submarine platform and 50-minute plunge) costs $109. Make reservations one day in advance. Another option is the Seaworld Explorer, a semisubmersible also operated by Atlantis Submarines that allows you to view Aruba's marine habitat from 6 feet below the surface. The cost is $46 for a 1½-hour tour.

Contacts

Atlantis Submarines (Renaissance Marina. 297/582–4400. www.depalmtours.com/atlantis-submarines-expedition.)

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