Aruba’s historic port capital city Oranjestad has always had a colorful Dutch colonial charm, but the past few years has seen a major face-lift and renewal throughout downtown to better accommodate a growing local population and better welcome the million-plus visitors it sees each year. To make the cruise terminal more inviting and the first impression of the city more alluring, all cargo traffic operations have been moved to Barcadera. Some back streets have been closed to traffic, making new pedestrian malls and courtyards that allow visitors to wander past the harbor village and back into the original Main Street (G. F. Betico Croes) area that is two streets behind the harbor. A new free eco-trolley system makes it easy to explore all corners of the newly refreshed downtown, starting at the cruise terminal and looping throughout the shops, attractions, museums, dining spots, and malls, and reaching right to the public bus terminal. Visitors can hop on and off at will; it travels very slowly so you can get a good look at what’s on offer. The recent Oranjestad renaissance has been well received, bringing new businesses and attractions and kicking off a good start to the continuing construction of a new Linear Park that will connect downtown to the main tourist beaches by boardwalk and when completed will become the longest park of its kind in the Caribbean.
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