Just off the coast of Venezuela lies the picturesque island of Aruba. With its white sandy beaches, silky clear blue waters, and vibrant pastel colored buildings, the Dutch Caribbean island is the perfect getaway! Whether you are visiting on a cruise or you flew in for a long weekend, Aruba offers a treasure trove of shopping!
Aruba is a place where shopping centers are the bread and butter of the island's shopping scene. Since the island is a constituent country of the Netherlands, and through its history has changed hands of many different colonizers, the local culture and most of the goods are European. Due to the growing number of large resorts, it can be tough to find locally made produce but there are a couple hidden gems that feature only 100% Aruban made goods.
If you are arriving to the island via cruise ship, step off the floating city and immerse yourself in Aruba’s shopping attractions. Start of in Aruba’s capital of Oranjestad along L.G. Smith Boulevard. The boulevard hosts a collection of malls. You will first come across The Royal Plaza Mall. The pastel pink, white trimmed and red roofed mall houses nautical international brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica. Continue, east down L.G. Smith to Renaissance Mall and Marketplace. The mall hosts luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry as well as many major American and European apparel brands. The marketplace which is just across the street has a variety of souvenir stores as well as Dutch eateries and entertainment attractions.
By far one of the most, if not the most, important shopping stops in Aruba is an easy walk from the cruise docks! From L.G. Smith walk up Arnold M Schuttestraat to Wilhelminastraat and on the corner is a mustard colored building with white trim. Here you can find the most beautiful local Aruban art, jewelry and other handcrafted items. The gallery/shop is known as the Cosecha Aruban Craft Design and Heritage and it is where you will find certified (by the Aruban government) locally made goods. Only one-of-a-kind pieces are found at Cosecha and it is the perfect spot to pick up a genuine souvenir to remember Aruba! Recently, Cosecha just opened up a new space where kids, locals, tourists, and masters can go for artist workshops.
Once you have picked up your original Aruban handcrafted items head north to Caya G.F. Betico Croes, also known as Main Street. Recently, Main Street was renovated into a pedestrian only thoroughfare where shoppers will find international chains like Mango, Victoria's Secret, and Caribbean favorite beauty retailer Penha.
Down the coast from Oranjestad is Palm Beach or otherwise known as the High Rise area. The High Rise area has become the shopping mecca over recent years and is slowly surpassing downtown Oranjestad. Not only does Palm Beach have one of the largest malls in the Caribbean, every hotel has its own little shopping area to purchase Dutch chocolates and other souvenirs. From the cruise docks catch the airbus to Palm Beach. If you only have time to shop one shopping centers in Palm Beach head to Palm Beach Plaza which has been given the title of largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. With a bowling alley, movie theater, restaurants, and retail stores there is plenty to do.
Before you head back to the luxury liner, in Oranjestad along the waterfront are a handful of kiosks selling souvenirs. If you are lucky sometimes there are local artists at their stands selling their handmade goods. Otherwise there are great stands selling local aloe goods, characteristic tourist t-shirts, and trinkets from the neighboring country of Venezuela.