Shopping in Aruba Gets Even Better with a Touch of Local Color



It’s shopping time and you’re in Aruba. What luck! To top it off, you have a specified shopping list ready, and every single item on that list is (how extraordinary) available... in the first store around the corner? Sounds terrific, the beach lover would exclaim while ignoring the shopaholic’s grunts. In real life, even on a paradisiac island in the Caribbean, the truth remains somewhere in the middle. 
Shoppers (the fanatic and the forced ones) staying at one of the resorts in the high rise area have a couple of Aruba’s best luxury malls to choose from. World-renowned brands, specialty shops and designer boutiques are surrounded by the finest restaurants, liveliest crowds and entertainment in this touristy town called Palm Beach. For a more historic and local ambiance, head off to Aruba’s capital. Downtown Oranjestad offers a couple of high end malls and uber-exclusive labels as well as the locally favorited department stores like La Linda and La Moderna. Value-oriented retailers of all sorts can be found in the Caya Betico Croes, and throughout Oranjestad. Explore the backstreets to discover authentic island creations at Trash By Ronchi or Aruba Aloe Factory, Museum and Store. And for souvenir shopping and bargaining, stroll through the flea markets along the L.G. Smith Boulevard for anything you need or might be needing. Need more? Check out these local picks.   



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Aruba's main shopping street, Caya G.F. Betico Croes (named after ex-member of parliament Croes, who was responsible for setting Aruba's independence from the Dutch Antilles, back in 1986) is a half-mile long smorgasbord of international and local shops, snack bars, art galleries and department stores. Good buys include European fashion, quality electronics, French perfume, Swiss watches and local artisan gifts and delicacies. Aruba has no sales tax, and the duty is low (usually around 3-4%), so plan to buy your souvenirs here. The Caya G.F. Betico Croes and surroundings just underwent a major renovation, including the solar-powered tramcars (transporting visitors from the cruise-ship terminal to several points downtown), the revamped Parliament House, new art sculptures and commemorative statues.


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Wharfside Flea Market
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


 

Bring your best haggling tricks and get ready to bargain for T-shirts, local arts, crafts and delicacies. This flea market at the dock of Oranjestad's harbor used to be Aruba's first public market. Years ago, before the big supermarkets started to pop up everywhere, farmers and fishermen brought their fresh fruits, vegetables and fish here, at these open-air kiosks along the harbor, for locals to barter and buy. The Waf (wharf) was desolated for a while, but one day it picked up its trading habits and resuscitated as a flea market, bringing tourists closer to the island's culture and traditions.


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Downtown


 

From luxury malls and top-tier global brands to extensive variety shops, outdoor flea markets and off-the-beaten-path specialty stores, shoppers can exceed their wildest expectations in Aruba. But, if visitors want to dig deeper into the local shopping scene and sniff some history and culture along the way, a browse tour through La Linda is highly recommended. This family-owned business, located at the beginning of the main street, is not only Aruba's first department store chain, it's a local pride and the place to find anything you need at the lowest prices. Clothing for the whole family, shoes, suitcases, pans, pins, plastic parrots and religious memorabilia... La Linda has it!


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This museum, factory and store in one, is a must-visit for everyone interested in Aruba's history as world's largest exporter of the aloe vera. By taking a fifteen minute tour, visitors will learn about the island's aloe industry past and present, the production process of this natural remedy and the many health benefits that can be achieved by using aloe vera preparations, both orally or topically. Shop for your own personal line of aloe products or purchase some typical island gifts. But don't leave before finding out everything there is to know about Aruba's aloe background. Tour guides are available in English, Dutch, Spanish and native language Papiamento. Dig deeper into the island's soil and feel the heal.


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Super Food Plaza
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


 

Once located on the L.G. Smith Boulevard, surrounded by all the island's bigger supermarkets in Oranjestad, Super Food has come a long way. From grocery store filled with fresh produce and Dutch brands to the new and growing Super Food Plaza shopping complex in Bubali, where customers can do their daily groceries, have a delicious lunch in Jack's Cafe, pick out the finest wines and liquors at Cheers, buy the freshest fish and seafood at Daily Fish, shop for home appliances and decor at Casa, browse for top quality toys at Intertoys, or get an eye exam and new glasses at Optica Sun Specs. This is not a supermarket, it's Super Food Plaza!


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Although its name suggests otherwise, Trash By Ronchi is a one-of-a-kind fashion and lifestyle boutique that specializes in trendy island wear for the young and the young at heart. Local fashion designer Ronchi De Cuba's mission to provide all ethnicities, body shapes, sizes and gender with the latest styles at irresistible prices, is accomplished. With a mixed collection of imported brands and local creations, this young guru of style and image has been dressing up the famed and the infamous in Aruba. Models, misses, moms, ma'ams and misters... everybody can trash the old look and show off a bold, new style.


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Downtown


 

Fantasea's hip and colorful concept is a feast for the eye and imagination, showcasing a captivating array of travel essentials like the international luggage and lifestyle brand Kipling. For swim, beach, surf and casual wear for the whole family, Fantasea houses top quality names like Roxy, Quicksilver, Cover Me and Hurley, among other favorite collections. If Aruba is on your travel agenda, stop by at Fantastea for the most fashionable beach cover-ups, trendiest tank tops and tees, coolest caps, comfiest flip flops and bulging bags of fun accessories and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Don't fantasize, get into the island vibe with Fantasea.


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For anyone living on this planet, who's never heard of the German brand Birkenstock... we're talking about sandals here. And not just any sandals, but probably one of the most comfortable footgear on earth. Okay, fine, don't believe it, but do your feet a big favor and visit one of the three Foot Fit stores to see what they have in stock. The Finn Comfort shoes and sandals for ladies and gentlemen are ideal for a more elegant look, while the Clarks collection is all about alleviation in style. Whatever is preferred, - liberated toes or covered ones - at Foot Fit there is a perfect fit for everyone.


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Downtown


 

Founded in 1865 by the Penha family in Curaçao, this renowned company evolved into one of the leading beauty and lifestyle retailers in the Caribbean. With luxury brands like Estee Lauder, Clinique, Chanel, Dior, a skilled sales staff and the recently added Victoria's Secret and MAC, Aruba prides itself with five Penha stores. The first and oldest building is strategically located at the beginning of the main street, and has recently gone through some major renovations. The Mac Boutique and Victoria's Secret store are both located in downtown Oranjestad. At the Palm Beach Plaza there's another Victoria's Secret and a smaller Penha outlet.


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"Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity, and clothe yourself with honor and majesty" is Caribbean Queen's motto and their amazing collection of one-of-a-kind accessories for all woman of the world, is the proof - from top of the head to tip of the toe. To become royalty, just make an entrance at this stylish Queendom and discover all the Caribbean treasures while striding with West Indian flair among inspiring and ready-to-wear art pieces, exclusive rewards, prestigious gems and distinguished guests. Get acquainted with Aruba's artisans and help promote the island's artistic talents. Join the cause and be grand! The royal staff of Caribbean Queen is always ready to serve.


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Meet Liliana Erasmus

Born and raised in Aruba, Liliana moved to the Netherlands to continue her college education in Marketing. Since 1998 she’s been back on her beloved island, where she is working as a...  More About Liliana

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