Head to the markets and smaller shops for local goods like Dutch cheese, beach house decor, traditional wooden figurines, and more.
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Aruba may be home to a number of shopping centers and malls, but it’s the markets and boutiques you’ll really want to explore. Scattered around the island, they sell artisan products like locally made hot sauce, pottery, aloe vera soap and more, all of which make for unique souvenirs.
Whether you’re on the hunt for gourmet treats, resort wear, or some Aruban art, you’ll find the best local products at places like a food emporium in Noord, a small shop on Eagle Beach, and the open-air stalls on Oranjestad’s main pier. Shop at spots like these and, rather than leaving with a mass-produced keepsake, you’ll head home with something that you can only find on island.
Read on for the six best places to shop in Aruba and put your travel dollars toward a worthy memento of your trip.
Caya G.F. Betico Croes
Aruba is a paradise for shoppers, and this leafy street, named for a local freedom fighter, is its main attraction. Lined with palm trees and an antique streetcar, the half-mile stretch in Oranjestad features several different stores, all housed in pastel-hued, Dutch Colonial–style buildings. Offerings run the gamut from high-end fashion and jewelry to souvenir T-shirts and postcards—housewares are of particular note. Don’t leave the area without buying some Dutch Edam cheese, which comes wrapped in red wax, and a piece of iconic blue-and-white, Delft-style pottery.
Bula Surf Aruba
Conditions are right year-round in Aruba for both newbie and seasoned surfers. Easterly trade winds blow steadily over the island from March through August, while waves come consistently in late fall and winter. If you’d like to try surfing—or even just look like a surfer—while in Aruba, Bula Surf Shop in central Oranjestad can get you started. Opened in 2003 by two surfers, the store boasts a friendly staff that’s knowledgeable about all things watersports on the island. Pick up swimsuits, sunglasses, boards, and backpacks by popular surf brands like Billabong, Quicksilver, and Ripcurl. Just don’t stop by on Sundays—that’s when the staff is “gone surfing.”
The Local Market
Right by Oranjestad’s cruise terminal, near one of the larger malls, you’ll find The Local Market, complete with Dutch-style stalls hawking distinctly Aruban goods. The open-air spot is the place to go for things as varied as handicrafts, watercolors by local artists, cigars, leather goods, and hand-milled aloe soaps—all at affordable prices. Bargaining is expected, so don’t settle for the first price you hear. And bring plenty of cash; both florin and U.S. dollars are accepted.
At Mopa Mopa in Oranjestad, local handicrafts aren’t just souvenirs—they’re decorative art. The gallery specializes in carved wooden figures, crafted lovingly in the traditional mopa mopa, or barniz de Pasto, style. To finish each piece, artisans paint them with vegetable dyes and resin-based lacquer, making for one-of-a-kind keepsakes. Visit the gallery to shop and speak with the artisans themselves, who will gladly answer questions and demonstrate their intricate techniques.
Super Food Plaza
While there’s nothing particularly charming about this Target-esque emporium in Noord, Super Food Plaza is the best place to go for gourmet goods. Only-on-Aruba options include Hot Delight sauces (all-natural flavor enhancers handcrafted on the island) and coecoei liquor (a centuries-old spirit made from agave), while Dutch specialties range from cheese (Edam, Gouda) to chocolate (Verkade, Droste). If you get nothing else, try the stroopwafels, which feature a caramel, syrup-like filling sandwiched between thin-baked dough. Super Food’s café, Jack’s, offers excellent coffee and Dutch dishes throughout the day.
The Lazy Lizard
Filled with resort wear for men, women, and children, The Lazy Lizard on Eagle Beach is stocked with beach bums in mind. Here, shoppers will find an endless array of wide-brimmed hats, baseball caps, and straw totes alongside T-shirts, bathing suits, and cover-ups. There are also accessories like waterproof phone cases and wind chimes made from shells, as well as a selection of local artwork. Adding substance to style, the store donates a percentage of each purchase to local charities.
>>Next: The AFAR Guide to Aruba