Things to Do in Aruba - Shopping
Most stores open from Monday through Saturday, 9 am to noon or 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6:30 pm, although some remain open between noon and 2 pm. Shops in hotels have varying open hours so check at your hotel for these.
US dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate. If you have US dollars, there is no need to exchange money into the local currency, the Aruban florin. The exchange rate is stable at 1.79 florins to the dollar. Because the island is a Dutch dependency, Dutch currency is easy to spend, and small change for purchases in dollars may be in florins. The island is actually not duty free, but merchants respond well to competition on other islands, and duty free goods are offered by a shops at the airport as visitors depart.
Oranjestad's recently re-designed Main Street has been converted to a pedestrian only shopping area with a trolley circling between the downtown area and the cruise terminal. The waterfront area has many vendors selling crafts and souvenirs.
Also in Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall contains various American and European major apparel brands (i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci) at essentially the same prices as in the United States. Renaissance Marketplace boasts restaurants, coffee houses, multi-screen movie theater and live shows. Royal Plaza Mall, across the street from the waterfront vendor stalls, features shops specializing in apparel, gifts, linens, jewelry and more.
The Alhambra Shopping Bazaar, part of the Alhambra Casino Complex in the low rise hotel area, has been completely rebuilt and features all new restaurants, sandwich and ice cream shops and a number of gift, souvenir and apparel shops that stay open in the evenings.
The Palm Beach high rise hotel area has become an attraction of it's own with the Paseo Herencia Mall with many shops and restaurants and a movie theater, the Palm Beach Mall with live entertainment, a bowling alley, kid's rides as well as an assortment of restaurants, all featuring anything you could possibly ask for. The Village is a diverse assortment of retailers that comes alive after dark with gourmet dining, entertainment and socializing at popular bars and fun spots. The South Beach Center features a giant sports bar, coffee house and retail outlets. Arawak Garden includes several popular restaurants, entertainment and pushcart vendors.
You'll find three large grocery stores west of downtown near the Eagle Beach resort area. They offer most everything a visitor or resident might need. Groceries and other supplies are all imported, so prices tend to be high. You can catch the bus from the Eagle and Palm Beach hotel areas to the grocery stores.
With numerous cruise ships visiting, downtown stores offer buys in jewelry, etc., typical of that in other Caribbean cruise ports, some at "duty free" prices. For cheese lovers, mild Dutch Gouda, in boxes or wheels, is a popular buy in super markets, though not the great bargain it used to be. Ensure the integrity of the package seal from the maker to avoid spoilage and difficulty at customs inspection.
On your way home, stop in for those last minute items at the airport duty free shops offering some items at slightly better prices than downtown.