Another "busy" day on the beach, another great day of shopping, diving, and exploring. So, what's next? On an island with so many elegant, romantic, sumptuous, and exotic dining options it's worth noting that dinner should never be rushed and is often an event in and of itself. If your reservations are for 7pm, you are likely to be wrapping up by around 9:30 or 10pm, after which you may be ready to hit the sack. On the other hand, if after a good meal and a couple of drinks, you're ready for some gambling, dancing, or a little carousing, you've definitely come to the right island.
Aruba's casinos are a surefire after-dinner diversion, attracting both serious players and dabblers who've saved a few dollars for the slot machines. Even if risk makes you nervous, the sensory overload is an irresistible spectacle -- bells ringing, lights flashing, people groaning and screaming. Better yet, watching's free.
Gone are the days of glamorous theaters with Las Vegas-style shows. Today the majority of theaters in Aruba are movie theaters. There remain a fair number of restaurants and bars that feature excellent live music including Spanish guitar, Argentine flamenco, jazz, and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. Ask your hotel's concierge or activities desk for help.
Luckily, the bar and club scene is surprisingly robust. You can start early with a beachside-bar happy hour, move on to dinner and cocktails, and then progress to a little jazz and cigars, or maybe board a booze cruise for some shenanigans at sea. Expect live entertainment or a DJ at most bars. If you're still not sated, head for one of the dance clubs, but don't show up before midnight -- that's when the party really starts. To find out what's happening, check any of the free local magazines: Aruba Nights, Island Temptations, Aruba Experience, Events Aruba, Destination Aruba, and Island Gourmet. For daily and weekly entertainment listings, consult the two English-language dailies -- Aruba Today, and the Morning News -- and the weekly pamphlet K-Pasa. All of these publications are free and available at hotels and restaurants. Check with your hotel's activities and tour desks, too. The free flyers that you'll find on every public countertop are also a good source of information; many have coupons for discounts or freebies such as free drinks and casino chips.
The dress code in Aruba is clean and casual, but a touch of elegance or trendiness never hurts. Some restaurants require long pants for men, and of course, all require a shirt.
Clubs & Bars
Many hotel bars are cozy and conversation friendly, and most offer live entertainment -- a jazz combo, a piano soloist, maybe a chanteuse. If you want higher decibel and energy levels, the trendiest and busiest bars and clubs are on Palm Beach and in Oranjestad. The strip along L.G. Smith Boulevard on the harborfront once abounded with hot spots, but the bar per square meter has declined in recent years. The new hot spot is along Palm Beach, where a non stop parade of pedestrians stroll from one end to the next, making a bar-crawl as easy as saying "bottoms up." Crowds tend to be mixed: Aruban/tourist, gay/straight, young/young-at-heart. Although most bars open at noon, they generally don't get started until 10 or 11pm and stay open until 2am. Clubs open at 10pm, are empty until midnight or 1am, and peak around 2am.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.