Walking the Talk-Stroll Oranjestad With An Expert!

Aruba’s charming capital, Oranjestad, has undergone a massive rebirth in the past few years. Even if you’re a regular visitor, there’s so much that is new and beautifully restored to rediscover. But you have to know where to wander! And it can be so much more rewarding when you have someone in the know informing you about the background of what you are seeing – be it historical, anecdotal, or just plain educational – every corner has a story. That’s where the brand new Aruba Walking Tours come in.

An expertly led strolling adventure with this outfit will reveal that the downtown grid is far more than a shopping district (albeit a great one); it’s also the historic heartbeat of One Happy Island. Find out why you keep running into life-sized ceramic blue horses, or why old Fort Zoutman is nowhere near the sea! Discover how the old colonial buildings were built to adapt to the tropical climate, and sample what locals enjoy as authentic street food on the go. You’ll also get to meet some legendary local characters!

Follow your expert down the secret “steegjes” (alleyways in Dutch) to hear interesting stories, and then encounter the new green spaces, plazas, and trendy new neighborhoods while discovering the significance of the monuments and statues placed around them. If you like, you can also climb to the top of the clock tower for a panoramic view. Museum stops and art and craft emporiums highlighting local creators are included as well. There are 30 site stops in all, and so much to learn!

In fact, it’s a wonder why walking tours of Oranjestad were never offered before! So we asked founder of Aruba Walking Tours, Mark Benson Denz, what inspired him to create one.

He said, “Many visitors felt that this island was missing authentic experiences that could introduce them to Aruba’s history and heritage. Also, tourists walk around the downtown area not knowing what they are really seeing. I had taken some great walking tours in Cuba, Amsterdam, Paris, and Mexico last year, and I felt that Aruba deserved its own. So I developed one!”

This new tour is especially ideal for first-time visitors like American travel journalists Gwen and Roger Pratesi, founders of Pratesi Living, who were eager to report back to their readers about what to do in Oranjestad. Gwen says, “We loved the way Mark explained the history of the city, his humor, and insight. One example of this is what we learned about the statue of Anne Frank in Wilhelmina Park, which you’d probably walk right by it if you weren’t on this tour. The statue symbolizes the need for equality for all the people on the island. We were very impressed with his in-depth knowledge and perspective, and we highly recommend this experience.”

The tour itself takes two and a half to three hours. The pace is leisurely – ideal for all ages and activity levels – and though it can be hot, bottled water and personal misting fans are provided, and there are plenty of places to stop for rest and shade. And free Wi-Fi throughout allows you to easily post your photos to the folks back home in real time. 

Pick up at major resorts is included in the price, but not return, and that’s for good reason. Mark is hoping that once you have a feel for the charming city, you’ll stay on longer; Oranjestad takes on a whole new magical hue at night. But return to the resorts is easy via the local bus (the terminal is right downtown) or by taxi. Cruise ship visitors meet at Diamonds International, which is steps from the terminal, and can easily walk back to the boat afterward.

Walking the talk through Oranjestad is a wonderful way to get to know Aruba’s delightful capital city.

Visit Aruba Walking Tours

See a sample video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtRVwdCkHw&feature=youtu.be

(Note: Due to the tremendous success of these tours, Mark is planning future tours in Rancho around the fisherman’s history, and in historic San Nicolas too.)