Aruba - After Dark
By Justin Burch
Though the Caribbean is known for its laidback attitude, the party never seems to stop in Aruba. Many of Aruba's fine resorts feature live entertainment and casinos, while local dance clubs are full of partygoers throughout the night. In Oranjestad - Aruba's bustling capital - bars don't start filling up until 10 or 11 pm and remain open until 2 am. Meanwhile, Aruba's dance clubs generally peak around 2 am and dancing can go until the early morning. Combine this with a live stage show, a tour bus that runs through the night and a 24-hour casino and you have the perfect way to spend an exciting night in Aruba.
Aruba boasts 11 casinos, all of which accept U.S. currency in the slot machines and at the tables. Since the first casino opened in 1959, each casino that has sprouted up along the beach has been outfitted with the casual elegance you expect of the Caribbean. Most of the casinos open in stages throughout the day, with slot machines generally accessible at 10 am and card tables taking bets later in the afternoon. For those who would rather press their luck than sleep, the elegant Crystal Casino at the Renaissance Aruba Resort remains open 24/7. Whatever casino you choose to visit, try your hand at Caribbean Stud Poker - the now famous game invented in Aruba in 1988.
If want to experience what the bar and nightclub scene has to offer, hitch a ride on one of Aruba's many party buses. These tours - most of which are conducted in converted 1957 Chevy buses - visit several of the island's hotspots each night. Though each tour offers different perks, most the party bus packages include dinner at the start of the evening and the first drink at three separate nightclubs. If you choose to visit any of Aruba's bars or nightclubs on your own, taxis are easy to find and are in service throughout the night.
However, not all visitors have partying on their minds. For travelers that enjoy going out but want to avoid the noisy revelers, Aruba also has plenty of relaxing spots to sip cocktails and enjoy downbeat entertainment. The Caribbean brand of relaxed entertainment usually begins on the beach during the early evening happy hour. From there, most visitors retreat to one of Aruba's world-class restaurants for a candlelit dinner or board one the island's luxurious dinner cruises.
Regardless of how you choose to experience the dining and nightlife of Aruba, all visitors can enjoy the famous stage shows at local resorts and casinos. The best ticket in Aruba is Let's Go Latin! - the largest stage production in the Caribbean. Featuring 26 performers from Cuba's world-renowned dance studios and over 180 distinctive costumes, this dazzling show has enchanted guests of all ages. With a combination of up-tempo Latin attitude and Broadway production quality, this sharp modern production won't be going out of style any time soon. As the show is extremely popular, reserve your tickets at least a few days in advance. For the best value and a taste of some of Aruba's best cuisine, purchase a dinner and performance package that includes a three-course meal at the celebrated L'Escale.
When you arrive in Aruba, try to check out local publications and special offer brochures available at your hotel. Local magazines such as Aruba Nights, K-Pasa and Aruba Experience highlight all the events on the island each week. These publications, as well as local English-language newspapers should be available at your resort free of charge. Lastly, if you intend to spend a night or two on the town, ask your concierge about possible discounts for food, drinks and transportation.
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Aruba [http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/auaar-aruba-marriott-resort-and-stellaris-casino/] for the Marriott Resorts.
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