Oranjestad is a bustling island town that mingles a respectable amount of local life with the breathless pursuit of tourist dollars. The main drag, aka Caya GF Betico Croes, is lined with a charming mix of mom-and-pops and international chains. In the surrounding blocks, the colorful colonial buildings are sprinkled in among shiny new shopping malls. A lovely linear park follows the waterfront, from the airport, past the city's finest beaches, and all the way to the cruise-ship terminal in downtown Oranjestad.
Speaking of which, Oranjestad maintains a pleasant low-key buzz – except when a cruise ship is in port. Then, thousands of passengers descend on the capital, invading the shops and restaurants, transforming the vibe into a high-pitched frenzy.