Aruba is a Caribbean island 15 miles north of the coast of Venezuela and is one of the four “countries” that together form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Near-perfect weather is year-round with ideal tanning conditions and receives the least rainfall in the Southern Caribbean, and located outside the Hurricane Belt.
About three-quarters of the Aruban gross national product is earned through tourism and related activities with most tourists are from North America.
No matter what you’re looking to do on the One happy island, there is always something for anyone – sightseeing, tours, beaches, water activities, nightlife, live events and more.
Here are 15 of the best things to do in Aruba
The beaches of Aruba are one of the cleanest and most spectacular in the Caribbean region. Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Arashi Beach, Bachelor’s Beach, Boca Grandi and more – these breathtaking variety of beaches offers something special for everyone.
The beaches are all public and access is easy; either through a hotel or by parking directly at the beach.
Aruba hosts plenty of special events throughout the year. Every month brings something new and different – Aruba presents numerous sports, musical, carnivals, cultural and social events, annual music festivals, art, and food festival and these are just a few examples.
The cultural festivities of the island are often linked to its history and background. The music is calypso, soca, or reggae.
Photo credit: Natalie Curtiss / Flickr
3. Arikok National Park
The National Park takes almost 20% of the island and it is a great place to spend the entire day enjoying the dramatic landscapes.
Inside the park are created micro-climatic conditions to support unique plants and animal species, as well as settlements – inside the park are some of the island’s oldest Arawak paintings.
The park can be enjoyed and explored either on your own or during guided tours.
Photo credit: Jay Galvin / Flickr
4. Explore San Nicolas
San Nicolaas was named after a Mr. Nicolaas van der Biest, who owned a big piece of the land there. San Nicolas’s culture and architecture are a reflection of the inhabitants’ daily lives.
A section of San Nicolaas’ main street has been converted to a picturesque promenade with shops containing souvenirs, crafts, and local snacks. Each year more and more stunning murals are replacing broken down buildings with colorful art pieces that keep brightening up Sunrise City. A weekly cultural affair situated spot-center in the heart of San Nicolas.
Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, particularly at tropical resort locations. Aruba offers some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, with exceptional beauty and incredible destinations.
You can reach many of the beach snorkel spots by rental car or bus, or tour boats.
Aruba has plenty of coral reefs, marine life, and shipwrecks to keep both scuba divers and snorkelers to keep you occupied for your entire vacation.
6. Visit the Aruba Aloe Factory
The aloe vera wonder plant was introduced in Aruba in 1840. You can visit the aloe plantation, along with our aloe museum and factory during daily guided tours and explore the domestication of the aloe plant and the processes behind the making of aloe-based skincare.
At the Aloe factory store, you can purchase, a large collection of sun and hair care products of Aruba Aloe products that are being exported all over the world.
Photo credit: Claudia Y. Ros / Flickr
7. Visit Oranjestad
Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba. Oranjestad is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island country.
Here you can find international luxury retailers, diverse boutiques, and dazzling jewelry stores. The city has a colorful collection of modern cafes, restaurants, and designer shops with preserved colonial architecture. Oranjestad is a fun place for water activities such as snorkeling, boat rides, parasailing, and fishing.
Photo credit: Roger W / Flickr
California Lighthouse & California Dunes
The California Lighthouse is a lighthouse located at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of Aruba. The lighthouse has completed a recent restoration in May 2016 which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the completion of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse has become one of Aruba’s scenic trademarks and offers a picture-perfect 360 view of the island’s western coastline.
8. Kayak Adventure
Combining the fun of water sports with the thrill of exploration, kayaking tours explore the mysterious hidden caves and beautiful mangrove forests of the coastline.
These kayaking tours offer knowledgeable guides and usually include snorkeling, swimming, beach time, and lunch. The most popular area – the south coast, where it can be found wonderful marine life, hosting several reefs and corals where you will have some unforgettable views.
9. Donkey Sanctuary
Donkey is not native to the island of Aruba, but they have existed here for 500 years having been the primary mode of transportation until cars.
The idea for a sanctuary, where these beloved animals can live out their lives in a protected environment, became a reality in 1997. A visit to the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is worth your while.
10. Dive Sites
One of the most unforgettable experiences while in Aruba is scuba diving. Most of Aruba’s dive sites lie along the protected western and southern coasts. Explore the bountiful reefs in the south and the great wrecks on the west side of the island.
Diving is a great way to see a fabulous array of corals and fish or spot a seahorse.
11. Flamingos on Renaissance Island
Some people had no idea that there are flamingos at Renaissance Island. These beautiful and monogamous creatures Flamingos are not native to the island. Located in Oranjestad, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino offers an exclusive gateway to the only private beaches in Aruba.
You can enjoy exclusive access to this special discovery with your stay at the resort.
Photo credit: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / Wikipedia
12. Natural Pool
The famous Natural Pool is Aruba’s most remote and also the most popular natural attraction. It is formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. The location of the Pool is surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain. This makes it accessible only by four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicles, horseback, or on foot.
Depending on the time of day it the water could feel really chilly, especially early in the morning. Diving from the rock cliffs into the protected pool of ocean water is pretty popular.
Aruba offers you the most breathtaking views of Venezuela, Curaçao, and the crystal clear blue and green waters. Skydiving offers safe and professional skydiving adventures over the beautiful waters and beaches of Aruba.
All equipment is provided, and jumpers must be in a relatively good physical condition.
14. Horseback Tour
There are many ways to explore Aruba and one of them is on a horse. From the saddle of one of his private stock of well-cared horses, you will enjoy the natural beauty of Aruba from scenic trails.
You can enjoy Aruba’s nature during a trip through National Park Arikok, the Sand Dunes, Natural Pool and Natural Bridge or a relaxing ride along Aruba’s coastline.
15. UTV and ATV Tours
Traveling around certain parts of the island can be quite challenging in a normal road vehicle, particularly the northeast coast where many of Aruba’s hidden treasures are located.
Enjoy the spectacular views of the scenic desert, rock formations, and amazing coast side, creating memories that will last a lifetime on board of ATV’s & UTV’s.
For more posts about Aruba don’t forget to check some of our other articles.