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2019 Guide on The Best Things to do in Aruba

Aruba may be a relatively small island, measuring just 70 square miles, but the One Happy Island is bristling with fun things to do!

While everyone’s aware of our perfect weather, and you’ve most likely encountered plenty of pretty pictures of our beautiful beaches and gently swaying fofoti trees, you might be left wondering: What are the top things to do in Aruba?

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place, because this Guide will introduce you to Aruba’s top-rated activities and attractions for 2019!

Family having a visit at the donkey sanctuary in Aruba

Things to Do, Stuff to See & Places to Go: We’ve Got it All!

Aruba’s home to all sorts of fun and excitement, with options for adventurous explorers, families with small children, and people looking to relax and unwind, so no matter what you’re looking to do on your next vacation to the One happy island, you can rest assured that you’ll find something that strikes your fancy!

This Guide divides Aruba’s top-rated tourist attractions up into several different categories, each of which are listed below for your convenience.

Simply click the name of the category you’re interested in exploring to be taken to the part of the Guide covering our suggestions for each type of activity.          

  • Sightseeing & Tours
  • Beaches & Coves
  • Water Activities
  • Dining & Restaurants
  • Nightlife
  • Arts & Culture
  • Natural Wonders
  • Shopping
  • Wellbeing
  • Live Events

Sightseeing & Tours

When it comes to things to do in Aruba, there’s perhaps no better example of the One happy island’s incredible diversity than in terms of the sheer number of Sightseeing Destinations & Tours that the island has to offer.

While we only have room to list a mere fraction of what’s available on the One happy island within the confines of this Guide, we’re sure you’ll find some enticing things to see in Aruba featured amongst the options listed below.

Each of the following offerings provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy family-friendly fun in Aruba, with all sorts of options available, from playing with animals to exploring our extensive history to staring in wonder at our scenic natural beauty.

No matter what you choose to do during your stay on the One happy island, we’re sure you’ll be delighted with the happy memories you create, which are certain to last a lifetime!

Horseback Riding Tours

With several tour operators offering horseback riding tours around different parts of the island, you’ll be spoiled for choice, and can pick riding along the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, Wariruri Beach and Baby Natural Bridge, throughout Arikok National Park and elsewhere!

Most tours run a couple hours, with start times in the morning and late afternoon, ensuring it won’t be too hot for yourself or the horses, and all tours include riding and safety instructions, as well as some history and information about the island.

There’s perhaps no more authentic way of exploring Aruba than by horseback, so we highly recommend considering a horseback riding tour if you’re any way inclined!

Off-Roading, Jeep & ATV Tours

Aruba’s also home to hundreds of miles of off-road, Jeep and ATV trails, offering a huge opportunity for adventure and excitement!

Whether you just want to ride along, or you’d prefer to rent your very own off-road vehicle, we’ve got several operators offering rental vehicles, as well as expert local Guides who can take you through some of the island’s most desolate, but scenic, natural areas.

Most of our off-road tours are going to focus on Arikok National Park, and there’s no better way to cover the huge ground that Arikok stretches over, so if your goal is to see as much of the park as possible, then an off-road tour is certainly in order!

Aruba Ostrich Farm

Are you interested in meeting one of the world’s largest, prehistoric-like birds?

That may the further thing from your mind when considering what you’ll be doing on your vacation in Aruba, but you want to reconsider, because this is the perfect opportunity for some family-friendly fun!

The Aruba Ostrich Farm is home to about 80 ostriches, and offers the chance to let you feed them off the top of your head, hold real-life ostrich eggs, and play with these amazing, ancient creatures while learning all about them!

Aruba Walking Tours

To get the full scoop on the island from the experts – Aruban locals – there’s no better avenue than taking a trip with Aruba Walking Tours.

This authentic experience takes you through 30 incredible sites in downtown Oranjestad, sharing fascinating stories about Aruba’s rich history and culture.

Stops include monuments, museums, local cuisine and even a bit of shopping, but also provide for plenty of photo ops along the way!

Bushiri Karting Speedway

Anyone who feels the need for speed will be delighted by a stop at the Bushiri Karting Speedway, which guaranteed fun for speed freaks of all ages!

This is Aruba’s only outdoor karting track, offering extremely fast, action-packed kart racing with high-speed passing zones and hairpin turns.

Arrive and drive sessions last for 8 minutes and can include up to 12 drivers, so feel free to bring the whole family as there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Butterfly Farm

The perfect destination for families, especially those with little ones, is Aruba’s charming Butterfly Farm, which offers unforgettable encounters in a tropical garden teeming with butterflies.

Sure to be a hit for all ages, the Butterfly Farm offers educational experiences as well, with tour guides entertaining and delighting commentary on butterfly habits, including the miracle of metamorphosis.

There’s no better place to get picture-perfect photos of smiling children than at the Butterfly Farm, so if your dream trip includes filling the Instagram feed, then the Butterfly Farm should certainly rank at the top of your list of things to do in Aruba.

California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse is truly a sight to behold, and one of the best destinations for sightseeing in Aruba, what with its 360-degree views of the One happy island!

Built way back in 1910 and located near the very northern tip of Aruba, this is a great stopping over point on your way to or from Arikok National Park, or the rocky, rugged beaches along our northern coastline.

And while any time of day or night is worth a visit, may we recommend stopping over at sunset, which is hands-down the best time to take in a fantastic view as the sun sets over our gleaming Caribbean sea.

There’s a local refreshment stand, or if you want the full experience, you can even book a romantic lunch or dinner at the El Faro Blanco restaurant, located right on site!

Caves

While few people probably imagine themselves spending time indoors in Aruba, let alone underground, the One happy island is actually home to some spectacular caves, and our Cave Tours are absolutely worth taking!

Enter a world filled with incredible stalactites, stalagmites, ancient Indian pictographs and bats inside one of Aruba’s many caves, where you’ll surely enjoy the mysterious views, sights and sounds of the Aruban underground.

Take a trip to our famous Guadirikiri Cave, which extends for about 100 feet and is illuminated by natural sunlight streaming through holes in its roof, or the Fontein Cave, the most popular one on the island thanks to its Arawak Indian drawings, providing a real sense of the history of Aruba.

Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary at Bringamosa is one of Aruba’s best family-friendly activities, providing encounters with 130 donkeys that’ve been placed here to keep them safe, happy and healthy.

The Sanctuary welcomes guests and offers both information and tours of the grounds, with a cozy visitor center, original donkey-themed gifts and souvenirs, and of course the opportunity to snuggle up and play with furry friends.

Downtown Trolley

The Downtown Trolley connects the cruise ship terminal with the center of town, passing through Main Street, and is a great way to explore Aruba’s capital city of Oranjestad.

With six stops at monuments and museums along the way, as well as in key shopping areas, this is one of the fastest, most convenient, and most interesting ways to get around the city.

Fort Zoutman Historical Museum

Fort Zoutman offers the chance to visit the oldest original building in Oranjestad, built way back in 1796 to protect Aruba’s coastline from marauding ships.

The Fort Zoutman Historical Museum gives many of our visitors their first exposure to Aruba’s past, and is host of the island’s Welcome Party, or Bon Bini Festival, each Tuesday night, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

This is a celebration of the island’s culture and history, and a party that you should certainly try to attend!

Historic Gold Mines

Adventurous prospectors first visited the island of Aruba way back in the 1400’s and 1500’s in search of wealth and treasures, and Aruba is home to a colorful history of Gold Mining which remains standing, and worthy of exploration!

There’s perhaps a no better site to connect with this ancient history than at the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins along our northern coastline, which once processed ore from mines in the nearby hills during our 19th century Gold Rush.

And our second most famous site is certainly the Balashi Gold Mill, built along the tip of the Spanish Lagoon, and which is still visible near the canyon of rocks known as Frenchman’s Pass.

Natural Bridges

Aruba’s rugged, windswept northern shore is home to several Natural Bridges, some large, some small, but all true gems of rustic natural beauty.

Thousands of years of wave action against our coasts have created several natural bridges along the limestone cliffs on our Northern coast, all of which are worth visiting and exploring.

And while our largest and most photographed original Natural Bridge collapsed back in 2005, there are still several other examples of stunning natural bridges in the same general area where you can stop for dazzling shots sure to fire up your Instagram feed!

Natural Pool

Conchi, Aruba’s Natural Pool, offers one of the most remote, yet exciting adventures on the entire One happy island!

Formed by volcanic stone circling a small depression, this unique rock formation is located inside Arikok National Park, and surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain.

You’ll truly feel as if you’ve discovered something upon arrival at the Natural Pool, and the good news is that during the day small snacks and other refreshments are offered at the top of the stairs leading to the pool, so you can feel free to relax, stay a while and enjoy yourself while basking in the beauty of Conchi, widely regarded as Aruba’s top-rated natural wonder!

Philip’s Animal Garden

Another sure-fire hit for the entire family, and especially families with young children, is Philip’s Animal Garden, where you and the little ones can meet all sorts of exotic furry and not-so-furry friends!

A world-class animal shelter and rehabilitation center, Philip’s Animal Garden offers interactive and educational tours featuring personal experiences with over 50 species of exotic animals from all around the world.

Tours are offered every half hour between 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week!

Colorful sunset.

Beaches & Coves

Aruba’s greatest gift may just be our coastline, featuring exceptionally beautiful, world-renowned beaches offering white alabaster sand, crystal-clear, warm waters, and unbelievably gorgeous surroundings that are sure to please even the most discerning beachgoers’ palate.

Whether you’re looking to relax in peace on a secluded spit of sand, or you’re hoping to find the perfect party atmosphere with drinks, music and dancing, Aruba’s many beaches offer the chance to strike just the right balance.

Widely regarded as the top attractions in Aruba, our best beaches are all listed below, so please feel free to review the highlights of each potential destination, pick the one that suits your fancy, then enjoy a day on the sand for fun, play, or relaxation, whatever suit’s your style!

Andicuri Beach

Andicuri Beach may be Aruba’s best beach for those looking to escape the crowds for some secluded body-boarding!

Located on our windward coast, near the now collapsed Natural Bridge, Andicuri features dramatic bluffs flanking a sandy cove.
One of our most popular beaches for locals, you’re sure to enjoy Andicuri if your goal is to take in the sites, scenery and sounds of an authentic Aruban day at the beach.

Arashi Beach

Arashi Beach offers exceptionally soft, clean white sand, and is just perfect for families looking to snorkel, swim or sun bathe!

Far from the hustle and bustle of the high-rise hotels, situated just off the road to the California Lighthouse along the Northern stretch of Aruba, Arashi offers showers, lounge chair rentals and sometimes live music at its local bar.

But don’t worry, because Arashi isn’t known for its party scene: this is a beach for families, offering an excellent opportunity to bring the kids, enjoy a day on the sand, and a great view of Aruba’s famous sunsets!

Baby Beach

Aptly-named, Baby Beach is Aruba’s answer to those travelers looking for the perfect beach for little-ones, offering spectacular ocean views and shallow, calm, crystal-clear waters.

Located near the Southern tip of the island, near San Nicolas, Baby Beach is found in a lagoon, meaning it has some of the calmest waters across all of Aruba, making it ideal for families with small kids.

Swimmers and waders will also delight in Baby Beach’s exceptionally calm waters, while the local refreshment stand is sure to please those who didn’t pack their own lunch, providing hamburgers, hot dogs, bbq and even authentic seafood platters.

Baby beach also offers beach beds, windscreens and snorkeling gear for rent, ensuring everyone will be comfortable and entertained all day long.

Boca Catalina

If you’re looking to bask in the sun on a tranquil bay offering easy access to the ocean, great swimming and snorkeling opportunities, then Boca Catalina Beach may be just the ticket!

Sitting in a small, secluded bay in the greater Malmok Beach area, Boca Catalina offers easy access from convenient parking along the road, and is one of our least busy beaches during the week.
Boca Catalina comes alive on the weekends, featuring a great mix of local families and tourists alike, drawn to the area to enjoy makeshift beach huts offering protection from the sun, crystal clear waters and those seeking a more private, calmer day on the sand.

But better yet, Boca Catalina doesn’t require traveling quite so far as our other relaxing beaches, like Baby Beach, since it’s only about a 5-minute drive from the high rise hotel area in Palm Beach.

Boca Grandi

Boca Grandi Beach may not be perfect for the average visitor to Aruba, but if kit surfing is your thing, then there’s nowhere better to strap into your board and catch the wind!

Even if all you want to do is watch the kite surfers, Boca Grandi’s steady trade winds and challenging waves ensure that you won’t be bored; this is simply put one of the world’s best destinations for kite surfers, attracting experts from all around the globe.

Boca Grandi is a great stop during your drive to the famous Baby Beach, as it’s just 5 minutes from downtown San Nicolas.

Boca Prins

Aruba’s scenic beauty doesn’t get much better than Boca Prins Beach, our secluded majestic cove located on Aruba’s Northeast Coast, and within Arikok National Park.

This is one of the hardest beaches to access, but the trip is entirely worth the trouble, offering visitors high white dunes contrasted with a rocky coastline, making this an altogether idyllic spot.

But please don’t be tempted to enter the waters here, no matter how tempting they may look, because there’s an incredibly strong and dangerous undertow lurking beneath the waves, so remember, visit Boca Prins for its scenic beauty, but this is a “Look, Don’t Touch” sort of destination that should be enjoyed from the sand!

Fortunately, the nearby Boca Prins Restaurants offers all sorts of refreshments, and a gorgeous view, so don’t worry about being entirely destitute after your long journey to reach this exceptional beach!

Dos Playa

Dos Playa Beach, Papiamento for “Two Beaches”, features a pair of bordering coves carved out of the island’s limestone shore, and features another great opportunity to “get away from it all”, as it’s located within the rugged, scenic beauty of Arikok National Park.

One of Dos Playa’s coves is the local hotspot for surfers, featuring a broad white-sand beach with great sunbathing opportunities and shade provided by sea-grape trees, making this one of Aruba’s best beaches for those groups of mixed-company desiring both excitement and relaxation!

Dos Playa is another beach with a fairly strong undertow, so not a great spot for casual wading or little ones, but an exciting destination for experienced surfers, swimmers and body-boarders.

Druif Beach

Druif Beach is one of Aruba’s most beautiful stretches of sand, conveniently located near the low-rise resorts in the greater Eagle Beach area, and one of our top destinations for family days at the beach.

Not too far from a wide array of hotel rooms, restaurants and other facilities, Druif is one of our quieter, relaxing beaches that doesn’t require extensive travel to access.

If your plan is to spend an entire day on the sand, then Druif may just be the perfect spot, since it’s connected to other Eagle Beach beaches, offerings all sorts of water sports activities, the opportunity to take long walks on the beach, and sports exceptional views of our sparkling Caribbean waters.

Whether you want to lounge in the sun, engage in some beach volleyball, or partake in motorized or non-motorized water sports, Druif offers all of these activities, and so much more!

Eagle Beach

World-renowned Eagle Beach is Aruba’s top-rated Beach, Winner of the TripAdvisor Traveler’s “3rd Best Beach in the World” Award, and ranked as one of the very best beaches in the entire Caribbean.

And there’s no wondering what makes Eagle so special; it boasts our widest sand in Aruba, and is famous for its pristine, soft sand, exceptional scenic beauty, shaded areas, and ever-popular fotofi trees.

If you’re looking to capture the perfect picture of Aruba’s beaches, the one with the gently swaying small trees right on the sand, then you’ll need to visit Eagle, because this is the spot you see in all the ads!

But don’t be dismayed if you’d like to enjoy the view, and also partake in some fun, because Eagle is not just wide, but also long, and offers watersports opportunities, beach tennis, and connections to several other excellent local beaches that are easily accessible via short walks on the sand.

If you only have time to visit one of Aruba’s beaches during your stay, then we’d probably suggest you spend that limited time on Eagle, as it’s typically regarded as our very best beach.

Hadicurari Beach

Locally known as the Fisherman’s Huts Beach, Hadicurari Beach is one of our top-rated kitesurfing destination, and the most popular spot for people looking to try the sport for the first time.

Situated on a rocky strip just North of the Marriott Aruba Resort, Hadicurari is home to wind and kite surfing schools, paddleboard rentals and other non-motorized water sports activities.

The annual Aruba HI-Winds windsurfing tournament is also held here each June or July, making for a fantastic day of sports voyeurism if you happen to be on the island at the right time of year!

Finally, the water just off-shore at Hadicurari is quite shallow and calm, so this is a particularly popular beach for local families with children and a decent place to get the kids in the water without having to venture too far from the high-rise hotels.

Malmok Beach

Malmok Beach is unlike any other part of the island, featuring a narrow sandy stretch of beach sandwiched between limestone on one side and rocky terrace on the other.

And while that may not sound all too appealing, the advantage of Malmok is that it’s an excellent destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, with nearby reefs and sunken wrecks offering some of the most spectacular undersea views in all of Aruba.

Malmok also sports some of the calmest and crystal clear waters around the One happy island, making it one of the most popular destinations for locals, and a beach that you’ll surely want to visit if you’ve already hit the other top-rated tourist beaches and are looking for something a little more unique and slightly off the beaten path.

Mangel Halto

This secluded beach offers excellent sun-tanning and snorkeling, featuring some of Aruba’s calmest, shallowest waters, but its claim to fame is the network of mangroves surrounding the beach, making this one of the quietest, most private feeling beaches on the entire island.

Mangel Halto Beach is one of the best destinations for a picnic, or for viewing our spectacular sunsets, since it’s secluded, relatively infrequently traveled, and sports both a sand beach and a wooden sun deck.

If you’re looking to kayak or stand up paddle board, there may be no better destination in the entire Caribbean than Mangel Halto, which features all sorts of underwater life like parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, sergeant majors and blue tangs!

You can also find deep water gorgonians, sponges and anemones in the shallow parts of Mangel Halto’s reef, as well as octopi, moray eels and barracuda in the deeper areas, which go as far down as 110’!

Palm Beach

When you see pictures of Aruba’s beaches that don’t include fototi trees, you’re likely viewing Palm Beach, the huge, busy, but exceptionally beautiful and fantastic wide strip of sand that runs along our shores lining the high-rise hotel area.

Two miles long and dotted by palm trees, hotels, casinos, water sports rentals, piers, bars, restaurants and shops, Palm Beach is truly a destination to behold, and one of the most popular tourist beaches on the entire island.

The perfect destination for a beach walk, run or swim, Palm Beach simply can’t be missed, and probably should be the first beach you visit in Aruba, considering it’s basically the heart and soul of the island’s tourism scene.

And if you’re looking for beach nightlife, then Palm Beach should certainly be your top choice, as it truly comes to life after the sun sets, with buzzing clubs and casinos, dancing, movie theaters, water fountain shows, bowling and two of the largest shopping malls in Aruba!

Rodgers Beach

Rodger’s Beach is a relatively unknown, but exceptionally beautiful beach near to Baby Beach, but offering a more authentic traditional Aruban feel, as it’s the destination where fisherman anchor their colorful boats.

Quiet during the week, and a great spot to lay in the sun, read a good book or wade in the waters, Rodger’s gets busy on the weekend, populated by local Arubans looking to unwind.

If your goal is to skip the tourist crowds at Palm and Baby Beach, then Rodger’s is a nice, much quieter alternative, and definitely worth a visit!

Surfside Beach

One of the favorite beaches for local families, Surfside Beach offers cooling shade from local Kwihi trees, gorgeous sunsets, and great views of cruise ships and local fisherman’s boats coming into port.

Surfside Beach is the perfect place to gather for a picnic in the shade or a dip in the calm waters, as well as for stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.

Located just off the famous linear park in downtown Oranjestad, this is a great destination for spending a part-day on the water, without having to do much traveling, since Surfside is also home to a variety of famous bars and restaurants.

There’s also a floating waterpark for the kids, beach beds and lounge chairs available for rent, a dive school and the casual Surfside Beach Bar located right on the water!

Wariruri Beach

Wariruri Beach is truly one of Aruba’s hidden natural gems, featuring breathtaking scenery including white sand dunes juxtaposed against clear Caribbean waters and a perfectly picturesque natural bridge.

Located along Aruba’s northern shore, and accessible by car or ATV following the dirt road that skirts our remote shoreline, this beach is a top destination for local surfers and local fishermen, but it’s also a great place to stop and take in the scenic beauty.

Unfortunately, Wariruri also features strong surf and an incredible undertow, so swimming is not allowed here, and instead most visitors spend their time collecting shells or driftwood, or visiting other nearby northern shore attractions like the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins or the Alto Vista Chapel.

Water Activities

While many visitors to Aruba just want to lounge on the beach, soaking in the sun and lazing the day away, that may not be enough for the more adventure-minded vacationer.

Fortunately, those seeking a more hands-on experience will find plenty of activities to do in Aruba, including tons of fun things to do on the water.

Whether you’re looking to remain on the surface, or get down into the depths, Aruba’s Water Activities provide plenty of opportunity for fun!

Underwater Tours

Aruba offers several different types of underwater tours, including tours from semi-submersibles, real submarines, and sea trek!

If you’re looking to explore Aruba’s underwater environment, but aren’t interesting in snorkeling or scuba diving, then we’ve got good news: there are plenty of other options available.

Aruba’s Underwater Tours include opportunities to explore shipwrecks, coral reefs and all sorts of colorful sea life.

Scuba Diving, Snorkeling & SEABOB

Those who want to get up close and personal with our varied marine life have other options, including Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and SEABOB Tours!

Scuba Diving might just be the best way to commune with the underwater world, and Aruba’s fortunate to be home to a few of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean.

Whether you’re a new Diver, or a seasoned pro, you’ll find ample opportunity to go scuba diving in Aruba, which offers the chance to experience shallow-water coral reefs, shipwrecks and a variety of other destinations.

Snorkeling is available all around the island, with many of our beaches offering gear for rent, and plenty of outfitters providing exceptional Snorkeling Tours.

One ever-popular option is taking a mixed sailing and snorkeling trip, which typically includes food and a sunset cruise, and could be perfect for those of you looking to spend a half day or so on the water.

Finally, there’s SEABOB, a powerful, safe underwater scooter that doesn’t require any prior training, but provides a similar experience to Scuba Diving, making it an excellent option for those who want to go deeper, without the risk!

Sailing

One of the best ways to take in Aruba’s scenic beauty is via a sailing tour, offering breathtaking perspectives of the One happy island, including exceptional views of our scenic beaches.

Aruba Sailing Tours are offered daily along the leeward coast of the island, cruising along calm and flat water (don’t worry about seasickness!), and powered by our steady trade winds, making sailing in Aruba an excellent activity certainly worth exploring.

Whether you’re experienced, or entirely new to the sport, and would prefer to get on a huge ship, or a smaller boat, there’s something for everyone looking to hit the water!

Sport Fishing

The island offers tons of fishing opportunity, including Deep Sea Fishing and Sport Fishing Charters of all different styles and types, giving you the chase local species in adrenaline-rushing half-day or full-day excursions.

Those opting for a deep sea fishing experience can chase after local mahi-mahi, bonito, dorado, amberjack, black and yellowfin tuna, barracuda, sailfish, kingfish, blue marlin and even sharks!

And bottom fishing is widely available as well, in shallower water of about 100-300 feet in depth, sporting high concentrations of species like snapper, grouper, triggerfish and squirrelfish.

No matter what you choose to chase, your day on the water is sure to please!

Jetski & Jetlev

There may be no higher-octane water sports activity in Aruba than Jetskiing or Jetleving, each of which allowing you to race over our sparkling Caribbean waters at exceptionally high-speed.

Aruba’s clear, warm and calm waters make it the ideal playground for these sorts of high-speed pursuits, offering ample safety, but plenty of room to explore and enjoy yourself on the water.

Rentals are widely available all along Aruba’s popular Eagle Beach and Palm Beach, so if you’re inclined to partake in the sport, be sure to be on the lookout while in the area!

Surfing

Aruba may not be a world-renowned surfing destination, but we have several excellent surfing spots along the northern coastline offering fast-breaking waves that are perfect for experienced surfers.

Newcomers to the sport probably won’t want to partake because while we’ve got an ample supply of good-sized, ridable waves, the water is typically choppy due to our ever-present trade winds.

Surfing in Aruba is certainly a unique experience though, so if you’re trained and prepared, and want to enjoy an exciting and unique opportunity not offered anywhere else, it could be just the ticket to a day of fun on the water.

Wind Surfing & Kite Surfing

Constant trade winds and extensive shallows make our leeward coast a Wind Surfing and Kite Surfing paradise!

In fact, almost everyone would agree that Aruba is home to the best Wind and Kite Surfing conditions anywhere in the entire Caribbean, and it’s no wonder that we’re the home of the annual Hi-Winds Tournament each Summer.

Whether you’re brand new to the sport and looking to learn, or a seasoned pro, we’ve got ample opportunity to strap in, hit the water and hit top speed.

Kayaking, Canoeing & Stand Up Paddle Boarding

All around the island, Aruba offers excellent opportunities for Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayaking and Canoeing, with exceptionally calm, water and beautiful clear waters perfectly suited for paddle sports.

With destinations including mangrove coastlines, bays, harbors and protected estuaries, as well as miles and miles of sparkling white-sand coastline, the One happy island is an incredible destination for both rookies or experienced paddlers.

Whether you’re looking to just rent some gear and hit the water, or take a pre-arranged tour, we’ve got all sorts of opportunities to partake in the sport, so if Paddle Boarding, Kayaking or Canoeing rank high on your list of things to do, you’re certain to be pleased!

Parasailing & Other Beachfront Watersports

Is there any more exhilarating activity than Parasailing? Perhaps not, which is why Aruba’s popular beaches are loaded with water sports charters ready to strap you in and tow you out to sea.

Parasailing is widely available all along our scenic coast, but most popular in the Palm Beach area, so if you’d like to partake in the thrill, be sure to head there to find a local operator who can take you into the air.

You’ll also find all sorts of other watersports activities offered by local operators, from Catamaran Cruises to Fly-Boarding, Tube and Banana Boat Rides to Water Skiing and other adrenaline-inducing experiences.

Pure Ocean food restaurant in Aruba.

Dining & Restaurants

Aruba’s Restaurant Scene is world-renowned, being one of the best in the entire Caribbean and featuring over 250 restaurants throughout the island.

Foodies are sure to be pleased by our exceptional assortment of options, which offers more choice than you could ever need, or probably ever even explore in a lifetime of visiting the One happy island.

Whether you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience, a toes-in-the-sand romantic dinner or a quick meal at a casual restaurant, we’ve got you covered!

And no matter what your palate may be calling for, we’re sure to have a cuisine that pleases, as we’re home to a huge assortment of Steakhouses and Seafood Restaurants, as well as restaurants specializing in Italian, Asian, Indian, Thai, Caribbean, Central/South American, European and Dutch, and North American Cuisine.

Finally, don’t forget to try our fantastic Local Aruban Fare, which is our true specialty, and a cornerstone of our culture. Anyone looking for the authentic Aruban experience will certainly find it in our cuisine!

To showcase  on island night activities for incentive groups traveling from abroad

Nightlife

After our warm sun has set, Aruba’s nightlife begins to blossom! Our cool evening breeze carries the sound of laughter, music, dance and Caribbean rhythms that are sure to excite even the most seasoned traveler.

Featuring some of the Caribbean’s best nightlife, the One happy island is home to a huge assortment of beachfront restaurants, exciting casinos, lively clubs and alluring bars and lounges.

Nightlife in Aruba is truly a festive and vibrant affair, especially in the Palm Beach area, and there are plenty of ways to indulge, so read through the opportunities below and continue exploring whatever strikes your fancy!

Casinos

Home to twelve different casinos, Aruba is commonly referred to as the “Las Vegas of the Caribbean”, and a gambler’s paradise!

As the originator of Caribbean stud poker and the host of two professional poker tournaments, Aruba’s casinos sizzle with excitement, expectation and exhilaration.

Whether you fancy a turn of the cards, a roll of the dice or a spin of the roulette wheel, our casinos’ atmosphere of colorful lights and constant sounds offers unforgettable thrills.

Our top-rated casinos are located along Palm Beach and in downtown Oranjestad, and our casinos are typically open around 11 am for slots, and from 1 pm to the early morning hours for table games.

To make the most of your next vacation, be sure to join in on the fun, glitz and glamour offered by Aruba’s Casinos!

Dance Clubs

Aruba’s Nightclubs exude contagious energy, featuring some of the best deejays and live bands in the Caribbean.

But it’s not until after midnight that the nightlife reaches full bloom, as local residents and visitors alike hit the dance floors all around the island.

Palm Beach’s club scene is especially enticing, virtually guaranteeing an exciting night out by attracting a mixed crowd of all ages and nationalities.

Music Festivals

Aruba is one of the Caribbean’s biggest magnets for headline Music Festivals, offering a potpourri of genres, including Jazz, Blues, Soul, R&B, Latin, Electronic and Reggae all presented in exciting, outdoor concert venues.

Our festivals are always well-attended, and for good reason, thanks to perfect weather, incredible locals, and the exceptional Aruban talent for knowing how to throw a great party.

We offer a variety of festivals all year long, so be sure to view our Events Calendar when planning your next trip to the One happy island!

LGBTQ

We welcome LGBTQ visitors to our island with open arms and hearts, as our local LGBTQ community is an integral part of our society, and diversity is celebrated all throughout Aruba.

Aside from Aruba’s generally-friendly environment, we’ve also home to several Gay Clubs like 7 Club Lounge Bar, which hosts fun activities like drag shows, bingo nights and karaoke!

Gay Nightlife in Aruba may be a smaller part of the overall scene, but it’s growing the community is exceptionally welcoming.

Party Buses

Nobody knows how to throw a party like Aruba’s Party Buses! Hop on one of these colorful, lively, open-air party buses for the ultimate road trip across Aruba.

Let your local Guide take the wheel and escort you to some of the best bars and hangouts on the island, bar hopping (we call it “paranda”), along the way!

Authentic Aruba party buses offer an exciting, festive atmosphere including music, drinks and unforgettable stops.

Bars & Lounges

Aruba’s Bars & Lounges offer a diverse array of exciting opportunities to experience authentic nightlife, no matter what kind of evening you’re looking to plan!

Whether you want to relax in a comfortable, quiet lounge, or party it up in a loud and boisterous bar, we’ve got these and everything in between in spades.

Hit the dance floor at a nightclub or disco, or give karaoke a shot at one of the numerous beach bars scattered throughout the Palm Beach area.

No matter where you choose to go, or what you choose to do, you’re virtually guaranteed to have a great night out on the town!

Arts & Culture

Aruba’s culturally rich, diverse population offers an incredible payoff in terms of artistic talent, allowing us to play host to the Caribbean’s most vibrant Art Scene!

Blessed with over 90 nationalities on the One happy island, living harmoniously and working together to create exceptional art, transcending the barriers of culture, religion, politics, social or economic status, you’re sure to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

We welcome you to enjoy Local Aruban Art in a variety of platforms, from workshops to traditional pop-up galleries and expositions.

Visit the Cosecha, a 100-year old historic building in the heart of downtown Oranjestad, where you can shop for locally made arts and crafts, or visit The Creative Center which offers workshops featuring hands-on experiences in a variety of artistic disciplines.

Art Galleries

Perhaps you don’t want to get involved personally in the creation of fine art, but you’re interested in purchasing a new piece instead?

Be sure to check out the many Art Galleries in Aruba, which are exceptional thanks to our emerging presence as a hub of fine art in the Caribbean region.

A variety of hotels, resorts, and even restaurants feature exceptional local artists for your appreciation or purchase, including La Cabana Beach Resort, Aruba Marriott Resort, and the Gasparito Restaurant, each of which are certainly worth a visit.

But if you only have time a single art stop, make sure it’s at Unoca, the One happy island’s national gallery, where you’re sure to be delighted by local treasures.

Museums

Visitors looking to explore our fascinating and diverse heritage may not find a better opportunity than from stopping by one the many Museums in Aruba, where the One happy island’s storied past is preserved and documented in full detail.

Whether you’re a history buff, or you simply want to learn a little more about your favorite Caribbean island, we would highly advise a trip to the museums in Aruba.

Top destinations include the Archaeological Museum in the heart of downtown Oranjestad, the Aloe Factory and Museum in Hato, and Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad, and industry museum housed in San Nicolas’ historic Water Tower.

Aerial shot of Ayo Rock Formations.

Natural Wonders

Aruba may be small, but our diversity of natural wonders makes us the Caribbean’s top-rated Destination for Nature Travel, offering some of the most interesting, unique and remarkable natural beauty found anywhere in the region.

Whether you choose to enjoy our natural wonders via foot, on horseback, off the back or a bike or from an off-road ATV, there are all sorts of ways to engage with our wondrous beauty and reconnect with a unique natural environment unlike anywhere else on planet earth.

Our striking landscapes offer pure, untamed stretches of scenic beauty just perfect for exploration, contemplation, and revitalization!

Arikok National Park

Covering nearly 20% of Aruba itself, Arikok National Park is our national treasure where everything is protected, just so you can enjoy it!

Home to a long list of exotic animal species and unique plant life, Arikok is an incredible place to spend the entire day exploring dramatic landscapes, and home to a variety of unique cultural heritage sites and historical attractions.

Whether you’re interested in taking in the historic beauty on your own, or learning about our spectacular caves, Indian pictographs, and unusual land formations with a guided nature walk, there’s plenty to do here to keep everyone entertained.

Bubali Bird Sanctuary

Home to over 80 species of migratory birds, the Bubali Bird Sanctuary and aptly-named Bubali Watch Tower are the ideal destinations for the ornithologically-inclined.

Birds inhabiting the sanctuary include herons, egrets, gulls, skimmers, coots, duck and others, but perhaps the nicest part about the sanctuary is its location, within walking distance from the high-rise hotels on Palm Beach!

A great stop for a short couple hour trip, Bubali is fun for the whole family, and certainly worthy of your consideration.

Caves

We covered Aruba’s incredible Caves and amazing opportunities for Cave Tours in the Sightseeing & Tours section above, so be sure to check that part of the post out if you’re interested in exploring our subterranean wonders!

Natural Bridges

We covered the Natural Bridges above in our Sightseeing & Tours section as well, so check it out if you’d like details on these amazing scenic beauties found throughout the One happy island.

Natural Pool

We covered Conci, Aruba’s Natural Pool in the Sightseeing & Tours section above, so be sure to visit that part of this Guide for details on this unique and incredibly beautiful destination!

Rock Formations

For such a relatively flat island, we have two incredible Rock Formations that offer all sorts of adventure and exploration: Ayo and Casibari.

Ayo Rock Formations towering stone boulders build a sense of awe and mystery, and offer better insights into why the area was once considered a sacred site by Aruba’s original inhabitants, the Arawak Indians.

Casibari’s huge tonalite boulders are crowded together just off the main road to Santa Cruz, and the area sports several walking trails through the boulders, giving hikers and adventurers alike an excellent path for reaching the tops of certain rocks where they’re greeted with breathtaking 360-degree views of the area.

Remarkably unique in the Aruban landscape, each rock formation offers an excellent vantage point from which to better view the One happy island, and take in all that it has to offer.

Sand Dunes

Perhaps the best way to escape Aruba’s crowds is by turning to a different kind of sandy stretch, visiting our natural Sand Dunes instead of our sandy shores!

Stretching along Aruba’s rugged northern shore you’ll find snow white landscapes of powdery soft sand, offering an oasis of tranquility that’s certainly worthy of exploration.

The California Dunes at Hudishibana, on the northwestern tip of the One happy island, offers some of our most spectacular natural scenery, with expansive sand dunes sitting in front of an ancient stone lighthouse and gorgeous rock-hewn coastline.

You can also find exceptional sand dunes at Wariruri Beach and Boca Prins Beach, each of which are located within Arikok National Park.

Shopping

Known as a shopper’s paradise, Aruba is one of the Caribbean’s best destinations for locally made crafts, international brands, and everything in between.

While Shopping in Aruba is available throughout the island, our epicenters are certainly Downtown Oranjestad and the Palm Beach area, which bristle with glittering jewelry stores, colorful art galleries and authentic boutiques.

No matter what you’re looking for, be it high-end designer clothing, luxurious jewelry, or inexpensive arts and crafts, we’ve got it in spades.

Shopping Centers

Every once in a while, we all need a bit of retail therapy, so feel free to put the beach on hold for a couple hours while you indulge in some of the Caribbean’s best shopping right here on the One happy island.

Aruba’s main shopping centers are situated in Oranjestad and Palm Beach, offering a bounty of upscale goods, from fine jewelry to intricate timepieces, perfumes and cosmetics, beach and resort wear, designer apparel and accessories.

View our Aruba Shopping Mall Directory for details on where to find all your favorite stores and items.

Specialty Shops

Aruba’s Specialty Shops allow you to dive into an exciting world of fun, exotic offerings and local crafts, no matter what you might be looking for!

Interesting in duty-free jewelry, diamonds and pearls? The area surrounding the cruise terminal should be your top destination.

Seeking authentic local arts and crafts instead? You’ll want to visit the Cosecha, where you can find colorful souvenirs and a variety of real, “Made in Aruba” products.

Jewelry

There’s no better destination for high-end jewelry and accessories, as Aruba’s Jewelry Stores carry duty-free bargains on classic luxury brands and the latest, trendiest, more exciting collections.

From Rolex to Cartier, we’re home to official retailers for all of your favorite iconic brands, but we also have a huge array of stores offering non-branded semiprecious gems, gold, silver and chic statement pieces as well.

Arts & Crafts

Aruba’s amazing local artists and craftspeople offer exceptional products found all around the island, but make sure to give more than a cursory glance to those authentic items you’re considering purchasing, because locally-made Aruba Arts & Crafts are certified by the national seal of craftsmanship.

The One happy island’s true home for local goods is Cosecha, a store offering locally made souvenirs in the heart of downtown Oranjestad, with a second location in San Nicolas, which also offers workshops and hands-on experiences in a variety of disciplines, taught by local artists.

Clothing & Footwear

Aruba’s apparel shopping is unparalleled in the region, as an assortment of international designers have chosen the One happy island to serve as the official home for their coveted boutiques.

But what truly sets Aruba’s Clothing & Shoe Stores apart from the others in the area is that we’ve got a greater selection of brand name products than anywhere else in the Caribbean or South America, at prices that are typically 10-35% lower than in the United States.

Corinne Voermans, owner and instructor at Happy Buddha Aruba, standing in front of the signature happy buddha wall painting at the Happy Buddha studio

Wellbeing

There’s no better place to work on your mind, body and soul than the One happy island of Aruba, featuring luxurious health spas, finely appointed high-end resorts yet also beautiful natural wonders, offering secluded, relaxing escapes from the busy world outside.

Whether you choose to invigorate your spirit with a quick-paced hike through Arikok National Park, or you opt for a quiet, serene dip into the sea during a twilight yoga session, you’re sure to find inner peace from a Health & Wellness Retreat in Aruba.

Yoga

Be sure to pack your yoga mat because Aruba’s home to a wide variety of yoga centers, studios and certified instructors.

Featuring a huge assortment of practices and lineages, including Vinyasa, Flow, Ashtanga, and even on the water paddleboard Yoga, no other Caribbean island offers as many options for high-end yoga experiences!

Our soft trade-winds and Caribbean climate are the perfect complements to a revitalizing yoga session, while our open-air studios and highly-trained instructors ensure that your experience of Yoga in Aruba is sure to please.

Spa

Aruba’s Spa Resorts offer a healthy dose of relaxing indulgence, with incredible treatments for both the body and mind.

Want a soothing massage in a bamboo cabana on the beach, or would you prefer a revitalizing wrap accentuated by the intoxicating essence of lemongrass, juniper and orange blossoms?

Aruba’s best spas feature a wide variety of half or full-day packages, with full-body treatments for Shiatsu, Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hydrotherapy, Aromatherapy or Body Wraps, as well as immaculate skincare treatments, manicures, pedicures and paraffin treatments.

Fitness

Going on vacation in Aruba means you can keep your trainers moving, so feel free to pack your fitness accessories along.

The One happy island is also well-known for being One Healthy Island as well, and our locals know that exercise makes us happier, so we’re fully prepared to help support your ability to plan an Aruba Fitness Vacation!

Most of our resorts feature their own well-equipped gyms, but we’ve also got excellent classes for Spinning, Body Pump, CrossFit, and other popular routines.

Soul Beach Music Festival 2018 Concert Artists

Live Events

If this Guide hasn’t already you convinced you otherwise, let us state it plainly: Aruba’s no sleepy little desert island!

In fact, we’re one of the busiest, most interesting and exciting Vacation Destinations in the Caribbean, featuring tons of live events, traditional holidays and international festivals.

No matter when you’re planning on visiting, there’s a good chance that you can drop by a cultural happening, athletic event, or some other kind of live occurrence worth checking out, so be sure to drop by our Aruba Events Calendar for details on what’s coming up this year!

A typical indication of a bar in the Boca Grandi beach area.

Book Your Trip Today!

Now that you’ve got all the details about all of the interesting and incredible stuff to do in Aruba, it’s time to start solidifying your itinerary: first step - book your trip today!

But don’t forget to stop by our Deals & Offers page before you sign the dotted line, because you’ll certainly want to ensure that you get the best price on your next trip to the One happy island.


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