Aruba: 27 Essential Activities and Attractions for 2024

Perfect barrel and magical golden glow on the tip of the waves as seen in Aruba

Looking for The Best Activities And Attractions On Your Next Aruba Vacation?

Aruba may be small but its world-famous beaches attract people from all over the world. With a tropical climate and relaxed island atmosphere, not easy to see why this little island is a fantastic option for your next beach destination.

Located just off the north coast of South America, Aruba benefits from warm weather and sunshine all year round. The trade winds constantly blow across the island making it more bearable on the really hot days but don’t worry too much about being sandblasted on the beach.

While Aruba is famous for its beaches, most people are surprised at how much more it has to offer. I’m going to list the best activities and attractions in Aruba so that you can get the most out of your visit.

I’ll then go through some FAQs to make sure you have all the information to make sure you’re fully prepared for your next trip to Aruba.

27 Aruba Activities And Attractions

You’ve just arrived at your hotel after the short ride in your transfer from the airport and you’re ready to dive into the best activities and attractions Aruba has to offer.

There are so many things to do in Aruba, and I’ve listed the absolute best right here.

1. Relax On Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach is possibly the most famous beach in Aruba. While the majority of the hotels in Aruba are located in Palm Beach, the more beautiful beach is only a few kilometres down the road.

The pristine white sand and clear turquoise water have resulted in Eagle Beach being named one of the top beaches in the world on the Tripadvisor list over the last few years. The positioning of the beach means that it’s one of the best places in Aruba to catch the sunset every single evening.

There is also less ‘traffic’ in the water as most tour boats start and end at Palm Beach and the beach is much less crowded too making it many people’s choice for the best beach in Aruba.

2. Take A Jeep Safari To Arikok National Park

Aruba’s climate is not like some of the other islands found further north in the Caribbean. Sure it’s hot most of the year but it’s quite arid giving it an almost desert-like feel. The best place to experience this for yourself is Arikok National Park.

The cactus-strewn national park takes up around 20% of the island and is home to many rare, indigenous species. You’ll find tall cacti and rugged desert landscapes as well as many local species of flora and fauna.

A jeep safari to Arikok National is one of the best activities in Aruba as they can take you to places you might not reach on your own. Most tours will visit the Natural Pool and Dos Playa but make sure you make it to the Guadirikiri and Fontein Caves too!

3. See The Flamingos On Renaissance Island

The flamingos of Aruba are probably just as famous as the beaches thanks to the recent photos on social media. They’re not native to Aruba and are only found on Flamingo Beach which is on Renaissance Island, owned by the Renaissance Hotels.

Flamingo Beach is like any other beach in Aruba. White sand, clear blue water, beach bar. But having the local residents (the flamingos) roaming around whilst you bask in the sun with your ice-cold cocktail is an incredible experience.

However, to go there you must either be a guest at the Renaissance Wind Creek Resort or you might be lucky and get your hands on a day pass.

4. Explore Aruba On An ATV or UTV

You won’t have to stay long on the island to see these vehicles come whistling past you. These off-road vehicles are usually on a group tour and you know you want to hire one too!

Whether you hire one for yourself or join up with a tour, you’ll be able to use these fun vehicles to reach some of Aruba’s more secluded sites such as the Bushiribana Gold Mill and Alto Vista Chapel. Just make sure you have some protective eyewear and face cover as the wind and dust can be quite brutal in these things.

5. Experience The Carnival

The vibrant energy of Aruba’s Carnival is not to be missed. Starting quietly in November, the carnival concludes in February with lively parades, colourful costumes, and infectious music.

The carnival is a great chance for all the family to participate. From street parties to incredible dance performances, there’s something for everyone. And then there’s the grand parade, where locals showcase elaborate floats and intricate costumes.

If you want to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, make sure you check out the carnival schedule when planning your trip.

6. Take A Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise in Aruba is one of the best things to do for couples on the island. The crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea create an ideal backdrop, allowing you to bask in the gentle warmth of the evening sun as it disappears below the horizon.

An Aruba sunset cruise provides a great chance to relax, contemplate, and commune with nature. Whether you’re in search of a romantic escape with your significant other or a delightful evening dinner cruise, there’s an ideal cruise option tailored just for you.

7. Stay In Palm Beach

Palm Beach is one of the best areas to stay in Aruba. It’s where the majority of the high-rise hotels are such as the Riu Palace and Ritz-Carlton. When it comes to nightlife, it’s certainly where all the action is.

During the day you can enjoy the lovely white sandy beach where you can grab a cocktail during happy hour. You can also hire jet skis and take part in numerous water sports such as parasailing and wakeboarding. At night you can enjoy a selection of excellent restaurants and there’s plenty of shopping too if that’s your thing.

8. Jump Into The Famous Natural Pool

The north of Arikok National Park is where you’ll find the Natural Pool. Although the terrain around the pool is rough and rugged, the pool’s natural rock formation creates a barrier resulting in a calm, safe swimming environment. There’s nothing quite like swimming in the little pool as the wild waves crash all around you!

The Natural Pool is often a quick stop on many Arikok tours but, if you have the chance, stay for a bit longer. Rent your own jeep and you’ll have the pool to yourself if you visit early morning. The beauty of the pool really stands out when it’s not full of people!

9. See The Natural Bridge

Aruba is famous for its many natural bridges. These arches are carved from the wild seas and wind on the island’s north shore. Unfortunately, the biggest and most famous bridge collapsed in 2005. Luckily for you, there are some others on the island which may not be as big but are just as beautiful and photogenic. All in Aruba’s Arikok National Park.

Next to the collapsed Natural Bridge is the Baby Bridge, perhaps the most famous bridge now due to its location and association with the original. But those looking for the largest bridge should visit Wariruri Bridge. And for something a bit different, check out the Trinity Bridge at Blackstone Beach.

10. Learn Some Windsurfing Or Kitesurfing

By now I’m sure you all get the picture that Aruba is a pretty windy place. That’s awesome news for those of you who want to learn some windsurfing or kitesurfing! Whether it’s your 1st time or your 81st time, you’ll find the trade winds and wave conditions make Aruba an ideal place for extreme wind sports.

Aruba has its own windsurfing and kitesurfing zone located north of Palm Beach. You’ll find plenty of beaches to hone your skills as well as ‘shacks’ and ‘huts’ to rent your gear. The area is also excellent for snorkelling and diving.

11. Dive Down In The Atlantis Submarine

Have you ever wondered what it would be like on a submarine? In Aruba, you can take a tour in a submarine and explore the beautiful waters that surround the island.

Don’t worry, this isn’t some cramped military submarine with pipes everywhere. The Atlantis submarine is spacious, air-conditioned and just super cool! There are plenty of windows for you to view the sea life and you’ll pass shipwrecks and reefs on your 1.5-hour tour.

12. Enjoy A Day On De Palm Island

De Palm Island is a private island designed with one thing in mind – relaxation! Visitors can enjoy beautiful beaches with clear waters, snorkelling, water slides and banana boat rides! Not only that but all food and drink are included, including alcoholic beverages. There are even a few resident flamingos on the island.

A cool and unique thing to do in Aruba is a Sea Trek at De Palm Island which involves an underwater walk with a special helmet for air. You don’t need to be a good swimmer and it’s a great chance to get close to the marine life without a diving certificate.

13. Dine In The Water At The Flying Fishbone

The Flying Fishbone has got to be one of the best places to eat on the whole island. Not only is the food delicious but you can also get a table in the water!

There are tables set into Eating fresh seafood whilst having your feet is certainly an awesome experience. Especially if you can get a table for sunset and watch as the lights in the water around you attract the little fish to your table.

The incredible food, service and experience of dining in the water certainly make the Flying Fishbone one of the best restaurants in Aruba.

14. Climb The California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse was named after S.S. California which was wrecked nearby before the lighthouse was built. It’s located in the north of the island, just past Palm Beach so it’s not too far to go if you want to visit.

It’s a popular stop on many guided tours, however, not many take the time to climb to the top. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for some incredible 360-degree views across the island. It’s also a beautiful spot to catch the sunset.

15. Visit The Donkey Sanctuary

Hidden away in the centre of the island is a sanctuary for Aruba’s donkeys.

The donkeys arrived on the island 500 years ago and were the main mode of transport until cars were introduced. Most were released into the wild but many were killed by the cars that replaced them or of illness.

So in 1997, the donkey sanctuary was opened to keep the remaining donkeys fed, watered and safe. The sanctuary is a safe space for over 130 donkeys (there were only 20 at one point) and you can learn about them, pet them and even feed them. There’s no entry fee but donations are very welcome.

You can also buy feed for the donkeys, coffee, snacks and all kinds of donkey-related souvenirs.

16. Take A Salsa Class

Aruba’s proximity to South America means that there’s a strong Latin American vibe on the island. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail on a beach bar or even just listening to the radio in your car you’re sure to hear salsa, bachata or merengue

The good news is that there are plenty of drop-in classes for tourists who want to have a quick lesson. It’s a great social evening where you can try out your dance moves. Or you can just watch the experts strut their stuff.

17. Learn About Flightless Birds At The Ostrich Farm

If you’re up for something different in Aruba, check out the Aruba Ostrich Farm. You’ll get a close-up look at these big birds, and learn a bit about their habits and how they incubate eggs.

You’ll also have the chance to feed and interact with the ostriches, offering a hands-on experience. Suitable for all ages, the Aruba Ostrich Farm ensures an educational yet fun trip. It’s a nice stop for those unique things to do in Aruba.

18. Explore Aruba’s Capital – Oranjestad

The colourful capital of Oranjestad is often missed by visitors to Aruba. However, this photogenic city is well worth a stop, if only for its lovely bright houses.

There are numerous restaurants and cafes by the harbour and shoppers will be delighted with the luxury retailers on the high street. There are usually several markets during the week that sell locally produced and handmade goods. The ‘I Love Aruba’ sign is also located in Oranjestad.

As part of a new art installation, there are now 8 blue horse sculptures placed around Oranjestad. This is a tribute to the city’s former name Horses Bay as selling horses was one of the main sources of income for Aruba. See if you can find them all!

19. Educate The Kids At The Butterfly Farm

The Butterfly Farm in Aruba is an often overlooked stop but well worth your time if you’re into insects. You can just stroll through the tropical lush surroundings and watch the colourful butterflies fly about.

The guides don’t just show you around, they’ll tell you some cool facts about butterfly behaviour and habitats, making it more than just a visual treat. Kids will love the Butterfly Farm and it could be a worthy addition to your itinerary.

20. Snorkel At Tres Trapi

Just north of Malmok Beach is a little sandy cove where you can enter the baby blue water. Tres Trapi (meaning three steps in Spanish) is the perfect place to try and spot green turtles due to the clear and shallow water. They usually visit to eat the seagrass that grows in patches around the area.

You can also spot a whole variety of fish and starfish too. Just be sure to visit in the morning before all the tour boats arrive and disturb the wildlife.

21. See Aruba’s Famous Divi Divi Trees

Spend a little time in Aruba and you’ll notice that many of the trees look like they’ve been blown over by the wind. Well, that’s because they have in a sense!

Aruba’s famous Divi Divi trees always point in a southwestern direction due to the trade winds that blow across the island. As the trees grow, they’re sculpted by the winds and this gives the Divi Divi their unique look. They’re even affectionately known as Aruba’s natural compass!

The Divi Divi tree has become a symbol of Aruba and you’ll find them all across the island.

22. Soak Up Some Sun On Baby Beach

Aruba is, of course, famous for its beaches. One beach however that doesn’t get mentioned as much as the big two is Baby Beach. But this is only because it’s located near San Nicolas, at the opposite end of the island to the hotel area.

The sheltered, half-moon lagoon means the water is calm and shallow making it very safe for small children. Hence the name! It also makes this beach the perfect place for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. It’s definitely one of the best beaches in Aruba and many people who visit often say it’s their favourite!

As you’ll most likely be driving, you’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty of parking at Baby Beach. If you don’t have your own chairs you can rent them from the chair vendor. Food and drinks are available at Big Mama Grill.

23. See The Murals At San Nicolas

Aruba’s second ‘city’ is often bypassed even though most visitors pass it at some point on the way to Baby Beach. It’s well worth a stop to see some quite impressive artwork from the Aruba Art Fair.

The visitor centre can give you a map of all the murals around San Nicolas or you can just wander through the streets yourself. There are plenty of shops selling souvenirs, crafts and snacks for when your feet get tired.

24. Learn All There Is To Know About Aloe Vera

Aruba’s desert-like environment was perfect for the first aloe vera plants to be introduced back in the 1800’s. Now, nearly two-thirds of the island is covered in these plants and Aruba has become the largest exporter of aloe.

You can learn all about these miracle plants at the old plantation as well as the factory and museum on daily tours. You can also purchase some quality aloe products from the factory store. Perfect for all your aftersun and sunburn needs! 

25. Climb To The Top Of Hooiberg

Wherever you go in Aruba, there’s a small chance you’ll always see Hooiberg from where you are. Although not the tallest mountain in Aruba (that would be Mount Jamanota), Hooiberg is located centrally and has flat surroundings so it’s easier to see.

It is also possible to ‘climb’ Hooiberg using the 600 or so concrete steps. It’s not the most difficult climb and should take about 30 minutes up to the top depending on fitness. The views are well worth it, with some saying you can even see Venezuela on a clear day!

26. See Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations

Aruba is a relatively flat island. So when there are a couple of cool rock formations around, people get pretty interested! Casibari and Ayo rock formations are just a few kilometres apart and are both equally interesting.

Visitors can climb and explore the rocks and get some nice views of the island, especially at sunset. You can also find some prehistoric rock drawings on the rocks, showing just how ancient these formations truly are.

27. Snorkel The Clear Waters Of Mangel Halto

Located on the south of the island is the little, quiet beach of Mangel Halto. Tourists staying at Palm Beach rarely visit this area so you’re more likely to encounter more locals or ex-pats.

The water at Mangel Halto is some of the clearest on the island. This, along with the mangroves and shallow water makes it one of the most popular snorkelling spots in Aruba.

Divers are also in for a treat at Mangel Halto as parrotfish, octopi and barracuda are often spotted in the deeper waters.

FAQ: Visiting Aruba

Now that I’ve gone through the best activities and attractions in Aruba, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is Aruba best known for?

Aruba is best known for its incredible beaches, sunny weather, and its constant warm breeze. Eagle Beach and Palm Beach are the main attractions but there are many other amazing beaches dotted on the island. there’s also a happening nightlife, a diverse food scene, and friendly locals. Adventure lovers will also enjoy Arikok National Park and the Natural Pool.

Is Aruba safe

Aruba is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. There is a low crime rate, and violent crimes are uncommon. However, it’s still a good idea to stay cautious. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t flash personal belongings and avoid dark alleys. The Aruban locals are also quite friendly so you won’t need to worry too much during your stay.

What is the best month to go to Aruba?

The best part about Aruba is that it can visited all year round. There’s no hurricane season to worry about either as Aruba is outside the hurricane belt. Peak season tends to be December to March with the off seasons of November and April being slightly cheaper. There’s also the small chance of the odd shower during peak season.

How Many Days Is Enough In Aruba??

This would depend on what your plans are. To enjoy Aruba and all it has to offer, you’ll need 5 to 7 days minimum. That should give you enough time to hit the beaches, try some water sports, and get a taste of the local scene. Of course, you could easily spend 5 days just on the beach!

Conclusion: Aruba Activities And Attractions

So there you have it. My list of the best activities and attractions in Aruba. It’s hard to believe such a tiny little island can have so much to offer. You can either book yourself on a tour or just rent a car/jeep and explore the island. It only takes 45 minutes to drive the length of Aruba so no excuses!

With plenty to do, plus the year-round sunshine and gorgeous weather, you have all the ingredients for an awesome Caribbean getaway. Not to mention you’re never too far away from a beach bar serving happy hour drinks. They don’t call Aruba ‘One Happy Island’ for no reason!

Keep exploring more things to do in Aruba.