Located just off the northern coast of South America, Aruba is an absolute dream vacation destination. Aruba’s beautiful beaches are bordered by crystal clear, turquoise waters, and it really does look like somewhere out of a holiday catalog.
While most people travel to Aruba for the idyllic tropical beaches, warm weather, and relaxed way of life, there are tons of things to do in Aruba. For example, the capital of the island, Oranjestad, is awash with color and colonial-era architecture, as well as some great restaurants and bars.
Away from the beaches and picturesque towns that dot the island, the interior is unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. Sparse scrubland, wild terrain, and interesting rock formations make it a fascinating place to explore.
From cute donkeys to mysterious caves and underwater adventures, Aruba has it all! Here are our top things to do in Aruba to make your next trip epic!
1. Visit Flamingo Beach
Spend the day on Renaissance Island the private island to the Renaissance Hotel which is also known as the Flamingo Beach in Aruba. As you lay on the beach, pretty pink flamingos are roaming the beach and taking a dip in the ocean.
You can only visit Flamingo Beach in Aruba if you are a hotel guest at the Renaissance Hotel OR purchased a day pass. A limited amount of day passes are now sold online for $125. They go on sale the day before at 7 am. They sell out within minutes, so set your alarm!
2. Visit The Best Beaches in Aruba
Aruba is home to some of the best beaches in Aruba. The best way to visit as many of Aruba’s best beaches is by renting a car in Aruba.
Our top two beaches are Eagle Beach & Baby Beach. But honestly, all the beaches in Aruba are gorgeous. Make sure to read our in-depth Aruba beaches guide.
Check Discover Car Hire for current prices, where we paid less than $35 a day for our rental car. To get the best prices book online in advance and reserve for more than one day, they offer free cancellations just in case your travel plans change.
3. Aruba’s Natural pool
The Natural Pool in Aruba is something hard to imagine, but it’s incredible. It’s an adventure in itself to get to. If you want to explore the natural pool on your own, you’ll have to rent a jeep in Aruba because only four-wheel-drive vehicles can get down the long, bumpy, rocky road.
If you aren’t renting a car in Aruba, you can still swim in the natural pool by joining a tour in Aruba that visits the Natural Pool. Here are some good tour options:
- Aruba ATV Tour with Natural Pool Swim – Book Now $79
- Aruba Natural Pool & Indian Cave Jeep Safari – Book Now $98
4. Donkey Sanctuary
Definitely one of the cutest things to do in Aruba, a visit to the Donkey Sanctuary is a must for any animal lover. Who doesn’t love Donkeys? They all just look so sweet!
Donkeys were once the main form of transport in Aruba, so there are unfortunately quite a lot of them who now reside in the sanctuary.
The donkeys are kept in large paddocks, with the sick, and injured donkeys tended to by the sanctuary. With a slightly forlorn look about them, your heart will melt as you stroke them and feed them carrots!
While it is free to visit, you’re unlikely to come away without having donated towards the donkeys’ upkeep at the sanctuary. This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Aruba.
- Address: Bringamosa 2-Z Sta Cruz, Santa Cruz, Aruba
- Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 3 pm
- Official Website
5. See the famous Divi Divi trees
Only found in Aruba, Divi Divi trees can usually be found twisted into amazing shapes. They get their shape because they were warped and shaped by the trade winds blowing in from the northeast.
Although Aruba is outside of the hurricane corridor, the winds are strong enough to point the Divi Divi trees towards the southwest slowly. They act as a readymade compass!
Divi Divi trees are beautiful to look at due to their almost artistic shapes. Locals swear that you only need to follow the bend in their branches to find a nearby town. You’ll see them all around Aruba as you travel around the island.
6. Eat at Zeerovers
No visit to Aruba is complete without a visit to Zeerovers. The food is just so damn good! Zeerovers has the best seafood in Aruba. Zeerovers specializes in seafood. The menu of the day is entirely dependent on what has been caught.
A popular spot amongst locals, Zeerovers has yet to be discovered by tourists. It is a great restaurant to head to for lunch or dinner when you’re feeling like eating the best seafood in Aruba.
Zeerovers is definitely the tastiest things to do in Aruba!
Make sure to bring cash, it’s cash only, and there is no ATM on site. The line is often long, but it moves fast. We visited late in the afternoon and only waited 15 minutes. If you visit during peak lunch, or dinner hours, expect to wait up to an hour. They do not take reservations.
- Address: Savaneta 260, Savaneta, Aruba
- Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 9 pm, closed Monday
7. Arikok National Park
Arikok National Park is huge, as it covers 20% of the island. A trip to Aruba must include exploring this unique side of the island. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Aruba and one of the many things that makes Aruba unique to other Caribbean Islands.
There are many Arikok National Park tours to the park, but we have always enjoyed renting a car in Aruba and visiting the park on our schedule. Click here to see all Arikok National Park tours from Jeep Safari, ATV tours, hiking tours, and much more.
- Address: San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
- Hours: Open daily 8 am – 4 pm, last ticket sale 3:30 pm
- Admission: $11 per person, children under 17 FREE
8. Try Diving in Aruba
Some of the best diving in the Caribbean is found in Aruba. If you aren’t a certified diver, Aruba is a great place to do an introductory dive. This is where a diver instructor will teach you the basics and dive with you to give you a small taste of what diving is all about.
If you are a certified diver, make sure to check out a few of Aruba’s shipwrecks. Adam dove through Antilla Wreck and Pedernales Wreck. Confirm with the local dive shop in advance what day they’ll be diving the shipwrecks.
9. Watch The Sunset
The Caribbean has fantastic sunsets, and the sunsets in Aruba are no different. Every morning before heading off to explore all the things to do in Aruba make sure to see what time the sunsets in Aruba that day. Try and plan to be on the west side of the island at least 15 minutes before the actual sunset.
We stayed at Manchebo Beach Resort, which had amazing sunsets, and right down the beach is the West Deck restaurant, another great place to have dinner or drinks and watch the sunset in Aruba.
One of our favorite places to watch the sunset is on a boat. Here are some of the best sunset cruises in Aruba:
- Aruba Sunset Cocktail Cruise (open bar) – Book Now $39
- Aruba Sunset Sail Luxury Catamaran (open bar & snacks) – Book Now $60
10. Boca Prin Sand Dunes
Located in Arikok National Park, visiting the Boca Prin Sand Dunes is an absolute must and definitely one of our favorite things to do in Aruba.
The secluded beach has stunning white sand dunes that stand out delightfully against the rocky shores surrounding them. It really is an idyllic spot to hang out at. Unfortunately, you can’t go swimming as there are some pretty strong currents here.
If you get bored of lounging on the beach, the surrounding rugged terrain and rocks are fun to explore. There’s a restaurant not too far away, where you can grab a drink or bite to eat and take in the incredible scenery.
11. Quadirikiri Cave
The Quadirikiri Cave is also located inside the Arikok National Park. Once you have entered the cave, it’s time to take some photos! Tucked away at the bottom of a cliff, Quadirikiri Cave stretches for 150 meters, though the best pictures are taken in its dome-like chamber. Sunlight beams through holes in the cave’s ceiling, and it really does make everything look amazing!
While there is another part of the cave, guests are not allowed to visit. There are lots of little bats who use this part of the cave as a nesting site. Legend has it that an Indian chief locked up his daughter in Quadirikiri when she fell in love with an unacceptable suitor.
Although her lover managed to find her in the cave, the myth goes that they both died in Guadirikiri and their souls escaped through the cave’s holes to heaven. Quadirikiri Cave is certainly one of the best things to do in Aruba for the beautiful photos you’ll come away with.
12. Fontein Cave
Located within the wonderful and wild Arikok National Park, Fontein Cave’s hanging stalactites and protruding stalagmites make it a fascinating place to visit. While the natural formations are certainly impressive, Fontein Cave is also known for the native Arawak drawings. The drawings cover the walls and the large population of bats that give the cave that musky smell you may have noticed!
Lying not far from incredible beaches, make sure to stop by the cave when you visit Arikok National Park.
13. Alto Vista Chapel
Standing alone amidst the beautiful Aruban countryside, the current Alto Vista Chapel was erected in 1952. It was built on the site of the first church to be built on the whole island all the way back in 1750.
Its secluded spot makes it a peaceful place to visit. The chapel’s bright yellow walls stand out delightfully against the sparse terrain surrounding it. Right next to the chapel is the ‘peace labyrinth’ that weaves its way to and fro. If you’re looking for a bit of contemplation or even meditation, simply let yourself go with the flow and follow the path wherever it takes you.
- Address: Noord, Aruba
14. California Light House
If you are renting a Jeep in Aruba, make sure to drive up to the California lighthouse. You can now climb the California Light House as part of the tour.
There is also a great restaurant at the California Light House called Faro Blanco. It has epic views of Aruba. We’d suggest making a reservation for sunset if you have time.
- Address: L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba
- Hours: Open Daily 8:30 am – 11:30 pm
- Admission: Free to visit, tours with climbing $8
15. Go Parasailing
Get your adrenaline running and take to the skies and soar the soars of Palm Beach Parasailing. We’ve parasailed in Negril Jamaica, Labadee Haiti, and Malaysia and it never gets old. The views are unbeatable.
16. Colonial Buildings in Oranjestad
The capital of Aruba is awash with color, and there is loads of lovely Dutch architecture on show. You may think you’ve somehow ended up back in Europe after you took that wrong turn at the entrance to the city!
Oranjestad is the main city in Aruba and is a charming place to visit, thanks in large part to the vivid yellows, blues, and reds of the buildings. Fort Zoutman, the Royal Plaza (a lovely pastel pink building), and the Town Hall are just some of the colorful colonial buildings you’ll want to check out.
Plaza Daniel Leo is also a great spot to head; here you’ll find lots of the old buildings clustered together – they really do brighten up the place!
17. Dinner on the Beach
There is something magical about dining with your toes in the sand. Head to Eagle Beach which has a bunch of the best restaurants in Aruba right on the beach.
We really loved our dinner at Passions On The Beach, which is part of the Amsterdam Manor Resort. Make sure to make reservations in advance.
18. Party Bus in Aruba
Aruba has no shortage of fun beach bars, and the best way to drink way around Aruba is on the Aruba Pub Crawl. If you’ve walked around the highrise area at night, you’ve probably seen the bus around at night! It’s always a great place to meet other travelers, and it’s sure to be a tipsy fun time. The price includes hotel pickup and welcome drinks at each stop.
19. Go ATVing
What sets Aruba apart from many of its Caribbean neighbors is its desolate, almost desert-like interior. While that may sound unappealing, it is actually a great thing! If you’re into off-road and 4X4 excursions, Aruba is where you want to head.
We had a great time shooting over dunes and swerving through canyons, and it certainly gets the blood pumping! ATVing is a great way to see more of Aruba’s beautiful hinterland. You’ll often find yourself utterly alone amongst nature on show. One of the best things to do in Aruba, ATVing is where it’s at!
Best ATV tours in Aruba:
- Aruba ATV Tour with Swimming In Aruba’s Natural Pool – Book Now $79.50
- Aruba Sightseeing by ATV Tour – Book Now $67.50
20. Submarine Tour
If you want to see yet another different side to Aruba, why not book a submarine tour and head below the waves? There are a number of tour operators in Aruba that offer submarine tours, and you’ll certainly see some amazing underwater wonders.
The tours usually last just under two hours and take you to the beautiful Barcadera Reef, as well as some shipwrecks that lie in the waters surrounding the island. Through the glass windows, you can see shoals of brightly colored fish pass by, as well as the twisting coral formations of the reef itself.
For us, it was definitely one of the most memorable things to do in Aruba. The visibility beneath the waves means you get to see loads of beautiful fish up close. We recommend this submarine tour that dives down 130 feet!
21. Aloe factory
One of the island’s most important exports, aloe was introduced to Aruba in 1840. Things did get a bit out of control at one point, as almost two-thirds of the island was covered in the plants! The Aloe factory is an interesting place to visit. Here you’ll see just how aloe vera is made and learn about the history of the plant and how it has so profoundly impacted Aruba.
Tours are held every fifteen minutes, so it doesn’t take long to go around the facilities, but it is an interesting stop-off nonetheless. When it finally comes time to head home, your friends will be astounded at all the aloe-related facts you can now reel off!
- Address: Pitastraat 115, Aruba
- Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm
- Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
- Sunday 9 am – 1 pm
- Admission: FREE
22. Ostrich Farm
If you’re a fan of Big Bird, then you’re going to love these ostriches! Aruba’s Ostrich Farm is an interesting place to visit. You’ll certainly come away having learned loads about the biggest birds on Earth. Whether you ever actually need to bring up that information again is an entirely different matter!
The gigantic birds are fascinating for their bizarre mannerisms, such as burying their heads in the sand! Your tour guide will tell you all there is to know about these majestic and slightly absurd-looking creatures. While it won’t take long to visit, a stop at the Ostrich Farm is great fun and will probably be one of the most memorable and random things you do in Aruba.
- Address: Bringamosa 2-Z Sta Cruz, Santa Cruz, Aruba
- Hours: Daily 9 am – 4 pm
- Admission: Free but please leave a donation
23. San Nicolas Murals
Located in the south of the island, the small yet colorful town of San Nicolaas is known for the amazing street art that covers many of its buildings. Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture when it hosted the Aruba Art Fair, the murals certainly brighten up the town.
You can easily spend a morning or afternoon wandering around and taking in the sights at your leisure. The artwork is beautiful, and you’ll come away with lots of great photos of giant fish and gigantic human portraits!
24. Casibari Rock Formations
Found just north of Hooiberg, the Casibari Rock Formations are amongst the best things to do in Aruba and are now quite a popular tourist attraction. The rocks rise up amidst the shrubs and desert around them and look a little bit like a very miniature Uluru Rock!
Not small by any means, some of the rock formations reach a huge size. There are now a few walking trails that take you between them, and some prehistoric rock drawings can be seen here and there. Pant your way to the top for a great view out over the island!
- Address: Casibari 8-B, Paradera, Aruba
25. Bushiribana Ruins
Quite an eerie place to visit, the Bushiribana Ruins are all that remains of Aruba’s short-lived gold rush that took place in the 19th century. Lying just south of Oranjestad, the desolate location offers loads of amazing photo opportunities. The rusting buildings which lie abandoned in the middle of nowhere are strangely photogenic.
Wandering around is an interesting experience. Visiting the crumbling old smelting works ended up being one of our favorite things to do in Aruba. Just because it felt like a million miles away from the idyllic beaches that the island is known for. With fortified buildings nearby which were used to protect the gold miners from pirates, Bushiribana Ruins are definitely worth checking out!
Now that we’ve shown you a few of Aruba’s attractions, it’s time you start putting together your Aruba itinerary. No matter what things in Aruba you decide to do or see you’ll have an amazing time!
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