While most people take an Aruba trip for the idyllic tropical beaches, gorgeous Caribbean Sea, warm weather, and relaxed way of life, there are also tons of fun things to do in Aruba.
Aruba’s beautiful beaches are bordered by crystal clear, turquoise waters, and it really does look like somewhere out of a holiday catalog. The small island has so much to offer, that is, if you can get yourself out of your beach chair!
We love everything about the island. It is great for honeymooners, couples, families, friends, and solo travelers too.
Located just off the northern coast of South America, the Caribbean island of Aruba is an absolute dream vacation destination. Aruba is part of the ABC Islands, the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea—the ABC Islands consist of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
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, with tons of Aruba attractions.
For example, the capital of the island, Oranjestad, is awash with color and colonial-era architecture, as well as some great restaurants and bars.
From cute donkeys to mysterious caves and underwater adventures, Aruba has it all! Let us help you put together the ultimate Aruba itinerary. Here are our top things to do in Aruba to make your next trip epic!
Aruba is nicknamed ‘One Happy Island‘
#1 – Island Jeep Safari
There is no better way to see all of Aruba’s rugged beauty than behind the wheel of a Jeep! Visit nine epic highlights around the island + lunch.
#2 – Catamaran Sail & Snorkel
All aboard for a fun afternoon of sailing on a luxury catamaran around the island, with several stops to check out Aruba’s amazing marine life!
#3 – ATV Tour to Secret Beach & Cave Pool
The northern coast of Aruba is surprisingly rugged and super fun to explore by ATV. Check out secret beaches and hard-to-reach areas known only by locals!
Where to Stay in Aruba
If you don’t have a rental car, the best places to stay would be in the Palm Beach area, as it is within walking distance of tons of restaurants, shops, bars, etc.
- Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa – Our #1 place to stay in Aruba. We love everything about this resort, it has a gorgeous setting on Eagle Beach. They also have the best sunset views.
- Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort – Located on Eagle Beach, this gorgeous beachfront resort is in a great location, being far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Palm Beach but also close enough so you can easily go for dinner or drinks.
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba – If you are looking for a budget-friendly hotel in Aruba that is on the beach, the price is right, and the location is great. The rooms are nothing to talk about, but the value is there. There is an all-inclusive option you can buy, but we would not suggest this. There are so many amazing Aruba restaurants and beach bars to visit.
*This is us and our rental car in Aruba checking off all the bucket list things to do in Aruba*
Renting a Car in Aruba
We always rent a car, it is the best way to explore the best of Aruba. You don’t have to rent a car for your entire trip, you can rent it for a day or for an entire one week Aruba trip it is totally up to you. Sometimes rates are cheaper for one-week rentals vs. daily rentals. Click here to view rates and book in advance.
We have picked up a rental car at Aruba Airport several times, as it is usually the cheapest and it is the easiest place for pickup and drop-off. You can easily get a car in Oranjestad too.
But on our last trip, we were so busy and barely had any free time that we only rented a car for one day, but what is even more awesome is we had our rental car delivered to us. Discover Car also offers a hotel delivery service where they bring the rental car to your hotel and pick it back up. When comparing prices, there was no big price difference for this option.
Aruba Activities – Plan the Perfect Trip to Aruba 2023
1. Jeep Safari
For one of the best tours in Aruba, head off on the island Ultimate Jeep Safari in Aruba! This tour visits many Aruba attractions on our list. There is the #1 selling tour in Aruba, with almost 4,000 five-star reviews, which is insane!
This Jeep Safari tour visits nine attractions, some of the highlights being the Natural Pool and Baby Beach, which you could not visit without renting a car and a 4×4 car, for that matter, if you want to go to the Natural Pool.
If you do one tour in Aruba, it should be this one. Of all the activities, this is hands down this is our favorite.
2. Visit Flamingo Beach
There are two places you can visit flamingos in Aruba, Renaissance Island, and De Palm Island. Getting tickets to see the flamingos on Renaissance Island is nearly impossible unless you are staying at their hotel.
You can easily buy tickets here to De Palm Island, where you will not only see the flamingos but it also has a waterpark, unlimited food, and drinks, it is an open bar, and more. You can buy tickets here.
Spend the day on Renaissance Island, the private island, at the Renaissance Hotel, which is also known as Flamingo Beach in Aruba. As you lay on the beach, watch pretty pink flamingos roam the beach and dip in the ocean.
You can only visit Flamingo Beach in Aruba if you are a hotel guest at the Renaissance Hotel OR you purchased a day pass. A limited amount of day passes are now sold online for $130. The price includes a $25 food and beverage credit at the Papagayo Bar & Grill or the Mangrove Beach Bar. You cannot bring in any food or beverages.
They go on sale every Saturday at 9 am for the upcoming Monday through Sunday. They sell out within minutes, so set your alarm!
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 Aruba tours that visit the Natural Pool:
Renting a car in Aruba and driving in Aruba is super easy and safe. They drive on the right side of the road, the steering wheel on the left the same as in the USA. There is very little traffic in Aruba. Renting a car gives you so much more freedom! We always rent from Discover Cars, it is super easy, and they have the best prices.
4. Take a Sunset Cruise
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 sunset is that day so you can plan your Aruba itinerary to be on the beach to watch it. Try and plan to be on the island’s west side at least 15 minutes before the actual sunset.
We suggest getting on a boat for a sunset cruise, there are several different sunset cruises in Aruba, but we personally have taken this sunset cruise and recommend it.
We stayed at Manchebo Beach Resort located on Eagle Beach, which had amazing sunsets, and right down the beach is the West Deck restaurant, another great place to have dinner or drinks at the beach bar and watch the sunset.
One of our favorite places to watch the sunset is on a boat. Here is the best sunset cruises in Aruba: Aruba Happy House Sunset Sail with Food and Drinks- Book Now
5. 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! Aruba is where you want to head if you’re into off-road and 4X4 excursions.
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 most exciting things to do in Aruba, ATVing, is where it’s at!
Best ATV tours in Aruba:
- UTV & ATV Aruba’s Secret Beach & Cave Pool Adventure – Our top Pick
- Aruba ATV Tour with Swimming In Aruba’s Natural Pool – Book Now
6. Go Snorkeling in Aruba
A half-day snorkel is the right amount of time out on the water. A full-day tour gets to be too long. There are tons of snorkeling tours in Aruba, but this Catamaran Dolphin Snorkeling cruise is the one we like the most.
It includes an open bar, light lunch, and an I love Aruba shirt. The shirt comes in handy when snorkeling to help prevent getting a sunburn on your back when you are face down in the water. Trust us!
This snorkel tour has two stops, one is at the shipwreck Antilla which has a great reef, and the other stop is Boca Catalina, another beautiful reef with lots of colorful fish. The local guides will help point out dolphins. Hopefully, you will see one! We did see two on our last trip.
7. Submarine Tour
If you want to see yet another different side of Aruba, why not book a submarine tour and head below the waves? There are a number of tour operators 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 and 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!
8. Try Diving in Aruba
Some of the best diving in the Caribbean is found in Aruba. Aruba is a popular destination to do an introductory dive if you aren’t a certified diver. 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 on which day they’ll be diving the shipwrecks.
9. Arikok National Park
Arikok National Park is huge, as it covers 20% of the island. An Aruba vacation 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 from 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, hiking, and 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
10. Party Bus in Aruba
There is no shortage of fun beach bars in Aruba, and the best way to drink way around Aruba Island is on the Aruba Happy Kukoo Hour Pub Crawl. If you’ve walked around Palm Beach and 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 will surely be a tipsy, fun time. The price includes hotel pickup and welcome drinks at each stop.
11. 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!
You can join this half-day animal sanctuary tour in Aruba that visits the Donkey Sanctuary and the Aruba Ostrich Farm. If you are an animal lover, this is one of the best destinations for you.
Donkeys were once the main form of transport in Aruba, so there is, 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
12. Visit The Best Beaches in Aruba
Aruba is home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The best way to go beach hopping and visit 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. Most of the hotels and resorts are located on Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and a few on Hadicurari Beach. Make sure to read our in-depth Aruba beaches guide.
Check Discover Cars for current prices, where we paid less than $35 a day for our rental car in Aruba. We always rent a car when we can, even if it is just for one day. On our last trip, we rented a car for one day and put together a one day Aruba itinerary that was jam-packed with all the best things to do and as many activities as possible.
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.
13. 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 the hurricane corridor, the winds are strong enough to slowly point the Divi Divi trees towards the southwest. 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.
The easiest Divi Divi Tree to find is just across the street from the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort on Eagle Beach. We actually stayed at this hotel on our first Aruba vacation. It is a nice laid back smaller resort on the beach (well, technically across the street).
14. 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
15. Boca Prin Sand Dunes
Located in Arikok National Park, visiting the Boca Prin Sand Dunes is an absolute must and definitely should be on your itinerary.
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 because there are some 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 Caribbean scenery.
16. 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.
17. 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 its 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.
18. 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
19. California Lighthouse
If you are renting a Jeep in Aruba, make sure to drive up to the California Lighthouse. You can now climb the California Lighthouse as part of the tour.
There is also a great restaurant at the California Lighthouse called Faro Blanco. It has epic views of Aruba. We’d suggest making a reservation for sunset if you have time.
If you have your own car, make sure to stop by Arashi Beach before or after the lighthouse. You drive right by it before going up the road to the lighthouse.
- Address: L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba
- Hours: Open Daily 8:30 am – 11:30 pm
- Admission: Free to visit, tours with climbing $8
20. 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.
There are several companies offering parasailing on the beach. We hate negotiating prices on vacation, so we booked this parasail online, and the price was better than we were offered on the beach. 15 Minute Parasail either solo, as a couple, or a trouble (three people) – Book Online
21. 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 Historical Museum, 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!
22. 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.
23. Aruba 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 aloe plants!
The Aruba 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
24. 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!
You can join this half-day animal sanctuary tour in Aruba that visits the Donkey Sanctuary and the Ostrich Farm.
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
25. San Nicolas Murals
Located in the south of the island, the small yet colorful town of San Nicolas 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 creating your own Aruba walking tour and 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!
Consider going on one of the Aruba Mural Tours. We went on this Aruba Street mural tour. It visited the 40+ murals and included hotel pickup and drop off.
26. Casibari Rock Formations
Found just north of Hooiberg, the Casibari Rock Formations are amongst the awesome 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
27. 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!
Aruba 2023 – Put it on the Calendar!
Now that we’ve shown you a few of the best activities in Aruba, it’s time you start putting together your Aruba itinerary. No matter what Aruba things to do you decide to do or see, you’ll have an amazing time on the happy island!
Do you think we missed anything and should add it to our article? Please leave a comment below! We are always looking for suggestions for our next trip and ways to improve our travel guides.
We can’t wait to be back on the happy island and have our toes in the sand on Baby Beach again soon.