10 exciting things to do in Aruba

Photo of author

| Updated:

Aruba, often referred to as “One Happy Island,” is a Caribbean paradise known for its stunning beaches, warm weather and friendly locals. This tiny Dutch island is a perfect destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. From exploring natural wonders to immersing yourself in local culture, there are countless things to do in Aruba.

A street with many buildings and palm trees.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Bask in the sun on Eagle Beach

Aruba boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Eagle Beach is often regarded as the crown jewel. This pristine stretch of white sand is dotted with iconic divi-divi trees, creating a postcard-perfect setting and at the top of the must things to do in Aruba.

Spend your day lounging in the sun, building sandcastles or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. Eagle Beach is also a popular spot for water sports, such as windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Subscription Form

Save this article and we'll send it to your inbox. Plus we'll send you more great article links every week.

Explore Arikok National Park

For nature enthusiasts, Arikok National Park is a must-visit destination in Aruba. Covering nearly 20 percent of the island, this protected area is a unique blend of arid landscapes, rugged coastline and diverse wildlife. 

The park is a haven of natural beauty and biodiversity. Visitors will find an array of unique geological formations, including lava formations, limestone caves and rock pools. The contrast between the arid desert landscape and the vibrant vegetation in certain areas is striking.

Hike through cactus-studded trails, discover hidden caves and marvel at natural wonders like the Natural Pool, where you can take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear waters while surrounded by volcanic rock formations.

Snorkel at Baby Beach

Baby Beach, located on the southern tip of the island, is a serene lagoon with shallow, calm waters, making it perfect for snorkeling. The surrounding coral reefs at Baby Beach are teeming with marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling. 

Snorkelers can easily explore the vibrant underwater world, encountering colorful fish, sea turtles and various other marine creatures. Many visitors bring their own snorkeling gear, but you can also rent equipment nearby.

“The crystal-clear waters of Aruba are a constant reminder that life is about letting go and trusting the journey.”

— Megan Jones, Traveller’s Elixir 
A beach with clear water and white sand.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Visit the California Lighthouse

Perched on the northern tip of Aruba, the California Lighthouse offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island’s coastline. The California Lighthouse is named after the S.S. California, a ship that wrecked off the coast of Aruba in 1891. 

The lighthouse was constructed in 1914 to prevent similar maritime disasters. It stands as a testament to Aruba’s maritime history and its commitment to ensuring the safety of ships in the region. After enjoying the view, you can visit the nearby restaurant for a delicious meal with an equally stunning backdrop.

The primary draw of the California Lighthouse is its breathtaking panoramic views of the island’s coastline. From the top of the lighthouse, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of Aruba’s northern shore, including the rugged terrain, pristine beaches and the Caribbean Sea. The lighthouse provides a picturesque backdrop for photography, especially during sunrise and sunset.

A white lighthouse with a blue sky in the background.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Dive into history at Fort Zoutman

Fort Zoutman, located in Oranjestad, is Aruba’s oldest building, dating back to 1798. Today, it houses the Historical Museum of Aruba, where you can delve into the island’s rich history and cultural heritage. 

Every Tuesday evening, Fort Zoutman hosts the Bon Bini Festival. This lively and colorful cultural event provides visitors with an opportunity to experience Aruba’s rich traditions and folklore. You can enjoy traditional music, dance performances, local food and artisanal crafts at the festival.

Explore Ayo and Casibari rock formations

Aruba’s unique landscape is dotted with enormous boulders, and two of the most famous rock formations are Ayo and Casibari. Ayo rock formation consists of clusters of large, monolithic boulders and rocks that rise dramatically from the flat desert landscape. These boulders are composed of diorite, a type of volcanic rock. 

Visitors can explore Ayo rock formation by following a network of well-marked hiking trails. Climbing on and among the boulders is permitted and offers fantastic views of the surrounding desert landscape and an unique thing to do in Aruba.

Rocks and cactus on the side of the road.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Discover the underwater world on a submarine tour

If you want to explore Aruba’s underwater world without getting wet, consider taking a submarine tour. These tours take you beneath the sea’s surface, where you can observe colorful coral reefs and a wide variety of marine life, including exotic fish and sea turtles. It’s a unique and educational experience suitable for all ages.

Go off-roading in a UTV

For adventure seekers, renting a UTV, or utility task vehicle is a thrilling way to explore the rugged terrain of Aruba. Guided tours will take you off the beaten path, allowing you to venture into the island’s remote areas, including the Arikok National Park. Feel the adrenaline rush as you navigate dirt trails and rocky terrain, all while enjoying the island’s breathtaking scenery.

Savor local cuisine

Aruba’s local cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors influenced by its diverse cultural heritage, including indigenous Arawakan, Dutch, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences.

Keshi Yena is one of Aruba’s most iconic dishes. It consists of a hollowed-out round of Edam or Gouda cheese stuffed with a flavorful mixture of spiced meat which is usually chicken or beef, vegetables, olives, capers and raisins. The stuffed cheese is then baked to perfection.

Enjoy an Aruban pastechi. These are savory, deep-fried pastries filled with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, chicken, seafood or ground meat. Pastechi is a popular snack and can be found at local bakeries and street food stalls.

A plate of food on a table next to a glass of wine.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Shop at Oranjestad’s boutiques

Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, is a shopper’s paradise. Explore the colorful streets lined with boutique shops, souvenir stores and upscale boutiques. You’ll find everything from local handicrafts to high-end fashion brands. Don’t forget to visit the bustling Oranjestad marketplace for a taste of authentic Aruban culture and a chance to haggle for unique treasures.

Final thoughts

Aruba is a destination that offers a wide range of experiences, from idyllic beach days to adrenaline-pumping adventures and cultural exploration. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, a foodie or an adventure seeker, Aruba has something for everyone.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.