Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Aruba

by | Dec 15, 2022

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya

Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama

Key Largo, Montego

Baby, why don’t we go?”

Everytime I hear the word Aruba, this song pops into my head and I imagine the sand between my toes, a cocktail in my hand and the sound of the ocean gently lapping the shore.

And I can safely tell you that is exactly what Aruba is like!

In fact one of my best memories was sitting in huge round tubes in the ocean watching the sunset, while being served Aruba Ariba cocktails by the bar staff who would wade out to where we were!

I highly recommend a trip to this fabulous Caribbean Island and if you’re wondering what the top things to do in Aruba are, (other than sit in the ocean drinking cocktails), this post is for you!

Aruba White Sand BeachMartin Passchier | Unsplash

Top 10 Very Best Things to do in Aruba

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Aruba, this post has you covered. With its beautiful beaches, exciting nightlife, and delicious local cuisine, Aruba is a fantastic Caribbean island for both travelers and digital nomads alike.

Here are my top 10 recommended things to do in Aruba!

Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Aruba – TL;DR

  1. Soak up the sun on one of Aruba’s beautiful beaches
  2. Explore the island’s rich history at one of its many museums or forts
  3. Sample the delicious local cuisine at one of Aruba’s many restaurants
  4. Dance the night away at one of Aruba’s famous nightclubs or casinos
  5. Go shopping in downtown Oranjestad
  6. Take a tour of the island by Jeep or ATV
  7. Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove
  8. Hike through Arikok National Park
  9. Climb to the top of Hoogeveen Hill
  10. Visit the Flamingos on Renaissance Island

things to do in aruba - beach shotGregory Wangsadikrama | Unsplash

Top 10 Very Best Things to do in Aruba

1. Soak up some sun on one of Aruba’s beautiful beaches.

Aruba beachLex Melony | Unsplash

The beaches in Aruba are some of the most beautiful in the world.

For swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, the best beaches are Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, and Manchebo Beach. These beaches have calm waters and are perfect for enjoying all of these activities.

If you’re looking for a more lively beach experience, head to Arashi Beach or Baby Beach. These beaches are known for their waves and are perfect for surfing or bodyboarding.

With miles of pristine coastline and warm waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, no matter what beach experience you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Aruba!

2. Explore the island’s rich history at one of its many museums or forts

National Archaeological MuseumImage credit: dreese, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aruba’s museums are a must-see for anyone visiting the island. They offer a unique and fascinating insight into Aruba’s past, culture, and heritage.

The National Archaeological Museum is probably the most popular on the island and is home to a wide range of artifacts from Aruba’s history. It’s a great place to learn about the island’s indigenous cultures, the Spanish colonial period, and the Dutch colonial period.

The Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is also a popular museum and offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of Aruba’s donkeys. The museum is home to a wide range of interactive exhibits that allow you to get up close and personal with these weird and funky animals.

Mojito’s Museum is another great option for those interested in Aruba’s history. It’s home to a collection of over 2,000 artifacts from the 16th century to the present day. The museum offers visitors a unique look at the evolution of Aruban culture and how it has been shaped by its interactions with other countries in the region.

The most popular forts to visit are Fort Zoutman, the Santa Barbara fort, and the Balashi fort. These forts offer a fascinating look at Aruba’s colonial history and are well-preserved examples of Spanish architecture.

If you’re interested in learning more about Aruba’s military history, be sure to visit Fort Amsterdam or the Hoogeveen fort. These forts offer an interesting perspective on how Aruba has defended itself over the years.

The De Boerderij Museum is also worth visiting and offers visitors an insight into Aruba’s agricultural heritage and how it has evolved over time.

3. Sample the delicious local cuisine at one of Aruba’s many restaurants

Oranjestad, ArubaLex Melony | Unsplash

From fresh seafood dishes like ceviche and Mahi Mahi, to hearty stews and curries made with tropical ingredients like coconut milk, starfruit, and banana leaves, there’s something for every taste bud on Aruba.

There are many great restaurants, but some of my favorites include The Flying Fishbone, The Rooftop, and The Warehouse. The Flying Fishbone is known for its fresh seafood dishes, while The Rooftop offers stunning views of the island from its perch on top of a hill in downtown Oranjestad. The Warehouse is a local favorite for its delicious curries and stews.

There are a multitude of foodie options so if none of these float your boat, be sure to check out trip advisor for some of the most popular restaurants.

4. Party the night away at one of Aruba’s famous nightclubs or casinos

The Crystal Casino, ArubaChristopher Ryan | Unsplash

You can’t visit Aruba without sampling some of its awesome nightlife! Whether you’re looking for a nightclub, casino, or chill lounge, Aruba’s capital, the city of Oranjestad is the place to go!

Some of my favorite nightclubs and casinos include; The One Love Lounge, Dusk Till Dawn, and The Crystal Casino. With live music, great DJs, and drink specials throughout the week, you’re guaranteed a good night out (especially if you’re good at Blackjack!).

5. Go shopping in downtown Oranjestad

Downtown, Oranjestad Image credit: VMG1231, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a shopaholic, be sure to head downtown Oranjestad to check out the many local boutiques and vendors. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry and clothing, to unique home decor pieces made with local materials like palm leaves and seashells.

One of the things that makes shopping in Oranjestad so great is the variety of shops. From small, family-owned boutiques, to larger vendors selling items from around the Caribbean, you’ll definitely find something that catches your eye.

Be sure to visit the Craft Market in downtown Oranjestad. This market is open every day from 9am to 6pm, and is home to a wide variety of local artisans selling their handcrafted goods. You’ll find everything from paintings and sculptures, to jewelry and clothing, and if you’re searching for souvenirs for the family this is the place to shop!

6. Take a tour of the island by Jeep or ATV

things to do in aruba - atvRoberto Nickson | Unsplash

For the more adventurous traveler, one of the best things to do in Aruba is to explore the island by jeep or ATV. There are plenty of tour companies that offer guided excursions around the island, so you can see all the beautiful scenery and learn more about its history and culture.

Some popular Jeep or ATV tours include trips up to Alto Vista Chapel, where you can see stunning views of the island from the top of the hill, as well as off-roading adventures through Arikok National Park and along rocky coastlines.

7. Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove, ArubaChristopher Ryan | Unsplash

If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, then don’t miss the chance to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove. Here, you can get up close and personal with these amazing creatures in their natural habitat, and even go for a ride on their backs as they glide through the water.

Dolphin Cove offers a number of different programs, including swimming with dolphins for a few minutes, or participating in an extended program that includes feeding and training sessions.

Please note, the dolphins at Dolphin Cove are all wild, so be sure to follow instructions and treat these beautiful animals with respect.

8. Hike through Arikok National Park

 Arikok National ParkImage credit: Caribiana, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Personally I love to hike as I find it a fantastic way to explore any destination up close and personal!

Aruba is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the Caribbean, and one of the best things to do in Aruba is to head out for a hike through Arikok National Park.

Arikok National Park is home to diverse ecosystems, including rocky coastlines, arid desert land, green hills and valleys, and rugged limestone terrains. There are numerous trails throughout the park that range from easy to difficult, so there’s something for hikers of all skill levels.

I use the Alltrails app to help me find hikes around the world and you’ll find several Arikok trails on the app, plus lots of other hiking trails around the island.

9. Hike to the peak of Mount Hooiberg

Mount HooibergImage credit: User: Bgabel at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If a gentle hike isn’t exciting enough for you and you’re looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush, then why not head up to Mount Hooiberg and test your limits by climbing to the top?

At 541ft high, Mount Hooiberg offers incredible views of the surrounding area and is the perfect spot for a day of outdoor exploration.

This rugged limestone hill is well-known among locals as a popular spot for rock climbing enthusiasts.

The climb to the top may be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it! From the summit, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Aruba’s rugged coastline and bright blue waters.

10. Visit the Flamingos on Renaissance Island

Flamingos on Renaissance IslandLex Melony | Unsplash

Another must-see attraction on Aruba are the flamingos that make their home on Renaissance Island.

Located just off the coast of Oranjestad, this island is connected to Mainland Aruba by a man-made causeway, and is famous for its resident flock of flamingos.

You can get up close and personal with these beautiful birds by taking a boat tour around Renaissance Island. The tour operators usually feed the flamingos as part of the trip, so you’ll be able to see them in action as they swoop down to snatch some tasty treats from your hands!

Other Things to Do in Aruba

1. Go parasailing over the crystal clear waters of Palm Beach

Palm Beach ArubaKiril Georgiev | Unsplash

For the best views and some great photo ops (if you’re brave enough), this exhilarating activity will give you a bird’s-eye view of the stunning scenery below. Just hang on tight!

2. Check out Fort Zoutman, one of Aruba’s oldest buildings

Fort ZoutmanImage credit: JesseRasmijn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This historic fort has played a key role in the island’s history, and today it houses several museums and art galleries that are well worth exploring.

3. Spend an evening bar-hopping along Palm Beach

Bar hopping in ArubaLex Melony | Unsplash

Here you’ll find everything from laidback beach bars to trendy cocktail lounges. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends or just want to enjoy one of Aruba’s signature rum punches, this is the place to be!

4. Take a day trip to nearby Curacao and explore its incredible natural beauty

Curacao town in ArubaLakeisha Bennett | Unsplash

This small island is known for its unique cuisine, gorgeous beaches, and vibrant colonial-era towns, making it the perfect destination for a day away from the bustle of Aruba.

5. Go snorkeling in Arikok National Park

 Snorkeling in Arikok National ParkFabio | Unsplash

If you fancy swimming around in your own aquarium, you can’t get better than this! You’ll be fascinated by the colorful fish and coral that call these crystal-clear waters home. You can rent gear from one of the local shops or use your own and cool off after a big hike in the park.

6. Go scuba diving along the coast and explore the incredible underwater world that lies just off the shore of Aruba.

Aruba's marine lifeRob Schouten | Unsplash

If you really want to get up close and personal with Aruba’s marine life then a day scuba diving is likely for you.

With crystal-clear visibility, an abundance of colorful fish, and fascinating shipwrecks to discover, this is an unmissable activity for scuba lovers.

7. Visit Aruba’s iconic Natural Bridge

Aruba's iconic Natural BridgeDavid Troeger | Unsplash

Formed over centuries by waves eroding limestone rock, this impressive arch is one of the most famous sights on the island, and a must-see for any visitor looking to appreciate its sheer beauty.

8. Visit Quadariki Cave

 Quadariki CaveImage credit: Lesly B. Juarez jblesly, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located just outside the town of Paradera, this expansive cave system is home to an incredible array of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as colorful mineral deposits that make it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the history and geology of the cave, or you can opt for a self-guided exploration.

9. Spend a romantic evening strolling hand in hand along Eagle Beach or Palm Beach

Palm Beach, ArubaImage credit: The original uploader was Rumblebee at English Wikipedia., CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take in the stunning sunsets and world-famous tropical scenery that make Aruba such a magical place. Whether you’re visiting as a couple or with friends, there’s no better way to end your Aruba adventure than by enjoying these iconic beaches at sunset.

Best Time to Visit Aruba

Aruba is a great place to visit all year round. The weather is relatively stable with temperatures ranging from 26 to 32 degrees Celsius. The island has two main wet seasons, from May to November and December to April. The wetter months are usually hotter and more humid.

The best time to visit Aruba depends on your preferences. If you want to avoid the crowds, the shoulder seasons of April to mid-December are the best times to go. The rates are also lower during these months.

If you want to experience the island’s nightlife and party scene, the peak season from mid-December to Easter is the best time to visit. Keep in mind that rates are higher and accommodation might be more difficult to find during this time.

best views of the Caribbean SeaPaulo Evangelista | Unsplash

Where to Stay in Aruba

There is no shortage of hotels, hostels or Airbnb in Aruba, so it completely depends on your requirements and budget.

I use booking.com as my preferred hotel booking app. I have tried many over the years and booking.com consistently offers me the best deals.

If however, you’re looking for super budget accommodation try hostelworld.com.

Some of the best hotel options on the island include the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, the Westin Aruba Resort & Casino, and the Ritz-Carlton Aruba.

These resorts offer great amenities such as golf courses, beaches, restaurants, and spas, and offer some of the best views of the Caribbean Sea.

Recommended Tours & Trips

There is no shortage of trips and tours to make the best use of your time in Aruba. However, here are some suggested trips I recommend you explore further.

Things to Do in Aruba – Tips for Digital Nomads or Long Term Travelers

  1. Aruba is a small island, and getting around is easy. The best way to get around is by renting a car or taking a taxi. There are also buses that run throughout the island, but they can be crowded and inconvenient. Driving on Aruba’s roads is easy and the locals are friendly, so renting a car is the best option if you want to explore all corners of the island.
  2. Aruba has reliable and fast Wifi connections, so you’ll be able to stay connected while there.
  3. Depending on where you’re from and what phone contract you’re on, it may be worth getting a local sim card. There are a few different SIM card options available, so you can choose the best one for your needs. The SIM cards are prepaid and offer great rates for data, calls, and texts. One of the best SIM companies on the island is Digicel, which has reliable and fast Wifi connections. Their prepaid SIM cards start at $5 USD and include 1GB of data, unlimited local calls, and 500 texts. Most times when I travel, a local sim is the cheapest option. It’s worth checking roaming fees with your phone company before traveling.
  4. The local currency is the Aruban Guilder (AWG), however, the US dollar is widely accepted as are credit cards, debit cards, cash apps, etc. If paying in cash with dollars, you may well get paid change in AWG. As a technologically savvy country, you won’t need to carry much cash as most places will accept cards and google/apple pay. However, it’s always a good idea to carry a little cash for those unforeseen circumstances.
  5. If traveling from overseas, when you take money out of an ATM, always choose the ‘convert from your own bank’ option, rather than the convert from the ATM option. This is a golden rule worldwide. I have tried multiple ATM’s in multiple countries and the bank conversion is always without fail cheaper than a local ATM conversion.
  6. Also when paying with your travel credit or debit card, always choose local currency. If you choose your own currency, the conversion will be done then and there by their bank. When choosing local currency, the conversion is done by your bank and will be cheaper. Not by much, but every little helps!

Aruba beachLex Malony | Unsplash

Booking/Trip Resources

It’s tough when organizing your travels to know which companies offer the best deals and can be trusted with your credit card details!

The following resources are companies I have consistently used over my 11 years of travels and who I believe are the best in the business. I’m constantly updating this list as I find new and improved services.

Rome2Rio – a fantastic app which will show you the best routes to get from city to city or country to country. Simply enter where you’re traveling from and too, and they’ll show you how to get there via planes, trains and automobiles!

Skyscanner.net – always my first port of call when looking for the best flights. Easy to use and consistently highlights flights I can’t find anywhere else, they’re the best flight resource there is. Plus an easy to use app.

Flight Aware – a free, handy app showing flights around the world. I use this to track family or friends when they’re flying, to check whether my flight has left on time on previous days so I can be prepared for delays etc, and just to double check my own flight details as and when I’m traveling.

Trainline (for Europe) – I used to use this just for UK trains, but nowadays you can book trains all over Europe using their services. Cheap, reliable and with a great refund policy for canceled or delayed trains, they’re highly recommended.

Booking.com – I have tried all the other hotel booking sites and without doubt booking.com has consistently offered the best deals. One caveat to this, is always to just check the hotel website directly before finalizing your booking as sometimes they’ll have specialized deals.

Getyourguide.com – the easiest and most reliable activity booking agent. I haven’t had a bad trip to date with them. Plus an easy to use app which tracks all your bookings and includes the meeting point, trip details and everything else you need to ensure your activity goes smoothly.

Discovercars.com – Easy to use website to find rental cars in over 145 countries around the world. Pick up from one location, drop off in another. Find the best deals with the best reviews.

Safetywing – quite simply the best insurance for digital nomads and long term travelers. See my Safetywing insurance review for more details, but with cheap monthly plans and an easy to use claims process, you won’t find better on the market.

Light Packing Guide

I’m generally a very light packer so for a summer trip here is what I would usually pack, with a maximum weight of 7 KG;

Clothes

Swimming costume or bikini
Light Beach dress
2 x pairs of shorts
2 x summer skirts
3 x t-shirts
1 x ‘going out’ dress
2 x night shorts & tee
14 x underwear (I always take a lot as I hate washing underwear in hotel sinks)
1 skin color plunge bra (can wear under black or white, and with posh dress or t-shirts)
1 x flip flops or thongs or sandals (depending where you’re from in the world)
1 x trainers/sneakers (which I generally wear when traveling from place to place or hang off the back of my bag
3 x trainer socks
1 x leggings
1 x light cardigan

Toiletries

Travel size all in one Shampoo/Conditioner (sacrilege to some women, but hey I want to travel light)
Travel size shower gel
Mascara
Bronzer
Makeup wipes
Small battery powered toothbrush (with cap)
50ml toothpaste
Travel size sun lotion
50SPF lip balm
Hairbrush
Travel size body moisturiser
Deodorant
Hair scrunchies

Medical

Antihistamines
Paracetamol
Ibuprofen
Tiger Balm – bites, sore muscles, etc.
Plasters
Ear Plugs
Eye mask
Mask
Hand Sanitizer

Technical

Adapter & chargers in a handy cable organizer
Phone – iPhone
Computer – Macbook 12” Notebook
Kindle
FitBit Versa 3

Useful Extras

Ziplock bags – for anything and everything!
Travel Bags – for separating tops/shorts/underwear etc, and also great for laundry
Combination padlock

My husbands bag usually weighs less than mine and he takes;

Clothes

2 x shorts (Both double as swim shorts)
2 x tees
7 x socks
7 x boxers
1 x ‘going out’ shorts & tee
1 x croc flip flops
1 x trainers/sneakers
Travel size shampoo
1 x razor
Toothbrush
Deodorant
Phone
Kindle
Computer

Things to Do in Aruba – FAQ’s

Where is Aruba?

Aruba is a small island country located in the southern Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of Venezuela. With a population of around 100,000 people, and a surface area of just 193 square kilometers, it’s one of the most densely populated countries in the region.

Aruba is best known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, which make it a popular tourist destination. The island has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when the island was first discovered by Spanish explorers. The Spanish were drawn to Aruba’s natural resources and strategic location and quickly began to establish a presence on the island.

Aruba became an important part of the Spanish empire and played a key role in the region’s trade and commerce. The Spanish built a number of fortifications on the island to protect their interests and developed a thriving economy based on agriculture and trade.

The Spanish presence on Aruba lasted until the early 19th century when they were forced to abandon the island in the face of advancing British forces. Aruba remained under British rule until it gained independence in 1986.

Today, Aruba is a popular tourist destination with exciting nightlife and plenty of things to do.

What are the top things to do in Aruba?

The top things to do in Aruba include visiting the National Archeological Museum, exploring the Arikok National Park, learning about the island’s history at the Numismatic Museum, and enjoying the sandy beaches and clear waters.

What is there to do in Aruba at night?

While Aruba is best known for its beaches and outdoor activities, there is actually plenty to do on the island at night as well.

Oranjestad, in particular, comes alive after dark with a number of bars, clubs and casinos to keep you entertained. If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, there are also a number of restaurants and cafes that stay open late.

What are the best activities for families in Aruba?

Aruba offers a variety of activities that are perfect for families, such as swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Academy, snorkeling and scuba diving, exploring the natural pools at Arawak Garden, and visiting the Butterfly Farm.

What are the best things to do for couples in Aruba?

Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the many fine restaurants on the island, go for a sunset cruise, relax on the beautiful beaches, or do everything the singles do, but together!

What are the best things to do for singles in Aruba?

Singles can enjoy plenty of activities in Aruba, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, parasailing, sailing, and Deep Sea Fishing, or everything the couples do but on their own or with friends!

Is Aruba Safe?

Aruba is considered one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Having said that it does still suffer from petty crime and as with all popular tourist destinations you’ll need to watch out for pickpockets and keep your valuables hidden, plus for females, use your common sense and don’t go wandering on your own in the middle of the night plus be careful when drinking in bars/clubs. (Sad but true across the globe).

Most areas in Aruba are safe to visit and you can go outside of your resort unaccompanied. However, strolling around the backstreets at nightfall would be inadvisable, particularly in Aruba’s red-light area of San Nicolas which can have some shady characters out at night.

On a general scale though compared to the rest of the Caribbean, for tourists or nomads visiting Aruba it is considered a safe country, for solos, couples & families alike.

Nevertheless, always ensure you have travel insurance wherever you go as it will protect you against theft, injury, illness, or cancellations. Use the form below to get your personalized quote.

Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Aruba – Summary

I loved Aruba and I’ll definitely be returning for another visit next time we’re Caribbean bound.

It’s a beautiful Caribbean Island with amazing weather and super friendly people, and is exactly as you might imagine it, with soft white sand, tropical palm trees and dramatic sunsets.

With its fabulous temperatures, amazing beaches and plenty to see and do, I highly recommend a trip to Aruba. Maybe I’ll see you there! 🙂

jo barnes swimming pool cartoon

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