Looking to enjoy Aruba to the fullest? Check out our list of the 12 best things to do in Aruba and the Oranjestad (the capital of Aruba).
Aruba is a small island in the Dutch Caribbean and is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.The beautiful island has dry weather, which is different from many of the other islands of the Caribbeans. It is a hugely popular tourist and honeymoon destination and visitors love the island for its white sand beaches and turquoise water. You can choose to spend your entire vacation lounging on the beach or find plenty to keep you busy. Here are some of the top things to do on your upcoming trip to Aruba.
There are numerous spots in Aruba where you can swim with the abundant sea life and enjoy the beautiful ocean. Our favorite snorkeling sites are Mangel Halto, Puerto Chiquito, Arashi Beach, Catalina Cove, The Antilla Wreck, Malmok Beach, and Baby Beach. There are countless tours that can take you to any one of these popular sites. You’ll be treated to colorful, tropical fish and a warm salty bath as the waters in Aruba are never cold!
Many snorkeling excursions coincide with a sailing tour. The winds in Aruba are calm and steady, ideal for a trip out to the sea. You have numerous options when sailing in Aruba. The various boats available include catamarans, cruise ships, sailboats, glass bottom boats and more. The best thing is that ships for any occasion or mood. Looking for a romantic trip for 2 on a charter or a booze filled night out on the sea? Aruba has got you covered!
3. Going to the Beach
You’ll definitely head out to the beach when you’re in Aruba. The only issue at hand will be narrowing down the beach that you choose to go to. There are so many beautiful beaches to choose from! A great option is always choosing a hotel with an awesome beachfront. Otherwise, some of the most popular beaches include Eagle Beach, Palm Beach and Arashi Beach. White sand beaches await you at all the beaches in Aruba!
Aruba is a seafood lover’s paradise! You can find many restaurants that feature locally caught fish. Aruba food is a fusion of many different cuisines: African, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indian and more. Delicious and more westernized meals are available at all resorts but get adventurous and you can sample delicious island specialties such as Dutch pancakes, Sopa di Pompuna (pumpkin soup), and Bolita di keshi (deep fried cheese balls, and more).
The Best Aruba attractions
Aruba features several unique attractions that are not available anywhere else in the world! Here are four of our favorites.
5. Hike Arikok National Park
The Arikok National Park is quite sizable. It takes up almost 18 percent of the land mass in Aruba and is located on Aruba’s east coast. This national park features miles upon miles of trails that are great for hiking for all levels. There is a small entrance fee to enter the park and you can sign up at least a day in advance for a guided hiking tour with a park ranger. You can either choose an easy, leisurely hike or opt for the most difficult hike in the park, which is 5 hours long and takes place over rough terrains. Either way, make sure to bring your sunscreen and a hat for protection from the sun!
6. The Natural Pool
The Natural Pool in Aruba is also known as Cura di Tortuga. It’s surrounded by mountainous and rocky terrain so it takes some extra effort to get there. Locals and tourists alike appreciate the Natural Pool for its secluded scenery. Since you can’t reach this attraction by car, it feels like a much bigger reward when you finally arrive. You’ll be treated to a beautiful stretch of beach, featuring climatic ocean waves crashing onto the rocks.
Aruba’s Carnival is an epic spectacle of colorful costumes and high spirited dancing. A must-see attraction if you are visiting Aruba during the months of January and February. You’ll see tons of glitter and painstakingly decorated floats. You’ll also be treated to salsa beats and throbbing Steelband drums. It’s a feast for the eyes and the senses. Check Aruba Carnival and you’ll be part of one of the most remarkable parties in the world!
8. The Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
Similar to California in the 1850s, Aruba had its gold rush days in the nineteenth century. The Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins is an abandoned gold mill located down the Northern coast of Aruba. Stop by to get a feel of the history of Aruba, which was shaped by the gold prospectors who visited the Island. Many hoped to strike it rich and all left some of their cultural influences behind to shape Aruba as we know it today.
What to do in Oranjestad Aruba
Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba, located on the Southern coast. It’s a vibrant and multicolored town with much for visitors to see and do. This city was originally settled by Dutch immigrants and it features charming, colonial architecture. Here is what you should do when visiting Oranjestad, Aruba!
9. The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary provides a loving home for the donkeys of Aruba. Although not originally native to Aruba, donkeys have been used as pack animals in the Aruba for more than 500 years. These kind and moody little creatures love to be petted and fed. It’s free to visit the Donkey Sanctuary and this non-profit organization accepts donations to help them to care for the over 130 donkeys on site. You can even spend an afternoon volunteering at the sanctuary for some added one-on-one time with these special creatures.
10. The Market
The Market is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. It’s the ultimate destination to find authentic souvenirs and features endless stalls featuring handmade jewelry, art, wood carvings and more. The free parking makes it easy to access and there is plenty of delicious local food on-site for you to enjoy. This is a must-see attraction if you are looking to return with stunning souvenirs for your friends and family!
11. Linear Park
Ultimately the Linear Park will stretch 10 miles long. It currently starts at the airport and stretches all the way down to the end of Oranjestad. The trail is paved for easy biking, sightseeing or walking and it features a plethora of restaurants, food stands, and idyllic resting places. This trail also features workout equipment which is free to the public and you can also take a pit stop at the beach along the way. The park features a plaza which features major festivals and events throughout the year.
12. Flamingo Beach
Get up close and personal at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s Flamingo Beach. If you are a guest at the Renaissance, you’ll be able to access Flamingo Beach by water taxi for free. If you’re not staying at the hotel, you can purchase a day pass. You can not only take selfies with the elegant pink flamingos, but you can schedule an iguana feeding or spend the day snorkeling or kayaking.
About the Author
Kaila Yu// Kaila Yu
Kaila Yu is a top blogger based in Los Angeles. She also writes for the blog Nylon Pink and was the former lead singer of an all-girl rock band! Many of the stamps that she earned on her passports were earned while touring the band. For more about Kaila, check out her blog.