by Mac Candee
10 things to do in aruba

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020

So you are considering a trip to Aruba… You came to the right place because I had an amazing time, saw beautiful beaches and really enjoyed the fun, vibrant culture of this great island. I spent about a week in Aruba and had the opportunity to do a bunch of different excursions. If you have more time than I did, there are many more things for you to do and experience, so don’t be afraid to venture out and explore, however, I think the recommendations I have mapped out for you will make your vacation amazing!

I am super excited to tell you all about the 10 things I did in Aruba that were so much fun. On a side note - this list is in no specific order of best to worst, this is just how I decided to put them in my itinerary. You can visit them in whichever order you like, or you could pick out the ones that interest you the most.

If you prefer watching my video on the topic and seeing the beautiful sites for yourself, you can do that here:

Before we start with the things to do, let me give you a quick snapshot of the geography and population. Aruba is a small island, which is a constituent country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its area measures around 70 square miles, with just over 100 000 inhabitants. It is just north of South America, measuring 20 miles (32km) long and 6 miles (10km) across its widest point. It sits only 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Something amazing is that on a super clear day you can vaguely see the mainland of the nearby country. If you’ve ever been to Arizona, you can probably see some similarities between the two – this island has a similar desert feel to it, except that it is surrounded by the Caribbean waters.

I also want to give you some useful tips so that you can make the best out of your experience. For starters, all the beaches are public. It is also a very windy place because of the trade winds, so keep that in mind when planning what to bring. Because of the frequent wind, the sun can easily catch you unprepared, and with the location being so close to the equator, it is that much stronger. So definitely don’t go light on the sunscreen, since it can save you a lot of trouble.

Now after I’ve told you a bit more about this beautiful island and some tips on how to make the most of your time there, let’s jump into the 10 things I did there that I absolutely loved.

1) Visit Palm Beach


This beautiful beach is one of the places with the most diversity in terms of things to do. From the high rise hotels, to the boat cruises and water sports, you will definitely never go bored here. It is a lovely beach with the possibility for adventure at every corner. It is very beautiful and a great way to spend the day.

2) Eat at Pelican Pier restaurant


This great restaurant is just next to the previous thing on our list. It offers awesome views of the water, both at sunset and mid-day. It can also be a nice getaway from the strong sun with a nice meal and beverage. Just keep in mind that the cuisine there is closer to the classic American food than what the locals might consume. Since this island relies heavily on tourism, with 70% of all tourists coming from the United States, you can imagine they have adapted to the foreign tastes, so don’t expect anything too exotic or out of the ordinary. It is definitely still delicious though!

3) Take a boat cruise and go snorkeling


If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a dive into the crystal clear Caribbean waters, this is your chance. You have many options for a boat cruise, and the majority of them include snorkel gear, as well as unlimited drinks and lunch. From what I’ve seen, they use mostly the same route, taking a stop at all the best snorkeling places. I actually did two of the boat cruises there. The first one I did was with Mi Dushi and the second one – with Pelican Adventure Tours, which was $79 per person for the catamaran. Everywhere you stop for some snorkeling, the water is lovely, warm and crystal clear. Our first stop was the Boca Catalina Reef, which was pretty shallow, but still beautiful. We then made our way to the SS Antilla Shipwreck, which had deeper waters, and just so happens to be the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean with it being roughly 400 feet (122m) long. Next on our route was Malmok Reef, which was also a bit shallow, but had some lovely cliffs. Something really interesting I’ve noticed about cruises I’ve been to around the world, is that people are usually shy at first, but by the end of the cruise you become very friendly and have a great time partying together. So if this is something you want to experience, definitely give it a go!

4) Kuku  konooku  bus ($67pp with dinner)


The next thing on our list is this crazy, but still amazingly fun bus bar hopping experience. These iconic busses look a bit silly when you see them drive by, but once you get on board are super fun. You can hop on a few different stops, and the first thing you do is to stop on the beach for some champagne. After this, next in line is a nice dinner, and once it’s over – you have the rest of the time planned for bar hopping. It’s a very fun experience and I definitely recommend you don’t miss out. It is $67 per person with the dinner included, so you will have to decide for yourself if the price is worth it for you.

5) Eagle Beach


This beach is what some would consider the most beautiful beach on the island. It is much less crowded, because it is further away from the Palm Beach resorts, but you can definitely enjoy your time here. It has a much calmer atmosphere and you can truly take the time to relax, appreciate the beautiful nature, sunshine and sea water in this serene area.

6) Take a UTV tour 


This is a must, because you can easily travel all around the island and see all it has to offer with this vehicle. The option I found was $220 USD for a 10 hour rental. A lot of people will take an ATV which is a standard 4-wheeler, but the difference between an ATV and a UTV is that the second option is safer and gives you some shade to hide from the sun after you’ve been sunbathing and walking around in the strong rays for the last few days. You have two options on how to conduct your tour – you can either take a guided tour, or you can download an app and use it to locate all the highlights on the island. I chose the second option and I liked it much more, since you don’t have to share the route with every other tourist. This experience is a blast, and you also get to see the north side of Aruba, which has a completely different atmosphere than the southern, more tourist filled side. The nature there is also different, which you can see in my video here. The waves are choppy, the landscapes are very rugged, but there is a lot of interesting history and things to see which I will share with you in the next points.

7) Visit the California Light house


This lighthouse was named for the steamship California, which was wrecked nearby on September 23, 1891. This attraction is a quick stop, as it offers some great views of Aruba. I don’t recommend you spend too much time here, as there is not that much to do, but it’s definitely worth seeing for the beautiful view and piece of history.

8) Bushiribana Gold Ruins


This is also a place with quite a bit of history. The Aruba Island Gold Mining company that was built here in 1825 to extract gold operated for ten years, and now it’s remains are a stopping-off point for many tourists in the area. It is a cool stop to check out the ruins of what was once a gold rush.

9) Natural Bridge


This is something that is truly a wonder of nature. This bridge was created by the water under it, without any human interaction with the environment. It is unreal to see how after so many hundreds of thousands of years this natural bridge has been formed by constant waves smashing into it. As beautiful as it looks, be careful walking around it because that ocean can be very dangerous in these areas. It’s definitely not worth risking your safety, so make sure you err on the side of caution.

10) Visit the Natural Pool


Last but not least, you need to make a trip to the Natural pool. It can offer a bit of an adrenaline rush, since you have some massive waves behind you, while you sit and relax in a calm pool right next to them. It is a lovely place to spend some time relaxing and hanging out in the water.

It is good to note, there are other places you can see like the church and the rock formations and a few more, but those did not stick out to me as much to list them as their own item. You can easily see all of them in one day. You can get there with a guided tour, or you can explore on your own and have time to stop and admire areas you want to spend more time at.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this blog post inspires you to visit this beautiful island. It is truly such an amazing vacation destination, where you can truly relax and not have a care in the world. It can be very fun and full of nightlife or you can opt for the calmer, more secluded places in the island. It has something for everyone’s preference, so you definitely won’t be bored if you come visit. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, you can take a look into the high rise hotels along Palm Beach, which will be a bit more expensive. Another possibility is Airbnb, which I personally chose, and if you want to save some money, it will be the smarter option. Even with the Airbnb, you are still just a few steps away from the beach, so you’ll definitely still have an amazing time.

If you have the time, there are many amazing things you can do in Aruba. Here are a few options below:

Want to learn more about Aruba? Check out these YouTube videos:

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