What to do in Aruba

by Kelly

Looking for what to do in Aruba? This blog covers what we did in 3 days in Aruba. It is a very touristic island full of activities to keep you as busy as you want to be!

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Is Aruba Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Aruba is a great destination for pretty much anyone. Families, solo travellers, couples and people of all ages. We saw people from all different age groups and styles of travel here, there really is something for everyone. Beaches, national park, luxurious hotels and excellent tours! Aruba is the A in the ABC islands made up of its neighbours Bonaire, Curacao. They make a great little trip visiting all together.

Is Aruba Expensive?

Yes Aruba is more expensive than some other destinations, it is an island which are always more expensive than mainland destinations. There are always ways to keep your vacation on a budget though, we have listed some free or cheap ideas below.

When is the best time to go?

Year round! Aruba is outside the hurricane belt and the weather is quite nice all year. Avoid big America holiday periods for a quieter experience.

How to get to Aruba

Most people fly in from around the world with the largest flights arriving from the USA. You can also do a stopover on a cruise ship or like us fly from a nearby location.

We arrived from Curacao and flew in a tiny prop plane between the islands! Flying into Aruba was a unique experience. We boarded the prop plane in Curacao and watched the pilots flying us over the ocean and land the plane! It was a little nerve racking but truly a great experience. We flew with Divi Divi Air.

Airport Transportation in Aruba

Landing in Aruba you can of course have a car ready to drive straight from the airport. You can also catch a shared shuttle or a taxi. This Private Round-Trip Transfer from Aruba Airport to Hotel is a great way to make the trip from the airport to your hotel seamless!

In true midrange traveller style we decided to catch public transport. It was quite easy although we had many people warning us that it would be too hard…it really wasn’t. To catch the public bus from the Aruba Airport to Oranjestad which is the main town in Aruba. From there we caught another bus up to Palm Beach where our accommodation was. All you have to do is to exit the airport, walk across 2 main roads and wait at the bus stop. Buses will pass, make sure to signal to one that says Oranjestad.

You can find the schedule for the Arubus here. If you are planning on using the buses for multiple trips it is more economical to buy a day pass or a Retour Card. You can only buy these passes in Oranjestad so if you are not planning on going back there make sure to purchase it on the first day. The buses are really nice, very clean and comfortable with air conditioning.

Do I need a car for Aruba.

It depends on how long you’re there for and what you want to achieve. If you’re there a few days and want to just relax and beach out then no. Get to your hotel or air bnb and hit the beach!

If you want to see everything the island offers then yes. A car will get you around faster and more simply than buses. Having said this buses aren’t difficult. The Aruba’s system is pretty easily understood. 

Bus 10A runs most of the coastline from Oranjestad to Arashi. We used it to get from Palm Beach to Arashi, Eagle Beach, Baby Beach, you have to get off at Oranjestad to change and get back on or just buy a day pass to easily get around all day. 10A leaves Akashi in north at 9.20am arriving in Eagle Beach by 9.40am right next to the stop at the divi trees.

Best areas to stay in Aruba?

There’s tons of hotels to choose from in Aruba. The best areas to stay in Aruba are either Palm Beach or Eagle Beach. These have the best beaches and the most beautiful hotels. You can also stay in the Oranjestad or Noord areas for cheaper options. This is my round up of the best pics for each price range:

Aruba Resorts for adults only

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba – Adults Only – stunning. This hotel has the most beautiful areas in my opinion, rooms are just as beautiful and the whole hotel is dreamy.

Aruba Luxury Hotels

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino – one of the best, incredible beach and pool, really beautiful hotel

Embassy Suites By Hilton Aruba Beach Resort – great hotel, beach location, great breakfast and super clean

The Mill Resort and Suites – great breakfast and rooms, very modern and nicely decorated.

Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort – very popular, clean, right across from the beach. MVC Eagle Beach – excellent location for Eagle Beach, excellent breakfast, lovely rooms.

Courtyard by Marriott Aruba Resort – great rooms, very modern, excellent pool area, great location to the beach! Radisson Blu Aruba – close to the beach, great sunset views, great staff, rooms and pool.

Midrange Hotels Aruba

The Lizard – clean comfortable great location with a car, pool and nice host.

Brisas Studio Apartments – really great hosts, everything needed for a great stay provided. Clean rooms and nicely decorated.

Bubali Bliss Studios – great location to beach and supermarket, clean nicely decorated.

Cheap Hotels in Aruba

Kamerlingh Villa – short walk to town, great host, nice rooms and pool,

Pista Q hostel and apartments – clean comfortable and great pool area. The hosts are lovely and location is good,

What to do in Aruba

Best beaches in Aruba for swimming:

Eagle Beach:

Eagle Beach is one of the most famous and best beaches in Aruba for swimming. The water is turquoise, still and clear. The sand is fine and white, really soft to the touch. Eagle Beach is where you will find the famous Divi Divi trees, sit near here and watch them be photographed all day! They really are pretty, even if they aren’t actually Divi Divi Trees!

We found a great spot under a tree nearby them with a colourful swing to sit on and relax. As we spent more time here a few more families wandered down to get shade under the tree. It was really lovely sitting here and running over for a swim. There were beach clubs you could pay to sit at but we loved this spot.

Baby Beach

Located on the southern tip of the island, this is where you will find locals swimming. It is a drive from the main tourist areas. It’ got its name from the warm, bath-like water in the protected bay which makes this a great option for families.’s great for families as well as the water is still.

Arashi Beach

This is a nice little beach, a little more adventurous and in the north of the island, closer to the Noord district.

Palm Beach

The busiest beach! Full of hotels, restaurants, shopping of all kinds, this is where the action is. You’ll find everything a tiny market to the fanciest restaurants. The beach is lined with chickees (thatched umbrellas) and sunbeds. In late afternoon you can sit under the chickees of the Playa Linda timeshare but you can’t use the furniture. We did this, bringing our own towels to sit on. There’s a great little bar doing 2 for 1 bar doing frozen cocktails and the sunset here was gorgeous.

Learn how to dive

Learning how to dive was an incredible experience, it really is another world down there. You can try it out in Aruba, check out this Discover Diving Course for Non-Certified Divers. It gives you a taste of what it is like!

Best beaches in Aruba for Snorkelling

Tres Trapi

This little beach looks like 3 steps on the roadside. You will find clear water and white sand, albeit a tiny space. Getting here early is a good idea as tours do turn up. Drive up here, take the bus ( get off at the Boca Catalina bus stop and the Malmok Beach bus stop) or go on a snorkelling tour you can see turtles here. We went on a great snorkelling trip which included a stop at Tres Trapi

Mangel Halto

Mangel Halto is one of the best places on Aruba for not only snorkelling but also for sunset. It takes a while to get there From Palm Beach or Eagle Beach it takes around an hour to get here so leave yourself enough time before sunset to arrive or better yet go earlier in the day and enjoy snorkelling here, it is a great spot.

Arashi/Catalina Cove

With some of the better underwater life Arashi is a great spot for snorkeling. Just off the road to the California Lighthouse you will find a bar and large parking area. There is a chunk of coral to the right of the beach if you are already a good snorkeler. If you are a beginner or if it is windy (with bigger sea surges and currents) go left. Here you can see fish and coral and it is an easier entry and snorkel.

S.S. Antilla

A shipwreck that you can dive or snorkel. It is a German ship happened to be in Dutch waters when war broke out, rather than give up the ship the captain sent his crew to land and sunk the ship. It is really big and interesting, you can also visit it on a snorkelling tour.

Sunsets on Aruba

Aruba has some magical sunsets! Our favourite spot was on Palm Beach, we saw different colours every night! These are just a few of our favourites. Take a drink down to the beach and sit in the sand and enjoy the show.

Sunset Cruise Aruba

Taking a sunset cruise on Aruba is a must do activity. There is honestly no better place to watch the beautiful sunsets on Aruba than on the water with some drinks! This is the best sunset cruise Aruba! You have to book it to experience how gorgeous it is!


Oranjestad is the capital and main city in Aruba. You will find a the bus transit centre, supermarket, cheaper hotel options and lots of food.

Ride the Free Trolley in Oranjestad

While here you have to ride the free tourist trolley. It starts by the souvenir stalls near the cruise terminal, making its way through the streets to the other side of town. This gives you a great little tour of the town, saves you a walk in the hot sun and you can jump on and off as often as you want. They run every half hour and run on electric batteries making them an eco friendly option.

Stop in at the Renaissance Mall to explore the newer areas with good food and drink spots, check out the ‘House of Pastichi’ to try the local delicacy. You will also find the National Archaeological Museum here which is also free to enter! It has great information in air-conditioned comfort.

Music in the square

In the evenings you can go to listen to free music in the square at the Renaissance Mall, it is a very upbeat and fun experience.

Shop for Made-in-Aruba Souvenirs

Head to the Aruba Made mall to find souvenirs that are actually made in Aruba. Locally made crafts and foods here are really good. You will see jewellery, sea glass art, paper and ceramics as well as t-shirts etc.

Donkey Sanctuary

Heading over to the San Nicolas area of Aruba you have to stop in at the donkey sanctuary. These animals are really cute and live here in safety. They are visible from the road if you are driving past or you can stop in to visit. While we are talking about animals there is also an Aruba Ostrich Farm, you can check it out on this tour which included lunch.

San Nicolas

San Nicolas is Aruba’s second-largest city and known for its arty scene. Walking the streets here you will find loads of street art, you can take a tour to learn about the pieces. There are galleries selling art and jewellery. While here visit Charlies Bar which has been there since the 1940’s.

The Butterfly Farm

The butterfly farm in Aruba is a little oasis in this arid island. Full of lush plants and pretty sculptures as well as a great coffee shop it is worth your time. Purchase a ticket (which is valid for you to use until you leave) and you can walk through the Butterfly farm and watch the many colourful critters flying around. Stand still and let them land on you (better if you have colourful clothing on) or take the free tours to learn about them.

Royal Aruba Aloe

Aloe is an important plant in Aruba, they make a lot of products from it. You can take a tour to the factory and purchase products from the store. The tours are run regularly throughout the day. The museum is interesting to see, as are the production processes.

Arikok National Park

The Arikok National Park is a really unique place in Aruba. You can fully experience the arid landscape of the island and see the rugged coastline. To enter the park you will need a car, usually people take a 4WD to fully explore the park. The entry is $15USD and you will pay at the entrance. You can also hike the park but this should really be undertaken with preparation and experience. There are lots of tours that will take you here and show you the best of the park, our favourites are:

Arikok National Park Jeep Tour with Baby Beach Visit – Immerse yourself in Aruba’s natural landscapes with a guided jeep tour from Noord to the Arikok National Park. Discover rocky trails, caves, and a natural pool and stop to swim at Baby Beach.

Natural Pool and Indian Cave Guided Jeep Safari Tour – Embark on a raw award-winning adventure as you travel by jeep to unexplored parts of Aruba. Follow dirt tracks through the Arikok National Park, and take a dip in an idyllic natural pool. Snorkel, swim, and explore! Led by a professional driver guide.

4-Hour ATV Adventure – Roar along the north coast of Aruba aboard a single or double ATV on this half-day tour. Kick up dirt as your all-terrain vehicle takes you through rugged back roads, seaside bluffs and beaches.

Aruba / Conchi Natural Pool

On one of the rugged windswept shores of Aruba is a beautiful clear pool just begging for you to swim. It really is a beautiful place, you can take a tour here which is a great ideas as it can be dangerous to swim at the wrong time, or visit on your own. Best to have a 4WD car if you do head here. Be very careful at this pool, the rocks are really slippery and can also be sharp to walk on in areas. If the swell is too high don’t swim (check with the ranger when entering the park) and don’t swim outside of the natural pool. Ask the ranger at the entry for any safety recommendations they have.

Natural Bridge

A short drive to the northern part of the park is the Natural Bridge. You will see a large stone arch formed by the sea. It has fallen into the sea somewhat but is still a great sight in the national park. There is another larger natural bridge in the park but it is in a more remote area and best to visit on and ATV tour.

Dos Playa Beaches

These are really pretty beaches in the national park. I think the best way to visit them is by horseback, this tour takes you along the beaches on horseback. Check these horse riding tours out:

Aruba Natural Ecological Horseback Tour – Experience the spectacular panoramic scenery of Aruba’s nature on a horseback riding adventure from Noord. See a wide range of man-made and natural wonders, such as beautiful ocean views.

Fontine and Quadirikiri Caves

These caves are really beautiful, and near to the natural pool. Fontine Cave is nice but I really prefer Quadirikiri Cave. The holes in the roof let the light in so perfectly and makes for great pics. Fontine cave has rock drawings from indigenous inhabitants which is interesting also. Rangers will be at both to give tours and information.

Best snorkelling tours in Aruba

The absolute best tours in Aruba are with Pelican Tours. We spend two days with them snorkelling and getting out on the water and loved both! We did their incredible Champagne Brunch Cruise and Luxury Lagoon Cruise and couldn’t fault them! The food was incredible, the experiences were great and the staff were amazing, they were two of the best tours we have ever been on! Check out our blog on these experiences!

California Lighthouse

A great place to visit and really easy to get to. You can drive right up to it and it is a great sunset spot!

Alto Vista Chapel

This is a beautiful spot to visit, it involves a little walk. Built in 1750 the church has a lovely yellow front and sunrise here is just perfect. You can also take an Alto Vista church horse riding tour here which would be a lovely experience.

Best tours of Aruba

If you are looking for a tour of the whole island these are our picks. They make it easy to see the whole island without needing to rent a car.

3-Hour Aruba Highlights Guided Tour – Discover the culture and history of Aruba in just 3.5 hours by visiting its top landmarks. See sights like the Casibari Rock formation and Alto Vista Chapel on a guided tour in an air-conditioned bus.

3-Hour Guided Island Sightseeing Tour – Discover Aruba on this 3-hour sightseeing tour and immerse yourself in the island’s history and culture. Hop on an air-conditioned bus for a scenic ride and stop at all the best locations.

Guided Countryside Exploration Tour – Explore Aruba beyond the beaches with a guided tour of the island’s historical and cultural landmarks. Enjoy engaging stories and scenic views as you explore in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle.

Where to eat on Aruba

Aruba has some great places to eat, check out:

Zeerovers – awesome spot with great seafood right near the water.

Taste My Aruba – awesome authentic food in a family run restaurant.

Papiamento – A stunning restaurant by a pool in a restored and beautiful home, one of the best dining experiences on the island.

The Pelican Nest – An excellent restaurant set over the water at Palm Beach and caters perfectly for allergies!

If you are staying at Eagle Beach or Palm Beach and want to cook for yourself the best supermarket is )))). We went here a few times to stock up as we had a kitchenette in our accommodation and cooked some meals. This was a great way to help the budget in Aruba also.

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