16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Aruba
Written by Becca Blond and Karen Hastings Updated Feb 22, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )
In Aruba, the Papiamentu word "dushi" is used to describe everything from the food to the scenery to other people. Translated to mean enjoyable, pleasing, sweet, or delicious, it works perfectly to sum up life in general on "one happy island."
Just 15 miles north of Venezuela, Aruba is blessed with stunning natural beauty, near-perfect weather, and plenty of attractions. It boasts some of the Caribbean's best wreck diving amidst thriving coral reefs, as well as excellent big-game fishing and kiteboarding.
It also serves up an array of non-beach-focused things to do. You can drive ATVs off-road in the cacti-strewn desert or take a guided tour through the island's burgeoning mural art scene. Its quaint capital, Oranjestad, is home to brightly-hued Dutch colonial buildings.
Aruba's location is also ideal. It is outside of the Atlantic hurricane belt, meaning you can safely visit year-round. It has a desert climate, getting about 15 inches of rain per year. And near-constant trade winds blow, which keeps temperatures and humidity down even in the middle of summer.
Yeah, we'd say pretty much everything about Aruba is pretty dushi . Discover the best places to visit on this popular Caribbean island with our list of the top tourist attractions in Aruba.
1. Aruba's Beaches
2. oranjestad, 3. arikok national park, 4. boca prins, 5. california lighthouse & california dunes, 6. aruba's dive sites, 7. andicuri trail by atv, 8. natural pool, 9. aruba mural tours, 10. the butterfly farm, 11. aruba aloe factory & museum tour, 12. philip's animal garden, 13. donkey sanctuary of aruba, 14. renaissance island: "flamingo beach", 15. alto vista chapel, 16. de palm island.
Aruba offers an abundance of dazzling beaches . The northwest coast of Aruba, from Druif Beach to Eagle Beach , and Palm Beach to Malmok , is an 11-kilometer sweep of uninterrupted white sand and clear jade waters. Eagle Beach and Palm Beach are favorites.
Manchebo Beach tends to be a little more peaceful than the lively neighboring beaches. Taking a sunset stroll along this powdery stretch of coast is one of the most romantic things to do in Aruba.
Near the California Lighthouse, Malmok Beach and secluded Arashi Beach are great for swimming and snorkeling.
Looking for a little more wave action? On the windward east coast, Bachelor's Beach , Boca Grandi , Boca Prins , Dos Playa, Black Stone Beach, and Boca Andicuri have stronger currents and larger waves. Although they are not recommended for swimming, windsurfers and kitesurfers can tackle the swells.
The beaches in the southeast are less populated. Locals' favorite, Baby Beach is great for inexperienced swimmers, with its shallow basin and calm waters.
Oranjestad, Aruba is a charming city and the capital and cruise port of this tiny island. The most striking feature is the Dutch colonial architecture. Pastel-hued buildings with a Spanish and Caribbean twist jostle along the tidy streets, and you'll find many shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and entertainment options. Overall, the city is simply a fun place to walk around and soak up the atmosphere.
Well-maintained Wilhelmina Park, on the waterfront, is one of the city's main attractions, particularly in June, September, and October when many of the plants are in bloom. Look for iguanas along the water's edge.
A short walk from here, you can explore the small Aruba Historical Museum , with artifacts related to the entire history of the island. It's housed in the King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman , which was built as a lighthouse and pirate-spotting vantage point.
Looking for educational things to do in Aruba with kids? Head to the Aruba Aloe Factory to learn about the medicinal qualities of this wonder plant, and purchase skin-soothing souvenirs. Save time to stop by The Butterfly Farm , too. It's a favorite tourist attraction for children, as well as avid photographers.
If you're a shopper, Renaissance Shopping Mall features high-end stores like Chanel, Gucci, and Cartier.
For fantastic views over the city, hike to the top of the 165-meter-tall volcanic rock formation, Hooiberg . And if you prefer a more relaxing sightseeing experience, a great way to get a feel for the city is to hop aboard the bright red Aruba Streetcar , a free open-air bus that runs between the top attractions in the city.
Outdoor enthusiasts love exploring rugged Arikok National Park. Covering almost 20 percent of the island, the park features cacti-covered landscapes, caves, sand dunes, and unique rock formations.
Large boulders adorned with Indian paintings make up the odd rock formation known as Ayó , and the Casibari Boulders , weathered by trade winds, are strewn amid dry scrub. You can walk the trails and steps ascending through the rocks for great views and photo opportunities.
Arikok National Park also encompasses the wave-thrashed shores of the island's north coast. Wave erosion carved the Natural Bridge at Anicouri, which collapsed in 2005, but you can still see a smaller natural bridge here, and it's a great spot for a picnic.
On the picturesque waterfront, the old stone walls of the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins are the remains of a 19th-century gold smelter.
You can even spot some wildlife in Arikok National Park. Parakeets, goats, lizards, snakes, and iguanas are just some of the creatures found here.
Since the roads can be rugged, a 4WD vehicle is recommended – some sites can't be accessed via 2WD vehicles – but you can also explore on horseback, or hike the many trails. To really enjoy all the park's top sites, a full day is recommended here.
Address: San Fuego 71, Santa Cruz
Official site: http://www.arubanationalpark.org/main/
Boca Prins is a dramatic stretch of coast backed by massive sand dunes. It lies within Arikok National Park , near the Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon . Trade winds sculpt these shifting sand dunes, so you'll see a different beachscape every time you visit
At the narrow sliver of beach, crashing surf and soaring limestone cliffs create dramatic coastal vistas. Swimming here is too dangerous, but it's a great spot for a picnic, and you can descend the steps to the shore, sink your feet in the sand, and feel the spray of the salty surf on your face. Four-wheel drive vehicles are highly recommended.
At the northern tip of the island, the California Lighthouse stars on many Aruban postcards and tourist brochures. It was named for the S.S. California , which sunk off the coast here. The surrounding area is rugged and beautiful, with sand dunes, called the California Dunes ; cacti; and even some grazing goats.
Although the lighthouse is closed to the public, it's a great spot to compare the calm waters of the western shore with the rough waves of the east. Sunset is a beautiful time to visit the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic island views. Many guests linger for dinner at the nearby restaurant.
Aruba is famous for its excellent wreck diving, catering to divers of all levels. Sunken vessels range from tugboats to cargo ships, and even plane fuselages.
Lying between Arashi and Malmok, the Antilia is the Caribbean's largest wreck and one of Aruba's most popular dives. Snorkelers can also explore the shallow-water sections of this wreck. Other popular wrecks include the 76-meter former concrete freighter Jane Sea and the oil tanker Pedernales .
Coral reefs lace the island's leeward shore. Some of the best reef dive sites include Skalahein Reef ; Plonco Reef ; and Mas Bango Reef , which is also excellent for snorkeling.
Those who prefer to stay dry can board the Atlantis Submarine to view marine life, coral formations, and shipwrecks.
For a wild half-day in the wilderness, sign up for the Andicuri UTV off-road adventure from De Palm Tours. Many excursions are available, but the exhilarating 3-hour ride on the Andicuri Trail in Aruba's "Outback" is one of the best. We recommend adding on the stop for snorkeling choice and making this a 4-hour adventure.
After a quick driving lesson and a short trip on the pavement, you'll leave the road behind and turn onto the Andicurri Trail, which is a mix of sand and rock. The trail climbs some steep terrain, and you'll have to navigate some obstacles along the way, but it is a super fun adventure as you get to drive your own UTV (very similar to an ATV).
The tour stops at Black Stone Beach, Baby Natural Beach, Three Bridges Formation, and the Alto Vista Chapel, so it is also a great way to experience a lot of Aruba's top attractions at once.
One note: you'll be filthy at the end of this tour, covered in red dust, so dress appropriately.
Official site: https://depalm.com/utv-tours/andicuri-utv-adventure/
The Natural Pool is just that, a protected swimming hole filled by waves crashing over the slick rocks. You can swim and snorkel here, although the area is really not that big. The pool is inside Arikok National Park, and lies down a rugged road only accessible by 4WD vehicle. If you're looking for adventure, you can navigate the area yourself. But note the road is not well marked and can get washed out and super rocky. The best way to visit this attraction is on an organized 4WD tour.
You can also hike to the Natural Pool via a trail that starts at the national park's visitor center. The trail is 4.8 miles out and back , and is considered moderately strenuous. Depending on how long you spend at the pool, it takes about 3-hours to complete. Go as early as possible in the morning, as afternoons can get really hot.
You'll want to wear proper walking shoes and carry plenty of water. Be careful when swimming in the pool on your own. The rocks near the edges can be super slippery and you also need to watch for rogue waves crashing over into the pool (if the water is too rough, don't get in).
For something different, drive 20 miles south from Palm Beach to the island's burgeoning arts district in San Nicolas at the far southwest tip of Aruba. There are more than 50 murals and art installations scattered around this formerly abandoned neighborhood. And with the number of tourists the street art is drawing increasing each year, other businesses are also opening again in San Nicolas. Technically Aruba's second-largest city, its downtown had moved to ghost town status after Exxon closed an oil refinery here in 1985. On our last visit, we discovered a wonderful little coffee and light meal restaurant here called Kulture Kafe .
You can tour the murals, which were created by local and international artists hailing from around the world, on your own. But if you want to support the initiative, which is the result of a lot of hard work and passion by the enigmatic Tito Bolivar, then join one of his Art Mural Tours.
The 2-hour tours , which are even dog-friendly, tell you the story behind the artwork. Tours also provide insight into how Tito came up with the concept (spoiler alert: he got the idea after seeing street art transform neighborhoods in Bogota, Colombia) and his vision for the future of street art in Aruba.
Tours are flexible and can include a workshop with a local artist to paint your own creations. Art dinners are also offered most months. Check the website for up-to-date info.
Official site: https://arubamuraltours.com/
Children, photographers, and anyone who loves nature will enjoy The Butterfly Farm near Palm Beach. During your visit, you can walk through an enclosure with lush, tropical gardens and witness these winged beauties fluttering around you.
Guided tours help you identify the different species, and you'll also learn about butterfly habitats and the life cycles of these delicate creatures. If you arrive early enough, you may even see butterflies emerging from their chrysalis.
This is one of the most unique things to do in Aruba and a wonderful way to capture colorful close-up photos. Best of all, your admission allows you to return as many times as you like during your stay.
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd, Noord, Aruba
One of the top free things to do in Aruba is take a tour at the Aruba Aloe Museum, Factory, and Store. During this fascinating tour, you'll learn everything you ever wanted to know about aloe plants.
Watch a short film about the history of aloe production in Aruba, witness your guide "filet" an aloe leaf to extract the glutinous flesh, see the plants growing in the sandy soil, and learn about aloe's health benefits. The tour also includes a walk through the factory, where you can see how the products are made and packaged.
After your tour, you can purchase some aloe products in the gift shop to soothe your sunburn or take home as souvenirs. The Tours depart every 15 minutes, and self-guided tours are also possible.
Address: Pitastraat 115, Oranjestad
The non-profit Philip's Animal Garden is a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for more than 52 species of animals. Animal-lover Philip Merryweather poured his passion for exotic animals into this popular tourist attraction, which runs educational and interactive tours.
Favorite residents include snakes, kangaroos, monkeys, emus, ostriches, and ocelots, but you'll also find farmyard animals such as goats, pigs, horses, and donkeys.
This is a fantastic place to bring the kids. The friendly staff are happy to answer questions and share the stories of each resident, and you can touch and feed some of the creatures. A small donation grants you entrance, as well as a bag of carrots to feed the animals. All funds go towards care of the animals.
If you want even more critter-based fun, head to the Aruba Ostrich Farm for a quick tour and a chance to learn more about these flightless, feathered beasts.
Address: Alto Vista 116, Noord
Official site: http://www.philipsanimalgarden.com/
A stop at the Donkey Sanctuary is one of the best things to do in Aruba for animal lovers. Donkeys have lived on Aruba for more than 500 years and were once the main form of transport on the island. Sadly, though, many now fall victim to car accidents and disease. This non-profit organization rescues sick and injured donkeys from around the island, and you can come and meet these lovable beasts.
Want to make some friends? Bring some carrots and apples. Alternatively, you can buy some food from the little gift shop. A word of warning, though: Make sure you stand behind the gate before you offer your tasty treats to the residents – unless you don't mind being mobbed by 130 hungry donkeys.
If you prefer a less interactive experience, you can relax with a cool drink from the little shop and watch the donkeys from the shady porch. Friendly volunteers share their love and knowledge about these rescued animals – every one of them has a name.
Donkey Sanctuary of Aruba is free to visit, but your donation is appreciated. All proceeds from your visit and any gift shop purchases support this important work. Arrive early if you want to help out with some of the chores around the sanctuary.
Official site: http://main.arubandonkey.org/portal/
Ever seen the famous Instagram posts of bright pink flamingos on a sublime beach in Aruba? Renaissance Island is probably where they were taken. This picture-perfect private island hosts some beautiful beaches, as well as an array of water sports and photogenic wildlife.
If you feel like cooling off in the clear turquoise water, snorkeling, scuba diving, stand up paddleboarding, sailing, and kayaking are all available. And if relaxation is more your style, book a private cabana, order a meal from the restaurant, or succumb to pampering treatments at Spa Cove.
Wildlife, though, is one of the island's highlights. The bright pink flamingos tend to steal the show, but you can also spot iguanas, hermit crabs, and other birds and lizards.
Wondering how to visit Renaissance Island? Well, there's a catch. The only way to ensure a visit here is to stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort . Failing that, you can always try to book a day pass, but these need to be organized in advance, and are difficult to obtain when the resort is full.
Children are only permitted on Flamingo Beach between 9 and 10am. But families can visit the island's other sandy shore, Iguana Beach, all day.
The small Alto Vista Chapel is one of Aruba's cherished landmarks. Often called the "Pilgrim's Church," Alto Vista was originally built in 1750 by the Spanish missionary, Domingo Antonio Silvestre. The current structure was built in 1954 on the same site, and it's one of the island's most famous landmarks.
Alto Vista means "highest view" in Spanish and, true to its name, the church sits high on a hill with beautiful views over the island's north shore. The Stations of the Cross mark the road leading to the chapel.
While you're here, walk behind the chapel to the Peace Labyrinth, where you can wander the circular path in quiet contemplation.
Address: Alto Vista, Noord
A five-minute ferry ride from the mainland, De Palm Island is a small private splotch of sand, packed with activities. For all-inclusive rates, guests can swim, snorkel, or zip around on banana boats. Land-based activities include beach volleyball, basketball, bingo, salsa lessons, and card games.
Families with young children will enjoy the colorful water park, with spiral waterslides and splash pools. For additional fees, guests can try the Sea Trek underwater helmet walk , SNUBA , or indulge in massages.
De Palm Island now has a flock of flamingos on the beach. Though they are not the vibrant coral-pink hue of the more popular Renaissance Island counterparts, they still make great subjects for Instagram posts.
Address: Port de Palm, Aruba
Official site: https://depalmisland.com/
More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com
More Aruba Adventures: A great way to see Aruba's highlights is by taking an organized tour. See the sights on a Segway, snorkel kaleidoscopic coral reefs, or 4WD through rugged desert landscapes. Learn more about the best options with our page on the Top-Rated Tours & Excursions in Aruba . Looking for a place to stay with the kids? Our list of the top-rated family resorts in Aruba can help you choose the best base for all your adventures.
More on Aruba
Plan Your Trip to Aruba: Best of Aruba Tourism
Travel advice, essential aruba.
How to do Aruba in 1 day
Aruba for art lovers
Explore Aruba by interest
A day at the beach.
A taste of Aruba
Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Aruba
In the words of those who've been there before ...
What is the best way to get there?
Reina Beatrix International Airport sees more than 150 flights from destinations in the U.S., Canada, South America, and Europe.
There are two ports in Aruba, Oranjestad, and Barcadera. Streetcars/trolleys run to/from the ports to beaches.
Do I need a visa?
Upon landing, you will need to provide a valid passport, a valid onward or return ticket. Some country’s citizens may be required to show proof of vaccination. To see if you need a visa to visit Aruba, visit here .
When is the best time to visit?
Winter: With its location south of hurricane zones, there is never really a bad time to visit Aruba, but escaping to Aruba over the winter is especially sweet. The average daily temperature is 82 Fahrenheit (28 Celsius), and while there is a slightly rainy season from October to January, the showers are usually short.
Taxis are readily available in Aruba, and they have fixed rates, not meters. For info, see here .
Aruba has two streetcar/trolleys that provide free transit to and from the cruise ship terminal and the main downtown area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, see here .
Buses are a great way to get around Aruba, and they run to all the beaches. For info, see here .
There are several rental car companies in Aruba. For more info, see here .
Are there local customs I should know?
- De Palm Island
- Renaissance Island
- Aruba Aloe Factory, Museum and Store
- Aquaventure Waterpark Aruba
- Aruba UTV Tour with Natural Cave Pool and Cliff Jumping
- UTV or ATV to Aruba's Secret Beach and Cave Pool Adventure
- Aruba Sunset Sail with Appetizers and Open Bar
- Aruba Champagne Breakfast and Lunch Cruise with Snorkeling
- Aruba Snorkel Sail with Open Bar – Dolphin Catamaran
Touropia Travel Experts
Discover the World
10 Best Places to Visit in Aruba
Beautiful Aruba is part of the so-called ABC islands, which include Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao . These three islands lie south of the hurricane belt — the area in the Atlantic Ocean that is most likely to be struck by these destructive storms. This has made Aruba an especially popular choice for those wanting to vacation in the Caribbean during the summer and fall months. Aruba’s weather also tends to be less humid than a majority of the other islands in the Caribbean.
In addition to great weather, Aruba also boasts beautiful resorts, casinos and gorgeous beaches. Located just 15 miles off of the coast of Venezuela, the tropical island is an independent country that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An overview of the best places to visit in Aruba.
10. De Palm Island Aruba [SEE MAP]
Searching for a getaway while in Aruba that offers a little bit of everything? Then you’ll want to sign up for this all-inclusive private island adventure. You can choose between a full- or half-day adventure, and your entry fee covers a slew of activities, including but not limited to zipline rides, salsa lessons and banana boat rides. It also includes breakfast and lunch buffets and your drinks. De Palm Island also boasts its own waterpark. And because this is a coral island, the surrounding waters are teeming with clouds of colorful tropical fish, so snorkeling is yet another option. There are also other experiences available for an extra fee, including massages. De Palm Island Aruba also offers an underwater helmet walk that allow swimmers to enjoy a scuba-diver-like experience.
9. Bushiribana Gold Mill [SEE MAP]
When explorers first stumbled on the New World, most were in search of riches, especially gold. And in 1824, those dreams of riches finally came true in Aruba when gold was discovered by a 12-year-old shepherd boy while he was herding sheep. Eventually, more than 3 million pounds of gold were extracted from Aruba. Some people even claim that the island’s name may even reference the gold. At one time, it was supposedly called Oro Ruba, which means Red Gold. At first, the mining on Aruba was done by individuals. But eventually all of the mining rights on the island were given to a Dutch company. Today, the picturesque old stone ruins of the gold mill at Bushiribana are a popular attraction for tourists. They can be visited on foot or, if you’d prefer, you can also see them as part of a horse riding or ATV tour.
8. Alto Vista Chapel [SEE MAP]
Even if you’re not a Catholic, you’ll want to check out Alto Vista Chapel, which is located on a hill near the town of Noord. Officially known as “Our Lady of Alto Vista,” this was the first Catholic church in Aruba. Yellow in color with a red roof, this tiny church contrasts nicely with the bright blue sea behind it. Alto Vista Chapel is open every day from 5 pm to 7 pm, and there is a mass on Tuesdays. Although this current structure was built in 1952, there has been a chapel on this site since 1750. If you decide to visit the Alto Vista Chapel, make sure to check out the Peace Labyrinth, where you can meditate or pray while walking through its circuits.
7. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba [SEE MAP]
Though donkeys are not native to Aruba, they did play a very important role in the country’s history. For many years, they were the main form of transportation for locals and also helped with the building of this nation. The arrival of automobiles to Aruba ended that, and many donkeys were set loose to find for themselves. Unfortunately, disease and accidents with motor vehicles eventually killed much of the population. And by the 1970s, there were only 20 donkeys remaining in the wild. Animal lovers didn’t want to see these creatures disappear from the fabric of the island, so they set up a sanctuary where they could live safely. The sanctuary is free to visit, but donations are welcome.
6. California Lighthouse [SEE MAP]
This stone lighthouse, which was built between 1914 and 1916, is one of Aruba’s most well-known landmarks. It is named after the S.S. California, which was a ship that sank in 1910. You can find the recently renovated lighthouse at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach. Although modern technology has now made it obsolete, the 100-foot-tall California Lighthouse is still a big draw for tourists, especially since it offers some of the best views of Aruba’s jagged coastline. And if the trek to the top of this structure should leave you hungry, there’s an onsite restaurant located in the former lighthouse keeper’s house where you can grab a bite to eat.
5. Antilla Wreck [SEE MAP]
The SS Antilla, which is the second largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean, met its demise in quite the dramatic fashion. In 1940, less than one year after the ship made its maiden voyage, its own German crew set it ablaze rather than have it captured. The ship had been anchored in Aruba’s Malmok Bay when Germany invaded Holland. Not surprisingly, the Dutch government ordered all German ships in the Dutch Antilles to be seized, and that is when the SS Antilla was scuttled and eventually sank. Today the wreck, which is teeming with tropical fish, is a popular site for both snorkelers and scuba divers. It is, in fact, considered by many to be one of the best shipwreck dives in the Caribbean.
4. Baby Beach [SEE MAP]
Baby Beach is one of Aruba’s best-known beaches. It is a beautiful, shallow, man-made lagoon with very calm waters, making it perfect for children. Baby Beach is also popular with kite boarders and windsurfers. You can find this beach on the southeast end of the island, away from the bustling resort area. While the water inside the lagoon is calm, it’s a different story where the bay opens out into the Caribbean Sea. There, the current can be very strong. Unfortunately, this area is also where you can find the best snorkeling. So if you do decide to snorkel at Baby Beach, it’s important that you stay alert and not let the pretty fish lure you outside the protected waters of the lagoon.
3. Arikok National Park [SEE MAP]
If you’re a nature lover, then you’ll definitely want to check out Arikok National Park, which covers approximately 20 percent of the island. Some of the creatures you might run into at this hilly park include the Aruban whiptail lizard, Aruban cat eye snake, the Aruban parakeet and the Aruban burrowing owl. The park is also home to three beautiful beaches — Dos Playa, Boca Prins and Daimari Beach. One of the park’s most popular features is the Natural Pool, which is also known as Conchi. The beautiful natural pool can only be reached by 4×4 vehicles, ATVs, on foot or on horseback.
2. Oranjestad [SEE MAP]
Oranjestad is the biggest city in Aruba and also its capital. It is also a popular cruise ship port. So don’t be surprised if the streets are occasionally crowded with cruise ship passengers checking out the town’s shops and restaurants. Strolling through Oranjestad, you’ll find a mixture of colorful colonial buildings and high-rise resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. Oranjestad’s oldest building is Fort Zoutman, which dates back to 1798. Today, the fort is the site of the Bon Bini Festival, a local dance and music show, which is held every Tuesday.
Getting around Oranjestad is not a problem even if you don’t have a car as there is a free tram service that makes a half dozen stops throughout the city. Oranjestad also boasts the longest linear park in the Caribbean. This park’s main feature is a paved trail that is prefect for walking, running and biking.
1. Palm Beach [SEE MAP]
Palm Beach is where you can find the majority of Aruba’s high-rise resorts. This area also boasts many restaurants, casinos, bars and shops. So if you won’t be renting a car, Palm Beach would be the best place to visit in Aruba as it is very walkable. In addition, Palm Beach’s surf is typically calm, making it ideal for swimming. And for those times when you’re bored with catching rays or wading in the surf, you could always rent a paddleboard or a waverunner from one of the many watersports concessions in the area. Palm Beach also offers some of the best nightlife in Aruba.
Share this post:
21 Best Things to Do in Barbados
25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean
18 Best Things to do in Aruba
28 Best Caribbean Islands to Visit
10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Aruba
8 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Bahamas
Where to Stay in Aruba: Best Places & Hotels
6 Beautiful Dutch Caribbean Islands
12 Best All Inclusive Resorts in St. Lucia
Where to Stay in The Bahamas: Best Places & Hotels
Reader interactions, leave a reply cancel reply.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .
Aruba Travel Guide
Courtesy of vale_t | Getty Images
On the nearly 75-square-mile, foot-shaped island of Aruba, most vacationers stick to the sugary sand strips of the southwest shore. But a few miles east they'll find the capital city and shopping and nightlife hub Oranjestad . The southeast is home to natural attractions like the Arikok National Park .
Aruba's capital city, Oranjestad, is an urban area with numerous restaurants, nightclubs and casinos. Hotels in this region tend to be cheaper than some of the beachfront properties and many especially recommend Oranjestad if you want to be close to nighttime options or upscale shopping. Oranjestad is also home to Aruba's main harbor and cruise ship terminal and historic sites like the Fort Zoutman and Willem III Tower. To see Oranjestad in a short amount of time, consider hopping on one of the streetcars, which offer free, looped transportation to and from the main street downtown area and the cruise ship terminal. If you'd rather stretch your legs, you can walk, jog or bike along Linear Park, a trail that stretches from the airport along the water to downtown Oranjestad. Along the way, you'll find plenty of refreshment stands and casual eateries.
Oranjestad also plays host to the weekly Bon Bini Festival. Held every Tuesday, the festival celebrates Aruban culture music, dance and food at Fort Zoutman.
Palm Beach and Eagle Beach
Just north of Oranjestad, Aruba has a west coast highway called the L.G. Smith Boulevard that's littered with the island's major resorts . High-rise, marquee hotels like the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino , the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino or the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino have spreads directly on the sands of Aruba's Palm Beach , also known as "High-Rise area." The properties get lower to the ground as you go into Eagle Beach or "Low-Rise area." Accommodations are slightly cheaper here, and the views are spectacular – Eagle Beach is considered one of the best shorelines on the island. Many recommend diving just offshore of this area to the Pedernales Wreck.
Spend a few days exploring inland towns like Noord (located just east of Palm Beach ) and ride the area's unpaved roads toward the California Lighthouse on Aruba's northernmost tip. Along the way, you should stop at the Butterfly Farm, the unusual rock formations at Casibari and Ayó or the gold mine ruins of Seroe Gerard.
Arikok National Wildlife Park
The island's southeastern coast is dominated by the Arikok National Park , which is part of an ecotourism effort to preserve Aruba's resources. Just north of Arikok National Park in the area of Santa Cruz is one of Aruba's most popular landmarks, Donkey Sanctuary Aruba . To the south of Arikok, watch the surfers along a beach called Boca Grandi or take young kids to the calmer waters of Baby Beach.
Aruba is considered one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, with very little petty or violent crime toward tourists. What's more, because Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt, you're less likely to have a natural disaster ruin your trip.
Explore More of Aruba
Things To Do
When To Visit
You might also like
# 3 in Best Cheap Destination Wedding Locations
# 1 in Best Cheap Caribbean Vacations
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.
The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2024
Christina Maggitas February 6, 2024
The 32 Most Famous Landmarks in the World
Gwen Pratesi|Timothy J. Forster February 1, 2024
9 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for 2024
Gwen Pratesi|Amanda Norcross January 5, 2024
24 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for 2024
Erin Evans January 4, 2024
26 Top Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts for 2024
Zach Watson December 28, 2023
Solo Vacations: The 36 Best Places to Travel Alone in 2024
Lyn Mettler|Erin Vasta December 22, 2023
26 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget
Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023
The 50 Most Beautiful White Sand Beaches in the World
Holly Johnson December 1, 2023
The 26 Best Zoos in the U.S.
Rachael Hood November 16, 2023
44 Cheap Tropical Vacations That Feel Expensive
Holly Johnson|Alissa Grisler November 10, 2023