Top 10 Things to do in Aruba — with video

by GO GlobeHopper

Aruba is an idyllic island located off the northern coast of South America. It is often referred to as part of the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao – but more accurately as part of the Dutch Caribbean given their shared political history.  Nicknamed ‘One Happy Island,’ this is a paradise often visited by honeymooners and those looking to soak in the sun on the beach, but this island has so much more to offer. Keep reading for our list of the Top 10 Things to See and Do.

⦿ To watch our video version of this article, visit our YouTube channel HERE and use the highest quality playback setting. Or, keep reading for valuable information and booking links.

Explore the Capital City of Oranjestad

The literal translation of Oranjestad is “orange city” but visitors will actually find a vast array of bright and pastel colors within a unique blend of old meets new – preserved colonial architecture mixed with state-of-the-art amenities. Located near the harbor, the streets are filled with diverse shops, local art, and culinary specialties. Visitors will also find restored landmark buildings such as City Hall and an abundance of restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and casinos.

Historic attractions can also be found in the city, such as Fort Zoutman, which dates back to 1798 when it was built to protect the city from pirates. Once a lighthouse, The Willem III Tower was built in 1868, and now functions as a public clock tower.


Hang at Flamingo Beach

Despite many travel photos that give the impression beautiful pink birds roam the island, the fact is that flamingos are not native to Aruba. They are located only on one stretch of beach as an attraction.

Flamingo Beach gets its name from – you guessed it – the flamingos that roam the sand. Although it is not open to the public, those wanting to snap pictures of themselves feeding flamingos will have to stay at the Renaissance Hotel or there is an option to purchase a day pass. Those staying at the hotel have unlimited access to this beach, but if you go with a day pass, expect to pay approximately $125 US.


Tour Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park makes up 20 percent of the island. This national park offers everything from craggy rock terrain and desert-like hills covered in cacti to interesting landforms made from lava and a plethora of wildlife indigenous to Aruba. Visitors of Arikok might even spot the hard-to-miss bright green Prikichi, which is Aruba’s national bird.

This is a great place to hike and explore, and photography buffs will adore it. Plus, Aruba’s Natural Pools are located here. This unique natural pool, called Cura di Tortuga, is located amidst a vast array of volcanic rocks.  Small and secluded, it is the perfect spot to swim and snorkel. The wet rocks can be slippery, so make sure to enter the water with caution.


Relax on Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach, on the western part of the island and located near Oranjestad, is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. The stunning azure ocean waves lap onto the soft sand and turn this stretch of shoreline into a relaxing paradise.

Measuring 1100 meters in length, Eagle Beach offers visitors breathtaking views, plus full sun and shaded areas to relax in.  Additionally, there are beach chairs and cabanas, a bar and restaurant, and several activities including beach tennis and snorkeling.


Visit the Aruba Ostrich Farm

Get up close and personal with over 80 farm animals, including Ostriches and Emus, at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. The guided tours are the best way to see and learn more about these creatures. Plus, there is an opportunity to hand-feed them. Ostriches love to eat – if visitors have food, it is almost guaranteed that the birds will flock to it. So be careful and prepared.

There is also The Savannah Bar and Restaurant on the property with the chance to try ostrich or emu egg omelets.  Plus, there is a gift shop featuring authentic souvenirs made by local artisans.


Explore the Pedernales Wreck

It’s not every day that you can scuba around a ship from World War II that was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat while en route to a refinery in Aruba. The center portion of the vessel still remains submerged off the shore of Palm Beach, approximately 25 feet below sea level.

This fascinating artificial reef is now home to an array of marine life.  The multitude of different species includes angelfish, groupers, eels, rays, turtles, and every so often, an octopus. The Pedernales Wreck is a beginner-friendly dive.


Sightsee at Ayo and Casibari Rock Formation

There is more to Aruba than just beaches and turquoise waters, like the scattered hills of the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formation, located north of Mount Hooiberg. These stunning rocks are shrouded in mystery, as no one knows how they came to be.

The natural preserve features petroglyphs and paintings drawn on the rocks by the native Arawak people.  Pathways and steps leading to the top of the tonalite boulders allow for exploration of the site and panoramic views.  There is also an abundance of cacti and other flora, plus wildlife that includes iguanas and owls.  The best time to visit is in the morning before the large groups of cruise ship passengers arrive.


Donkey Sanctuary

For families, animal lovers, and those in need of a hug to relieve stress, consider a visit to Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary. Donkeys have been part of the island’s culture for 500+ years and approximately 100 of them have a safe, new home at the sanctuary, where a bell rings to welcome visitors.  These affectionate creatures have a gentle nature and offer private 30-minute hugging and petting sessions.

Guests can enjoy the visitor center, have a cold drink on the covered porch, or purchase donkey-themed souvenirs in the gift shop.


Get Deep on a Submarine Tour

Ever wondered what it would be like to be in the depths of the ocean? You can find out on an Aruban submarine tour. With submarine options like a fully operational submarine or a semi-submarine, where guests can view the underwater life seated in a concave viewing area, there are plenty of expeditions to choose from depending on your personal comfort level.

One of the island’s most popular submarine tours is called the Aruba Atlantis Submarine Expedition.


Take in Views from the California Lighthouse

To see gorgeous panoramic views of Aruba, visit the California Lighthouse. Named after the S.S. California – a sunken ship in the region – this lighthouse sits perched on the seaside and gives a beautiful view of the island’s west coast.

Although the views are beautiful at all hours of the day, watching the fiery orange sun dip into the bright blue Caribbean Sea is unmatched, so we recommend going around sundown.



Photo Credits:

Lead – Photo by Lino Ogenio on Unsplash 
Oranjestad – Photo by falco on Pixabay
Flamingo Beach – Photo by Lex Melony on Unsplash
Arikok National Park – Photo by Darice de Cuba on Unsplash
Eagle Beach – Photo by Aruba Tourism Authority
Ostrich Farm – Photo by Emilio Sáez Soro on Unsplash
Diving a Wreck – Photo by on Unsplash
Ayo and Casibari Rock Formation – Photo by Aruba Tourism Authority
Donkey Sanctuary – Photo by Florian Dormann on Unsplash
Atlantis Submarine – Photo by Douglas Sprott on Flikr License CC 2.0
California Lighthouse – Photo by Aruba Tourism Authority






Photo Credits:
Lead – Mali Ancor on Pixabay

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