I’m so smitten with Aruba that I’ve been here twice in the past two years. My last visit consisted of mostly beach bumming, so I wanted to explore a little more of the island on this recent trip. From spending the day with flamingos to snorkeling with sea life, here are ten things you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Aruba.
10 Fun Things to Do in Aruba
Take a Snorkel Cruise
Snorkel cruises let you bask on a boat in the sun (or shade) with live music, food, and drinks, then stop by the snorkeling spots for a little underwater exporation. The Pelican Adventures cruise also brings you to the S.S. Antilla, a famous WWII shipwreck that is one of the largest in the Caribbean.
Spend the Day with Flamingos
Renaissance Island is a private island for guests of the Renaissance Resort & Casino, so it’s away from the crowds though you can share company with flamingos on one of the beaches. Even if you are not staying at this hotel, you can purchase a day pass to the island to snap a picture with the pink beauties for a postcard-worthy photo.
Ride to Conchi on Horseback
If you don’t mind getting up early, take a sunrise horseback ride to the conchi, or natural pool, surrounded by volcanic rock on Aruba’s north side. Take in the colors of the landscape, and when you reach the pool, you’ll be ready for a swim. There aren’t any ready amenities — just lots of natural beauty.
Visit Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach has been named one of the best beaches in the world. It’s popular, but with a vast coast and soft white sands, it’s still a perfect place to relax. In the summer months, you may even spot sea turtles hatching around sunset and at night.
Float in Palm Beach
Palm Beach is renowned for its calm waters, making it easy to float on a rubber raft and soak up the sun. Raft rentals are usually $5 a day, but if you’ve got room in your bags, you can bring your own and float whenever you want.
Karaoke at Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill
Bungaloe is a laid-back beach house on the water of Palm Beach, with open walls and a classic grass roof. On Saturday nights, they host karaoke with a happy hour during the event — just in case you need a boost to take the stage and sing your heart out.
Drift in Mangel Halto
A favorite of the locals, the calm waters of Mangel Halto are perfect for skimming on stand-up paddleboards and snorkeling. It’s a beautiful reef with colorful fish, and a guided drift snorkel lets you swim easily along with the current to see it.
Ride on a Banana Boat
In Palm Beach, you can find banana boats — big inflatable rafts that can seat ten or so people pulled by a speedboat. Bouncing on the waves makes it hard to hang on, but that’s part of the fun! Where there are banana boats, there is laughter and smiles.
Visit the California Lighthouse
A scenic white lighthouse near the northwest tip of Aruba, the California Lighthouse is a popular drive-and-park destination for couples. It offers a beautiful overlook, and nearby are the California White Sand Dunes to get in some hiking.
Zeerover is a small, local eatery in the fishing village of Saventa where you can get delicious seafood at good prices, fresh off the boat. The fried fish and jumbo shrimp come with sides like Aruban pancakes and fried plantains for a hearty meal. You can even play a game of domino while you wait, or take your food to go and have a picnic on the beach!
“Adventure in Aruba” Video
Flir FX sent me a camera with underwater housing and asked me to test it out on my trip to Aruba. Here’s the footage I took:
Where to Stay:
During this recent visit to the island, I stayed at the Hilton Aruba, which is situated right on Palm Beach. The view from my balcony was breathtaking and I had one of the best meals of my trip at their beachfront restaurant — complete with live entertainment. The property has two pools, dozens of beach palapas, 5 restaurants, and it’s an easy 22 minutes from the airport.
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