Long story short, Aruba has it all. While situated deep in the heart of the Caribbean Sea just a couple hundred miles off the coast of South America, Aruba plays host to what many would consider an unexpected island climate: aqua waters coexist seamlessly alongside an arid climate rife with cacti and rare rain showers. While it may be tempting to hang out by the beach day in and day out while on an Aruban vacation, there’s so much more to explore. Read on for our top 5 things to do in Aruba!
Arikok National Park
Did you know that most people don’t know that Aruba is home to thousands of cacti? Arikok National Park, which makes up an astounding 18% of Aruba’s total land, offers a wide range of activities to satisfy the whole family. Take an ATV – the preferred mode of transport here – around the park, and enjoy the rugged terrain that makes up the park. Take in all the beautiful cacti lining the park, and make your way down to the gorgeous natural pool for a refreshing swim. Head back into the park to find Quadiriki Cave, one of three large limestone caves to explore while in Arikok. Wrap up your day in the park by driving along and exploring the various secluded beaches and cliffs – we recommend checking out Dos Playas for some gorgeous views and photos!
After spending a few too many days on the beach, you may find yourself the victim of some of the dangerously strong UV rays. Taking a trip to Aruba’s esteemed Aloe Vera Plantation makes for the perfect activity. Start your tour outside by the plantation, and learn about the history between the plant and the island as well as the properties that make Aloe so special. Escape the heat and head inside for a tour of the factory, and learn about the process behind cultivating and packaging the plant for worldwide distribution. Wrap up your tour with a stop at the gift shop, where you can pick up gifts from their full product range for yourself and loved ones back home. From lotions and healing creams to bath bombs and soap, there’s no shortage of great options to shop from.
Hit the beach
Let’s face it: most people come to Aruba for its crystal-clear teal waters, for which there are no shortage. Head to Palm Beach for one of the island’s most busy strips of sand, where you’ll find plenty of watersports, shopping and restaurants nearby to round out your day. For those looking for more secluded beaches, head over to Arashi or Eagle Beach. On the south side of the island? Visit Baby Beach, where you’ll find pristine waters, soft sand and even some waves to surf on a good day! While not an expansive beach, Mangel Halto offers beautiful vistas and is home to a gorgeous mangrove, where you’ll find stretches of quiet sand and kayak tours.
Snorkeling the SS Antilla
While snorkeling is always a must-do activity when on a tropical vacation, Aruba is no exception. Catch a catamaran tour from Palm Beach, and head out into the sparkling sea. Soak up the views of the coastline dotted with hotels and enjoy the waves as you set out to the SS Antilla, one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks. Originally a German cargo ship built for trade with the Caribbean, the ship is now one of Aruba’s most popular diving and snorkeling destinations. While the shipwreck has now been deemed too dangerous to enter, snorkelers and divers alike can explore the wreck from around and above.
Situated just over 10 miles southeast of Oranjestad, San Nicolas is the second largest city in Aruba. Home to muraled walls and charming streets, San Nicolaas is a great locale to walk around and explore. Appreciate the impressive murals scattered around the city as well as the numerous works of street art throughout. If you need a beach break from exploring, stop by Baby Beach or Boca Grandi, a popular destination for water-sports like kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Whether exploring downtown Oranjestad and it’s colorful architecture, adventuring around Arikok National Park or soaking up rays at Palm Beach, Aruba has full slate of offerings ready to make your Aruban vacation a memorable one. Learn more about Hilton Aruba and book your stay today.