When it comes to Caribbean vacations, the question isn’t so much “why visit Aruba” as it is “why ever leave?”. With year-round tropical temperatures and little rainfall to spoil your day on the beach, this white sand paradise has been among the most popular and safest travel locations in the Caribbean.
It’s not tough to find things to do in Aruba, from snorkeling to kitesurfing to table games of all stakes. Whether you dream of lounging on the beach or want to explore less-traveled routes, these top ten destinations will keep you busy – and eager to come back for your next vacation as well.
1. California Lighthouse
The stone lighthouse on the island’s northern tip has been an iconic sight for over a century. Recent renovations allow guests to climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse, where you’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the beautiful coral shorelines along Aruba’s western coast.
It’s best to visit right at sunset, watching as the orange glow reflects brilliantly on the azure waters for an island memory you’ll never forget.
2. The Natural Pool
This naturally formed attraction, known as a “conchi” in the local tongue, is both off the beaten path and among the more popular sights in Aruba. Because it’s inaccessible by car, the natural pool formed by a cluster of rocks is rarely busy, giving adventurous vacationers a chance to swim peacefully while waves crash on the protective rocks beside them.
It’s an experience not to be missed – just make sure you’re ready for the ATV ride and short hike down to the rocks. The extra bit of effort makes getting there that much more worthwhile.
3. Quadriki Caves
The Quadriki Caves are a must for anyone interested in the history of Aruba and its people. Paintings and sculptures within the cave date back hundreds of years, when local tribes performed rituals and ceremonies within these twisting limestone caverns.
Nowadays, Quadriki is home only to the fruit bats who enjoy the complete darkness of the deeper caves. If you’re feeling particularly nocturnal, stick around at night to watch the bats fly out en masse for their nightly feeding. It’s an experience you won’t find during most other beach vacations!
4. Palm Beach
Bat caves, lighthouses, ATVs – when you’re done dashing around the island, why not relax on a world-famous white sand beach? Few are more worthy of their name than Palm Beach, a long stretch of calm waters, warm sand, and enticing oceanside restaurants just minutes from the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino.
There’s more than enough room for everyone to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and kiting as they please. What’s more, The Butterfly Farm is within walking distance, offering an incredible chance for children and adults to marvel at the free-flying butterflies in a jungle enclosure. It’s the perfect locale for any family looking for a true island experience.
5. Palm Island
One of a handful of islands off Aruba’s western coast, Palm Island is less well-known for its trees than it is for the water park that kids rave about for weeks after returning home. For parents, the unique snorkeling opportunities and beautiful views make it worth the short ferry from the main island. All in all, it’s a must-see for kids, and a worthy recommendation for any adult. A five-minute ferry ride is all it takes to arrive for a memorable half-day excursion.
6. Baby Beach
As the name suggests, Baby Beach is the calmest of Aruba’s many beaches, perfect for toddlers to splash around on shore without worrying parents. The half-moon beach creates a tranquil lagoon perfect for both young children and adult beachgoers looking for a relaxing swim. As with all Aruban beaches, there’s fantastic snorkeling opportunities just beyond the lagoon’s perimeter.
The beach is a 45 minute drive from the Palm Beach strip and is less crowded than the northern parts of the island. This is the place to lounge in one of the many beach huts and simply watch the time pass in peace.
7. Alto Vista Chapel
Aruba has been a majority Catholic country for centuries, and there’s no better symbol of the island’s pious heritage than this chapel on the hill. As its name translates to “high view” in Spanish, Alto Vista offers a chance to see the island from a 360 degree view while learning more about Aruba’s religious history.
Because the roads are winding and unpaved, more and more visitors opt to visit the church as part of a larger bicycle tour of the area. The chapel is impossible to miss due to its hillstop location and bright yellow exterior. It’s a serene stop on any tour of the inner island.
8. Frenchman’s Pass
Aruba’s history is one of colonization by the Spanish and later the Dutch, yet legend states that French pirates also stopped here in the 17th century. There’s quite a bit of folklore and rumor surrounding this period of Aruba’s history, and much of it centers around Frenchman’s Pass.
The ghost stories about spirits haunting the area are reason enough to visit for adventurous travelers. For everyone else, the chance to walk among the trees between a mountain pass makes a wonderful day trip, ghosts or no ghosts.
9. Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach represents the best of what Aruba has to offer: world-class white sands, incredible shimmering blue waters, and delicious seafood restaurants with an unforgettable sunset view. The beach is as popular for weddings as it is for jet skiing and other fun-in-the-sun activities.
Eagle Beach is spacious enough to give a warm welcome (literally!) to anyone arriving during daylight hours. Be sure to check out the iconic Divi Divi trees growing out of the sand just a few meters up from the main beach. They’re a must for your Instagram feed.
Aruba’s largest volcano is easier to hike up than it is to pronounce. The name translates to “haystack” in Dutch, a reference to the formation’s appearance, which can be seen from virtually any spot on the island.
A trip to the top of Hooiberg takes about 20 minutes. Visitors typically spend much longer than that at the top, since the volcano’s central location on the island makes it an ideal viewing and photography spot. On a clear day you can see all the way to Venezuela across the water, which certainly makes an enviable travel picture.
Why Visit Aruba
Aruba’s pleasant year-round weather means it’s virtually always a great time to visit. If you haven’t experienced the incredible beaches for yourself, now is the time to book a vacation and find out what true relaxation feels like on one of the Caribbean’s best-loved islands for locals, expats, and vacationers alike.