Wondering what to do in Aruba for the best time? Here are tips from my 10 days there!
Aruba’s crystal clear blue waters combined with its desert scape full of cacti groves make it a truly unique place in the Caribbean to visit. Because of its diverse environment, there are so many things to do in Aruba for every type of traveler.
I personally went for a bachelorette party and wedding thinking that I’d be largely relaxing on the beach for most of my trip, but I was so wonderfully wrong. In addition to plenty of time sunbathing, I found my inner adventurer; one that I didn’t even know existed.
From discovering hidden gems to relaxing on white sands, here’s what to do in Aruba for the best time!
This post on what to do in Aruba for the best time was written in collaboration with the Aruba Tourism Board and contains affiliate links. All insight is from my own personal experience!
What to Do in Aruba: Explore
When thinking about things to do in Aruba, the first thing that comes to my mind is UTV’ing to the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park. Not only is the natural pool a stunning sight to see with rock and volcanic stones creating a circle to swim in, but the drive there is absolutely jaw-dropping as well.
I kept forgetting that I was on a Caribbean Island as we drove in a desert full of cacti, shrubbery and giant rocks, which is what added to that “jaw-dropping” effect of the scenery.
Must Know About the Natural Pool:
- You can’t reach the Natural Pool with a regular car. It’s only accessible with a four-wheel or all-terrain vehicle, horseback, or on foot.
- I rented a UTV from Arubiana because of their great reviews and own app that gives you various self-guided trails around the island. This was really helpful as the app works without data or wifi.
- I’d opt for the full day rental because it’s only $30 more than the half day rental and gives you more time to see everything you want!
Another must-do activity in Aruba is snorkeling over the SS Antilla, a shipwreck off the coast from 1940. There’s tons of fish swimming in and around this ship underwater, which make it a breathtaking experience.
I went snorkeling twice with Red Sail Sports Aruba and Jolly Pirates. For a more luxurious experience on a steady boat, go with Red Sail Sports Aruba (my preference) but if you want less time at the snorkeling sites so you can cannonball off a rope swing, then go with Jolly Pirates.
Of course, when planning what to do in Aruba, you’ll want to include sunbathing at the beach because Aruba has such beautiful beaches. Head to these beaches:
- The beaches at the Barcelo Aruba and Hilton Aruba have the smoothest sand without shells or pebbles.
- Baby Beach is the best beach for kids since the water is really calm.
- The water at Flamingo Island is even calmer but since it’s on a private island and kids are not allowed on the side with flamingos, it may not be worth visiting if you are with a family or on a budget.
- Mangel Halto Beach is a great beach to go to avoid crowds and snorkel at because of its extra clear waters. Also, this beach has mangroves so it’s cool for experiencing a different landscape.
Since Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt, there’s 82°F weather all year round making any time of year perfect to visit!
All that exploring and sunbathing will make you quite hungry so might as well go to some of the best places to eat in Aruba. After eating at seven restaurants, my favorite spots were:
- Zeerovers for a no-frills, fried fresh fish joint get the red snapper if they have it
- Flying Fishbone for an ultra unique experience dining with your feet in the water while watching an unadulterated sunset ask for the table on the far right in the water for the best sunset view
- Sunset Grille for an unbelievably mouth-watering cowboy rib-eye steak easily shared by two the portions are huge so one appetizer and one side may be enough as add-ons
There are some really fun clubs and bars in Aruba, especially if you like to dance.
- One night we went to Bugaloe, a bar on the pier, for salsa dancing.
- Another night we went to South Beach for more of a club vibe.
- We didn’t make it to The Soprano’s Piano Bar but heard it’s great for live music so would recommend checking it out if you like live music!
Note that there is different types of music on various nights at the bars so check to see what type of music they’ll be playing the night you go!
As if relaxing on the beach in Aruba wasn’t enough, you can amp up your rest and relaxation time with an aromatherapy massage at Indulgence by the Sea Spa. For an hour (or even longer if you choose), you can get a gentle rub down with calming scents to basically rock you to sleep.
Get Off the Beaten Path
If you’re looking for what to do in Aruba that’s a bit more off the beaten path, then drive down to San Nicolas to check out a less touristic city full of art murals, which is the aftermath of the Aruba Art Fair.
Learning more about the San Nicolas community by popping into the San Nicolas Community Museum, or find out more about arts and culture related activities in Aruba here.
Where to Stay in Aruba
Of course, after all these fun things to do in Aruba, you’ll want to rest your head someplace quite comfy and cozy. During my week in Aruba, I stayed at these three places, which all have varying benefits.
The Barceló Aruba is a five-star all-inclusive resort on one of Aruba’s best beaches, Palm Beach. It has six restaurants and three bars, tons of activities at the pool, and of course, unlimited drinks, which makes this hotel a great choice for families and those looking for a fun time!
Pro Tip: Bring a reusable tumbler or cup with lid so you can refill your drinks at the bar to bring to the beach (and minimize plastic of course).
The Hilton Aruba is a chic four-star hotel on Palm Beach (neighboring the Barceló Aruba). Each hotel room has a peaceful, relaxing vibe with muted colors and its own private balcony or patio. The two sparkling pools have the most tranquil environment for sunbathing.
Pro Tip: If you like steak, don’t miss out on the cowboy rib eye at their Sunset Grille restaurant.
Villa Nirvana is a 6-bedroom villa with a pool, jacuzzi and tropical garden. Even with some of us sharing a room, it comfortably fit our large party of 9 females for my friend’s bachelorette party and felt like a home.
Think you need to extend your vacation after reading about what to do in Aruba? You’re probably right! What’s another day or two?
Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post. If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit. You might like what I post on there too.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!