What to do in Aruba? This island has so much to do depending on your stay, the hardest part will be in the choosing. From water sports to golf to hiking to boat rides and so much more! Today, I’m sharing some of my favorites…
Where to begin:
Visit the Private Islands
Wait! Isn’t Aruba an island? Of course it is, but surrounding this ABC island are other small islands. One of the most famous is Flamingo Island.
Flamingo Island is an incredible island off the coast of Aruba. It is filled with flamingos. As a guest of the Renaissance Wind Creek Resort, visiting the island is included in your stay. You will still need to make a reservation with the concierge.
If you are not a guest, you can still buy a day-pass ticket for the island, the cost is $125 per person. Includes lunch and a drink. Snorkeling equipment, a visit to the family side (where the flamingos are located) or the adult side.
I had fun snorkeling and chillaxing on the beach.
Private Cabanas are available as well and looked exquisite. Want to pamper yourself? Cabanas are $370 per day and must be booked through the hotel directly.
TRAVEL TIP: We took the first boat out at 7:30 a.m. to claim our spot on the beach. We did have to pay for breakfast which was about $22 per person. Great though!
De Palm Island was on the south end of the Island. We actually picked up our bus at the Renaissance Wind Creek Resort. Also a bus transfer is included in your day-pass ticket.
De Palm Island is very family-friendly and includes snorkeling equipment, your drinks, lunch, and lots of chairs (although it is first-come/first-serve.
Private cabanas are also available at De Palm Island beginning at $275 per day.
You can also book an underwater submarine adventure that looks really cool, it is an additional $109 per person.
We enjoyed the dance lessons and the bartenders were a lot of fun too! There are lockers available to store valuables for $5 a day.
Golf in Aruba
Two golf courses are on the island. If you are a golfer, this to-do in Aruba is for you.
The Tierra del Sol Golf Course is a desert links Robert Trent Jones designed course. There are four tee boxes, there are putting greens and chipping areas.
A full-service golf pro shop is on-site as well and you can also book a longer stay for a golf group as well.
Although we didn’t play golf on this visit, we did enjoy lunch in the restaurant.
2. Divi Links
The Links at Divi Aruba is a nine-hole golf course located at the Divi Aruba Resort. Some of the best beach and ocean views from the golf course near Baby Beach.
Golf fees range from $75 (twilight rates) to $96 (peak season)Club rentals are also available for $40.
Hiking and Caves in Aruba
One of my favorite outings was taking a hike up the Hooiberg (also called the Haystack.)
Another great tip we got from Sharon at our Airbnb in Oranjestad was to rise early to see the sunrise over the island. It was unbelievably incredible.
There are over 600 steps to the top of this little mountain to my surprise, there were numbers painted on a few steps to let us know of our progress.
Parking is easy, but be sure to follow the signs for Hooiberg and not Google, we ended up at a goat farm at 6:00 a.m. thankfully we were not the first to do this and the nice farmer set us straight.
Some enthusiasts were there running up the stairs for their morning exercise. Phew!
Another Hiking area is the Arikok National Park. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it here, next trip! I heard their trails and caves are really great. Getting to Arikok is a little bit challenging and you need a jeep or sturdier car than our rental.
We did make our way to Alto Vista Chapel. The trails surrounding this historic chapel skirt the coastline. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sturdy shoes.
This natural pool is super hard to find. You will want to head towards the Bushiribana Ruins and then look for a ladder. This trek down a cliff is not for the faint of heart. However, I was thrilled.
We also arrived very early in the morning as I was told many, many tourists arrive later in the morning. So much fun! Lots of crashing waves and no one around. The rocks were filled with little crabs enjoying the morning sun too!
If you love sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, or exploring the coastline there are numerous opportunities in Aruba.
We hopped on an Octopus Sailboat to do a bit of snorkeling around a sunken WWII boat! Our morning cruise included a small brunch and champagne toast (you can also order an extra bottle if you would like) and snorkel gear! For $79 per person.
Located on Palm Beach at the Palm Pier, we had already enjoyed lunch here a few days prior and knew exactly where the meeting point was located. A short local bus ride from our Airbnb and walk on the beach! I was psyched to get in the water and check out this sunken ship.
The Jolly Pirate is also a super popular boat excursion. The schooner is considered a party boat! This cruise leaves later in the morning and offers a BBQ lunch, snorkel gear, and a rope swing on the boat.
Other water sports
The Banana Boat looked like a lot of fun too! Of course for the Scuba Certified folks, there are lots of opportunities to check out the different diving adventures. SeaAruba FlynDive has a great reputation and includes very popular dive sites like Antilla, Pedernales, and Star Gerren.
Casinos & Shopping
More things to do in Aruba like hitting the Casinos and Shopping. This makes everyone in your travel party happy, right?
Almost every resort or hotel has a casino as part of their amenities. The challenge will be visiting all of them if you like to gamble.
The Stellaris Casino in the Marriott Resort is very popular as well as the Wind Creek Resort. Jon visited here one day and had a little bit of luck. Most casinos include roulette and blackjack, and all of them have slots. All the bigger casinos include card games.
In the cruise port of Oranjestad, you will find plenty of tourist stands as well as along J.E. Irausquin Blvd in Palm Beach. Here you can find t-shirts, handbags, visors, beachwear, etc.
There are shops near Eagle Beach and Divi Beach as well that are accessible by bus or car.
But there’s also shopping in Oranjestad at the Renaissance Marketplace which we found very convenient for our stay.
Also within the Windcreek Resort and near the Casino is high-end stores, where you’ll find, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, and Michael Kors, to name a few.
Today I shared several things to do in Aruba on your vacation, but by far, I haven’t listed everything. For sure, I would need more time to investigate! HA! Plus, you will have to include days on the beach with some fun rum drinks.
If you need help planning a cruise around the Caribbean or a trip to Aruba – let me know! I’ll be happy to put an itinerary together for you!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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