Things to do in Aruba: Best excursions, attractions, beaches, nightlife

A lively and fun island situated at the bottom of the Caribbean, Aruba attracts visitors from the world over, and for many different reasons. From its stunning beaches to its vibrant nightlife, there is a little bit of everything for everyone. But because there is so much to do, unless you are staying for an extended vacation lasting a week or more, you’ll run out of time trying to see and do everything.

That’s why we’ve gone through and researched the best of the best concerning island excursions, attractions, beaches and nightlife. Because we’ve listed the most appealing options currently available, you can skip the rest and just enjoy the best.

Best excursions on Aruba

Even though the island itself is extremely small, there are still tons of excursions to partake in that take you around the island, all while letting you learn more about what Aruba is truly about. Some of these excursions are land based while others focus on the ocean, allowing you the option of picking one that caters more to your vacation style. With that said, because there are so many different ones to choose from, we’ve gone ahead and selected the highest rated and reviewed excursions that impress time and time again.

Around Aruba Tours UTV Tour

An exciting adventure built for two, this UTV tour includes a 4 hour trip driving around some of Aruba’s best natural landscapes alongside a group of like minded vacationers and a skilled guide. First you’ll start off at the Philip’s Animals Garden and then travel to Arikok National Park and Conchi Natural Pools. If you’re traveling with young ones, you’ll want to look for another tour however as the minimum age allowed is 8 years old.

  • Per vehicle: US$180.00

>>>Tickets for the Around Aruba Tours UTV Tour

Around Aruba Tours Boat Tour

Another Around Aruba Tour, this boat tour is a great choice for those who have visited the island expecting some fun on the water. Whether you love to snorkel or are trying it for the first time, this tour allows you to swim along coral, tropical fish and more all with the safety of a guide nearby. With that said, even though there is a guide along with you, you’ll be captaining your own boat, giving you a bit more freedom and a lot more fun.

  • Per couple: US$230.00 and up

>>>Tickets for the Around Aruba Tours Boat Tour

Aruba Aloe Factory Tour

Though this tour may not be as high action as a snorkeling tour or an UTV tour, you’ll learn tons of new information. Found in Hato, this tour takes you through the Aruba Aloe Museum, Factory and Store. During this tour, you’ll learn about the domestication of the aloe plant itself along with how it is made into skin care that is used commonly today. Your guide will take you through the aloe cutting room the testing room and the filling room.

  • Adult: free
  • Child: free

Best attractions on Aruba

Along with a nice amount of excursions, Aruba also offers a handful of attractions. Some of these attractions are a little more impressive than others, yet still all of them have offered a great experience for visitors. In order to keep up with the theme however, we’ve chosen the best of the best and have listed them below.

Arikok National Park

A beautiful park that offers visitors the chance to see primary geological formations (3 of them- limestone, quartz diorite and lava) alongside the ocean, Arikok National Park is a must see for most who visit the island. You’ll also find the island’s oldest Arawak paintings, Aruban houses, hiking trails, plantation ruins, gold mines and a few species of wildlife that are endemic to the island.

  • Adult: US$11.00
  • Child: free

Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins

A great attraction for those who love to learn a little bit of history while on vacation, the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins offers just that. Here you’ll find what is left of a long abandoned gold mill that used to process gold ore during the 19th century. Though the mill itself only operated for 10 years, it produced more than 3 million pounds of gold. Today it’s a popular little side trip for tourists looking for a little cultural lesson.

  • Adult: free
  • Child: free

Donkey Sanctuary Aruba

A very popular attraction that is often talked about in social media and the like, the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is a great attraction for those who don’t mind working a little bit during their vacation. This volunteer run organization provides a sanctuary for over 130 donkeys that were rescued after being abandoned or mistreated. A visit here allows you face to face interaction with the donkeys but requires you to help with some of the daily chores. These chores include feeding them, brushing them and playing with them. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy a coffee and snack on the covered porch.

  • Adult: donations
  • Child: donations

Atlantis Submarines Expedition

Voted time and time again as Aruba’s best attraction, the Atlantis Submarines Expedition is great fun for the entire family. With this attraction, you’ll find yourself traveling 130 feet below the surface on a guided tour in the largest passenger submarine in the world at this time. The attraction itself lasts just short of 2 hours and allows you the chance to view life under the surface without having to get wet yourself. Even though this is a very family friendly attraction, kids must be at least 4 years old to ride.

  • Adult: US$105.00
  • Child: US$79.00

>>>Tickets for the Atlantis Submarines Expedition

Best beaches on Aruba

Because Aruba is a Caribbean island, you’ll find some amazing beaches all around, making for a very exciting trip. With this said, there are some beaches that have, over the years, become more popular than others. These beaches impress with white sand, a soft surf line backed by the clear ocean beyond and a picture perfect postcard look. Below you’ll find 2 beaches that offer just that. If you’re looking for near perfect beaches to take your Caribbean vacation to the next level, you’ll want to visit the beaches listed below.

Eagle Beach

With a picture perfect atmosphere, Eagle Beach is one for the record books. With fine white sand and blue waters beyond, you’ll want to make sure to bring your camera along with you, and maybe an extra memory card. You’ll also find that this beach is very wide, making it great for families with small children who are looking for a safe area for them to swim. If you’re looking for a little fun out on the water, you’ll also find a few water sports to enjoy, making this beach very well rounded. If you love nature and sea turtles, you’ll want to visit during hatching season. This beach is known for all of the hatchings that emerge during sunset and night from their sandy nests and make their way to the surf line.

  • Adult: free
  • Child: free

 Palm Beach

A beach spanning 2 miles in length, Palm Beach is a great beach option for those who don’t mind sharing with lots of other tourists. You’ll also find restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and high end resorts along the beach, making for a pretty impressive and lively atmosphere. The ocean itself is relatively calm, allowing for gentle swims and snorkels right off of the beach. The beach is also a hotspot for nightlife as well, making it a great day visit with a few added hours of fun at night.

  • Adult: free
  • Child: free

Best nightlife on Aruba

A Caribbean island known for its nightlife, Aruba is a great choice if you’re looking to extend your fun into the night. With a plethora of different nightlife activities, bars and casinos to enjoy, you’ll find that the choices are quite large for such a small island. With that said, some options are better than others. After a lot of research, we’ve found the best way to experience nightlife on the island, and it may surprise you.

Kukoo Kunuku

Instead of just visiting one bar, why not visit a few? The Kukoo Kunuku is a party bus that visits bars, clubs and more offering guests a little bit of everything. The bus itself is a full service bar as well, meaning that the party never ends while you’re on board. While on the bus, you’ll also have the chance to mingle with other vacationers, often a few from other parts of the world. Just note that the drinking age is 18 and no one younger is allowed on.

  • Adult: US$46.00

>>>Tickets for the Kukoo Kunuku Bus Tour

Photos provided by Flick users Dan SouzaVlad PodvornyMisty Johnson, Ian MackenzieSarah Barrow and Chris Ford.

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