JOURNEYS

From Sunrise to Sunset in Aruba

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Caribbean islands are practically synonymous with stunning sunrises and sunsets and Aruba’s size (about 20 miles long and only six miles wide) means it’s easy to catch a glorious sunrise or sunset over the water in a single day. From one end of the island to the other, you’ll find plenty of places to relax with incredible views, morning and night, that give you a sense of harmony with nature and your fellow travelers. And though the sun will eventually set on your trip to Aruba, the sensations you feel here will burn brightly inside you for years to come. This itinerary explores the many ways to see Aruba’s famous sunrises and sunsets across the island, while having more than a little fun in between.

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TRIP HIGHLIGHT

The California Lighthouse

A visit to the California Lighthouse is a must for sunset views. Pro tip: get there before sunset to climb to the top of the Lighthouse for sweeping views of Aruba. Future you will thank you.
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TRIP DESIGNER

The Aruba Tourism Authority

The Aruba Tourism Authority strives to enlighten travelers on all the wonders Aruba has to offer. From white-sand beaches to beautiful desert landscapes and so much more, the Aruba Effect takes hold, sending travelers home with a warm, incomparable sense of peace that lasts and lasts.
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Day 1San Nicolas to the California Lighthouse

At the southeast tip of the island, San Nicolas, nicknamed Sunrise City, is an absolute must for seeing the sunrise. This quieter town, about 12 miles outside of Oranjestad, has an eastern location that means it gets those beautiful early-morning skies awash in pink, red, orange, and yellow colors as the sun begins to peek over the horizon. Rodgers Beach or Boca Grandi Beach are both great places to watch a sunrise, and anyone stopping through San Nicolas should stop at Charlie’s Bar, famous since the 1940s, along with colorful street art that adorns the buildings.

After a morning in San Nicolas, head to Arikok National Park, which makes up nearly a quarter of Aruba and offers lots of adventures. The rugged desert terrain here meets the coastline for stunning views, and flora and fauna are abundant. Head to the Conchi Natural Pool to see an oasis protected from the surrounding rough sea, climb up Jamanota Hilltop for a view from the top of the island, explore caves, or head to Dos Playa or Boca Prins beaches for a day by the water.

For a killer sunset this evening, make your way to the northern side of the island to the California Lighthouse. The Lighthouse has a 360-degree view, and at sunset, you can watch the glowing sun dip slowly into the Caribbean—a reminder that while all good things come to an end, the moments you gather in Aruba will always stay with you.

Once the sun has fully set, check in at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino, located on Palm Beach. This hotel wows with newly designed rooms, a sprawling pool with beautiful cabanas, numerous restaurants, and an impressive spa.

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Day 2Palm Beach to Eagle Beach

Today, stick to the North Side of the island and begin at Palm Beach, a two-mile strip of beach home to some of the popular high-rise hotels, casinos, shops, bars and restaurants, and watersports. If you’re staying on Palm Beach, just head outside of your hotel room as the sun rises for a beautiful scene unfolding in front of you.

For lunch, head to Lola Taqueria, a fun taco bar on Palm Beach with a wide variety of tacos, including octopus, local Caribbean sea bass, carne asada, and even Korean chicken. MooMba Beach Bar & Restaurant is another casual lunch option with live music, two bars, and offerings such as seafood salads and fried grouper. Then, for an elevated dinner, try Papillon, a French-Caribbean fusion restaurant where items like filet mignon with red wine truffle sauce and Cajun-spiced tuna steaks with mango compote grace the menu.

For sunset tonight, Eagle Beach is the place to be. Just south of Palm Beach, Eagle Beach is the widest beach in Aruba and known for stunning tangerine-hued sunsets. Eagle Beach is also home to the famous fofoti trees, making this scene the perfect place for snapping that sunset photo you’ll be sharing with others for years to come. After the sun sets, head back toward Palm Beach when the area begins to buzz after dark as the casinos, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs come alive.

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Day 3Baby Beach to Mangel Halto Beach

Near San Nicolas, Baby Beach is a beautiful half-moon shaped beach in a calm lagoon that families and couples love. Grab a towel and sit right in the sand as the sun makes its way above the horizon, then enjoy the shallow water for a morning of swimming and snorkeling. Baby Beach has a refreshment stand for drinks and meals, plus shade huts, beach beds, snorkel gear, and windscreens.

After a morning at the beach, head to Bushiribana to see gold mill ruins. Gold was first discovered in Aruba in 1824, and the island produced more than 3 million pounds of gold in total. Bushiribana is abandoned today, but visitors can walk through the ruins and explore the site. It’s a great place to snap a photo, as the site sits right along the Caribbean Sea, creating a dramatic backdrop.

Tonight’s sunset is a quiet affair at Mangel Halto—a secluded beach with shallow waters and mangroves that paddle boarders and snorkelers love exploring. Grab a picnic and head to the public beach and enjoy a romantic beach dinner as you watch the sunset away from the crowds.

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Day 4Surfside Beach to Andicuri Beach

The shallow waters at Surfside Beach make it a favorite for locals, and the sunrises here are simply incredible. Pick a spot under a kwihi tree and watch the sky fill with color as the day begins. You might see local anglers making their way out onto the water for the day, or early birds gliding across the water on paddle boards and canoes for a workout.

For a unique Aruban experience, check out the Ayo Rock Formations near Ayo Village. These massive stone boulders remain a mystery, as they appear to have been placed in their location amidst the flat landscape. In ancient times, Aruba’s indigenous peoples might have created this site to worship the Gods, but its purpose remains unknown today. Petroglyphs and paintings by the native Arawak people were found here, and trails weave through the huge stones, making it easy for visitors to explore.

Tonight’s sunset takes us to Andicuri Beach on Aruba’s windward coast for a low-key sunset that locals love. Andicuri boasts a wide bay surrounded by coral-stone cliffs, creating a dramatic setting to watch the sun go down. Bring your own picnic or bottle of champagne and toast to another perfect day in Aruba.

From north to south, there are almost too many great spots around the island to watch the sun rise or set, so you’ll be sure to find an oasis that suits you and your loved ones perfectly. Aruba is so full of wonder and beauty; you’ll certainly feel the Aruba Effect—a lingering feeling of happiness that makes the return flight home with you. And no matter how many times you watch the sun go up or down in Aruba, you’ll always leave wanting more.