Visit Aruba during the off-season and attend fun annual events like symphony festivals, golf tournaments, fashion shows, and more.
While the most popular time to visit Aruba is from December to April, travelers might want to consider planning a trip outside peak season to take advantage of the island’s most exciting events. The summer, fall, and early winter months are when the calendar really heats up, with locals and guests alike celebrating everything from music festivals and windsurfing competitions to regattas, road races, and clean-up efforts.
Below, a month-by-month guide to Aruba’s best annual events to help you time your visit just right.
Aruba Summer Music Festival
For the past few summers, the island has buzzed with the best in Latin beats and soca music for three nights at the end of June. The festival attracts both national and international bands, with past acts including Latin Grammy winner Fonseca, salsa powerhouse Victor Manuelle, and Aruba favorite D-Licious. arubasmf.com
Constant trade winds are one of Aruba’s hallmarks—as are the resulting bent trees—making its coastline a popular destination for kite- and windsurfing. This annual tournament welcomes amateur athletes and kids for several events. Observers on the beach can expect some spectacular stunts. hiwindsaruba.com
Aruba Symphony Festival & Academy
For 10 summer days, more than 100 musicians and conductors hailing from over 15 countries convene in lovely Aruba to study, tutor, and perform. Most events take place at Cas di Cultura, a performing arts center in Oranjestad, and the public is welcome. arubasymphonyfestival.com
Aruba International Regatta
Colorful boats like sunfish, optis, beach cats, F11s, and more zip across the azure waters during Aruba’s annual invitational. A strong sustainability vibe extends across all scheduled happenings, while beach parties and awards ceremonies cap off the festivities. Sailing lessons are also offered over the weekend, perhaps to engage possible future participants. aruba-regatta.com
One Cool Summer International Dragrace
Engines—and excitement—rev at this weekend long invitational hosted at the International Raceway and its half-mile track. There are races in every car-class imaginable, as well as on motorcycles. Attendees also get the opportunity to see the sleek beauties up close during trackside driver meet-and-greets. visitaruba.com/things-to-do/aruba-events/one-cool-summer-international-dragrace/
Savor three-course meals at a selection of Aruba’s top eateries for a fraction of the regular price during this annual promotion. In addition to great deals, chefs craft special dishes just for the event, which is organized by the Aruba Wine and Dine organization. Some proceeds go to SABA, a collection of homes for the island’s elderly. facebook.com/arubarestaurantweekevent
Turibana Loop 10.5K Race
Rise before the sun and watch it brighten up the day as you run across the northern portion of the island. This road race, which is nearly 40 years old, begins at 6 a.m. at the Pandora del Campo in Noord and passes some very pretty ocean vistas before looping back to the start. visitaruba.com/things-to-do/aruba-events/turibana-loop/
Aruba Reef Care Project
Conservation is a top-line topic on Aruba, with the island’s boaters, fishers, farmers, and other citizens trying to reduce waste and recycle whenever possible. This annual daylong event brings visitors into the mix with programming focused on the health and maintenance of reef sustainability, mangrove systems, and beach environments. Past events, which include a beach and underwater clean-up effort, have seen as many as 800 participants. aruba.com/us/calendar/aruba-reef-care-project
Presidential Aruba Caribbean Cup
Scheduled for the very apex of marlin-fishing season, this billfish competition is one of the region’s most popular. “Grand Slam” catches—when a fisher catches a white marlin, a blue marlin, and a sailfish—are also part of the judged competition. The weekend event is bookended by breakfasts and dinners served in the homey Firehouse restaurant. preschallenge.com
National Coastal Clean Up
This environmental initiative—a morning spent picking up trash along the beach—covers areas near and along the coastline, including the beaches of Arikok National Park, the California sand dunes, Wariruri, Baby Beach, and more. Hosted by the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, the volunteer event helps keeps Aruba’s coastline pristine. Visitors are encouraged to attend—gloves, bags, and refreshments are provided. aruba.com/us/calendar/national-coastal-clean-up
Love Festival Aruba
When this all-house-music weekend hits Aruba’s sandy shores, things get a bit livelier, with a deeper beat permeating the air. Sure, there are the expected acts—international DJs spinning electronica, local performers camped out on boats and beaches—but it’s the inclusion of all kinds of house, from techno to mainstream, that draw partiers from around the world. visitaruba.com/things-to-do/aruba-events/aruba-love-festival/
Aruba Fashion Week
This weeklong celebration of Caribbean and international style offers the familiar runway shows, but it’s the roundtable discussions, trend-casting forums, and live musical performances that make it truly worth attending. Of course, no Fashion Week would be complete without festive fetes featuring top models, Champagne toasts, and photographers to capture it all, so make sure to hit a few of those, too. arubafashionweek.com/
Saint Nicolas Day
St. Nick, perhaps the most familiar of all the saints, is famously the patron saint of children, but he also protects sailors. The Aruban iteration, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus in Dutch), sails ashore in early December bearing the requisite gifts. Often he’s accompanied by Zwarte Pieten (“Black Peter,” said to have been a freed slave), who helps distribute chocolates and deposit small gifts into shoes that have purposely been left out to be filled. aruba.com/us/calendar/saint-nicolas-day
>>Next: Plan your trip with AFAR’s travel guide to Aruba.