The Best Things to Do in Aruba
Collected by jenna mahoney, AFAR Local Expert
While it’s true that Aruba has some of the most stunning white-sand beaches (and calm waters!) in the Caribbean, it also boasts attractions like animal sanctuaries, casinos, golf courses, museums, and great shopping – ensuring you’ll never be bored on this magical island.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd Z/N, Oranjestad, Aruba
At this tranquil spot in Oranjestad, hundreds of species of butterflies flutter among tropical flowers, groomed gardens, and a Japanese pond, all set beneath gauzy netting. Docents lead tours past rushing waterfalls, crystal-clear pools, and...
San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Some call this cove, positioned on the windward side of the island, Aruba’s most beautiful beach. It’s pristine and just the right amount of windswept, thanks to the towering limestone cliffs that surround the powdered sands and...
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 87, Noord, Aruba
If you can’t leave an island destination without some shopping, this is the boutique for you. Whether you’re seeking clothing, hats, handbags, or housewares, this decidedly Caribbean store promises to fulfill your every need. While...
Bringamosa 2-Z Sta Cruz, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Donkeys were once the main mode of transportation on Aruba, but after cars arrived, they were left to wander the island without purpose. To give the abandoned animals a permanent home, the island founded this sanctuary in 1997. Free and...
Natural Pool, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Pass over limestone rocks and through a protected landscape and you’ll arrive at this enchanting pool, which gets up to eight feet deep at times. Surrounded by volcanic outcroppings, it’s so removed from other island attractions that...
Tanki Leendert 158-G, Rococo Plaza, Oranjestad, Aruba
With its two bubble-topped towers and picturesque roof, the building that houses the Museum of Antiquities is as interesting as the curiosities inside. Constructed using 17th-century techniques and materials, the museum boasts 23 separate...
San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Among the 20 percent of Aruba that’s protected land, Arikok National Park boasts lava fields, limestone terrain, and a small beach, all crisscrossed with picturesque hiking trails. Paths lead to gold mine ruins, former plantations, and...
Featuring a series of boulders that appear to have been gathered, piled, and deliberately set across a few square miles of desert, this site carries a certain air of mystery. Scientists remain baffled about the geological event that could have...
L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba
Built between 1914 and 1916 on an octagonal base, this stone, double-lens lighthouse is Aruba’s marquee landmark. Standing tall at 98 feet, it’s the highest structure on the island and offers the best views in its respective area....
The National Archaeological Museum of Aruba may be small, but it offers a big overview of the island's history by way of a collection that includes a skeleton which is thousands of years old, ancient Carib artifacts, and more. The oldest building...
Avenida Milio Croes 26, Oranjestad, Aruba
This pretty green building, with its intricate white trim, is an architectural jewel in central Oranjestad. Constructed from 1922 to 1925, it was designed by Merardo “Dada” Picus for Aruba’s first general practitioner, Dr. Eloy...
Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba
At Mopa Mopa in Oranjestad, local handicrafts aren’t just souvenirs—they’re decorative art. The gallery specializes in carved wooden figures, crafted lovingly in the traditional mopa mopa, or barniz de Pasto, style. To finish...
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 55, Oranjestad, Aruba
There’s no better place to practice yoga than a tropical setting tempered by constant trade winds, and at Manchebo Beach Resort’s two open-air studios, you’ll find just that. Located right on pristine Eagle Beach, the idyllic...
Zoutmanstraat Oranjestad, Oranjestad, Aruba
Located inside Aruba’s oldest surviving structure, this museum offers a fascinating look at the island’s evolution. Open weekdays, it boasts artifacts from the Caiquetio people and Dutch colonialists as well as items from modern-day...
Zoutmanstraat 1, Oranjestad, Aruba
Housed in a 100-year-old building with a yellow facade, this famous store offers authentic Aruban items handcrafted by government-certified artisans. Look out for driftwood painted in vibrant colors; jewelry crafted from glass, ceramic, and...
South Beach Center, 3 55, Noord 23000, Aruba
Filled with resort wear for men, women, and children, the Lazy Lizard is stocked with beach bums in mind. Here, shoppers will find an endless array of wide-brimmed hats, baseball caps, and straw totes alongside T-shirts, bathing suits, and...
Pitastraat 115, Aruba
Caya di Solo 10A, Malmok, Noord, Aruba
Located on the northwest point of the island, Aruba’s only golf course offers views across the ocean and desert. It’s also independent, meaning guests at any resort can use the championship greens, which were designed by Robert Trent...
Caya G. F. Betico Croes, Oranjestad, Aruba
Aruba is a paradise for shoppers, and this leafy street, named for a local freedom fighter, is its main attraction. Lined with palm trees and an antique streetcar, the half-mile stretch features several different stores, all housed in pastel-hued,...
L.G. Smith Blvd, Oranjestad, Aruba
A shopping mecca, this downtown street is lined with malls and flea markets. On Oranjestad’s main pier, across from one of the larger malls, you’ll find the site of Aruba’s first public market. Once a clearinghouse for local...
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