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Best Things to Do in Aruba

These 10 attractions offer big fun on the small island of Aruba


Aruba says: "Bon Bini!" in native tongue Papiamento. This means "Welcome!" And if someone is asking "unda?" this person wants to know "where", as in "where to go?" With all of the things to do and see on an island, deciding how to spend your Caribbean-time effectively can become a chore. 10best has narrowed down the sea of available attractions to a list of the most appealing and reputable. Rest easy knowing that any choice from our list is sure to please visitors while respecting the island’s flora and fauna. Secluded coves, sand dunes, ancient cave drawing, mysterious rock formations, natural bridges or the adorable donkeys at Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary, we've got it all covered. Stay up-to-date with the latest top attractions and activities. Know that you are among friends who will do everything to make your stay just perfect... the way any visit to this happy island should be! 


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Maybe it's those big gentle eyes. Or the wacky grin and the ridiculous noise they make. Whatever it is, donkeys have a certain something that many people find completely endearing. The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary takes in injured and sick wild donkeys, providing care and a permanent home. This is a great place to spend a couple hours, especially if you're an animal lover or a kid (and if you're not either, that may have changed by the time you leave!). The donkeys love visitors, especially those with a handful of carrots or apples. Walk all the way to the patio before handing out the treats to avoid an avalanche of enthusiasm while feeding.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Donkey Sanctuary Aruba has been creating a safe and stable home for Aruba's stray donkeys since 1997 and their accomplishments are worth a visit.

Liliana's expert tip: Before you leave, stop by the little refreshment stand for a cold drink or a unique souvenir T-shirt and contribute to this wonderful nonprofit organization.

Read more about Donkey Sanctuary Aruba →


9
Northeast Coast
Alto Vista Chapel
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


Established more than 250 years ago by the Indians and the Spanish, Alto Vista is often called the Pilgrim's Church, but is known officially as Our Lady of Alto Vista. The chapel was the island's first Roman Catholic Church, built in 1750 and reconstructed in 1953. As the name Alto (High) Vista (View) suggests, the chapel is set on a cliff looking out across the moving Caribbean Sea. A small, winding road leads to the chapel â€" the white crosses along the way mark the Stations of the Cross. For locals especially, Alto Vista is a sacred place for peace and contemplation. For a meditative walk, visit the Peace Labyrinth behind the chapel.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Alto Vista Chapel has historical, cultural, spiritual and architectural value, apart from its breathtaking surroundings.

Liliana's expert tip: Open every day for visitors, the Chapel has a 35 minute Mass on Tuesdays at 5 pm.

Read more about Alto Vista Chapel →


The Butterfly Farm Aruba
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp

Since 1999 locals and visitors in Aruba have a unique experience to tick off their must-do list: the island's one and only butterfly farm. With all-day guided tours and hundreds of exotic butterflies fluttering around all year, this little piece of paradise on a paradisiac island is like a double treat. Surround yourselves with delicate beauty and reconnect with nature in this peaceful tropical garden. Early mornings are ideal to visit, if you want to see butterflies emerging from their pupa and taking their first flight. Looking for a unique gift or souvenir? Visit The Butterfly Farm Shop and enjoy a great selection of quality favorites. There's something for everyone here.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Butterfly Farm Aruba offers great fun and learning for the whole family.

Liliana's expert tip: The free return pass allows visitors to visit the farm as often as they'd like for the duration of their stay.

Read more about The Butterfly Farm Aruba →


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7
Sint Nicolaas

The Aruba Art Fair initiative, helmed by founder and organizer Oscar "Tito" Bolivar and his enthusiastic team, was officially inaugurated in 2016. ARTISA gallery (Aruba Art Fair's headquarters) offered a glimpse of the island's flourishing art scene in the often forgotten historical centre of San Nicolas. Since then, the streets are bustling with local and international art, including some impressive murals and sculptures in unexpected corners. This new boost of urban art not only beautifies the city, it brings the island, cultures, ideas together, and a steady stream of curious spectators and art collectors. Although the Aruba Art Fair is a yearly event, the art exhibition is permanent. Visitors interested in San Nicolas' art scene have the following options: the Art Walk Tour downtown, to visit the curated murals by established and up-and-coming artists, or the Museum & Art Tour, which includes a visit to the Museum of Industry.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Aruba Mural Tours, apart from bringing people closer together through art, contributes to Aruba's cultural and economical growth.

Liliana's expert tip: Check out Aruba Art Fair's Facebook page to learn more about their latest art events, including Fashion meets Art and art workshops.

Read more about Aruba Mural Tours →


California Lighthouse Experience by Experitours
Photo courtesy of Michael Salazar

This historic lighthouse, built in 1910, is not named after the rolling sand dunes behind the cliff on which it is situated, but rather for its proximity to the wreck "S.S. California" - ship that sank nearby in 1891, before the lighthouse was constructed. Thankfully, the lighthouse keepers opened the doors of this popular stone structure, located close to Arashi Beach. The winding stairs of the California lighthouse are now available to the public. Don't miss the chance to enjoy the captivating coastal views of one of Aruba's favorite landmarks. The adjacent La Trattoria Faro Blanco restaurant offers breakfast and lunch during the day and fine al fresco dining in the evenings.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: California Lighthouse Tour is a relatively new attraction for visitors to enjoy this unique landmark from within and from atop.

Liliana's expert tip: Combine a visit to the California Lighthouse with a spectacular dinner experience or charcuterie board by booking directly via the Experitours website.

Read more about California Lighthouse Experience by Experitours →


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Birdwatching and Nature Tours Aruba
Photo courtesy of Michiel Oversteegen

Travelers from allover the globe have become more environmentally conscious, opting for sustainable alternatives when visiting other destinations. Luckily, Aruba offers more and more eco-friendly activities like hiking, kayaking, biking. And for the curious adventurer wanting to learn more about the island's diverse flora and fauna, with minimum impact on the environment, there's Birdwatching and Nature Tours Aruba. Avid bird enthusiast and nature photographer Michiel Oversteegen takes its guests on a private personalized island tour, and not for recreational purposes only. Passengers of all ages will enjoy the view through binoculars, observing native and migratory birds, learning about the island's formation, sharpening the senses and respecting nature even more.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Birdwatching and Nature Tours Aruba educates guests on the importance of nature preservation while sharing Aruba's most beautiful wildlife spots during this personalized sightseeing ecotour.

Liliana's expert tip: Bring your own professional, compact or smartphone camera to learn some new nature photography tips and tricks.

Read more about Birdwatching and Nature Tours Aruba →


National Archaeological Museum of Aruba
Photo courtesy of Museo Arqueologico Nacional Aruba

This recently reopened museum, which moved in 2009 into one of the island's most historic landmarks downtown, offers a fascinating glimpse at the life of Aruba's first inhabitants. The permanent exhibition provides an interactive experience for both, locals and tourists alike, and includes an exciting collection of farm tools, Indian artifacts, pottery, glass and art, as well as a few skeletons! Visitors will be delighted by the reconstructed environments, multimedia, and hands-on activities while being amazed by Aruba's many archaeological treasures. The staff (a team of professional archeologists) is conducting the research for the collections, leading excavations, and preserving key heritage sites, including the amazing cave paintings located in National Park Arikok.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The National Archaeological Museum of Aruba preserves the island's most representative archeological finds.

Liliana's expert tip: The museum offers a special interactive program for kids.

Read more about National Archaeological Museum of Aruba →


The Shack Kayak Tours
Photo courtesy of The Shack Aruba

With all the attention focused on Aruba's famous beaches, other invaluable island treasures tend to be forgotten. Thank goodness for local entrepreneurs with appreciation and love for nature like Shannon Croes and his team who run The Shack Kayak Tours. There's no safer, eco-friendlier, more enjoyable way to explore the island's mangrove forests than by kayaking through them accompanied by knowledgable local guides. Learn more and connect with the scenic and tranquil surroundings of one of Aruba's most precious ecosystems. All alone, with your better half or celebrating family bonding time in Aruba? The Shack Kayak Tours team is ready to lead the way.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Shack Kayak Tours sets an example for best practices in sustainable tourism in Aruba without cutting back on the fun.

Liliana's expert tip: Apart from kayaking tours, The Shack also offers snorkeling and hiking tours.

Read more about The Shack Kayak Tours →


2
Airport - Aua
Pure Diving Aruba
Photo courtesy of Pure Diving Aruba

Pure Diving Aruba means serious business when this team of underwater experts decided to join the island's diving pack. Apart from diving lessons and unique marine life adventures, Pure Diving Aruba offers its clients invaluable insights into nature preservation. Building eco-friendly toilets, banning plastic bottles and straws, promoting reef-friendly sunscreens, organizing activities to help protect Aruba's coral reefs and combating the invasive lionfish defines only a couple of Pure Diving Aruba's daily responsibilities. And although having unforgettable underwater experiences remains of utmost importance, combining pleasure with environmental awareness is absolutely the only way to go, if we want to keep enjoying the beauty of nature in times to come.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Pure Diving Aruba is a perfect addition to Aruba's diving scene when it comes to preserving the most essential part of underwater entertainment: marine life.

Liliana's expert tip: Check out Pure Diving Aruba's Fluorescent Night Dive for an out-of-this-world experience (includes special UV night diving gear).

Read more about Pure Diving Aruba →


This wildlife park encompasses roughly 20% of the entire island and is dedicated to the conservation of Aruba's natural environment, and cultural-historical heritage. The visitor center at the entrance to the park provides many facilities, including a park exhibition, an information booth, restrooms, a coffee house, a souvenir shop and a media room. Many tour companies offer excursions through these wilds but, thanks to well-maintained walking paths, exploring on your own is also an option. Within the park you will see the ruins of a gold mining operation, caves, ancient native drawings, and some remnants of an old colonial Dutch settlement. Mount Yamanota, Aruba's highest peak, is also part of Arikok park. As you walk the trails expect to see divi-divi and kwihi trees, cacti, indigenous aloe, and many tropical birds and lizards.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Arikok National Park Foundation is one of Aruba's main attractions, presenting and preserving the island's many natural and historical treasures.

Liliana's expert tip: To thoroughly enjoy your journey, it is recommended to visit the park with a guided tour, wear a hat, use sunscreen and take drinking water with you on the trails. For more park rules and tips, visit: arubanationalpark.org

Read more about Arikok National Park Foundation →


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Meet Liliana Erasmus

Born and raised in Aruba, Liliana moved to the Netherlands to continue her college education in Marketing. Since 1998 she’s been back on her beloved island, where she is working as a...  More About Liliana

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