Scuba-diving, Arikok National Park, and De Palm Island: Discover the top Aruba day trips
Famed for its exquisite white-sand beaches, charming capital city, and strong Dutch influences, Aruba is the ultimate Caribbean getaway. You can sink your toes into the sand at picturesque spots like Palm Beach and tranquil Eagle Beach, or you can zip across the water at world-renowned windsurfing and kitesurfing sites such as Hadicurari Beach.
Blending Dutch, South American, and Caribbean flavors, Aruba’s cuisine is not to be missed. Try specialties like curried goat and bitterballen, a traditional Dutch meatball, or treat yourself to fried lionfish and lobster rolls at the island’s iconic seafood shacks. When you’re full, check out Oranjestad’s oldest building, Fort Zoutman. Completed in 1798, the fort now houses a history museum and a clock tower that once served as a lighthouse. While you’re in the capital, browse chic boutiques selling aloe products and perfume or pick up a locally crafted souvenir.
Experience some of the top day trips in Aruba:
- Arikok National Park: Set in a rugged volcanic landscape with cactus-dotted hills, dramatic beaches, and limestone caves, Arikok National Park sprawls across a huge chunk of the island. You can hunt for Indian pictographs or hike to Conchi, a natural pool protected from the sea by a circle of rocks. It’s worth renting an ATV or joining an e-bike tour to navigate the park’s bumpy trails.
- Antilla shipwreck: There are several wrecks scattered around the coast of Aruba, but the most famous is the Antilla, a German WWII ship scuttled by its crew in 1940. On a dive among the coral-encrusted remains, you might encounter green turtles, Moray eels, or darting scorpionfish.
- Animal attractions: At a guided tour of the Aruba Ostrich Farm, you’ll learn all about the eating and breeding habits of ostriches and you’ll have the chance to feed one of the giant birds straight from your hand. Close by, Philips Animal Garden is a sanctuary for rescued exotic animals ranging from wild cats and snakes to colorful parrots and cockatoos.
- De Palm Island: Aruba’s ultimate all-inclusive day trip lies on a narrow sliver of land just offshore. Pay one fee for the entire day to enjoy a meal while you watch the island’s flock of flamingos or soak up the sun. Before you leave, you can zoom down twisting waterslides, whiz across the sea by banana boat, or take an underwater helmet walk to spot vivid blue parrotfish on a coral reef.
- Curaçao: It’s an easy half-hour flight to Aruba’s closest island neighbor, Curaçao. In the quaint capital of Willemstad, you can browse jewelry and cigar shops in pastel-painted Dutch colonial buildings or stroll across a 19th-century pontoon bridge. Plan to visit the Kura Hulanda Museum to learn about the history of the slave trade, and end your day trip with a cold drink and sunset views at one of the island’s waterfront cafés.
When to go
With cooling trade winds that keep highs in the low 80s year-round, it’s always a good time to go to Aruba. To avoid the largest crowds, visit between mid-April and mid-December.
One of the biggest events of the year is the annual Carnival, with lively festivities spanning several weeks from January to March. Aruba puts its own spin on the celebration with an extravaganza of torchlit parades, king and queen elections, and traditional tumba music.
If you’re driving in Oranjestad, buy a reloadable Aruparking Smartcard to save having to scramble for coins every time you park.
Planning a trip to Aruba? Book a stay with Radisson Hotels for the perfect Caribbean getaway.
I would like to stay at ...
My kind of trip is ...