A popular cruise ship stop-off, this beach-fringed Dutch Caribbean island has a colorful colonial capital and ample opportunities for both lounging and adventure.
With its position outside the hurricane belt and warm temperatures year-round, Aruba is a magnet for sun worshippers. Find the best sandy beaches on the island’s western side along a 7-mile (11.2-kilometer) strip lined with resorts. One of the most popular is Eagle Beach, also known for its nesting turtles and windblown divi divi trees. For more rugged coastline and secluded bays, head to the windward coast.
Explore underwater sites on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip. Arashi Beach on Aruba's northwestern tip and Mangel Halto Beach along the western coast are good spots for snorkeling. Choose from more than 20 unique dive sites along the southern coast. Look for barracudas and clownfish among the many marine species. See shipwrecks cloaked in corals, including the remains of the World War II German freighter Antilla. Non-divers can take a submarine tour of the ocean floor.
Above the surface, constant trade winds are ideal for watersports. Go kiteboarding, parasailing or kitesurfing. In July, watch some of the world’s best surfers compete in the Aruba Hi-Winds competition.
Away from the water, you’ll find plenty of exciting land-based pursuits. Hike to the top of Mount Jamanota, the highest point on Aruba. Embark on a four-wheel-drive adventure across the small island, stopping at the California Lighthouse and the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins. Challenge your friends to a game of golf at the Tierra Del Sol Country Club and Golf Course.
Visit the harbor city of Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital. Admire the pastel-colored buildings, evidence of Aruba’s Dutch heritage. Learn about the island’s history at the National Archeological Museum of Aruba. For dinner, book a restaurant that overlooks the sea and sample a rijsttafel plate of up to 40 dishes. Finish the evening in a casino or dancing to electronic music in a nightclub.
Fly into Queen Beatrix International Airport or sail into Oranjestad. Get around by bus or taxi or rent scooters, motorcycles or cars.
Visit Aruba for white beaches, clear water and thrilling outdoor adventures.