Aruba’s must-visit places
Have you been dreaming about visiting the tropical island of Aruba and are wondering what it’s like? This is what Aruba is like:
Aruba is also known as “one happy island” and is located in the Antilles. With its nice climate, it’s a place a lot of people spend their winter holidays. Recently I have been working on this beautiful island for 3 months and even though it’s a very small island, I was still able to find new places to discover.
Are you looking for great beaches? Places to hike? Good places to eat or go out for a drink? I will tell you where to go!
Aruba’s beach beaches:
Aruba has got one of the best beaches in the world. Eagle Beach is the most famous one and also the number 3 best beach in the world! With its white sand, it’s a great place to relax or watch the sunset. I would recommend you to go to “Manchebo Beach” for one of the best views at night or visit the famous “Divi” trees.
If you are looking for a nice beach to see airplanes approaching and some good drinks, I would recommend you to go to Surfside Beach. Would you like a beach a bit quieter? You could visit Mangel Halto Beach, where you can go snorkeling. Boca Catalina and Tres Trapi are also great places for snorkeling, and you’ll be able to see a lot of starfish there (I love it!)
The best beaches to relax at are Baby Beach, Arashi Beach, and Palm Beach. At Palm Beach, I would recommend you rent a beach chair because it can get very windy so you can end up in a small “sandstorm”
Hiking the island:
Although Aruba hasn’t got mountains or a lot of green landscapes, there are some great places to go hiking. I would recommend you go early in the morning, or while the sun is setting, because it can get pretty hot during the day. Make sure to bring plenty of water when you want to go.
With 167m this is the second highest point of the island, after the Jamanota (189m) The hooiberg is located in the middle of the island and after climbing the 587 stairs, you will be able to have a 360-degree view of Aruba. You will reach the top in about 30 minutes.
You can hike to his beautiful bridge starting from the “Natural Bridge”, which collapsed in 2005. The hike takes about 45 minutes one way and on your way, you will pass “Andicuri Beach”, a small beach that is not that known by tourists. To me, the Trinity bridge was the most beautiful bridge I found in Aruba.
Arikok National Park
This National Park covers almost 20% of the island and is located on the north side. With its very rough terrain, it feels like you are walking in a desert, surrounded by hills, rock formations, bays, and some caves.
You can enter the park by car (limited roads where you are allowed to drive) or if you are really adventurous you can walk. The park is open from 8 am to 4 pm and costs 15 dollars per person.
Natural Pool is a small pool, surrounded by volcanic rocks. You can swim and snorkel here, but be aware, the waters can be very rough.
If you want to hike to the Natural Pool you can start at “Daimari Beach” and the hike will take you about 3-4 hours to return. On your way, you will pass a variety of landscapes like dunes, rough coastlines, and some nice beaches (like “Boca Keto”) You will also pass the trinity bridge I’ve mentioned before.
New Natural Pool
This is still a hidden place on the island that I went to after locals told me about it. It’s located on your right side just before you will reach the Bushiribana Ruins. Look for small stairs going down the cliff, that will be your way to go the New Natural Pool. In this pool, you can take a refreshing swim because compared to the natural pool, in this pool the water is calm and clear.
Aruba not only has beautiful beaches and hikes, but it has also got some cultural spots. You can visit San Nicolas, located in the southeast part of the island. San Nicolas is known for its beautiful street art and nice atmosphere and I am sure you can take a lot of beautiful pictures there.
California’s Lighthouse Sanddunes
This is one of my favorite places on the island because it’s very quiet and you can see very beautiful sunsets while taking a walk around the dunes. From the lighthouse, you will have a nice view around the island and if you are looking for nice drinks you can buy one of the best coconut smoothies on the island at one of the “smoothie cars” next to the lighthouse. You could also go to the restaurant “Faro Blanco” where you can have some food or a drink with a really nice view. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
There are two rock formations you can visit in Aruba, both beautiful in their own way. Casibari Rock Formations are located near the Hooiberg. Here you are able to climb the massive boulders to have a great 360-degree view of the island. Ayo Rock Formations are less tourist and don’t have stairs, so if you want to have a view you have to create your own path. Sounds adventurous, doesn’t it?
There are a few different places you can go to at night. On Saturday night “Bungalow” is the place to be, where you can sing some karaoke. Sunday nights are very busy at “Moomba’s” and during the weekend you can also go to “Southbeach” or “Sandbar” or during the week to “Craft” (the best sangria for sure!) for a nice drink.
Best places to eat
My number 1 favorite restaurant in Aruba is “Nos Clubhuis”, especially on Sundays where you can eat the “Sunday bbq” for 15 dollars with a great sunset view.
“Zeerovers” is the most famous restaurant, located in “Savaneta”, which is popular with tourists but also with locals. At Zeerovers you can eat fresh fish and I would recommend you to go early because it can be very busy. The local store is a local restaurant serving good food for local prices.
The best way to get around the island is by renting a car. Even though Aruba is a small island, there are many places to explore.