We won’t go into too much detail, because exploring is half the fun!
A little bit of guidance on some key things…
Beaches in Aruba are all public. So whether you are in front of the Ritz, the Hilton or the Riu, you will feel comfortable.
Palm Beach is the main beach along the high rise hotel strip, and this is what it looks like when you enter it between the Ritz and the Marriott (only 1.1 miles from Canaruba)…
Eagle beach is another great beach – the hotels here are “low-rise” and they are across the road from the beach. This beach will tend to be a bit quieter, there’s lots of parking all along it, and the sun shades (like you see above) are all public. You can also rent chairs and umbrellas here from the beach vendors if you prefer.
Check out our page on beaches.
Inside Arikok National Park is an amazing beach – we really don’t have a way to explain how to get there, but ask around – it is called Boca Keto (aka Little Aruba). Our best suggestion is to Google it and ask around.
Difficult to get to, but if you are feeling adventurous check out Dos Playa beach – it is very close to the edge of Arikok Park.
Drinks & Entertainment
Walk along the beach at happy hour and you will find no shortage of places to stop and make new friends.
Bugaloe is the place to go for a beer or a casual meal on the pier with a great view (and some fantastic evening entertainment)…
Some evenings they have live bands, which will sure to entertain you.
Moomba Beach Club, by the Holiday Inn (closer to the Marriott) is also an entertaining place to go. Sunday nights in particular are the main night at Moomba – although the crowd can have a little more mix of younger people. Craft is also a good “lounge” environment, and for a great singer anytime of the night, check out Sopranos, the local piano bar.
For those who are up for it and want some late night drinks and a more crowded environment, you can check out Gusto most nights after 11, Sand Bar (especially on Friday nights).
With the exception of Moomba, these are all near the main intersection in Palm Beach – you can miss them, or stop and ask anyone and they will point you in the right direction!
The Tierra del So golf course is 2 miles away (5 minute drive). More information can be found at www.tierradelsol.com/en/golf
The other course on the island is the 9 hole Divi Village – www.divivillage.com
Just to the right of the Ritz hotel you will see more kite surfing companies that you ever imagined. If you are in the beginner-solo category, one interesting fact: At this site the winds blow away from land – so you will see they all offer a nice $20 “rescue” service. If you are up for the drive, head to the southern end of the island, on the north shore – the winds blow inwards.
We have personally used Armando’s Kite Shack – www.kitesurfingaruba.com/kitesurfing/ – and would recommend them.
If you are more advanced, check out https://www.aruba.com/us/explore/boca-grandi – and be sure to check out the Aruba High Winds competition – www.hiwindsaruba.com – held in the summer. It is amazing!
This is located at the northern tip of the island (about 10 minutes away)
A great view on the drive up and even from the ground… the only thing we should say to manage expectations though is that to go up you need to purchase a ticket.
More info on the Lighthouse itself can be found at http://www.arubalighthouse.com (but we’ve found this site and the ticket purchase to be less than easy to use)
There is also a restaurant at the foot of the tower with a great view – www.faroblancorestaurant.com
This is done at Moro Beach – we haven’t done this ourselves, and it may need to be arranged through ABC Tours
www.abc-aruba.com ; Phone: +297-582-5600. We have done an amazing tour of the other side of the island with them though – and it is amazing. Our guides were Rocky & Joal – and they were fantastic. We did the UTV tour but they have many different tours. There is no shortage of tour companies. Make sure you ask if there are any other optional fees – such as insurance if you are renting a sport vehicle. And plan on a tip too if you like the service.
Southern End Beaches
These are about a 45 minute drive down the island, past the airport.
Mangel Halto – a small secluded beach
Baby Beach – Baby Beach half a mile beauty is immeasurable. Once there you will get the opportunity to snorkel and encounter sea life and colorful coral formations. The shallow waters are ideal for a relaxing and yet refreshing swim in an area that is also safe for the young ones to splash and play. More experienced swimmers can venture outside the cove where plenty of tropical fish and colorful coral can be appreciated. Bring a loaf of bread and you’ll attract all kinds of fish!
Boca Grandi – strong winds make this a great place for advanced kitesurfers – those who like to watch them! Be careful swimming here though as the current is strong here. Great beachcombing though!
The diving in Aruba is so amazing it would be a book on it’s own to do it justice. Check out https://www.visitaruba.com/things-to-do/tours-and-activities/scuba-diving/
Two companies that are location convenient that you can check out are:
- Red Sail – www.redsailaruba.com – they pickup at Piet’s Pier, which is convenient if you have brought your own equipment as there is free parking in the lane leading up to it
- Aruba Watersports Centre – www.arubawatersportscenter.com
Plan to book at least a few days in advance – these usually book up, and they have different schedules of dive sites for different days of the week.
Arikok National Park
20% of the Island is made up of the National Park. It is fantastic – not to be missed. Great views, caves, the Natural Pool and so much more! Check out the website.
We have not tried this (yet) ourselves, but a few places you could check out are:
- Melina Charters – https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g488162-d1737101-Reviews-Melina_Charters-Noord_Aruba.html
Please also check out Aruba.com Fishing Charters – https://www.visitaruba.com/things-to-do/tours-and-activities/fishing-charters/
Off-Road (ATV / UTV) Rentals
Offroad Evolution is a husband & wife team that started up their business in early 2017. They are a super nice couple and we’ve spoken with people who have rented from them or gone on tours and all have been thrilled.
They offer both tours and rentals:
Their tours are 4 hours and guests can choose between the Island Tour, the Natural Pool tour or a custom/private tour if they are a big group. All their tours we have swimming stops and they also provide snorkel and mask. Tours includes 2 bottles of water per person, small snack (bag of chips) and a cooler with ice. They also allow guests to bring their own refreshments or snack. The price is $100 per person in a UTV or on a double ATV double and $50 for kids under 11. A single rider in an ATV is $130. They don’t have have permits to deliver or pick up at houses so you would need to meet them at their office.
If you wanted to go out on your own, you could rent the vehicles without a tour. The UTV’s and ATV’s are street legal on the island and therefore you are allowed to drive on the main roads and have the extra privilege to explore the north side. They provide a detailed map of the island and will explain the trails, where to go, what to do and what not to do. Rentals are half day 4 hours or full day 8 hours.
A few suggestions if you do these rentals or tours:
- Please mention our name – Patrick Heffron. Maybe they will give you special service, but at the very least we can use this to build up a rapport to better take care of our guests over time.
- Ask about insurance – it is optional, but depending on where you are going it can be extremely rugged, so you may want to consider it.
Going Off-Road on Your Own
Check out more detail at our page on this: https://canaruba.com/activities/going-off-road
Mangel Cora Wells
We haven’t tried this ourselves, but have just read about it – check out information here: http://www.lago-colony.com/MAGA_CORA_WELLS/MAGA_CORA_WELL_PAGE.htm. It is located down near Baby Beach. You can see some photos at the bottom of this page.
Note: We’ve since learned that this is only best done with a professional guide as it can be dangerous.
Philip’s Animal Garden
Check out their website here.
Hike the Mountain
Check out this video. (There are steps so it’s not a rugged hike!)
A fantastic local-run experience: https://onehappykayak.com/
Contact Ericko at email@example.com. Super guy. A very enjoyable few hours out on the ocean!
We aren’t huge yoga participants ourselves, but we’ve been told that the team at Island Yoga is world-renowned. You can check them out here. There are 2 yoga mats at the house for you to use as well.
Some other photos from the beach to give you ideas & pricing…
Looking for more ideas?
ARIKOK NATIONAL PARK
BUBALI BIRD SANCTUARY
CHURCHES IN ARUBA
FORT ZOUTMAN / HISTORICAL MUSEUM
HISTORIC GOLD MINES
MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
PHILIP’S ANIMAL GARDEN
Some good videos…