Aruba is home to more than 40 miles of coastline, graceful flamingos gallivanting around its shores and more than 95 recorded nationalities.
With 40 pristine beaches to enjoy, the island is also home to an array of activities, stemming from unique wellness offerings like watsu water massages to more nature-based activities such as soaking in the natural pools at Arikok National Park.
Here are the best places to visit in Aruba.
Explore Arikok National Park
Making up about 20 percent of the island, a trip to Arikok National Park showcases the country’s unique rough and arid terrain (watch out for the towering cacti). Several tour operators offer a host of experiences throughout the park.
From adventurous guided off-roading tours to renting your own personal jeep – you’ll be able to spend the day getting acquainted with the island’s desert-like terrain.
Other must-do activities while visiting Arikok National include: swimming in the park’s natural pool, seeing the natural rock bridge and visiting the California Lighthouse.
Note: While riding ATVs in Aruba is a highlight for travelers, the island does not allow vehicles within the park’s grounds.
Dine like a local at Zeerover
For the freshest seafood on the island, visit local favorite, Zeerover. Located along a dock in the southwestern town of Savaneta, the fresh menu is based on what the restaurant’s fishermen catch that day.
Get there early to ensure the best culinary options because once it’s gone, that’s it. Get the daily fish, shrimp, fries, cornbread and an ice-cold beer if you really want to order like a local. Orders are calculated by weight.
Get colorful in the artsy San Nicolas district
Easily the most colorful and eclectic neighborhood in Aruba, San Nicolas is known for its dozens of murals and vibrant street art. Get to know the island’s in-depth history and how it became a melting pot of cultures on a walking tour. The area’s most photographed piece of street art is the “One Happy Art Island” mural.
The neighborhood is also home to the renowned Cosecha San Nicolas gallery and several restaurants, including O’Niel Caribbean Kitchen.
Dine and dip at the Flying Fishbone
"When land meets the sea." That could be the motto for Aruba’s Flying Fishbone restaurant. A popular date night or celebratory spot for locals, the outdoor restaurant offers guests the chance to dip their feet in the Caribbean Sea while feasting on fresh seafood.
Several of the tables are set up in a shallow pool of water that flows from the ocean. Don’t worry – there’s a small protective barrier that keeps your table from drifting out.
Reservations for the oceanside tables go fast, so book well in advance if you want the full Flying Fishbone experience.
See the iconic Fofoti Trees along Eagle Beach
Calling cards for the island, the Fofoti and Divi Divi trees will always point you in the right direction. Both trees – similar in stature – lean in the southeast direction due to the island’s trade winds blowing from the northeast.
It’s easy to get the two mixed up, but the best way to tell them apart is Fofoti trees typically grow along the beaches – mostly along Eagle Beach – while the Divi Divi trees can be found sprouting from the soil all around Aruba.
Indulge in a unique poolside dining experience at Papiamento
Sometimes you just want to get dolled up and hit the town. Aruba’s family-owned Papiamento is the just the spot. The restaurant, located on the property of a vintage cottage home and wine cellar, provides an upscale dining experience like no other.
As you sit poolside, feast on the restaurant’s popular grill dishes while enjoying the sounds of the night’s live music. If you aren’t starving, opt for a casual nightcap at the property’s hidden outdoor bar. Be sure to also ask for a tour of the cottage and wine cellar while there.
Explore Aruba’s underwater world by submarine
Most people head to the beaches of Aruba to snorkel, dip their toes in or to go for a leisurely swim. But, you can also explore the island’s underwater life through a submarine expedition.
A tour with Aruba Atlantis Submarine Expedition takes you out on a US Coast Guard-certified vessel that goes 130ft below the ocean’s surface. You’ll see everything from shipwrecks and coral reefs to schools of colorful fish and other types of marine life as the guide provides commentary along the way.
Zen out at a local spa
Many of the resorts have spa and wellness offerings on their property. But, for a unique experience, head to Moreu Facilitation & Healing Center. The boutique wellness center offers treatments that you likely won’t find anywhere else on the island.
Worth noting is the center’s Watsu aquatic massage service. During the experience, a guide will gently move your body, through a series of slow poses in a pool of water. This technique is great for deep relaxation as well as increased flexibility of the spine and nervous center.
Note: You will need to be comfortable in a pool of water. You will be instructed to completely trust the guide to move your body with their strength for the duration of the service.