If you’re in the mood for a beach destination combined with a little adventure….. look no further than Aruba! For beach lovers, you’ll fall in love with the pristine white sand on Eagle Beach that stretches for miles. Adventure seekers can explore the Arikok National Park on an ATV, or on horseback. Foodies can enjoy a variety of international restaurants or traditional Aruban food.
For a Caribbean island, you’ll appreciate the Dutch influence that is especially reflected in the colorful architecture around the island. Aruba has everything you could desire in a beach getaway mixed with culture and adventure.
Enjoy my favorite picks of these must-see sights on the beautiful island of Aruba that you can accomplish in a three-day popover trip!
1. Bike Along the Water
Aruba is very bike friendly. There’s nothing like going for a bike ride alongside the beach with a cool breeze on your back. Or, if you’re looking for more adventure you can hop on one of the tours that offer mountain biking through the desert.
Many hotels have complimentary bikes, but you can always rent one, as we did, from one of the self-service street-side bike rental stations that are found along the stretch of Eagle Beach.
2. Have an Açai Bowl at a Colorful Little Beach Shack
The quirky island vibe draws visitors to Eduardo’s Beach Shack, but once you try their smoothies you will be already making plans to come back. The shack is located behind the Playa Linda Resort off of Palm Beach. If you start at Eagle Beach, it is a pleasant bike ride from Eagle Beach along the bike path to Eduardo’s-just long enough to make it worth the trip.
Eduardo’s Beach Shack serves up fresh smoothies, juices and açaí bowls. The decor around the shack makes it the perfect tropical oasis to relax and enjoy your smoothie.
I ordered a large classic açaí bowl and it was the perfect size for two people to share. We also tried their celery juice made with ginger, it was good but I prefer celery juice by itself without the added ginger.
Popover Tip: If you want your açaí bowl to come inside a fresh pineapple bowl you need to contact the shop to order one in advance.
3. Explore Arikok National Park on Horseback
Aruba has a desert climate with a gorgeous landscape. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the island is on horseback.
We went riding with Rancho La Ponderosa, and we loved working with their company from start to finish! Your horse is matched to you based on your skill level. They cater to riders with all different backgrounds, and offer a beginner instructions overview to new riders.
You’ll ride through the desert and eventually reach the Wariruri Cove Beach (the miniature “Natural Bridge”, and a historic gold mill. The whole ride takes around two hours, and is $80 per person.
4. Order the Catch of the Day at Zeerovers
Ask any local where to find fresh fish and they’ll point you to Zeerovers. Zeerover means Sea Pirate, and it’s the place to go for an ice cold bucket of beers and fresh fried seafood at reasonable prices.
Zeerovers is a very no-frill laid back seafood shack at the southern end of the island in the heart of a fishing village. The fish of the day and shrimp are ordered by weight at the window. If you aren’t sure how much to order the staff is always friendly and will be glad to help you figure out how much for your group size.
You can also order local side dishes to go with your fried fish and shrimp including “pan bait” (Aruban pancakes), “funchi” (hearty cornmeal cake or fritters), and “banana hasa” (fried plantains).
5. Lather Up in Aruba Aloe
Did you know that Aruba is the largest exporter of the aloe vera plant? The desert-like environment of Aruba actually enhances the aloe plant’s natural healing qualities and produces the best aloe vera gel in the world! If you’ve ever been sunburned you probably have used aloe to help heal your skin and ease the pain.
Be sure to visit the museum, factory, and store all in one to learn about Aruba’s history with the aloe plant. The factory tour is absolutely free, and I highly recommend it if you really want to learn more about the history of the aloe plant. They run every 25 minutes, and no reservations are needed.
No need to spend your money on touristy t-shirts, or shot glasses that will sit in a drawer. Aruba Aloe is the perfect souvenir to bring back that you and your skin will thank you for.
6. Have a Coconut at the California Lighthouse
For the best 360 degree view of Aruba head up to the California Lighthouse at the northwestern end of the island. The lighthouse has become one of Aruba’s scenic landmarks and offers a stunning view of the western coastline beaches and coral shorelines.
The easiest way to reach the lighthouse is by car, but many tour companies will stop at the lighthouse on an ATV, or UTV tour.
Grab a fresh coconut from one of the vendors at the lighthouse if you need a little pick me up!
7. Visit a Donkey Sanctuary
Want to know the secret of how to instantly make friends with a herd of donkeys? Bring a bag of carrots along! The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is completely free to visit, and a great place for any animal lover.
8. Visit the Aruba Ostrich Farm
Meeting one of the largest prehistoric-like birds isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Aruba, but it’s worth a visit! The Aruba Ostrich Farm has around 80 emus and ostriches.
These animals were so interesting, and it’s worth the guided tour to see the animals up close. You’ll even have the opportunity to hand feed them and they’re always hungry!
Along the tour, you are also able to visit the incubator and the hatchery. You are invited to hold the ostrich egg- the largest egg in the world.
9. Try Dutch Pancakes
The island of Aruba is a territory of the Netherlands. If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands you know you can’t leave without trying Dutch pancakes. Lucky for you Dutch-style pancakes have also made their way to Aruba.
The two most popular places on the island are Diana’s Pancake Place and The Dutch Pancake House. We ate at both, and we felt by far that Diana’s Pancake Place had better service, quality, and ambiance.
The pancakes can be both sweet, or savory. If you visit Diana’s Pancake Place, I loved the honey, walnut, and brie pancake. Their coffee was also excellent!
10. Relax at Beautiful Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach is rated as one of the beach beaches in the world. My favorite part was how clean and spacious it was! It stretches for miles, and it never felt crowded at all. Sink your toes in the powder-fine white-sand and enjoy the prettiest view of the aqua blue water on the horizon.
Eagle Beach is also a great spot to capture photos of the iconic Divi Divi trees that are native only to the “ABC” islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao). The Divi Divi trees are unique because they always point in a southwest direction because of the trade winds that blow across the island. Locals like to say that the Divi Divi tree is Aruba’s natural compass.
11. Have Dinner with your Legs in the Water!
Dinner at the Flying Fishbone was nothing short of unforgettable. Flying Fishbone is a hidden gem on the island away from all the high-rise hotels toward the other side of the island. Don’t miss this wonderful island experience, and be sure to book a table right on the edge of the beach shore where water will come up to your legs around your mid-calf!
Flying Fishbone offers shoe stands to keep your shoes dry, as well as warm water and towels to dry off after your unique “toes in the water” beachside dinner in Aruba. Flying Fishbone is perfect for couples as well as friends and family wanting to celebrate a special occasion. At night they turn on blue lights near the water so you can see the fish swim near you-be careful they can get friendly if you start feeding them!
The food and cocktails are excellent. They made one of the best piña coladas I’ve ever had along with their martinis served inside a fishbowl! We ordered their fish of the day which was excellent! The highlight of dinner was a Baked Alaska for dessert that was flamed tableside!
12. Admire the Dutch Colonial Architecture
I have a weakness for colonial architecture, and the multicolored colonial buildings in Aruba were no exception! Plaza Daniel Leo is the name of the colorful colonial buildings that are located in Aruba’s capital Oranjestad.
Most of Aruba’s government buildings are in Oranjestad and it is also a great place for shopping along the seaside where you’ll find vendors selling Aruba art and local handicrafts.
When to Visit and Air Travel Tips
With Aruba’s location, the island is lucky enough to stay at a consistent average temperature of 83 °F ( 29 °C ) all year long with a continuous island breeze. Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt, and any impacts they have are usually very mild. Peak season is typically around December-March.
US passport holders can rejoice because in Aruba you’ll clear customs in advance which makes getting back home a breeze to the US if you have connecting flights. Pre-clearance does mean that you’ll have to arrive to the airport in Aruba extra with additional time allowed because you’ll have multiple levels of security to clear.
Let me know in the comments below if you are planning a trip to Aruba, or have been before! I’d love to answer any other questions you have about this beautiful island!
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