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Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)
Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock) (Photo:Steve Photography/Shutterstock)

12 Best Things to Do in Aruba for Cruisers

Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)
Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock) (Photo:Steve Photography/Shutterstock)
Melinda Crow

Last updated
Mar 1, 2024

Read time
5 min read

Finding the best things to do in Aruba once you've finally snagged that somewhat elusive Southern Caribbean cruise deal is at the top on your cruise to-do list. Aruba is known for pristine beaches, turquoise waters and vibrant culture, so there's no shortage of exciting activities to enjoy. Cruise Critic put together a list of our favorite things to do in Aruba to get you started.

We'll delve into the best things to do in Aruba with kids or as a couple, which includes everything from thrilling adventures to relaxing and rejuvenating on the beach. Here's our list of the 12 best things to do in Aruba, especially when it's on your cruise itinerary.

1. Visit the Best Aruba Beach: Eagle Beach

Pack your favorite beach bag and head out for a day of sun and fun. On Aruba, it’s easy to grab a taxi to the beaches, but the mainstream lines like Carnival often combine beach time with transportation and an island tour in one excursion to simplify your island time.

One of the top-rated beaches in the world, Eagle Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Aruba. With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, it's the perfect spot to relax, sunbathe, or take a refreshing swim. Families with kids will appreciate the calm waves and wide shoreline, making it safe and enjoyable for little ones.

2. Go Snorkeling at Baby Beach, One of the Best Things to Do in Aruba With Kids

Eagle Beach, Oranjestad, Aruba (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)
Eagle Beach, Oranjestad, Aruba (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)

For a memorable underwater experience, head to Baby Beach. This shallow sheltered lagoon is ideal for snorkeling, especially for families. The calm waters and vibrant marine life make it an excellent spot for beginners and kids.

Bring your own snorkeling gear (especially if your cruise includes the neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curacao) or rent equipment from nearby vendors to explore the colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. Princess Cruises often bundles a four-wheel driving tour of island highlights with a stop at Baby Beach among their excursions.

3. Try Water Activities at Aruba's Palm Beach

Palm Beach is another popular destination offering a range of water activities for all ages. It’s the island’s iconic beach lined with high-rise hotels. That means there are plenty of rental equipment stands and activities to sign up for.

Families can enjoy banana boat rides, paddleboarding, and kayaking, while couples might prefer an exciting parasailing adventure. The clear waters and gentle waves make Palm Beach a fantastic location for both relaxation and water-based fun. Holland America’s Aruba excursions often include a catamaran snorkel adventure coupled with time on Palm Beach.

4. Immerse Yourself in the Unique Shore Setting at Mangel Halto Beach

Mangel Halto Beach is a hidden gem with shallow, calm waters, making it perfect for families with young children. The mangrove-lined coastline supplies a natural playground for kids to explore, and the crystal-clear water is ideal for snorkeling. Royal Caribbean sometimes offers a shore excursion exclusively focused on a beach break at Mangel Halto.

5. Explore Arikok National Park's Rugged Landscape and Stunning Cultural Sites

Nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers will find Arikok National Park a fascinating destination. Explore rugged landscapes, unique rock formations, and native flora and fauna. The park also features cultural sites like the Ayo Rock Formation and the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, providing a glimpse into Aruba's history. It's an excellent excursion for families and couples alike.

Norwegian Cruise Line always offers a variety of excursions that include the national park, some by Jeep, others by tour bus.

6. Catamaran Cruises, One Excursion that Makes Almost Everyone’s Aruba To-Do List

We checked with multiple cruise lines and found catamaran cruises on the favorites lists of not only the mainstream lines, but also on premium and luxury lines like Windstar and Silversea. The waters surrounding Aruba are some of the most stunningly clear you’ll find anywhere. A catamaran cruise along Aruba's coastline gets you out on these turquoise waters for a memorable experience.

7. Visit De Palm Island, the Private Island Water Park

De Palm Island is a privately owned island paradise -- and one of the best things to do in Aruba with kids. This all-inclusive attraction offers water slides, zip-lining and a water park for endless hours of entertainment. Snorkel in the designated areas, where kids can safely explore the underwater world. The colorful and vibrant surroundings make De Palm Island a memorable experience for the whole family.

De Palm Island shore excursions are available through almost every cruise line that visits Aruba, including Disney.

8. Admire Nature with Convenience and Comfort at the Butterfly Farm in Aruba

Take a break from the sun and visit the Butterfly Farm, an enchanting attraction that kids will love. Witness the mesmerizing transformation of caterpillars into butterflies and explore the lush gardens. Knowledgeable guides supply interesting insights into the life cycle of butterflies, making it an educational and entertaining experience for children.

Look for excursions that include the Butterfly Farm on almost any cruise line, including MSC.

9. Visit an Ostrich Farm in Aruba for a Unique and Educational Excursion

A unique and educational experience awaits at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Kids can interact with these fascinating birds, learn about their habits and even have the chance to feed them. The guided tour provides a mix of fun and education, making it an enjoyable outing for families. The farm also features emus, donkeys and Nile crocodiles, adding to the excitement.

10. Rent a Private Beach Cabana if You're on a Romantic Getaway

For a truly romantic escape, book a private beach cabana for you and your partner. Many resorts in Aruba offer this exclusive experience, complete with personalized service, champagne and stunning ocean views. Relax in your private oasis, savoring the tranquility and each other's company.

An alternative choice is to stay onboard your ship and rent a private cabana while the ship is at its quietest. We found this option on Seabourn Ovation, Holland America Oosterdam and Celebrity Reflection.

11. Go Horseback Riding at Rancho Notorious

Experience the beauty of Aruba's landscape together with a horseback riding adventure at Rancho Notorious. Ride along the shoreline, through desert trails, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. This intimate and unique experience is perfect for couples looking for a romantic yet active outing.

12. Get a Massage on the Beach in Aruba

Indulge in relaxation with a massage on the beach, whether it be just for you or both you and your partner. Many resorts and spas in Aruba offer this luxurious experience, allowing you to unwind while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean. There's even a floating couples' massage available at a local day spa.

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