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Aruba Shore Excursion Reviews

Aruba (Photo:Steve Photography/Shutterstock)

Popular Things to Do in Aruba

Aruba is located in the Southern Caribbean, and represents the first letter of the ABC island chain (which includes Bonaire and Curacao). Cruise ships dock in the city of Oranjestad. The island is a surprising mix of soft, white-sand beaches and desert; Dutch heritage and influences from nearby Venezuela. The official language is Papiamento, an intriguing blend of Dutch, English, Spanish and creole, but most islanders are multilingual (including English). The currency is the Aruban florin, but most shops and restaurants will accept the U.S. dollar.

Cruisers visiting Aruba will want to set out for the shoreline, visiting famous stretches of sand like Eagle Beach or Baby Beach. If time in port allows, be sure to book a sunset cruise shore excursion when the Aruban sky puts on a fiery show. Other popular excursions include an island tour, a trip beneath the Caribbean Sea in a submarine or a visit to an ostrich farm.

The weather is ideal in Aruba, which means that a daily average of 82 degrees Fahrenheit is kept comfortable by the trade winds that blow through, along with little rainfall. It's rare for hurricanes to reach this part of the Caribbean, which means that while it's pleasant to visit year-round, it can also withstand the hurricane season months of May through October.


Find Things to Do in Aruba

25 Excursions Found

#1 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Island Tour

248 Reviews
From its rich, layered heritage to its duty-free shops and stunning beaches, find out why Aruba is called “One Happy Island” on an island tour.
#2 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Snorkeling

185 Reviews
Aruba offers some of the finest offshore locations to experience the island's small coral bays and vibrantly colored fish. Beginners and experienced snorkelers alike will love the experience.
#3 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Beach

125 Reviews
Spend your day relaxing on the picturesque shores of Aruba. Framed by palm trees and crystal-clear waters, these beaches are the definition of paradise.
#4 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Submarine

65 Reviews
You will have the opportunity to get an up close view of exotic marine life while diving to depths up to 130 feet. Be amazed by colorful schools of tropical fish, huge sponge gardens, the mystical beauties of the coral fields and two sunken wrecks.
#5 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Jeep Tour

56 Reviews
Take a ride on the wild side with a Jeep tour through Aruba’s most scenic routes and beaches.
#6 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Catamaran Tour

52 Reviews
Daily catamaran cruises transport vacationers around Aruba's breezy coastline. Try a snorkeling tour or a dinner and moonlight cruise to get more adventure out of your day!
#7 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

California Lighthouse

47 Reviews
Leave your stresses behind after a relaxing tour of Aruba’s famous white California light house followed by a beach excursion under the tropical sun.
#8 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Sunset Cruise

44 Reviews
A sunset cruise is the perfect way to top off an evening in Aruba. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as the sun sets and enjoy a traditional Aruban meal surrounded by water.
#9 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Aloe Balm Facility

31 Reviews
Take a guided tour of the Aloe Balm Facility and see the production process first hand, from leaf cutting in the fields to finished lotions and creams in the facility.
#10 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Ayo Rock Formations

31 Reviews
Towering stone boulders, placed in such close proximity and in unusual designs, combined with the tranquil environment of Ayo, create a sense of awe and an understanding of why the area was once considered a sacred site by the island's original inhabitants (the Arawak Indians).
#11 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Butterfly Farm

29 Reviews
Great for travelers of all ages! Visit this enclosed Butterfly Farm, located on Palm Beach in Aruba, to experience hundreds of unique butterflies in their habitat. If you visit in the morning hours, you may even get a glimpse of the new butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.
#12 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Scuba

26 Reviews
Geared for certified scuba divers, this underwater adventure includes gardens of coral and visits from schools of unique marine life while venturing throughout Aruba's waters.
#13 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

ATV Rental

24 Reviews
Discover the natural beauty of Aruba at an adventurous pace. An ATV rental allows you to explore parts of the island that you might not otherwise reach.
#14 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Arikok National Park

22 Reviews
Encounter Aruban rattlesnakes, parakeets, iguanas and other natural wildlife while visiting Arikok National Park. Hike or drive through the park and explore caves, cliffs and abandoned gold mines.
#15 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Sailboat Tour

13 Reviews
A sailboat jaunt on the sea surrounding Aruba offers rest and relaxation as you tour the island’s bright and breezy coastline.
#16 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Snuba Diving

13 Reviews
Snuba diving is the safest and easiest way to explore Aruba's clear tropical waters, extensive coral reefs, and incredible sea life.
#17 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Ostrich Farm

12 Reviews
Interact up close and personal with the largest living bird species on the planet. Aruba's Ostrich Farm, which also features an African art store and restaurant, will bring enjoyment to the entire family!
#18 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Horseback Riding

10 Reviews
Ride horseback along a stretch of beaches and terrain as you enjoy a beautiful view from Aruba’s coastline.
#19 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Masted Sailing Ship

6 Reviews
Sailing around Aruba on a masted ship is an ideal way to explore the surrounding waters and scenic views of the island.
#20 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Parasailing

6 Reviews
Become acquainted with Aruba with a bird’s eye view of the island on an aquatic parasailing adventure.
#21 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Bar Hop

5 Reviews
This isn't your typical bar crawl. Board an open-air bus for a night of dinner and bar hopping. You might be treated to dinner under the moonlight before dancing to local tunes and frequent stops at watering holes. Are you thirsty yet?
#22 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Glass Bottom Boat Tour

4 Reviews
See Aruba's coral reefs and local marine wildlife without getting wet on a glass bottom boat excursion.
#23 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Kayaking

2 Reviews
Experience the beauty of Aruba's scenic coast from a new perspective on a kayaking adventure.
#24 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Deep Sea Fishing

1 Reviews
Whether you're an expert fisherman or a beginner, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of catching a fish local to Aruba- The waters offer great deep-sea fishing for catches such as mahi-mahi, marlin and tuna. Experience this and so much more while on a deep sea fishing tour around Aruba.
#25 of 25 Aruba Shore Excursions

Golfing

1 Reviews
It's impossible not to enjoy a day of golfing on one of Aruba's finest courses when the backdrop to your excursion is a beautiful blue coastline.

Food and Drink in Aruba

Casual, In-Town Joints: The Old Fisherman is a family owned restaurant directly in front of Royal Plaza that serves fresh seafood and local dishes (from 11 a.m.)

Gourmet Lunching: El Gaucho, Aruba's best Argentinean restaurant, is located in an atmospheric old-town house on the east end of Oranjestad (open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m.).

Snacks: Maroc, next to El Gaucho, offers Spanish and Moroccan tapas at affordable prices and a decent wine list. It's a convivial spot for some casual fare (open from 5 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday). And just beside Maroc is Wilhelmina, a lovely spot opposite the B.J. Arends City Park, run by renowned local chef Dennis van Daatselaar. This is a high-end option, with price to match, but it's worth it for the outstanding local fish dishes, steaks and homemade pasta (open from 6 p.m. daily).

For Late Diners: If you are in town for dinner (some ships disembark as late as 11 p.m.), consider skipping your onboard seating for a meal at Pinchos Grill & Bar (L.G. Smith Boulevard 7). The outdoor eatery is casual but chic; there's a funky bar, lit with Starbucks-esque lamps, and seating for diners is located along the perimeter with fabulous views of the water. The restaurant is actually located on a pier under-lit by twinkling, blue lights. Grilled meats round out the menu (5 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m. daily, except Monday; sunset happy hours occur daily from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.).

On the Beach: If you are spending the day on Palm Beach, stop for lunch at the Pelican Grill, set on a pier, over the water, behind the Pelican Tours outfit and near the Holiday Inn. It's not a fancy place by any means, but it's perfect for strolling in off the beach. The restaurant features a full bar (with a host of specialty drinks on the menu) and dishes from fresh fish sandwiches and burgers to a seafood platter costing more than \$30. The ceviche appetizer is excellent. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Readers Recommend: Passions on the Beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort (J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 252) is a great choice for a romantic meal alfresco. Member Arubalisa writes, "Everything from the food to the service -- it was nothing less than perfect and a wonderful evening. Our table was closest to the water with torches and a lantern on the table. I can imagine how nice it would be at sunset." Grilled meats and fish are main events, and the menu features a seafood sampler platter with Caribbean lobster tail, shrimp, grouper and mahi-mahi. You can make reservations online. Lunch is served from noon until 4:30 p.m., happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and you can get dinner from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The bar is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Best Drinks: Try the legendary Pink Iguana -- a concoction of frozen strawberries, pineapple, rum and coconut cream - invented at Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill (right next to the port, open from 11 a.m.). Or, throw back a Balashi, the local brew, at any number of spots along the main drag including The Paddock, where you can get a seat directly opposite your ship.

Beaches in Aruba

Best Beach for an Active Day: Palm Beach, a 15-minute taxi or bus ride away from the terminal, offers water sports facilities such as scuba and parasailing. Other activities include beach volleyball and banana boat rides. Many of the large resorts are located right on Palm Beach, so gamers can duck into one of the hotel casinos for an added diversion.

Best Beach for the Dedicated Beach Bum: Eagle Beach, a hangout for tourists and locals alike, is the longest stretch of white sand on the island. All of the amenities are here, including lovely, shaded picnic areas. It's approximately 10 minutes away from the cruise pier by taxi or bus.

Best Secluded Beach: Rodger's Beach, on the eastern tip of the island (a 40-minute taxi ride), is a picturesque spot (if you can ignore the view of the refinery), known for its lovely shade palms, beach huts and crystal-clear, reef-protected waters. Arashi Beach, on the northern tip of the island, is another quiet option.

Best Beach for Families: Baby Beach, 40 minutes away by car, is a good stop for small children or inexperienced swimmers. The water, in a shallow pool created by manmade rock breakwaters, is no more than 5 feet deep. One drawback: There's only a handful of food stands. In addition to taxis, you can get there via public bus with a transfer in San Nicolas.

Don't Miss in Aruba

Snorkeling: Try Malmok Beach, with small coral bays and plenty of colorful fish just 10 feet offshore; the wreck of Antilla, a WWII German freighter, is sunk here and is a popular spot for snorkelers -- book a catamaran tour if you'd like to snorkel the site). Those who like to snorkel independently can rent equipment from Red Sail Sports, on the beach, for \$15 for the day. Bachelor's Beach is a little rough for leisure swimming but offers experienced and adventurous snorkeling aficionados all kinds of underwater sights on its coral-covered bottom. Boca Grandi is another decent option for snorkelers.

Diving: A number of cruise ships offer Discover Scuba one-day courses, as well as adventures for the more experienced. The top dive site is the aforementioned Antilla, the largest wreck in the whole Caribbean, and which sits in 54 feet of water, making for an easy dive. The ship was blasted apart when it sank and debris lies all over the sea bed. You can look into spaces, but you cannot penetrate the wreck. Red Sail Sports offers diving should you wish to book independently.

Butterfly Farm: A fun diversion for both children and adults is the Butterfly Farm, located on Palm Beach. The Butterfly Farm is a huge, enclosed tropical garden, home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies. Tip: The best time to visit is in the morning when you can see the new butterflies emerging from their chrysalises. The farm is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Casinos: It might not be Las Vegas, but Aruba is certainly up-and-coming on the gambling scene, with 11 casinos island-wide. (The World Poker Tour even stopped here.) Many of the hotel casinos are quieter during the day (slots are open, for example, but tables are closed until early evening). However, the downtown Renaissance hotel -- close to the cruise port -- operates one of the few 24-hour joints on the island: Crystal Casino, always hopping with slots and table games. The Seaport Casino, also a Renaissance-operated facility, is another minute or two down the road featuring plenty of one-armed bandits.

Horseback Riding: You can go horseback riding, either to the California Lighthouse -- along the Malmok Beach stretch -- or to the Alto Vista Chapel, via Rancho Notorious (297 5860 508). Rancho Daimari offers clopping along the coast in Arikok National Park (+297 586 6284).

Golfing: Golfers should check out the Tierra del Sol, a Robert Trent Jones-designed, 18-hole (par 71) course. Reserve tee times in advance (+1 866-978-5158).

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