Aruba’s slogan is “One Happy Island” and after enjoying a number of tours and excursions on the island, it’s easy to see why. Water-based tours range from fun pirate-themed sailing and snorkeling trips and sunset cruises to paddle boarding, wreck diving, sport fishing charters and submarine tours. Countryside tours are especially adventurous. Aruba’s cacti-lined northeast coast is rocky and rugged, and many areas are only accessible by 4WD vehicle. Tours to attractions in these areas include Land Rover safaris, ATV adventures and horseback riding. Segway tours are a fun way to soak up the island’s scenery – especially if you’re short on time – and you can combine them with a sailing and snorkeling trip for a fun amphibious adventure.
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1 Jolly Pirates Cruise
Jolly Pirates Cruise | Photo Copyright: Jolly Pirates Aruba
The Jolly Pirates Aruba cruise is one of the most popular tours in Aruba. This is a great way to cruise around the island to some of the best snorkeling spots and enjoy a little swashbuckling at the same time. The tour takes place aboard an impressive pirate ship replica with a fun crew. You can choose an afternoon snorkeling, swimming and sailing tour or a four-hour sailing cruise with a BBQ lunch. The snorkeling tours stop at three popular spots: World War II shipwreck Antilla, Boca Catalina, and Malmok. Sunset cruises are also available for those who don’t want to snorkel. The highlight of all cruises is a chance to bring out your inner Blackbeard on the rope swing and take a dip in the warm sea. Other fun sailing and snorkeling trips in Aruba usually take place on trimarans and catamarans.
Official site: https://www.jolly-pirates.com
2 4WD Natural Pool Tour
Aruba’s rocky and rugged landscape is ripe for 4WD adventures and one of the most popular is the Land Rover tour to the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park. This sparkling rock-rimmed saltwater pool, filled with colorful fish and fed by waves wading over the smooth rocks, is one of Aruba’s top tourist attractions. A snorkeling stop here is a highlight. Since it’s only accessible by 4WD vehicle over a rough and rocky track, this tour is a fun way to visit the pool and check out some of Aruba’s other attractions along the way. Depending on the tour you choose, you can also visit sights such as the California Lighthouse, Kapel van Alto Vistathe remains of the Natural bridge (it collapsed in 2005), the Donkey Sanctuary Arubain Ruins of the Bushiribana gold mines. Tours to the Natural Pool usually last about four hours, although a full-day guided tour is also available and includes a stop at Baby Beach. Be prepared for these adventures, and bring sturdy water shoes. You can also visit some of these natural areas on all-terrain vehicles.
3 Segway tours
Cruising the Caribbean coast on a Segway is an exciting way to see the island’s sights. This intuitive transport mode is a breeze to learn to drive and requires little effort. Tours begin with a short briefing and practice running and range in length from an hour-long trip along the beaches to the north Mills in catalina mouth to longer trips up to the California Lighthouse, with snorkeling and swimming stops along the way. The Segway, Sail and Snorkel tour combines the Segway adventure with a trimaran sail. Anyone from older kids to seniors can enjoy these tours, and they’re especially popular with cruise passengers and senior citizens, who can cover more ground than they would on foot. Complimentary pick-up service is available from the cruise ship dock or your hotel if required.
Official Site: https://www.segwaytoursaruba.com/index.html
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4 Atlantis Submarine Expedition
Dipping into the depths of the ocean in a submarine is a great way to see Aruba’s underwater world without getting wet. Small children and anyone who struggles with snorkeling will especially appreciate this tour. Hop aboard a ferry for the short submarine cruise, then descend on an underwater adventure. The tour visits two sunken wrecks and offers the chance to see schools of colorful fish and coral at depths of up to 130 feet. As you watch for marine life, a guide provides an educational talk. Another tour, the Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarinegives visitors a view of the reef through the submerged hull, while the rest of the vessel remains above the surface.
Those who don’t mind getting wet can try it SEABOB, a streamlined vehicle powered by an electric motor that allows you to zip through the water at a speed of up to 22 kilometers per hour. The two hour SEABOB tours depart from Malmok and visit the reefs of catalina mouth in Arashi Beach.
5 Horse riding
Aruba’s rugged landscape and windswept beaches are the perfect setting for horseback riding adventures. Tilting amidst the cactus-infused landscapes, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve traveled back in time to the Wild West, but then the striking jade-green sea comes into view, transporting you back to the island’s tropical paradise. Several outfitters offer horseback riding tours, including sunset rides on dune ridge beaches and adventures through Arikok National Park to the Natural pool. Many allow you to stop for a cool swim along the way.
6 Exploring Arikok National Park
To experience Aruba’s unique ecology, explore the rugged Arikok National Park on foot, horseback or mountain bike, as well as by vehicle – preferably 4WD. The arid landscapes in this 7,907-acre reserve make up nearly 20 percent of the island and include cacti-covered hills, scrubland, and fascinating rock formations sculpted from limestone, lava, and quartz diorite by the strong and salty winds. Keep an eye out for some of Aruba’s native animals, including the Aruban rattlesnake, the Aruban burrowing owl, and the beautiful Aruban parakeet that often squeaks in small squads. Herds of goats and donkeys graze in this parched wilderness, and caves within the park shelter flocks of bats, as well as Caquetío Indian paintings. Stop by the visitor center before entering the park to learn about the flora and fauna of the region. Beach lovers can also enjoy Mother Nature’s wild beauty on the park’s windswept shores, including two beach in mouth prins. The beaches are great places for a picnic, but swimming is not recommended due to the strong currents and rough surf. Entrance to the park requires a small fee, but free ranger-guided hikes are available for groups of up to 15 tourists as long as you book at least a day in advance. Avoid walking through the park in the hottest time of the day.
Official site: https://www.arubanationalpark.org/main/
7 Sports Fishing Charters
Aruba is known for its deep sea fishing. With the deep blue waters off the coast, you have the chance to catch mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, kingfish, bonito, billfish, wahoo, and marlin. Steep drop-offs provide a fertile fishing ground, and you can also cast for species such as grouper, triggerfish, and snapper. Trips range from half or full day excursions on well equipped and comfortable sport fishing boats and guided fly fishing trips are also available. To round off an unforgettable day on the water, many of the island’s restaurants will even cook your catch for you.
8 Dive trips
Aruba is known for its great wreck diving. Led by expert instructors, explore everything from sunken tugboats to airframes and freighters. The Antilla, a World War II German freighter, is Aruba’s most famous wreck and one of the largest in the Caribbean. Reefs surround the leeward side of the island with schools of colorful fish, turtles, stingrays and moray eels. Favorite dive sites include Skalahein Reef, Plonco Reefin Mas Bango Reef. Drift dives are also available. PADI Schools offer introductory classes, refresher courses and trips for divers of all levels.
9 Stand-up paddle boarding
Skimming Aruba’s jade-green waters on a paddleboard gives you a panoramic view of the fish life and a fun workout. Tours include paddles over the crystal clear ocean shoals, sunset tours and mangrove eco tours where you can see birds and iguanas and fish. Instruction is provided by experienced guides. Stand-up paddle surfing lessons are also available during surf season. You can even try step up yoga. This is a fun activity for the whole family.
Official Site: https://www.arubasurfschool.com/wp/
10 The Palm Island
If you’re looking for a day of island fun with something for the whole family, De Palm Island is a popular choice. Just a five-minute ferry ride from the mainland, this private island offers a variety of activities for an all-inclusive price. Kids will love the brightly colored spiral slides at the Blue Parrotfish Water Park. Adults can relax in a hammock on the white-sand beaches and get pampered at the spa, and water sports enthusiasts can try the Sea TREK Underwater Helmet Walk and SNUBA adventures for an additional fee. Snorkeling, salsa lessons, zip lining, bingo, banana boat rides and beach volleyball are other fun activities on the agenda here. Food and drinks are included in the price and you can opt for a half day visit or a full day stay.