As refined as the island is, Aruba has a decidedly rugged side within easy striking distance of its hotels and romantic beachfront restaurants. And when you pair off-road adventures with the island’s excellent watersports offerings, you’ve got all the makings of nonstop fun in the sun.
Follow our lead to get off-road and out on the water with some of the island’s top outings.
Adventuring Off-Road on UTVs
For an experience that puts you behind the wheel of a UTV (utility terrain vehicle), the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and De Palm Tours offer this wilder way to roll through Aruba’s most untamed terrain.
The recommended itinerary makes the most of the island’s diverse scenery and, of course, maximizes the pleasure of driving these mean machines. Suggested stops include the towering boulders of the Ayo Rock Formation that seem to rise out of nowhere, the unusually dark sands of Blackstone Beach, the Andicuri Trail, the gold mill ruins and Alto Vista Chapel, located on the site of the island’s first church, built by a Spanish missionary in 1750. A break for a refreshing swim at Natural Pool is always a highlight.
Head out with Red Sail Sports for a day of deep-sea fishing offshore, and chances are you’ll be bringing back dinner. Among the fish typically reeled in are tuna, blue marlin, wahoo and barracuda.
And even if luck isn’t on your side, you’ll likely still bring back a fresh catch or two since all of the fish caught onboard are distributed evenly between the captain, crew and passengers. If you’d like to enjoy your catch, you can make arrangements with Atardi restaurant and its chef at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino to cook up your fish and serve it family style with island sides, for a fee.
Off-Roading Excursions with Land Rovers
Land Rovers are meant for rolling across rugged terrain. And the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino partners with De Palm Tours to take guests on custom Land Rover excursions through the thrilling terrain of Arikok National Park and to treasured island sites such as the Natural Bridge Ruins, the ruins of the Bushiribana Gold Mill, California Lighthouse and Natural Pool.
Since guides are flexible and can show you what you most want to see, you can work together to plan a bespoke itinerary around the island, too.
Donkey Sanctuary Aruba
Animal lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Donkey Sanctuary Aruba, where more than 130 of the floppy-eared animals enchant visitors with their friendliness and curious nature. Once the main mode of transport around the island, donkeys were eventually unhitched from their carts for good and left to their own devices as cars and other motorized vehicles replaced them.
At this special place, they’re left to live out their lives in a protected and peaceful area. Feel free to bring along treats to feed them — apples and carrots are always a hit. You can even adopt a donkey for $200 per year if you’re so inclined.
Long before tourists flocked to Aruba and the beaches were lined with hotels, the native Arawak people dwelled here in caves. When you visit Arikok National Park, you can actually stroll into the past in these hidden spaces.
Steps lead down to Guadirikiri Cave, and sunlight filtering through the two interior chambers makes for quite a photo moment. Be aware that the 100-foot-long tunnel is home to countless bats. At Fontein Cave, look up at the ceiling to see original drawings by the Arawak. And the Huliba Cave is known as the “Tunnel of Love,” thanks to its heart-shaped entrance.