Diving Aruba’s many underwater sites is a must for visitors. (Photos: Justin Carmack)

Tips + Trends

Better Than the Beach? Find the Top Things to Do in Aruba

Lying in the amazing south Caribbean waters is the amazing island of Aruba. With its beautiful white sand beaches and perfect year-round weather, it is a popular holiday destination for millions of people from around the world. Measuring just under 20 miles long and 6 miles wide, this tiny island is full of fantastic things to do and see.

Obviously, the beaches are to die for and are the biggest attraction, but beyond the lounges are many surprising things to see in Aruba. Here you’ll find a few of the more offbeat things to do in Aruba.

Dive the Sites

Scuba diving is one of the most popular sports in Aruba, and the island is a destination for divers from all over the world. Great reefs abound here as well as wrecks that are always so much fun to explore.

The numerous varieties of marine life species and the beauty of the colorful coral reefs make any dive an awesome experience. There are many dive shops, such as JADS, that provide everything you could possibly need to enjoy your diving.

Dive trips will take you to sunken ships and coral reefs. (Photo: Justin Carmack)

Even if you have never dived before, you can learn in a very short time. Advanced certification training can be gotten very easily for those that have already begun their training.

During my short visit and few dives, I got to dive down to a couple sunken planes, a couple wrecks, countless giant morays, macro critters and lots more. Aruba definitely boasts some of the best diving in the world.

The California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse is one of Aruba’s most famous landmarks. Like all lighthouses, it was originally built to warn ships away from the coastline. While it does still fulfill this function, it is now open to the public.

Climbing up to the top gives tourists the most spectacular views of the northwestern part of the island you could imagine. Nine flights of stairs sounds more daunting than it really is, but it is well worth the effort.

Guides can lead the way if you like, and they will give you great history of the lighthouse as well as the entire island.

If you happen you make the climb in the evening you will be treated to the most spectacular sunset you will ever see. During the day you will get a great view of the sandy beaches and rocky coral shorelines of the area, as well as a magnificently landscaped golf course.

Hike the Sand Dunes

The California Sand Dunes are adjacent to the California lighthouse, and include even more magnificent views.

The dunes tower up to 40 feet high and run as far as the eyes can see.

A distinct landscape among the flora and fauna populating much of the island, the California Sand dunes are nothing but white sand and ocean sights. Take off your shoes, but not for your regular beach day, and explore the otherworldly hills and quiet havens of the island’s Northwest corner.

Hit the Casinos

Stellaris Casino Aruba
Try your luck at the Stellaris Casino at the Marriott Aruba. (Photo: Marriott International)

Gambling is alive and well in Aruba, and there are some wonderful casinos such as the casinos at Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino where you can try your luck.

Open 24 hours a day, the casinos offers all the traditional table games you could want, as well as a giant selection of slot machines. There is sports betting, and several days a week there are some great bingo tournaments.

This casino is one of the classiest ones you will find on the island, and it is so much fun to try to beat the house and pay for your entire vacation – or at least enjoy the free drinks they give you while you are playing!

Rock Out

The Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations are also known as “ Aruba’s Stonehenge.” Like the Stonehenge of England they are of an unknown origin, and are extremely popular with both the tourists and locals alike. They are located in the center of the island, which makes them an ideal place to see, and get pictures of almost the entire island.

The Casibari Rock Formation is the largest of the two formations, and has been made very people friendly. Steps, trails, handrails and narrow tunnels have been created that make getting to the top much easier, although it is still a challenging feat.

Once you are at the top however, you will see that it was well worth the effort! The view of Palm Beach and Oranjestaad are spectacular.

The Ayo Rock Formation does not have steps or handrails or well groomed trails, which makes it ideal for more adventurous people that want to get away from the crowds.

This is where the ancient Arawak Indians used to live, and would often seek shelter when they knew a major thunderstorm was approaching. You can even see the hieroglyphs and markings these native people left. You will not want to leave without making this one of your top places to see in Aruba.