With consistently pleasant weather, the 21-mile-long (34-kilometer-long) island of Aruba is a popular Caribbean tourist spot. Boasting a plethora of land and sea activities, the tiny paradise offers a diverse mix of options to fill a 3-day itinerary. From ATV sightseeing tours to scuba diving lessons to sunset cruises, here’s how to make the most out of three days in Aruba.
Day 1: Island Paradise
Head out on your own ATV or as part of a 4x4 Jeep tour to see Aruba’s natural wonders and cultural highlights such as the Ayo and Casibari rock formations, with drawings by the Arawak Indians; the tiny yellow Alto Vista Chapel, which still holds services; and the California Lighthouse, considered one of the most photogenic spots in Aruba. Alternatively, join a hiking tour and discover the island’s rugged countryside on foot before the afternoon heat sets in.
In the afternoon, cool off with a relaxing swim in the calm blue waters of family-friendly Baby Beach and grab a bite to eat at a nearby snack shack. Huts are scattered throughout the beach for sun protection, and snorkel gear is also available to rent. Other beaches include Malmok Beach, which is rugged and popular for snorkeling, and Palm Beach, which borders the high-rise hotels.
Day 2: Sea Adventure
Just off the coast of Aruba lies De Palm Island, an all-inclusive destination that offers something for everyone, from families to couples. Get away from the crowds of Aruba on a day trip to this remote coral island, where you can go snorkeling, scuba diving, and ziplining. Hop on a banana boat and ride the waves, glide down a water slide, or simply grab a drink and relax on the beach.
Another option is to hop aboard a catamaran and head to Catalina Bay to explore the hidden treasures of the SS Antilla, which was sunk by its own captain to avoid Dutch possession. Be on the lookout for angelfish, parrot fish, grouper, octopus, and barracuda while swimming around the shallow coral reef. Or go deeper and join a scuba diving tour. Various options are available, such as introductory courses for beginners and 2-dive tours for advanced certified divers.
Day 3: Off-the-Beaten Path
Discover the other side of Aruba by visiting the island’s factories to learn how some indigenous products are made. Head to the Aruba Aloe Factory to find out more about the plant, or visit the Balashi Beer Brewery to see how islanders treat ocean water in order to brew beer. See how cigars are hand-rolled at the Aruhiba Cigar Factory, or head to a local rum shop to sample island-grown liquor.
Top off your visit to Aruba with a picturesque sunset sail. Enjoy a dinner of Caribbean dishes and cocktails onboard an open-deck catamaran as you watch the last rays of sun disappear. Alternatively, spend the evening barhopping around Aruba’s favorite watering holes with the help of a guide. A drink or shot at each stop is typically included with these type of pub crawls, plus you don’t have to worry about driving.