Article •  Aruba, Caribbean

11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba

Last Updated On: August 29, 2023

Aruba. One Happy Island. A place so beautiful, words could never do it justice. We were told that Aruba is one of the few islands in the Caribbean that visitors return to, time and time again, and we are not surprised. There are not many places in the world where we feel the urge to come back to, but Aruba definitely stole our hearts. The island has a certain calmness and brings a sense of inner peace. Doing nothing all day has never felt so right.

With more than 100 non-stop flights from the US, Europe, and Latin America, Aruba is an easy-to-reach Caribbean getaway.

Located 15 miles north of Venezuela, this 19-mile long and 6-mile wide island is out of the hurricane belt, making it a popular vacation destination for many Americans any time of the year. While the island is pretty small, it still offers its visitors a multitude of exciting sights and activities. Whether you are looking to rent a jeep and off-road through the rugged Arikok National Park, spoil your taste buds on divine cuisine, or set sail in luxury on the turquoise waters, we have put together a list of 11 unique ways to experience the best of Aruba. This is not just your everyday travel list, but a carefully curated list designed to elevate your island experience, so keep reading to get inspired!

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Helpful Insights you Should Know Before your First Visit to Aruba:

  • The COVID entry regulations are easy to follow and still give unvaccinated people the opportunity to travel. All you will need is proof of a Negative Covid Test before your arrival otherwise you will have to quarantine. We’ve put together a step to step guide for how to safely travel to Aruba during COVID.
  • The high season in Aruba is from December – mid-March, the low season ranges from Mid-March to the beginning of December. We went in September and it was so perfect, with small crowds and hot weather!
  • There is only one airport in Aruba: Aruba Queen Beatrix International Airport. The airport was named after a royal visit from Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.
  • Aruba is an island in the Caribbean with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
  • Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba. The most popular place on the island is Palm and Eagle Beach.
  • Almost everyone on the island speaks, either Dutch, English, Spanish, Papiamentu, or all four. However, the main language still remains to be the local language Papiamentu
  • Most stores are closed on Sunday
  • The currency in Aruba is florin but most places accept dollars; however, if you pay with dollars you might get florin back instead.
  • Taxis are pretty expensive in Aruba. For the cheapest and most reliable way to reach your hotel from the Airport I recommend to prebook your private ride through this company. This is going to be your cheapest option for sure, plus you will be able to avoid the long taxi lines at the airport.
  • If you plan to travel around the island, then I would highly recommend getting a rental car. Just make sure you book your rental car in advance, especially if you are looking for a vehicle that you can take off-roading. Everything books out quickly, especially during the high season. That said if you plan to just laze on the beach and maybe change up your hotel once or twice then taking a taxi won’t break the bank. Click here for a taxi fare calculator.
  • Make sure to book your guided tours in advance. I would even go as far and make some dinner reservations in advance, especially at popular restaurants and during high reason.
  • Bring extra sunscreen, you will need it. The sun is quite strong in Aruba.
  • Bring a recycled water bottle with you, we recommend Hydroflask. We take it everywhere and if you buy it with the straw top you will automatically drink more which makes it easier to stay hydrated. Well, at least this is what it has done for us.

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Boardwalk Boutique Hotel, Aruba, Caribbean | Bare Escape
11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape
11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape

1. Live in Luxury at Boardwalk Boutique Hotel

Location: Palm Beach

Price: starting from $250 per night

Inclusions: Palapas on Palm Beach

The Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is an eclectic boutique hotel with a vibrant Caribbean charm that impresses everyone who enters its gates. With 46 private pastel-colored casitas, the hotel boasts two pools, a small onsite restaurant, and is within walking distance to the popular Palm Beach. Rent one of their inviting Palapas and relax in a paradise right amidst the soft sandy beach. This eco-friendly hotel really has it all. The Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is one of the first and only boutique hotels in Aruba. I personally find that it always elevates our trip to stay at small curated boutique hotels that provide a unique experience; one unlike anywhere else.

2. Enjoy an Unforgettable Luxury Sunset Picnic at the Beach

Duration: 2 hours

Price: starting from $75 p/p

Location: Linear Park, Oranjestad

There really isn’t anything more romantic than a picnic at the beach during sunset with your lover, or a group of close friends. When we travel we love to experience new places in unique ways since we are big believers that it is about the combination of the small things and the extraordinary moments that lead to unforgettable memories. It is no secret that we have a thing for luxury picnics, so when we found out about Picnic Aruba we knew we had to experience a romantic picnic at the beach and I couldn’t think of a better place than Aruba.

You can choose between a picnic basket delivered right to your hotel or a private picnic set up at Surfside, a quiet location beneath the shadows of the Kwihi trees. Picnic Aruba also provides three different types of Picnic menus from Breakfast, Signature to Gourmet, and a delicious Vegan option. All spreads are homemade carefully curated in recyclable meal boxes.

We chose the Royal Picnic set up at 5:30 pm accompanied by the vegan picnic menu and could have not been more satisfied with how it all turned out. Each pop-up picnic lasts two hours with available time slots starting as early as 8:30 am and the latest setup at 5:30 pm. Picnic Aruba went above and beyond to make our experience memorable, so we can’t recommend them enough.

3. Feed the Flamingos at Renaissance Private Island

Location: Renaissance Private Island 

Price: $125 per person (Free for guests at Renaissance Resort)

Hours: 7AM - 6:45PM (Overnights can be arranged)

These pink feathery friends have become quite the internet sensation and are often the inspiration for people to book a flight to Aruba. Who doesn’t like the idea of getting up close and personal with flamingos?

Now it may seem that flamingos are roaming all over the beaches of Aruba, but this is not the case. There is only one beach where you can hang out and feed the flock: Renaissance Private Island. To get there you either have to stay at Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort or purchase a day pass, which costs around $125 per person. This includes the boat ride to the island, lunch and a cocktail at Papagayo Bar & Grill or Mangrove Beach Bar.

The minute I found out about the possibility of feeding real-life flamingos I knew I had to book at least one night at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort. We ended up staying 3 nights right at the beginning of our trip and could have not been happier with our decision. Click here for 5 reasons why you should stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort when visiting Aruba.

We suggest getting to the island as early as possible. Being the first on the island not only allows for pictures without the crowds but the flamingos are still hungry and will most likely eat directly out of the palm of your hand.

The earliest water taxi leaves right below the lobby of the Renaissance Marina Hotel at 7:00AM and runs every 15 minutes until 6:45PM. Once you reach the island go to the right (the adult-only section of the Private Renaissance Island), which is usually where the flamingos hang out in the morning. After crossing a small wooden bridge you will see a vending machine with flamingo food. It costs 25 cents for a handful of dried food, so make sure to bring a few quarters. If you don’t have any, not to worry, the onsight bar happily exchanges dollars to quarters.

4. Get Dinner at Flying Fishbone

Location: Savaneta (Southern Aruba)

Price: ~$50pp

Hours: 4PM-10PM (Reservations Recommended)

You really can’t go to Aruba and not dine at the first-ever barefoot restaurant on the island. The Flying Fishbone sits on a crescent bay and offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the small fisherman’s town of Savaneta. The off-the-beaten-track location doesn’t stop the restaurant from booking out almost every night of the week, so make sure to book a reservation in advance.

Dine with your feet in the sand or even better score a table in the water. There is nothing quite like a romantic dinner over candlelight, getting lost in conversation while watching the sun set over the Caribbean Sea. The menu boasts a delicious selection of fresh seafood, meat, and even a few vegetarian entrees. We spent our last night dining at Flying Fishbone and it was the perfect way to end our trip in Aruba.

5. Rent a Jeep and explore the Arikok National Park

Location: Jeep Delivered to your hotel

Price: ~$150 per day 

Park Hours: 8AM-4PM (Exit gates close at 7PM)

Have you had enough pina coladas? Want to take a break from tanning and doing nothing all day? Grab a jeep and go explore the rest of the island!

Aruba can be divided into two areas: the soft sandy beaches that go on for miles and the rugged and rocky volcanic coastline. In the south, you can find Arikok National Park. The National Park itself can be explored within a day and costs $11 per person to enter, offering a few worth mentioning stops such as Dos Playa, Guadirikiri (Quadirikiri) CaveNatural Pool.

Make sure to arrange your rental car prior to your arrival. During our trip to Aruba in September, we didn’t have much planned except for our accommodations, all of which we can highly recommend. We started our trip at Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort followed by a few days at Boardwalk Boutique Hotel and then we ended our stay at Manchebo Beach Resort.

The rental car was one thing I wish we would have booked prior to our trip. We spent a full morning calling a variety of rental places with no luck until someone recommended to us probably the last rental place on the island we hadn’t tried calling yet. We didn’t just want any car, we needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle in order to reach some of the hidden gems in the National Park. We ended up booking a Jeep with Drive4Cheap and we have to say that we loved their service. They not only dropped off the car directly to our hotel, but they were also on time and the handover process was so quick. The company even provides complimentary airport drop-off, which worked out perfectly for us.

6. Set Sail with Monforte Luxury Cruise

Location: Palm Beach at Pelican Pier

Price: Starting from $139 per person

Tour Times: 10AM-3PM or 5PM-8PM 

The Monforte III was built in a coastal town of Brazil by Brazillian artisans. The captain of the boat himself sailed this luxury vessel all the way from Brazil to Aruba. The 115-foot wooden schooner is not only beautiful to look at but also majestic to sail on through the Caribbean Sea. It definitely has some Pirates of the Caribbean vibes.

Choose between one of their two sailing excursions: a fun day adventure or romantic dinner & sunset experience. We opted for the Luxury Lagoon Cruise and had one of the best days on the sea. We soaked up the sun, visited a private cove for an off-the-beaten-track snorkeling experience and Nash’s favorite, jumped into the crystal clear water from the onboard rope swings. Hop on the boat at Pelican Pier right along Palm Beach, almost impossible to miss. Once aboard enjoy unlimited handcrafted cocktails & drinks as well as a Caribbean-style lunch experience out on the water.

Setting sail with Monforte was easily one of our highlights while visiting Aruba! If we ever return then we won’t think twice about embarking on a romantic dinner sailing experience.

7. Spoil Your Taste Buds At Bohemian Bar & Restaurant

Location: Palm Beach

Expect to pay: ~$50 per person

Hours: 5PM-12AM (until 1AM Fri & Sat)

Being on vacation usually means it is date night every night of the week. I love the whole ritual of returning to our hotel after spending the day sunbathing at the beach with my bare feet in the soft sand gazing out into the never-ending turquoise ocean. I love jumping in the shower and seeing my tan line in the mirror. I love picking out the perfect outfit for the perfect night to end the perfect day. I love holding hands and walking into the sunset to arrive at a beautifully designed space with outstanding customer service and heavenly cuisine. The Bohemian Bar & Restaurant provides all of that and more.

Located on the corner of Barcelo Resort in Palm Beach, this high-end restaurant features French & World Cuisine amidst a stunning setting with a pinch of bohemian magic. Different styles of live music fill the air almost every night of the week. The waiters give vintage a whole new meaning, waltzing between the tables wearing suspenders and berets in the most bohemian way possible.

Follow the stone stairs up from the street into the mysterious garden. Inside all the tables are surrounded by lush green trees and branches making it feel as if you have crashed a bougie secret garden party. Dinner was divine. Flavors that just melt in your mouth paired with a unique array of cocktails. From the sights to the tastes and smells, this restaurant satisfied all of the senses.

Check their website for their nightly entertainment and make sure to make a reservation in advance.

8. Head To Eagle Beach And See The Fofoti Trees

Location: Eagle Beach

Price: free

Hours: 24/7

The iconic Fofoti Tree can be found in almost every advertisement that relates to Aruba as it is one of the island’s landmarks. The Fofoti Tree is an evergreen and can be found along the shores of Eagle Beach in Aruba in the Caribbean. Eagle Beach is one of the best beaches to get up close and personal with two of the Fofoti Trees that are located right on the edge of one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Shaped by the trade winds that blow across the island from the northeast, the tree always points in a southwestern direction. Aruba’s natural compass. Its twisted bark looks similar to a bonsai tree and is impossible to miss.

9. Visit the Local Aruba Butterfly Farm

Location: Noord, Aruba near Palm Beach

Price: $16 Adults, $13 Seniors, $8.50 Children 4-17 years old, under 4 free

Hours: 8:30AM-4:30PM Daily

The Butterfly Farm is located right off the famous Palm Beach area and is a popular activity for kids and families. Wander through the lush garden boasting hundreds of exotic butterflies from all around the world. With multiple daily tours, knowledgeable butterfly guides take you through the peculiar habits and life cycle of these incredible creatures, showing you different eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises. It is such a rare opportunity to witness beauty you will most likely never see in your lifetime and if you get there early enough, you may be able to experience new butterflies coming out of their chrysalises and taking their first flight.

Quick Tip: your ticket allows unlimited re-entry so come at the beginning of your trip if you would like to return multiple times to the butterfly garden during your stay in Aruba.

Also, you are allowed to touch the butterflies. Obviously not on their wings but if you put your hand down slowly and let them crawl onto your finger then you are allowed to hold them. Keep in mind that the drunker the butterfly is, the bigger your chances that he walks onto your finger. You will learn all about this and more on your tour from your knowledgeable guide

For more information about the Butterfly Farm in Aruba click here. Note the farm is open all year from 8:30AM-4:30PM daily with the last guided tour of the day starting at 4PM.

10. Swim With Sea turtles

Location: Tres Trapi

Price: free

Hours: 24/7

Sea Turtles are some of our favorite sea animals, so any chance we get to go out and search for them we take! There are a few places on the island where you can see these majestic creatures, but our favorite spot where you will 99% of the time spot a sea turtle is Tres Trapi. Not only is this beach picturesque, a real gem, but only the locals really know about it so you almost have the water to yourself.

You can rent snorkeling gear pretty much anywhere along Palm Beach, but we went to Aruba Water Sports Center right next to the Hilton. The service was amazing with easy pick-up and return, plus the gear worked perfectly.

11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape
11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape
11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape

11. Enjoy a Yoga Class & Breakfast at Manchebo Resort & Spa

Location: Manchebo Beach Resort

Price: $15 per class, $45 for 4 (free for Machebo guests)

Yoga Sessions: Morning & Evening Daily

The Manchebo Spa Resort is one of the island’s best resorts with a big emphasis on nourishing the body, mind, and soul. It comes as no surprise that the hotel offers daily Yoga & Pilates classes which are also open to the public, starting at $15 per class or $45 for 4 classes (all classes are complimentary for Manchebo guests).

The classes are held on the onsite yoga shala right on the beach, so you can hear the waves in the background while you are practicing. This is such a great way to start any day in the Caribbean. Breakfast can also be enjoyed on site by non-resort guests.

If you want to treat yourself after your yoga session, then we also recommend booking a relaxing massage at the oceanside Spa del Sol, a beautiful Caribbean-Balinese spa retreat located steps from the beach and adjacent to the Manchebo Spa Resort. The indoor and outdoor spaces are decked out with teakwood furniture and individual thatched cabanas overlooking Machebo Beach. This open-air spa is the perfect escape from the busy beaches.

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11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape
11 Unique Ways to Experience The Best of Aruba | Bare Escape

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