With travel slowly beginning to come back, the small southern Caribbean island of Aruba is getting a lot of love these days. Aruba refers to itself as “One Happy Island,” and I can tell you that it is indeed a very happy place!
Aruba is one of the Leeward Antilles islands in the far southern Caribbean, not far off the coast of Venezuela (though the island is connected politically to the Netherlands). Aruba is known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe, and it sits outside of the Hurricane Belt – which means it's a great tropical destination to visit any time of year.
My husband Elliot and I visited Aruba to celebrate a wedding anniversary, and found the island to be the perfect spot for us thanks to its mix of chances to relax and have adventures.
Most people choose one “home base” for their time in Aruba (usually in the hotel zone at Palm Beach or Eagle Beach), and explore the small island from there.
I do have a sample 5-day Aruba itinerary you can check out, but I thought I would sum up some of the best Aruba tours and day trips you can take on the island separately. Contrary to what you might think, Aruba is an island that's great for adventure!
Top 5 Aruba tours to take
These are all the highest-rated tours in Aruba, operated by professional companies and guides. They all offer hotel pick-up and drop-off, too.
1. Full island safari (with natural pool swim)
If you're only going to book one tour on Aruba, I would tell you to make it a full island safari. Elliot and I did this on our first full day on the island, and we were blown away by all the cool things we saw.
The tour highlight is a bumpy drive through Arikok National Park in order to go swimming at the famous Natural Pool. I was very glad to have someone else to navigate the national park “roads,” and it was fun to go for a dip here.
We also visited the Casibari Rock Formations, the Bushiribana gold mill ruins, the California Lighthouse, and the Fontein Cave, and even had time for snorkeling at Baby Beach after driving through the San Nicolas neighborhood.
This is indeed a full-day tour (we were gone probably close to 10 hours), but I think it's great value for money. Plus, if you want to spend the rest of your time in Aruba just lounging on the beach, at least you can say you saw the island, too!
>> Book this tour here: Island Ultimate Jeep Safari
(If you don't have a full day to dedicate to an island tour, you could also book this half-day tour just to Arikok National Park and the Natural Pool; these were our favorite parts anyway!)
2. A snorkeling tour
Another must-do while you're in Aruba is to get out on the water. The Caribbean Sea surrounds Aruba with beautiful turquoise water, and several companies offer fun sailing and snorkeling tours.
We went on a morning snorkeling tour while in Aruba, and it was Elliot's favorite part of our entire trip.
We booked this champagne brunch snorkeling trip, which includes both a champagne brunch and lunch on board a comfortable catamaran, along with three separate snorkeling stops. One of the snorkeling stops was over the wreck of a WWII ship, which was really unique!
The water here is also super clear and pretty warm year-round, making it a fun and safe snorkeling excursion for everyone.
>> Book this tour here: Champagne Breakfast and Lunch Cruise with Snorkeling
(The tour week took was a 4-hour one; if you're looking for a shorter and cheaper trip, this catamaran snorkeling tour is only 2.5 hours long.)
3. An ATV adventure tour
For the more adventurous traveler, you might want to explore some of Aruba's highlights on the back of an ATV or UTV. These tours are super popular in Aruba!
This particular ATV tour focuses on the northern part of the island, and includes stops similar to the full island safari mentioned above – except that this tour of course requires you to drive your own ATV as you explore the island!
Stops on this ATV tour include the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, Alto Vista Chapel, and several beautiful beaches. You'll also have the chance to swim in a natural pool inside a cave, which is pretty awesome.
This half-day tour has both morning and afternoon departures, and there are ATVs for single or double riders. Note that you must be 18 and have a valid driver's license to participate in this tour.
>> Book this tour here: Aruba ATV Tour Adventure
(Want to do a similar tour but in a UTV that can hold up to 5 people, including kids? Then this UTV tour is another good option.)
4. Horseback riding
If you've ever wanted to go horseback riding on the beach, you can do that here in Aruba! Horseback riding is a popular Aruba tour option, with many tours pairing up sightseeing and swimming with a leisurely ride.
This horseback riding tour includes a ride through Arikok National Park, and some time to go swimming in a natural pool halfway through if you want.
No previous horseback riding experience is necessary, and they'll pair you up with a horse that matches your riding skills.
>> Book this tour here: Natural Pool Horseback Riding Tour
(If you have more riding experience, there are some tours designed for experienced riders like this one.)
5. Sunset cruise
Last but not least, if you want to get out on the water in Aruba and just enjoy a sail, there are several good options for sunset cruises.
This 2-hour sunset cruise tour is one of the most popular options, and includes some snacks and an open bar.
If you want something a bit more romantic that includes dinner, this sunset dinner cruise includes a buffet dinner onboard, while this cruise and dinner tour includes a sunset sail and separate waterfront dinner.
Bonus: More Aruba tours!
The five types of tours listed above are the most popular ones that I think are worth booking when you visit Aruba. But there are some other, more unique tour options that also are worth knowing about:
- Aruba Atlantis Submarine Expedition – See some of the reefs and shipwrecks from a different vantage point from within a submarine!
- Fusion of the World Food Tour in Aruba – I love going on food tours when I travel, and this one in Oranjestad sounds great. Food tastings and drinks are included.
- Farm to Table Dining Experience in Aruba – This one is essentially a cooking class where you get to make some local dishes and then enjoy them for dinner!
- Half-Day Animal Sanctuary Tour – You'll visit the Aruba Ostrich Farm, along with the island's unique Donkey Sanctuary.
Which tour would you most want to book in Aruba?