Wondering what fun things there are to do in Aruba on a cruise?

You’ve come to the right article. Aruba is a Caribbean island with idyllic beaches, amazing Dutch food, and many spectacular natural attractions.

As soon as you arrive in Aruba’s cruise port in Oranjestad, you’ll be near many great restaurants, and within walking distance to a beach. 

To help you plan a memorable trip, I’ve put together this list of 15 things to do in Aruba while your cruise ship is in port. From exploring the rocky coast on an ATV tour to relaxing at a beach bar, this list has something for everyone.

Here are 15 fun things to do in Aruba on a cruise. 

aruba cruise port
Photo by: Kiril Georgiev

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Things To Do In Aruba On A Cruise

1. Walk To Surfside Beach

beach in aruba
Photo by: Lex Melony

If you want to hit the beach as soon as you arrive, Surfside Beach is the closest beach to Aruba’s cruise terminal.

This peaceful white sand beach has great bars, restaurants, and chair and umbrella rentals. It’s located at the end of the Oranjestad airport, so you’ll get to watch planes fly right over the beach.

If you plan on renting a car during your stay, there are a variety of rental car companies right by the beach as well. 

2. Go On A Full Island Tour

One of the best ways to see all of Aruba’s beautiful natural attractions is to go on an island tour with a local guide.

On this full day island tour, you’ll get to visit top landmarks like the California Lighthouse, Bushiribana Gold Ruins, Alto Vista Chapel, and stop by Baby Beach to swim and snorkel.

With a local guide, you’ll get to learn all about the history of the area, and the best places to eat.

If you’re seeking more of an adventure, I recommend going on a jeep tour to swim in the natural pools at Arikok National Park. 

3. Visit The California Lighthouse

California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse (Photo by: Raoul Croes)

Just a 20 minute cab ride from the cruise terminal, the California Lighthouse is Aruba’s most popular landmark.

This charming lighthouse overlooks the waters of Arashi Beach, and was built in the early 1900’s. If you have the stamina, you can climb 123 steps to the top for priceless views of the ocean.

It costs $5 to enter, and has a food truck on site that sells coconut water. There’s a restaurant within the lighthouse that offers private dinners, so it’s the perfect place for a romantic sunset dinner. 

Noord, Aruba. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm, Sun 9am-7pm. Cost $5 per person to enter.

4. Explore The Island On An ATV/UTV Tour

If you’re up for an adventure, explore Aruba’s rocky desert landscape on an ATV tour.

With most of Arikok National Park only accessible by 4×4 vehicle, ATV tours are a great way to see all of the natural beauty Aruba has to offer.

On this ATV tour, you’ll get to visit cave pools, secret beaches, natural bridges, a black sand beach, gold ruins, and tons of interesting sites. If you love nature, this is the tour for you. 

5. Get Breakfast At The Dutch Pancake House

For a delicious breakfast, head to the Dutch Pancake House to try out traditional Dutch pancakes. Dutch pancakes are large fluffy family-style pancakes that are a must-try for anyone visiting Aruba.

The Dutch Pancake House is just a short 15 minute walk from the cruise terminal, and they make some of the best Dutch pancakes on the island.

They’re next to the Renaissance shopping mall in downtown Oranjestad, just down the street from a Starbucks. 

Renaissance Marketplace, Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 9, Oranjestad, Aruba. Open Mon-Sun 8am to 9pm. 

6. Take A Taxi To Palm Beach Or Eagle Beach

palm beach
Palm Beach, Aruba (Photo by: Lex Melony)

If you want to spend the day relaxing on the beach, head to Palm Beach or Eagle Beach.

Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are Aruba’s most popular beaches, and they’re lined with bars, restaurants, and watersports concessions.

You can walk across the major street from the port to take the Arubus (Aruba’s public transportation), or take a taxi to the beaches. The Arubus is a cheap alternative to taxis, but you’ll have to wait for the bus to arrive. 

If you want to relax at a beach bar, head to Bugaloe at the end of Palm Beach Pier. This is one of the liveliest bars on the island, and they have live music, great seafood, and delicious tropical drinks.

7. Go On A Snorkeling Tour

With offshore shipwreck sites and abundant coral reefs, snorkeling tours are one of the most popular activities in Aruba.

You can go on a snorkeling tour to see the Antilla shipwreck, one of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean! The most popular and highly-rated snorkeling tour in Aruba is the Arusun catamaran sail.

On this cruise, you’ll get to snorkel around the Antilla wreck and Catalina Bay, and enjoy snacks and drinks on a spacious catamaran.

8. Visit The Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel
Alto Vista Chapel (Photo by: Benjamin R)

Overlooking the sea, the Alto Vista Chapel is a charming small chapel from 1952, and one of the most popular landmarks in Aruba.

It’s located in a remote area northeast of Noord, a 20 minute drive from the cruise port. It’s free to enter, and you can tour inside, or hike along the coast for exceptional views of the ocean. 

Free parking and free admission. Open from 7am to 6pm daily. 

9. Get Lunch At Bistro De Suikertuin 

For a delicious lunch, head to Bistro De Suikertuin in Oranjestad. This little Dutch bistro is a hidden gem, and they’re a 20 minute walk from the cruise port.

They serve everything from homemade apple pie to local Aruban dishes like keshi yena, and Caribbean curry. 

Wilhelminastraat 64, Oranjestad, Aruba. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm.

10. Take A Day Trip To Palm Island

flamingos on de palm island
De Palm Island (Photo by: Vera Wijermars)

De Palm Island is a tiny island just a few miles offshore that has a waterpark, flamingos, and beautiful beaches.

You can go on a half-day excursion to snorkel, do water activities, and enjoy all-inclusive food and drinks on the island.

Or, you can drive to the De Palm Island ferry terminal, purchase tickets, and ride the ferry to Palm Island. The De Palm Island Ferry terminal has free parking, and is just a 15 minute drive from the cruise port. 

11. Visit The Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Garden, Aruba
Butterfly Garden, Aruba (Photo by: Kevin Lanceplaine)

The Butterfly farm is a serene butterfly garden with thousands of butterflies in a garden-like enclosure. If you’re looking for a place to relax and avoid crowds, this is the place to go.

It costs $19 for adults, and $10 for children to enter, which includes a 25 minute guided tour. It’s just a 10 minute drive from the cruise port, and is located right between Palm Beach and Eagle Beach.

HW7X+FW4, J.E. Irausquin Blvd, Noord, Aruba. Open 8:30 am to 4:30pm daily. Cost $19 for adults, $10 for children. 

12. Admire Street Art In San Nicolas

Mural in San Nicolas
Main Street, San Nicolas (Photo by: Pascal Muller)

If you love art, head to San Nicolas or “Aruba’s cultural capital”. San Nicolas is a 30 minute drive from the cruise port, and the main street in San Nicolas is lined with over 50 impressive murals.

You can stroll around to take photos, and stop by Charlie’s bar for food and drinks. San Nicolas is also home to Baby Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

13. Visit An Animal Sanctuary

Philip's Animal Garden
Philip’s Animal Garden (Photo by: Walter Dziemianczyk)

Philip’s Animal Garden is an animal sanctuary with 50 species of animals, with everything from potbelly pigs to capuchin monkeys.

You can get a bag of carrots for $10 to feed the animals, and it’s a fun place for all ages. It’s a 20 minute drive from the cruise port, and is right by the Alto Vista Chapel in Noord.

If you love animals, Aruba also has a donkey sanctuary and ostrich farm. The donkey sanctuary is free to visit, and it’s a 15 minute drive from the cruise port. 

The ostrich farm costs $15 per adult, $8 per children, and is a 20 minute drive from the cruise port.

Philips Animal Garden: Alto Vista 116, Noord, Aruba. Open 9am to 6pm daily. Cost $10 for adults, $5 for children (2-13). 

Aruba’s Ostrich Farm: Matividiri 57, Paradera, Aruba. Costs $15 per adult, $8 per child. Open 10am-3pm daily. 

Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary: Bringamosa 2-Z, Santa Cruz, Aruba. Free to visit. Open 9am-4pm daily. 

14. Enjoy Gelato At The Gelatissimo Bus

For dessert, stop by the Gelatissmo Bus on Palm Beach. This is a unique ice cream shop made out of a retro bus, that serves food, drinks, and amazing Italian gelato.

From ferrero rocher to Italian cheesecake flavored ice cream, you definitely won’t want to miss trying out this place. They’re a short 10 minute drive from the cruise port, near many great restaurants on Palm Beach. 

J.E. Irausquin Blvd 348, Noord, Aruba. Open 12pm to 12am daily. 

15. Stop By The Aloe Factory Museum

Less than a 10 minute drive from the cruise port, the Aloe Factory Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Aruba.

They offer free 15 minute guided tours through an aloe factory where you can learn how aloe’s grown and processed. This is a great place to purchase gifts and aloe products to bring back home on vacation. 

Pitastraat 115, Aruba. Open Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, Sat 9am to 5pm, Sun 9am to 1pm.  

You may also be interested in:

Aruba Cruise Port Map

Aruba Travel Planning Guide

💧Can you drink the tap water in Aruba?

Yes, the tap water is generally very safe and clean to drink. However, I recommend and always make sure to use a Brita water bottle when traveling to new destinations.

Should I buy travel insurance to Aruba?

100% YES! Basic coverage starts at $5-$10 per day, and can save you peace of mind. Find the best policy (and prices) for your trip with Travel Insurance Masters.

Should I rent a car in Aruba?

Yes, renting a car is a necessity if you want to explore the full island, especially for longer stays. 

Where’s the best place to book accommodations?

My #1 choice for booking hotels is Booking.com. For cheaper accommodations and rentals with a homier feel, my go-to is Vrbo.com. 

Where can I find the cheapest flights to Aruba?

For finding the cheapest deals on flights, I recommend using Expedia.com

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