5 things to do in Aruba you can't do anywhere else
By Theo Panagopoulos, Jun 2020
Aruba is one of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean, boasting pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, alluring nightlife and a top-notch gastronomy scene. The charming island has been rapidly gaining in popularity with visitors from all around the globe, and for good reason. If you're wondering how this tiny island has stolen the show and what makes it stand out from its neighbors, keep reading to discover five things to do in Aruba that you can't experience anywhere else in the world.
Share the beach with the famous pink flamingos of Renaissance Island in Aruba.
1. Sunbathe among a flamboyance of flamingos
Spending a day sunbathing at the beach is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Aruba. The island's magnificent beaches are a unique attraction in their own, but there is one specific beach that really raises the bar thanks to the flashy pink flamingos that have made the mangroves along its coastline their home.
Appropriately named Flamingo Beach, this extraordinary place is located at a beautiful tiny islet called Renaissance just off the coast of Oranjestad. The island is privately owned, but, luckily, this doesn't mean that access is completely exclusive. You can still purchase a day pass to get the chance to swim among the whimsical creatures in a genuine tropical oasis.
2. Run wild in Aruba's Arikok National Park
This Dutch Caribbean island might seem tiny, but it hides some truly spectacular natural wonders, just waiting to be discovered. In fact, almost 20% of Aruba is a protected national park located in northeast Aruba stretching to the Caribbean coastline.
The Arikok National Park is a magical place featuring fascinating wildlife, caverns with ancient drawings and impeccable hilltop views of rugged ocean cliffs rubbing shoulders with tropical sandy shores. You can enter the park from Vader Piet, San Fuego or Shete and choose to either hike the trails or go on an off-road ATV adventure with a local guide. While there, make sure to visit the caves of Guadirikiri that are connected via the "tunnel of love" to marvel at the Arawak cave paintings, and summit Mount Jamanota for a bird's-eye view of the beautiful landscape.
Take a dip at "Cura di Tortuga," a natural pool that formed millions of years ago.
3. Explore a secret volcanic rock pool
Embark on an off-the-beaten-path adventure to discover one of the most otherworldly sights in the Caribbean. Known as "Cura di Tortuga," Aruba's Natural Pool or simply "Conchi," the mysterious pool is a natural wonder that was formed millions of years ago. It's located approximately 3 miles away from Shete, but getting there is no easy feat.
To access the pool, you have to hike through desert-like trails lined with wild cacti, travel on horseback or even drive an all-terrain vehicle over the dunes and steep cliffs. Nevertheless, climbing down the stairs to witness the marvel of the ethereal pool and take a dip in the dazzling blue water will certainly be more than rewarding.
4. Join the street parties at the annual Aruba Carnival
Aruba is famous for hosting some of the most extraordinary carnival celebrations in the Caribbean. And, given the region's reputation for merrymaking and its longstanding tradition of carnival festivities, you can expect the Aruba Carnival to be nothing short of spectacular. Every year for two whole months, typically hosted during the first months of each year, Aruba turns into an endless street party with the sounds of steel bands and calypso rhythms filling the air.
Locals fill the streets of the island's main cities of Oranjestad and San Nicolas to show off their sparkling costumes in colorful parades and dance the night away in after-dark, jam-packed parties. If you're visiting during carnival dates, attending the election of the Aruba Carnival Queen or the burning of King Momo that marks the end of the carnival is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Aruba on vacation.
5. Get up close to Aruban wildlife
Besides enjoying the bright sun and white sand, partying and shopping, one of the most extraordinary things to do in Aruba is exploring nature, both above and under the water. The small island is home to an astonishing number of wild animal species ranging from colorful tropical fish to rare kinds of migratory birds.
There are several prime, unspoiled spots for snorkeling and scuba diving on the island, such as Arashi Beach and Boca Catalina, where you can explore the underwater miracles of the Caribbean. If diving isn't exactly your style, swap your fins for a pair of hiking boots and head over to the Bubali Bird Sanctuary to catch a glimpse of the multicolored flocks of birds foraging and roaming the clear skies.
There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in the Caribbean, but when you experience Aruba's unique wonders, you'll see why this tiny Dutch Caribbean island stands out from the rest.
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