If you think Aruba is only about getting a tan, you're greatly mistaken. I already mentioned the amazing restaurants on the island, but there are also plenty of fun things to do on Aruba to work off those delicious meals.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some of the calorie burning activities I came across on Aruba.
Active and fun things to do on Aruba
Thanks to the clear water that stays shallow until relatively far into the ocean, Aruba has tons of great snorkeling spots. You can find all of them driving north to south along the west side of the island, from Arashi, Boca Catalina and Malmok Beach to Mangel Halto, Saveneta, Rodgers Beach and Baby Beach.
There are several places on the island where you can rent snorkeling gear and some hotels even offer snorkeling gear to their guests free of charge. We, however, went on a half-day snorkeling trip with the Jolly Pirates. Read my review here.
If you're looking for a fun yet chill water activity, a snorkeling trip is a thing to do in Aruba!
I'm not a big fan of activities that require me to stand on things or get higher than I normally am (I mean from the ground up, not, you know) because I'm genuinely a wuss, but paddleboarding at Palm Beach is another one of those water things to do while in Aruba.
While paddleboarding along the same stretch of beach may sound a bit boring, there's also a paddleboarding tour through the mangrove on the south side of the island.
Looking for something a tad more exciting? Then windsurfing might just be it. While Boyfriend windsurfs, I'd never tried it before as I knew it wouldn't be for me but because I didn't want to be completely unadventurous, I decided to give it a go anyway. For like 15 minutes. And then I headed back to the beach.
Don't let my wussiness affect you, though. You can rent windsurfing material on Palm Beach and get lessons there as well, both private or in a group. You won't be able to windsurf effortlessly after an hour, but Elise and Jens, who were traveling with me, did manage to stand up on the board, raise their sail and surf for a bit.
Let that be an encouragement :-)
Windsurfing gives you the speed thrill, but only the pro's manage to fly their board into the air. Flying is a bit easier when you kitesurf, one of the other watersports you can do at palm beach. We didn't get to try this (*sigh of relief*) but I saw several people getting lessons and the teachers really seemed to focus on the basic tactics first.
Those of you who know me a bit, won't be surprised that of all the active things I did on Aruba, I liked taking a yoga class the best. Well, right alongside snorkeling, probably.
Several hotels on Aruba offer yoga classes and you don't always need to be a guest to be able to participate. We joined a morning yoga class at Manchebo Resort, one of the places where you can simply sign up and pay per class, even if you're not staying at the hotel.
The class took place from 8 until 9 a.m., which was perfect as the sun was already up but it wasn't too warm yet. And after class, we had a delicious smoothie at the hotel bar.
6. Climbing mount Hooiberg
I remember visiting Runyon Canyon park and being amazed at the amount of people who came jogging and running on its steep hills. I wasn't surprised any less to see people running up and down the 600+ steps of the Hooiberg, a mountain made of the rare stone type hooibergite. While it's not high, it's one the things to see in Aruba!
Jens and I felt that marching up at a normal pace took more than enough effort and we even paused every few hundred steps. We'd just finished admiring the view when a family of three – husband, wife and son – came running of the steps as if it caused them no effort at all. Jens and I immediately decided to work on our physiques once we'd get back home.
7. Hiking Arikok National Park
Arikok National Park covers 20% of the 178,9 km² large island. You're best to visit it by car and then park at different places of interest to walk around a bit. We visited the visitor center, Fontein (“Fontain”) cave, the dunes and a beautiful bay, but you can also hike up mount Jamanota or mount Arikok and hike to the Natural Pool.
Love horse riding? You can go horse riding at Arikok National Park!
Where to stay on Aruba
While I was on Aruba, I stayed at two completely different hotels.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is a high-end hotel that has its own harbor, food plaza, private island and casino. The poolside is a great place to chill during the day and listen to DJ sets and live performances in the evenings.
The Boardwalk Hotel Aruba is a small, family-run hotel made up out of different casitas that have their own kitchen, living room and balcony with barbecue. It's perfect for those who like having a home-away-from-home in a more intimate setting.
How to get to Aruba
I flew from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Oranjestad in Aruba with KLM. Click here to find the best flights for your trip.
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I was invited to visit Aruba by Aruba Tourism so that I could explore the discover the island and share my experiences with you. As always, I only write what I want to write.