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Caribbean

Aruba Itinerary: One Week in Aruba 

Last updated on March 14th, 2022

Known as One Happy Island, Aruba is a tiny Caribbean island with beautiful scenery and friendly locals. The island spans 29 km in length and 10 km in width, but don’t let its small size fool you; Aruba features a wide variety of activity options. 

If you are looking for a memorable Caribbean getaway, travel to Aruba. Aruba is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore all that the island has to offer, one week in Aruba is sure to be unforgettable. This 7-day Aruba itinerary will help you plan your tropical getaway.

How Many Days Do You Need in Aruba? 

Aruba is more than just beaches. You will want to spend at least 4-7 days in Aruba. I found seven days, including travel time, to be the right amount of time to explore Aruba. 

If you are visiting by cruise, you will not have enough time to explore the whole island. If you have less than 24 hours in Aruba, you can choose to see Oranjestad and swim at one of its beaches to stay near the cruise port.

I recommend you spend at least 4-7 days in Aruba, depending on what you want to see while on your trip. This Aruba guide will assist you in planning up to 7 days in Aruba. 

aruba beaches - must-visit beaches on your aruba itinerary

7 Day Aruba Itinerary 

This one-week Aruba itinerary will show you the most popular and scenic destinations on the island. Spend your days soaking up the sun, exploring natural wonders, and enjoying delicious Arubian cuisine. 

Feel free to switch up the order of the days on this Aruba itinerary to suit your travel style. 

Day 1-3 in Aruba: Arrive and Explore Aruba’s Beautiful Beaches

You arrive in Aruba and are ready to hit the beach. 

Choose to visit one beach off the list below per day, in any order you prefer. These are the best beaches in Aruba. 

eagle beach aruba

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach is a well-known beach and low-rise resort-lined neighbourhood in northwest Aruba. This stretch of white sand is considered one of the top beaches in Aruba, with beautiful clear water and soft powdery sand for over half a mile. Eagle Beach has won awards from TripAdvisor and is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world.

Best recognized by its iconic Fofoti tree, a spiral tree that grows in sand, Eagle Beach is a fun spot for a beach day. There are a variety of water sports available, including snorkelling, jet ski rentals, and paragliding. 

eagle beach aruba sunset

Located on the west coast, Eagle Beach is a perfect place to watch a colourful Arubian sunset. 

During my visit to Eagle Beach, I took photos of the famous Fofoti tree, swam across the beachfront, and watched the sunset. I found the late afternoon / early evening to be a less busy time to visit the beach.  

palm beach aruba

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a 2-mile long beach and high-rise resort-lined neighbourhood in northwestern Aruba. Featuring tall palm trees and calm turquoise waters, Palm Beach is picturesque.  

Within the Palm Beach area, you will find a pier with a restaurant overlooking the water, two of the largest shopping malls in Aruba, and various water activities. 

palm beach aruba

If you are looking for nightlife in Aruba, you will find it in Palm Beach. Night-time attractions in the Palm Beach neighbourhood include a cinema, casino, and clubs.

During my visit to Palm Beach, I walked around the mall and swam at the beach while watching the sunset.

baby beach aruba

Baby Beach

Baby Beach is a secluded beach in San Nicolas in southern Aruba. Popular for its calm shallow waters protected by a half-moon lagoon, Baby Beach is a perfect place to swim and snorkel. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Aruba. 

Amenities at Baby Beach include: complimentary beach huts, a refreshment & BBQ stand, and rental items such as beach chairs and snorkel gear.

You can reach Baby Beach by bus, taxi, or car. There is parking available at the beach. 

During my visit to Baby Beach, I saw colourful fish while snorkelling in the lagoon and enjoyed a picnic on the sand. Baby Beach was my favourite beach in Aruba, a quiet place away from the rest of the tourist areas. 

Day 4 in Aruba: San Nicolas

Today will take you to Aruba’s San Nicholas and Savaneta neighbourhoods.  

san nicolas street art

San Nicolas Street Art Murals 

The Street Art Murals of San Nicolas are a collection of art murals spread across the town of San Nicolas in southern Aruba. Each year, Aruba holds an Art Fair, and artists create art pieces to the walls on San Nicolas. There are over 30 murals in San Nicolas, and each adds a vibrant culture to this beautiful town. 

Take a self-guided tour of all the street art murals of San Nicolas. Most of the murals are in a single area of the town. The murals make for a fun afternoon and provide fun photo opportunities. 

san nicholas aruba -street art

During my visit, the street murals were one of my favourite parts of my Aruba trip. I love street art. I highly recommend you visit the street art on your visit.

After all that walking, you will be hungry. Head to Zeerover for a delicious seafood dinner.

zeerover aruba

Seafood Dinner at Zeerover

Zeerover is a popular seafood restaurant located in Savaneta, Aruba. The freshest seafood you can get, the food at Zeerover comes fresh from the boat to your table. A relaxed restaurant setting on a pier, Zeerover is a popular restaurant with both locals and tourists. 

You prepay for your seafood at the counter, and then the waiters bring your order to your table. The special varies based on the catch of the day and can include red snapper or grouper. Popular dishes include fried fish and fried shrimp.

seafood aruba

The best time to visit Zeerover is at sunset to watch the sun set as you dine overlooking the water.

Zeerover 

Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 11 am – 9 pm, closed Mondays

Cost: Based on weight 

Note: They accept cash only, no debit or credit available

Day 5 in Aruba: Santa Cruz

Today will take you to Aruba’s Santa Cruz neighbourhood. 

arikok national park aruba

Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park is a massive National Park located on Aruba’s eastern coast. Spanning almost 20% of the total size of Aruba, Arikok National Park has a variety of terrain, including rugged desert hills and a stunning coastline. 

The park includes gorgeous scenery such as hills, cactuses, beaches, a cave, and many types of flora and fauna. Arikok National Park is a popular place to visit because of its natural beauty.

boca prins arikok national park aruba

Attractions within Arikok National Park include Boca Prins, Fontein Cave, and Natural Pool (Conchi). There are also multiple hiking trails within the park to explore. 

Visiting Arikok National Park was one of the highlights of my trip to Aruba. Seeing so many cacti in one place was incredible. I could not believe how tall cacti can grow! During my visit, I also saw the beautiful coastline at Boca Prins and explored Fontein cave.  I highly recommend you visit Arikok National Park while in Aruba.

fontein cave arikok national park aruba

How to Get Around Arikok National Park

The best way to visit Arikok National Park is by vehicle, especially a 4×4. To visit Arikok without a 4×4, you can drive the main paved road, or travel on foot, which are also good options. Without a 4×4, you cannot drive off-road and see remote sites such as Natural Pool. 

When planning my visit to Aruba, I did not know you could enter the park without a 4×4 and because I didn’t know that, I planned to hitch-hike through Arikok. I was able to hitch-hike both into and out of the park. This was my first time hitch-hiking in a foreign country, and it was successful; I met a nice American couple on the way in and a lovely Arubian family on the way out of Arikok National Park.

Decide where in Arikok National Park you wish to visit before picking your rental car type, but know that renting a jeep will allow you the most freedom to explore the park.

arikok national park aruba cacti

Tips for Visting Arikok National Park and What to Pack for Arikok

  • Enter the park from the San Fuego Entrance – it is the best entrance
  • Bring plenty of water, stay hydrated
  • Pack sunscreen and apply it frequently
  • Bringing a hat and sunglasses is recommended 
  • Whatever you bring to the park with you, take it when you leave. Don’t litter. 

Arikok National Park

Hours of Operation: Daily 8 am – 4 pm, last tickets sold at 3:30 pm

Cost: 11 USD per adult

Day 6 in Aruba: Self-Guided Island Tour or Guided Jeep Tour

Today will take you to Aruba’s Paradera, Santa Cruz, Hudishibana neighbourhoods. 

car rental aruba

Self-Guided Aruba Tour 

A fun way to experience Aruba is by driving. Taking a self-guided island tour will allow you to visit more of Aruba in less time. Visit the whole list, or choose individual sites from the list that interest you. This self-guided island tour will show you the north, west coast and central areas of Aruba. 

The driving portion of this island tour from start to finish is around 1.5 hours; this time does not include time spent at each destination.

Start your day by picking up your rental car and getting ready to explore the island of Aruba.

Note: If you don’t want to rent a car or a vehicle rental isn’t available during your vacation dates, you can take a jeep or ATV tour around the island. Most jeep tours will include some or all of these spots. 

What to See and Do on an Aruba Roadtrip – Self-Guided Tour

ayo rock formation aruba

Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations

The Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations are a collection of large diorite boulders near central Aruba. The rock formations are unusual, as Aruba is primarily a flat and sandy island, so the boulders look out of place. Hard to describe in words, the rock formations are a sight you must see with your own eyes.

At Casibari Rock Formation, there is a staircase leading to the top. From the top of the boulder, you can look out with 360-degrees over the island, including a view of Hooiberg, a nearby volcanic peak. 

casibari rock aruba lookout

Casibari Rock Formation is near a residential neighbourhood in Paradera, and the Ayo Rock Formation is a few kilometres away in Santa Cruz. 

At Ayo Rock Formation, there are a series of pathways between rocks to walk through and around the giant boulders. You will walk around and between boulders and can admire their unique design. It was fun to interact so closely with the Ayo Rock Formation.

Tips for Visiting Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations and What to Pack to Visit

  • The best time to visit is in the morning to avoid the mid-day desert heat
  • Pack water, sunscreen, and a hat/sunglasses to stay covered and hydrated
  • There is a parking area at both rock formations, so parking should not an issue

Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise – sunset 

Cost: FREE

natural bridge aruba

Natural Bridge Aruba

Natural Bridge is a bridge-like rock formation that formed over many years of rock erosion from the sea. It is one of the multiple natural bridges on the island. Made from coral limestone, Natural Bridge stands 25 feet high and is 100 feet long and is the largest in Aruba. 

The main Bridge collapsed in 2005 due to damage from Hurricane Katrina, however, what remains is still open to visitors, and there is a smaller bridge still standing. At the visitor center for Natural Bridge, you will find a souvenir shop and snack hut.

Natural Bridge is a quick stop on your Aruba road trip and makes for some fun photos. Spend a few minutes listening to the waves crash down on the bridge.

Natural Bridge Aruba

Hours of Operation: Daily 9 am – 5 pm

Cost: FREE

bushiribana ruins aruba

Bushiribana Ruins 

The Bushiribana Ruins are ruins from a historic 19th-century gold mill along Aruba’s rugged northern coast. Constructed in 1825 out of natural stone, the Bushiribana Gold Mill operated for 10 years during Aruba’s gold rush period. Through this gold mill and a few others on the island, Aruba produced more than 3 million pounds of gold. 

bushiribana ruins aruba - gold mill

There are two options to explore the Bushiribana Ruins: as part of a tour or self-guided. The ruins are in decent condition, and you may enter the abandoned gold mill to see its interior. Bushiribana Ruins offer a great view of the Caribbean Sea. 

Bushiribana Ruins

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset

Cost: FREE

california lighthouse aruba

California Lighthouse

California Lighthouse is a 30 m lighthouse located near Arashi Beach in northwest Aruba. 

The lighthouse takes its name from a steamship, the S.S California, that crashed near it in 1892, before its completion. California Lighthouse is a landmark in northern Aruba.

Since its restoration in 2016, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse and view stunning 360-degree views over Aruba’s western coastline. 

california lighthouse aruba

If you are feeling adventurous and looking for a unique Arubian dining experience, you can try the Lighthouse Dinner Experience; a VIP dinner for two at the top of the California Lighthouse. 

During my visit, I did not climb to the top of the lighthouse. 

California Lighthouse

Hours of Operation: Daily 9 am – 7 pm

Cost: 5 USD per adult

Once you have finished your Aruba road trip, head to Boca Catalina Beach. 

boca catalina beach aruba

Snorkel Boca Catalina Beach 

Boca Catalina Beach is a small and secluded bay in Northern Aruba. Featuring calm clear water, Boca Catalina Beach is a good location for swimming and snorkelling; one of the best places to snorkel in Aruba.

Bring your snorkel gear or rent one from a rental shop and snorkel the beach. While snorkelling the shallow coral reefs of Boca Catalina Beach, you can see colourful fish, sea urchins, and possibly turtles.

snorkel aruba

I brought my snorkel gear and snorkelled at Boca Catalina Beach. After a long, fun day of exploring and snorkelling, I was tired and called it a day.

Day 7 in Aruba: Oranjestad

Today, you will head home or onwards to your next destination; it is the last day of your 7-days in Aruba. Depending on your departure time, you can choose to relax or explore more of the island. 

I chose to take one last walk on the beach before flying home in the afternoon. I visited Surfside Beach. 

surfside beach aruba

Surfside Beach 

Surfside Beach is a quiet beach just a few minutes outside downtown Oranjestad near the airport. The waters at Surfside are calm and shallow. From the beach, you can watch the airplanes fly above as they come and go from the airport nearby. 

Looking for something different and not a beach? If you wish to explore more before your departure, here are some activity ideas:

More Things to Do in Aruba

Hooiberg Lookout – a 165 m tall volcanic formation that you can hike and overlook the island

Aruba Ostrich Farm – guided tours of an Ostrich farm to see and learn about Ostriches 

Arashi Dunes – rolling sand dunes located in northern Aruba

Wishing you safe travels, and I hope you enjoy your one week in Aruba.

surfside beach aruba

Is Aruba Safe? 

Yes, Aruba is a safe destination and is known as one of the safest islands in the entire Caribbean. Crime rates for petty and violent crimes in Aruba are low. Local Arubians are kind, friendly, and welcoming.

Safety tips for Aruba include being observant of your surroundings and keeping your valuables somewhere safe (not with you at the beach). These are the same for any tropical destination. 

During my trip, I never felt unsafe in Aruba. Aruba is one of the few destinations where I’ve been outside after sunset and felt comfortable doing so. We would explore day or night, and it just felt comfortable.

Is Aruba Expensive? 

Aruba can be expensive to visit, but it doesn’t have to be. While Aruba is generally a luxury destination, known as a popular place for honeymoons, Aruba can be an affordable destination with something to offer everyone. 

There are many great activities and attractions to enjoy in Aruba that can fit multiple budgets, with most natural attractions being free or low-cost. 

You will find luxury and affordable options available in Aruba, including accommodations, food, and transportation. Staying closer to tourist sites will cost more than being further away from attractions.  

Know your budget and plan accordingly. Aruba is beautiful and will provide a fun and relaxing vacation. 

how to get around aruba

Getting Around Aruba

There are multiple transportation options available to travel around the island of Aruba, including bus, taxi, walking, biking, and rental car. Of these, a rental car and via bus are the best ways to get around Aruba. 

The bus system in Aruba is well connected and will take you to most places on the island, especially all tourist areas. The main bus terminal is in Oranjestad. Buses run daily from 5:45 am to 11:30 pm. The bus costs approximately 2.50 USD per ride. 

A rental car will allow you to travel anywhere on the island, including where buses cannot. A rental car is not required to enjoy your time in Aruba. You can get to plenty of places on the island without one.

Taxis in Aruba have fixed rates, be sure to discuss the fare with the driver before heading to your destination. Taxis are widely available in Aruba.

During my trip, I rented a car for one day and rode the bus on the other days. I found a one-day vehicle rental allowed for enough time to take an around the island road trip.

How to Get to Aruba 

You can reach Aruba by plane or cruise. If flying to Aruba, you will arrive at the main airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), located near the capital city of Oranjestad. Direct flights to Aruba are available from the US, Canada, Amsterdam, and other Caribbean countries. From Chicago or Toronto, flying to Aruba takes approximately 4.5 hours.

If arriving in Aruba via cruise, the cruise port is in Oranjestad along Aruba’s western coast. More than ten cruise lines have a stopover in Aruba.  

How to Get to Oranjestad from the Airport 

To get to downtown Oranjestad from Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), you can drive a vehicle, ride a bus, or take a taxi. Both buses and taxis run daily. 

The bus costs 2.5 USD and takes 10-20 minutes from the airport to downtown Oranjestad. 

Taxis in Aruba have fixed rates. I am unsure of the taxi rate from the airport to downtown as I did not take a taxi.

Car rentals are available at the airport. It takes 10 minutes to drive downtown from the airport. 

What Language Do They Speak in Aruba? 

The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento. English and Spanish are also widely spoken, often with locals speaking all four languages: Dutch, Papiamento, English, and Spanish. Be aware that not all locals speak English; it is helpful to learn some Spanish or Dutch phrases. Download an offline translator on your phone to use as needed.   

Helpful Tips for Visiting Aruba 

  • The best time to visit Aruba is April through August; there is good weather and fewer crowds. 
  • The official currency of Aruba is the Aruba Florin (AWG). The AWG is tied to the USD, at a rate of 1.80 AWG is 1 USD. AWG and USD are both widely accepted across Aruba. 
  • It is safe to drink tap water in Aruba across the island. 
  • The legal drinking age in Aruba is 16 years old.

Hope this information helped you plan your 7-day itinerary for Aruba.

Happy travelling!

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