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Aruba Highlights In A Day


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Valeda Falcone



Welcome to Aruba, the One Happy Island in the Caribbean! With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant culture, Aruba is a paradise waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a beach lover, an adventurer, or a history enthusiast, this small but mighty island has something for everyone.


In this article, we will take you on a whirlwind tour of Aruba’s highlights in just one day. While it’s recommended to spend more time on the island to fully immerse yourself in its beauty, we understand that sometimes time is limited. But fret not, as we have curated an itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of Aruba in a short amount of time.


From the charming capital of Oranjestad to the stunning natural wonders, and ending the day with a breathtaking sunset, get ready for a day filled with adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable moments. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Aruba!



Start your day bright and early to make the most of your morning in Aruba. After a refreshing breakfast, it’s time to embark on your island adventure.


1. Explore Oranjestad: Begin your day by strolling through the charming streets of Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital. Admire the colorful Dutch colonial architecture, browse the local shops, and immerse yourself in the island’s rich history. Don’t miss the chance to visit the historic Fort Zoutman and the Archaeological Museum of Aruba to learn about the island’s past.


2. Visit Arikok National Park: Next, head to Arikok National Park, a rugged landscape filled with breathtaking natural beauty. Explore the desert-like terrain, discover unique flora and fauna, and marvel at stunning views from the highest point of the island, Jamanota Hill. Don’t forget to visit the caves, such as Guadirikiri and Fontein, where you can witness ancient Arawak Indian drawings.


3. Relax at Eagle Beach: After your adventure at Arikok National Park, head to one of Aruba’s most famous beaches, Eagle Beach. Known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, Eagle Beach offers the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the sun. Find a comfortable spot, set up your beach towel, and let the gentle waves wash away your worries as you enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.


Explore Oranjestad

Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba, is a vibrant and picturesque destination that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity. Begin your exploration of Oranjestad by taking a leisurely stroll through its charming streets that are lined with colorful Dutch colonial buildings.


One of the main highlights of Oranjestad is Fort Zoutman, a historic landmark that dates back to the late 18th century. This restored fort is home to the Historical Museum of Aruba, where you can delve into the island’s past and learn about its colonial heritage. Be sure to visit the Willem III Tower, the oldest structure on the island, which offers panoramic views of the city.


As you wander through the streets, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the local shops and boutiques that showcase Aruba’s unique craftsmanship. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry and souvenirs to local artwork and delicious treats.


Another must-visit spot in Oranjestad is the bustling Main Street, known as Caya G.F. Betico Croes. This vibrant shopping district is lined with duty-free shops, high-end stores, and local vendors selling clothing, accessories, and electronics. Take your time to browse through the shops, and don’t forget to haggle for some great deals.


For a taste of Aruba’s culinary delights, head to the nearby Palm Beach Avenue, also known as the “Restaurant Strip.” Here, you’ll find an array of international and local restaurants, ranging from seafood joints to fine dining establishments. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes like fresh catch of the day, traditional Aruban stews, or even Creole-inspired fusion cuisine.


As the day winds down, make your way to the Renaissance Marketplace, an open-air shopping and dining complex located in the heart of Oranjestad. Enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the many outdoor restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines. Afterward, take a stroll along the harbor and watch the sun slowly set over the glistening Caribbean Sea.


Exploring Oranjestad is like stepping into a living postcard. The vibrant colors, friendly locals, and historic landmarks will leave a lasting impression. So take your time to soak in the atmosphere, capture beautiful photos, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Visit Arikok National Park

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Aruba by visiting the stunning Arikok National Park. Spread across nearly 20% of the island, this protected area boasts a diverse landscape of rugged hills, dramatic cliffs, and hidden caves.


Start your adventure by navigating the trails that wind through the park’s desert-like terrain. As you explore, keep an eye out for unique plant species such as the iconic divi-divi trees, cacti, and aloe vera plants. These hardy plants have adapted to the arid climate and create the perfect backdrop for your outdoor exploration.


Arikok National Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Keep your camera ready to capture glimpses of species like the Aruban whiptail lizard, Aruban cat-eyed snake, and migratory birds that pass through the park.


One of the highlights of Arikok National Park is the Natural Pool, also known as Conchi. This secluded natural pool is formed by volcanic rock and is located in a remote area of the park. To reach the pool, you can either take a guided tour or venture out on your own, following the marked trail. Swimming in the tranquil waters of the Natural Pool is a truly unforgettable experience.


Don’t miss the chance to explore the park’s hidden caves, including the famous Guadirikiri and Fontein caves. These fascinating limestone caves feature stalactites and stalagmites, ancient Amerindian petroglyphs, and unique ecosystems. Explore these mystical caves and uncover the secrets they hold.


For a breathtaking view of the island, hike to the top of Jamanota Hill, the highest point in Aruba. From there, you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the entire island, including the rugged coastline and the vast turquoise sea. It’s the perfect spot to pause, take in the beauty of nature, and capture some Instagram-worthy photos.


Arikok National Park offers a glimpse into the untouched beauty of Aruba’s natural landscape. Whether you choose to hike, swim, or simply bask in the serenity of the surroundings, visiting this national park will leave you in awe of the island’s natural wonders.


Relax at Eagle Beach

No visit to Aruba would be complete without spending some time at the world-renowned Eagle Beach. With its soft, powdery white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees, this beach is a true tropical paradise.


Eagle Beach is consistently ranked among the top beaches in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The wide stretch of pristine coastline offers plenty of space for sunbathing, picnicking, or simply strolling along the shore. Find a cozy spot, lay out your beach towel, and let the gentle breeze and warm sun whisk away your cares.


One of the unique features of Eagle Beach is the famous divi-divi trees that dot the landscape. These iconic trees lean in a southwest direction, giving them a distinct shape and adding a touch of natural beauty to the beach. Don’t forget to snap a picture with these picturesque trees as your backdrop.


For those seeking a bit more adventure, Eagle Beach also offers a variety of water sports activities. Dive into the refreshing waters and try your hand at snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, or kayaking. The calm and clear waters make these activities enjoyable for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike.


Eagle Beach is known for its nesting turtles, particularly the loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles. If you’re lucky, you may witness these gentle creatures making their way to the shore to lay their eggs. From March to October, the beach is dotted with protected nesting areas where these endangered species come to continue their lifecycle.


When it’s time for a break from the sun and water, take a leisurely stroll along the beach and discover the charming beach bars and restaurants that line the shore. Treat yourself to a refreshing drink or indulge in delicious local cuisine as you soak in the stunning ocean views.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water sports, or nature-watching, Eagle Beach has something for everyone. It’s the perfect spot to unwind, rejuvenate, and take in the natural beauty that Aruba has to offer.



After a relaxing morning at Eagle Beach, it’s time to continue your Aruban adventure in the afternoon. Get ready to explore more of the island’s natural beauty and cultural attractions.


4. Discover Natural Pool: One of the must-see attractions of Aruba is the Natural Pool, locally known as “Conchi.” Located in the Arikok National Park, this secluded pool is formed by volcanic rock and offers a serene and picturesque swimming experience. To reach the Natural Pool, you can join a guided tour or venture out on your own, following the marked trail. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by rugged cliffs and breathtaking panoramic views.


5. Take a tour of California Lighthouse: Next, make your way to the iconic California Lighthouse, named after the steamship “California” that sank nearby in 1891. This picturesque landmark offers a stunning view of Aruba’s coastline and the surrounding Caribbean Sea. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic vista and capture incredible photos of the island’s picturesque landscape. Don’t forget to explore the surrounding area, as there are charming paths and gardens that make for a pleasant stroll.


As the afternoon comes to a close, take a moment to pause and absorb the beauty of Aruba. Whether you choose to relax at the Natural Pool or explore the historic sites, the afternoon is a time to appreciate the island’s unique features and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Discover Natural Pool

One of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders of Aruba is the Natural Pool, locally known as “Conchi.” Nestled within the pristine Arikok National Park, the Natural Pool is a secluded oasis that offers a unique and unforgettable swimming experience.


To reach the Natural Pool, you can embark on a thrilling off-road adventure or join a guided tour that will lead you through the rugged terrain of the national park. As you make your way, be prepared to be amazed by the untouched beauty of the Aruban landscape, with its cacti-dotted hills and dramatic cliffs.


Upon arriving at the Natural Pool, you’ll be greeted by a hidden gem formed by volcanic rocks. The pool is sheltered from the crashing waves of the Caribbean Sea, creating a tranquil basin of crystal-clear water. Take a moment to marvel at the stunning turquoise hues that surround you.


Immerse yourself in the refreshing waters and allow the gentle current to soothe your senses. Snorkel along the rocky edges of the pool to observe colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral formations beneath the surface. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even jump into the pool from the cliffs above, adding an extra thrill to the experience.


As you swim and explore, take a moment to appreciate the untouched beauty and serenity of the Natural Pool. The surrounding cliffs provide a sense of seclusion, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature’s splendor. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this idyllic spot and create lasting memories of your Aruban adventure.


While visiting the Natural Pool, it is important to respect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. Avoid touching or damaging the coral and ensure that you leave no trace behind, taking all your belongings with you.


Discovering the Natural Pool is like stepping into a tropical paradise. The combination of untouched beauty, serenity, and a unique swimming experience makes it a highlight of any visit to Aruba. So make sure to include the Natural Pool on your itinerary and let the magic of this hidden oasis captivate your heart.


Take a tour of California Lighthouse

Perched on the northern tip of Aruba stands the iconic California Lighthouse. Named after the steamship “California” that met its unfortunate fate off the Aruban coast in 1891, this historic landmark offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the island’s maritime history.


To begin your tour, make your way to the entrance of the lighthouse, where you can purchase tickets for a guided tour. As you ascend the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse, your knowledgeable guide will share fascinating stories and historical facts about the construction and importance of the California Lighthouse.


Once you reach the top, prepare to be amazed by the panoramic vista that unfolds before your eyes. From this elevated vantage point, you can marvel at stunning views of the rugged coastline, azure waters, and the vast expanse of the Caribbean Sea. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of neighboring islands or witness a beautiful sunset painting the sky with vibrant hues.


Aside from the breathtaking views, the California Lighthouse also offers picturesque gardens and paths that surround the structure. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-maintained gardens, which are adorned with beautiful flowers and indigenous plants. Admire the charming bird aviary, which is home to a variety of colorful tropical birds, adding to the ambiance of the location.


As you explore the area surrounding the lighthouse, you may come across benches and shaded areas that provide a perfect spot to relax and soak in the serene atmosphere. Listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocky shoreline, feel the cool ocean breeze on your face, and take in the beauty of your surroundings.


The California Lighthouse is not only a fascinating historical site but also a symbol of resilience and navigational importance. Standing tall against the backdrop of the Aruban landscape, it serves as a reminder of the island’s rich seafaring heritage.


A visit to the California Lighthouse is a must during your time in Aruba. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a photographer searching for the perfect shot, or simply seeking a serene escape, this iconic landmark is a destination worth exploring.



As the sun starts to set on your day in Aruba, get ready to experience the island’s vibrant evening atmosphere. From picturesque sunsets to tantalizing local cuisine, the evening has plenty to offer for a memorable end to your Aruban adventure.


6. Enjoy sunset at Palm Beach: Aruba is famous for its breathtaking sunsets, and there’s no better place to witness this natural spectacle than Palm Beach. Grab a beach chair or find a cozy spot on the sand as the sky transforms into a mesmerizing palette of vibrant colors. The tranquil waters and palm-fringed shoreline create the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable sunset experience. Watch as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the island, and cherish this magical moment.


7. Indulge in local cuisine at a restaurant: Aruba is a paradise for food lovers, with a diverse culinary scene that combines international flavors with local delicacies. After enjoying the sunset, head to one of the island’s many restaurants to savor the exquisite flavors of Aruban cuisine. From freshly caught seafood to hearty stews and savory street food, there’s something to please every palate. Be sure to try local favorites such as keshi yena (stuffed cheese), pastechi (fried pastries filled with meat or cheese), and balchi di pisca (fish soup). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing cocktail or a glass of Aruba’s famous local beer, Balashi.


After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the beachfront promenade, where you’ll find vibrant nightlife options including bars, casinos, and live music venues. Dance the night away to the rhythm of Caribbean beats, enjoy a game of poker at one of the vibrant casinos, or simply relax with a tropical cocktail in hand as you soak up the energetic ambiance of Aruba’s nightlife.


As your evening in Aruba comes to an end, reflect upon the magical experiences you’ve had throughout the day. From the stunning sunset at Palm Beach to indulging in the island’s flavorsome cuisine, the evening presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Aruba.


Enjoy sunset at Palm Beach

No visit to Aruba is complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of a sunset at Palm Beach. As the sun begins its descent, this idyllic stretch of coastline comes alive with a magical display of colors, making it the perfect spot to bask in the glory of nature.


Find a comfortable spot on the soft, powdery sand or grab a beach chair as you witness the sky transform into a breathtaking canvas of vibrant hues. The tranquil waters of Palm Beach mirror the sky, creating a mesmerizing scene that captivates the senses.


As the golden sun dips below the horizon, shades of orange, pink, and purple paint the sky, casting a warm glow over the palm-fringed shoreline. The soothing sound of the gentle waves crashing against the beach adds to the tranquil ambiance, creating an atmosphere of serenity and relaxation.


Take the time to unwind and let the beauty of the sunset envelop you. Capture the moment with your camera or simply immerse yourself in the experience, allowing the colors and serenity to leave a lasting imprint on your soul.


Palm Beach offers a multitude of vantage points to enjoy the sunset. Whether you choose to set up your beach towel directly on the sand, perch yourself on a beachfront bar terrace, or even take a sunset cruise along the coast, each viewpoint offers its own unique perspective of this natural spectacle.


As the sun bids its final farewell for the day, embrace the sense of tranquility and appreciate the simple beauty of the world around you. Witnessing a sunset at Palm Beach is not just a visual experience but a moment of pure serenity and harmony with nature.


Remember to arrive a little earlier to secure a prime spot, as Palm Beach can be a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. And don’t forget to bring a light sweater or sarong, as the evening breeze can gradually cool down as the sun sets, adding to the enchantment of the experience.


The sunset at Palm Beach is a magical event that will leave you with cherished memories of your time in Aruba. So sit back, relax, and let the beauty of nature unfold before your eyes as you witness the breathtaking spectacle of a Palm Beach sunset.


Indulge in local cuisine at a restaurant

Aruba is not only known for its stunning beaches and beautiful landscapes but also for its vibrant culinary scene. As the evening unfolds, it’s time to embark on a flavorful journey and indulge in the delectable local cuisine that the island has to offer.


Aruban cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors influenced by the various cultures that have shaped the island’s history. From fresh seafood to mouthwatering stews and hearty street food, there is something to satisfy every palate.


Start your culinary adventure by trying the iconic local dish, keshi yena. This flavorful delicacy features a hollowed-out cheese filled with a savory mixture of spiced meats, vegetables, and seasonings. The cheese is then baked to perfection, resulting in a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures.


Another must-try Aruban specialty is pastechi, which are fried pastries filled with either meat or cheese. These handheld delights are reminiscent of empanadas and are incredibly popular as a quick snack or breakfast option. They come in a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, cheese, and even shrimp.


For seafood lovers, Aruba offers a bounty of freshly caught delights from the surrounding Caribbean waters. Indulge in grilled catch of the day, which may include succulent fish like mahi-mahi or red snapper. Accompanied by a flavorful sauce, vegetables, and local spices, this dish provides an explosion of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.


To experience the true essence of the island, pair your meal with Aruba’s famous local beer, Balashi, or indulge in a tropical cocktail crafted with fresh fruits and a splash of the island’s finest rum.


As your dining experience draws to a close, savor every bite, and let your taste buds dance with joy. The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of Aruba’s restaurants will enhance your culinary journey, leaving you with unforgettable memories of the island’s unique flavors.


So seek out a charming beachfront restaurant or a cozy local eatery, and let the aromatic aromas and flavors transport you into the heart and soul of Aruba. Remember to save room for dessert, as the island is known for its sweet treats such as pan bati (local pancake) or coconut tart, providing the perfect ending to a delightful culinary adventure.


Indulging in local cuisine in Aruba is not just about satisfying your hunger; it’s a celebration of the island’s culture and heritage through the art of food. So sit back, savor each bite, and let the flavors of Aruba delight your senses.



Aruba, the One Happy Island in the Caribbean, offers a multitude of experiences that will leave you with lasting memories. From exploring the historic streets of Oranjestad to immersing yourself in the natural wonders of Arikok National Park, and ending the day with a breathtaking sunset at Palm Beach, this small but mighty island has something for everyone.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of local culture, the highlights of Aruba can be experienced in just one day. Start your morning by exploring the charming capital of Oranjestad, with its colorful colonial buildings and bustling shopping districts. Then, venture into the rugged terrain of Arikok National Park, where you’ll discover hidden caves and a natural pool to cool off in.


In the afternoon, take a tour of the iconic California Lighthouse, offering panoramic views of the coastline. And as the sun sets, head to Palm Beach, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of an Aruban sunset.


Finally, complete your day by indulging in the flavorsome local cuisine at a restaurant. From traditional dishes like keshi yena and pastechi to fresh seafood and tropical cocktails, Aruba’s culinary scene will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Aruba’s natural beauty, warm hospitality, and vibrant culture make it an ideal destination for a day of exploration. While this itinerary highlights some of the best the island has to offer, there is still so much more to discover. Consider extending your stay to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Aruba.


Whether you choose to relax on the stunning beaches, embark on thrilling adventures, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery, Aruba will leave you captivated and longing to return. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories on the beautiful island of Aruba, the One Happy Island.