Unique Things to do in Aruba

By Abi King | The Caribbean

Oct 30

Swooping pelican at pelican beach - unique things to do in Aruba

Even though I knew that Caribbean Islands each have a different character, I was still surprised by the number of unique things to do in Aruba when I got there.

Finding Unique Things to do in Aruba

Aruba has great beaches, of course. When it comes to dazzling blue water and all-inclusive resorts, it has those too.

Shopping malls, bars, beach parasols, swimming pools and pina colada. The full holiday paraphernalia.

But Aruba has plenty of interesting cultural and creative things to do to as well.

Here’s a sneaky taste. There’s plenty more to come!

Company over breakfast - a lizard in Aruba from @insidetravellab

A Nifty List of Unique Things to do in Aruba

1 – Visit Pelican Beach

Only a short drive beyond the famous “Aruba” sign is a rocky, completely untouched beach where pelicans congregate at sunset. When you’re looking for a break from the lights of the hotel, drive or walk here and let calm wash over you as the pelicans swoop and swerve overhead.

2 – Visit an Artist’s Studio

Elisa Lejuez draws on her Dutch-Curacao heritage, extensive travel through Asia and everyday life here in Aruba to engage in a “secular spiritual quest.” She describes creating her art as a kind of meditation, an approach that has served her well through local business and exhibitions in New York. She also opens up her studio to visitors if you ask politely in advance.

3 – Visit Arikok National Park

Instead of lush green vegetation, you’ll find arid red rock here, punctuated by the spines of cacti. The park covers nearly 20% of the island and is easily accessible by car (but make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen and shade. It gets hot here.)

Look out for the evocative Caquetío Indian rock paintings on the Fontein cave. A recent surge in interest in this pre-Columbian history means that you should check with park staff to arrange a guided tour. Here’s the Arikok National Park official site.

4 – Al Fresco Dining at Papamiento

This atmospheric outdoor dining comes with all the candlelight suspense you might expect. But it also clusters around an Aruban house more than 126 years old and filled with curious European artefacts. It’s a low key, high romance event – and I absolutely loved it!

5 – Catch flamingos at sunset

Or any time, really. These hot pink strutters, pose and preen at the shores of the sea at the private Renaissance Island resort. If you really want to make an event of it, book yourself in for a massage at the shoreside spa as well. That’s what, er, a friend of mine did. Shall we put it that way? Yes, let’s. And they left with far less tension in their neck, back and shoulders.

6 – Stay in a small, family run casita

In an island full of high rises, the brightly painted casitas at the Boardwalk Hotel revive the eyes. Through lush tropical foliage, hot pink and cool beach blue, Dutch sisters Kimberly and Stephanie welcome guests into their bright casitas that cluster around a small pool.

The best thing about staying there? Their treasure box system which includes even more unusual and unique things to do in Aruba, curated lovingly by hand. Find the full Boardwalk Hotel review here.

7 – Cook an Aruban BBQ

Elements of this will remind you of an Australian barbecue. Or Texan barbecue. Or.. (OK, I think they get the idea – Ed.)

Lots of juicy meat and tasty veg barbecued in the open air over the coals. So what makes this unique to Aruba?

The Pica de Papaya Hot Delight sauce served on the side! Just be ready for the heat!

BBQ at Boardwalk Hotel Aruba @insidetravellab

This article on unusual things to do in Aruba comes in partnership with Aruba in association with Virgin Holidays. You can find out more about travel to Aruba here. 

As ever, as always, we kept the right to write what we like.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more.