You'll find a wealth of romantic and unique things to do in Aruba. With scorched rock art, fiery flamingoes and swooping pelicans, this Caribbean island suits adventure-seekers as well as relaxed honeymooners. Enjoy our inside guide to fun things to do in Aruba.
Romantic and 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. But I'd love to show you all the romantic and unique sides of Aruba, where you can turn a honeymoon into an adventure or an adventure into a trip that resembles a honeymoon.
Creativity at the ready? Let's go!
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Romantic and 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 place to have dinner, perfect for an Aruba honeymoon...or whatever excuse you come up with!
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 rise hotels, 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 a romantic getaway there? Their treasure box system which includes even more unusual and unique things to do in Aruba, curated lovingly by hand.
A Romantic Place to Stay in Aruba: The Boardwalk Casita
The Boardwalk Boutique Hotel sits a block back from the sea decked out in bright colours on the site of a former coconut plantation. It’s run by two sisters, Kimberly and Stephanie, whose enthusiasm for the project spills into every well-designed nook and cranny.
What I loved
- The hand-painted signs
- The pool for a quick dip and cool down
- BBQs and well thought out self catering facilities
- The Treasure Box of ideas
What to know
- You’ll need a car to get around
- It’s self catered – no minibar and no room service late at night
- It’s small! It’s one of the things I loved but that may not be everyone’s cup of tea ;-)
What to Know
Boardwalk divides itself up into 14 small flats, called casitas. Each burst with fresh bright pinks, whites and blues from local artist Elisa Lejuez. Hammocks lilt in the breeze and barbecues, fridges and fresh papaya marinades tickle the tastebuds. Boardwalk is more of a self-catered boutique apartment serviced with love than a fully fledged hotel. But staying here is one of the most romantic things to do in Aruba.
Breakfast is available on request (but needs to be booked in advance, worth noting if arriving on a long haul flight.) “Regular” options are available, as is the (more) tasty Aruban speciality of arepa (a corn based bread.)
And if you're missing the nightlife of a big beach resort, the Hyatt Regency Aruba is just a short walk away.
Near Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, Aruba Noord.
The Treasure Box Idea
Each Boardwalk casita contains a beautiful wooden treasure box of laminated cards. Here, you can find inspiration for all the things you’d otherwise miss on a beach holiday in the Caribbean.
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!
8 - Laze by the Californian Lighthouse
When it comes to unique things to do in Aruba, this local tip brings romance with a sense of character. Drive to the California Lighthouse at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of the island.
This history isn't so romantic (the name California comes from a shipwreck here on September 23, 1891) but there's no need to bring all that up.
Head there at sunset with drinks and a picnic blanket and snuggle up in the car. If you fancy an evening stroll, bring sensible shoes as the ground can get quite rocky.
For dinner, try the nearby La Trattoria el Faro Blanco.
9 - Visit the Natural Pool
Dial up the sense of adventure and hike, ride or 4 x 4 your way to the natural pool in Arikok National Park. It goes by a number of badass names, like 'Conchi' (bowl) or 'Cura di Tortuga' (Turtles Cove.) The coastline is deserted, the volcanic stone causing sprays of water to splash to the sky.
The main draw, of course, is the natural pool enclosed by volcanic rock. You can't drive here with a normal car, so if you're at all inexperienced, now is the time to book on a safari tour.
Bonus! The Most Romantic Beaches for Couples in Aruba
- Eagle Beach - a soft, wide beach with pristine sand, low rise resorts and public access.
- Palm Beach - two mile stretch of sand with high rise buildings and top resorts.
- Arashi Beach - more laid back beach near the California Lighthouse. Fewer tourists and more chances to swim and snorkel.
- Baby Beach (Klein Lagoen) in San Nicolas - a sheltered lagoon on the southeast side of the island.
This article on unusual things to do in Aruba comes in partnership with Aruba in association with Virgin Holidays. While I love independent travel, sometimes it's nice to just let someone else organise it all for you! I've travelled with Virgin Holidays on my own dime before, so I'm happy to recommend them here.
As ever, as always, we kept the right to write what we like.
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