When we think of the Caribbean what often comes to mind are images of blissfully quiet, sunny beaches. A perfectly-mixed cocktail in hand. The chance to scuba to your heart’s content. It’s no different for Aruba, noted for Eagle Beach, a white sand beach rated one of the world’s best.
However, it’s not until you move further inland that the quirkier attractions begin to appear in Aruba. After all, its capital city is Oranjestad—a name that’s literally Dutch for “Orange Town,” so you know this island has to have an individual personality.
Take a look at some of the more unique things to do in Aruba to see what this island has to offer. From ostrich farms to volcanoes, here are some of the best activities to enjoy on your next visit.
Just as the mid-1800s had hopeful prospectors flooding California to strike it rich, Aruba was also host to a significant number of explorers hoping to find gold. And no, we don’t mean conquistadors in the 15th and 16th centuries searching to discover riches in the New World. Aruba was also mined for its precious metal after gold was first found on the island in 1824. More than three million pounds of gold were extracted from the island, and in its wake are the ghosts of this gold-digging heyday.
Head to the Bushiribana Ruins to explore the relics of a gold smelter—it’s recommended that you wear a good pair of shoes to walk in the terrain. This historic site is a perfect place to snap some photos and view the beautiful adjacent coastline.
Visit the quirkiest residents of the island when you stop at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. It’s one of the more unique things to do in Aruba: Guided tours are provided every 30 minutes and are filled with information about the birds. Meet ostriches, emus, peacocks and ducks. Feed the birds as instructed by your guide and learn about their eating habits, rearing facts and defense mechanisms. You can see where the eggs are incubated and take a look at where the young birds are kept as they grow.
Curious about how ostrich eggs taste? There’s an on-site restaurant that features this delicacy. Dig into an ostrich or emu egg omelet to get your fill, or opt for a more conventional meal, such as a burger or chicken shawarma. No matter your choice, this popular restaurant is sure to serve up a hit. (Note: Due to the availability, we recommend that you make restaurant reservations in advance).
To catch absolutely stunning sights of Aruba, opt for an active excursion by walking up Hooiberg. This volcanic formation is located in the center of the island, and on a clear day, it’s even possible to see Venezuela when facing south. It’s not immensely tall—its name derives from the Dutch word for haystack—but is raised enough to provide unmatched panoramic views of Aruba.
Hiking up Hooiberg is not only a great way to exercise, but it’s also filled with lovely sights of local flora and fauna along the journey. The twisted and knotted forms of divi-divi trees cover Hooiberg, along with the occasional Kibrahacha tree. Cacti is plentiful, and mountain goats are known to frequent the area. (Note: this climb is best for those who can undergo strenuous walking).
Aruba’s Butterfly Farm is a little less than a mile from Aruba’s popular Palm Beach and offers unforgettable biodiversity and beauty. This tropical garden is teeming with some of the insect world’s most amazing creatures. The operators offer a guided, informative tour that lasts about 15 to 20 minutes and details many intricate facts about the butterflies, their environment and the farm itself. Photography is permitted, giving you a wonderful chance to capture the memory of your visit.
Additionally, the admission ticket includes a return pass that allows you to re-visit as many times as you’d like. This way, if you didn’t get the perfect pic, you can feel free to return and try again. Or, maybe you just can’t get enough of these gentle creatures. Either way, enjoy the chance to rest in this tropical paradise and observe the butterflies as often as you want.
Are you ready to explore these unique things to do in Aruba? The best way to visit the island is on a cruise, as they offer the absolute best views of the shore as they approach on the water. Norwegian Cruise Line offers some of the most compelling cruises in the region. Connect with one of our travel agents today to begin planning your cruise to paradise.