When one thinks of a perfect island getaway, one could easily think of the Caribbean Islands. You can have an absolutely good time anywhere in the Caribbean, but Aruba is definitely on the top of our must-visit list, especially if you are traveling with kids. Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located in the Southern Caribbean Sea with a land area of 69 square miles (179 square kilometers) and is 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of the coast of Venezuela. Aruba is part of a group referred to as ABC islands together with Bonaire and Curacao. Aruba and the rest of Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Aruba with kids:
1. Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach is the best place to take your kids to while you are vacationing in Aruba. It has a lot of kid-friendly hotels and restaurants nearby. As a true Caribbean gem, Eagle Beach has powdery white sand and crystal-clear blue waters. You will be spending a great amount of time here swimming, snorkeling, building sand castles, or just relaxing on the beach and getting some sun. Nearby resorts offer water activities and sunset catamaran cruises. You can take the entire family on a cruise and see more of Aruba while basking in the Caribbean sunset.
2. Arikok National Park
If you are in Aruba, Arikok National Park is a must-visit.Children ages seventeen and younger can enter the park for free. The total park area is twenty percent of the whole island, so it is best to plan ahead on the things you will do and see, especially if you can only spend a day here. You can tour the park on a jeep, but a lot of tourists prefer ATVs or horses. Horseback riding while touring the park would be a great experience for the kids. The landscape is scenic and dramatic with its unusual land formations made from limestone and lava, as well as a field of cactus growing all over the park. You can explore Fontein Cave and Quadirikiri Cave or swim at Conchi natural pool or Boca Prins. Dos Playa is also a good place for swimming or even surfing and bodyboarding. The view from Arikok Hilltop is also a sight you should not miss, since this would allow you to see most of the island.
3. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is one of Aruba’s most recognizable beaches. Most luxury accommodations can be found here. Aside from the white sandy beach and the clear blue waters, tourists are drawn to Palm Beach because of the great number of water activities that can be done here. You and your kids can enjoy parasailing, helmet diving, snorkeling, surfing, and paddle boarding here. There are also jet skis, kayaks, and canoes for rent. You can do a lot of activities here. Once you are worn out and hungry from having fun on the water, hotels and restaurants are just few walks away, so you can have refreshments in no time.
4. The Butterfly Farm
One of the best things to do in Aruba with kids is to visit the Butterfly Farm. The farm is home to hundreds of exotic butterflies from all over the world. You are free to wander and look around by yourself, but the guided twenty-minute guided tour is highly recommended. The guides will talk about the evolutionary cycle of butterflies as well as the different species that are available in the form. This would be a great opportunity for the kids to learn more about metamorphosis and butterflies. Do not forget your camera, since the colorful butterflies make a great background in your photos. The farm is also close to Palm Beach, so you can drop by before going to the beach. The Butterfly Farm also gives admission promotions most of the time, which lets you come visit as often as you want throughout your whole vacation. The best time to come is early morning, since new butterflies usually emerge from their chrysalis at this time.
5. Baby Beach
If you are looking for a beach with shallow waters where you can let your small kids swim and play without you having to worry to much, then Baby Beach is the best place for you. It is located in the southernmost part of Aruba, but tourists who have visited here attest that it is worth the drive, which is around forty-five minutes from Palm Beach area. Baby Beach is a calm lagoon that is perfect for children, thus the name, and anyone who cannot swim in deep waters. This is the perfect place to let your small kids try snorkeling for the first time. Barracuda, squid, parrot fish, and angelfish are among the fishes that can be found plentifully here. There are food stalls and grill places nearby, so you need not worry about packing your own lunch. Umbrellas, beach beds, and snorkeling gears are available for rental.
6. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba
Donkeys have constantly appeared in children’s shows and books. Dropping by Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is a must, especially if you are traveling with kids. This sanctuary is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to care for the donkeys in the island, as well as educating both locals and tourists about them. Spend an afternoon with these sweet creatures. Visitors are allowed to pet and feed them. If you can pick up apples and carrots as treats before your visit, that would be greatly appreciated by the volunteers, and of course by the donkeys. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba does not collect admission fees, but you can make a donation that will be used to continue taking care of the donkeys that live here.
7. Hadicurari Beach
Hadicurari Beach, also known as Fisherman’s Hut or The Hut, is popular for wind and kite surfing. This is absolutely a surfer’s paradise. If you are traveling with older kids or teenagers who would like to learn how to surf, this is the perfect beach in Aruba to do so. There are a lot of shops that offers surfing lessons here. The Aruba Hi-Winds, which is the most celebrated windsurfing event in the Caribbean, is held here annually every June or July. If you are not into surfing, the area is also good for snorkeling, and the water is shallow enough for children.
8. Philip’s Animal Garden
An activity that is guaranteed to keep the kids happy is a trip to the zoo. Visiting Philip’s Animal Garden is one of the best things to do with kids in Aruba. This animal garden is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to rescuing exotic animals in Aruba. In here, you will find jaguarundi (also called eyra cat), Shetland ponies, Aruban rattlesnakes, red kangaroos, ocelot, alpacas, cayman, Nigerian dwarf goats, and so much more. The guided tour will provide you more information about the animals and birds in the garden, including what they eat and how they are being taken care of. Visiting this place would be both entertaining and educational, especially for the children. If you would like to help, you can make a donation to the animal garden.
9. Pedernales Wreck
Pedernales Wreck is one of the most recognizable diving spots in the Caribbean. The SS Pedernales was a World War II lake tanker which sailed under the British flag and was built in Italy in the late 1930’s. It was destroyed in 1942 by a torpedo attack while it was anchored in Aruba. The ship was cut into three sections. While the fore and aft sections made it back to Maryland, the middle section was left where it was and has been a famous diving site ever since. The Pedernales Wreck is submerged twenty-five feet below sea level, which is a little shallow for expert divers. For beginners, this is a great place to start. If you are interested in trying, there are a lot of diving expedition companies in Aruba that offer lessons, tours, and diving equipment rentals.
10. Flying Fishbone
Flying Fishbone is a popular and a must-try restaurant in Aruba. This is perfectly situated at the beach, and so close to the water that when the tide is high, you could feel the water on your feet. A lot of couples come here for a romantic evening. A lot of people got engaged here, too. But if you are traveling with friends and family, this is also a great place to try. If you are planning to come here with your kids, that’s okay. The staff are polite and kid-friendly. There is no kids’ menu, but their food is great, and their selections are varied, so there would always be something everyone could eat and enjoy. Their steak and lobsters are the best sellers. Come for an early dinner, because Flying Fishbone is also a great spot to watch the sunset. They are open daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. You can book reservations ahead to make sure you can get the best table for sunset watching.
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!