Excursions by land and sea: A feel for all the special adventures Aruba has to offer families, couples, groups of friends, single explorers and tourists of all ages flock to Aruba for its endless array of activities under the Caribbean sun. For visitors looking to venture beyond their beach blanket, Aruba offers dozens of land and sea excursions that appeal to adventurers young and old.
Aruba Sea Excursions
Aruba’s most popular ocean activity is underwater exploration. Whether it’s skimming the surface or diving below, Aruba snorkeling & scuba excursions are for everyone from beginner to expert levels.
The island’s most famous scuba and snorkel destination is the shipwrecked Antilla. A German supply ship that was anchored off Aruba’s coast during World War II, the Antilla’s captain purposely sank the empty ship when asked by the Dutch to surrender it in May of 1940. Today, the ship can be seen from the surface but lies over 50 feet below on its port side. The site boasts a variety of colorful coral and sea life that live on both the exterior and interior of the ship’s walls. The Antilla is the Caribbean’s largest shipwreck at 400 feet long, making it a popular destination for snorkel and scuba excursions.
Beyond the Antilla, Aruba is known for its multitude of wreck sites that divers can explore. The Pedernalis is another shipwrecked WWII boat, an oil tanker that sits at a maximum depth of 35 feet below the surface, making it a perfect dive for beginners. Divers can expect to encounter angel fish, grouper and octopus around this shipwreck site.
The famed Tugboat wreck is a good middle ground for groups that may have divers of varying experience levels. Starting at 20 feet below the surface and going as deep as 70 feet, the site is noted for its sexy sea creatures, including green moray eels and different ray species.
For those seeking a more unusual dive experience, Aruba has two airplane wreck sites. Both sites are artificial reefs where the planes were intentionally downed to create diving opportunities; one contains a submerged DC-3, while the other has a more recently sunk YS-11. Divers can explore the area around the wrecks, as well as actually going inside the planes themselves. The DC-3 lies in a reef at a maximum depth of 80 feet. The YS-11 is often cited for its unusual position, as the plane’s tail sits 75 feet below the surface, but the nose rests on a slope slightly higher at 45 feet below, making it appear to be mid-takeoff.
Experienced scuba divers looking for an exciting departure from the everyday dive might participate in a night dive excursion, which are offered at many of Aruba’s most popular dive sites including the wrecks. Those at the novice level can enjoy beginner dives at sites like Harbor Reef, which maxes out at 40 feet deep and is a popular place to see brain coral and seahorses.
For tourists looking to stay above (but still on) the water, Aruba has a multitude of water sports and activities, many of which can be done as part of an all-day pleasure cruise or tour. Parasailing, windsurfing and jet skis appeal to thrill seekers who enjoy edgier ocean activities, while banana boat rides, catamaran cruises, kayak trips and sunset sails offer more leisurely fun for families and low-key tourists.
Aruba Land Excursions
Tourists who prefer to explore on dry land can enjoy daytrips to any of Aruba’s several landmarks. Caves, deserts and national parks abound on the island, and visitors can arrange to be part of a daily excursion with one of the Aruba’s many tourist companies, or explore on their own.
The archeologically inclined might appreciate a visit to one of many Aruban caves that were home to the Arawak Indians. Two of the most popular caves are Fontein Cave, where drawings from the natives can still be seen on the ceiling, and Guadirikiri Cave, a popular tunnel that today is home to hundreds of bats. The more romantically inclined might also check out the Tunnel of Love, a 300-foot long cave with a heart-shaped entrance.
Arikok National Park is another popular land attraction for tourists looking for a desert adventure. This explorer’s treasure, located on the northeast side of the island, has an abundance of plant and animal species, including desert flowers, rattlesnakes, and tropical birds. The park also has a number of quartz and limestone formations, remnants of ancient civilizations that thrived in the Aruban climate. Tourists might consider taking a Jeep or ATV tour to Arikok for an added bit of fun.