10 FREE Things to do in Aruba, Besides the Beach

When you hear, Aruba, you likely think, BEACHES, which I mean, why wouldn’t you? The Beaches in Aruba are absolutely stunning!! Now, I’m 100% a beach girl, I grew up in a beach town (Wasaga Beach) after all.  But sometimes, its nice to explore other attractions while visiting a new place.  Or, maybe you just need a beach break, either way, heres a list of some FREE things to do in Aruba, besides the beach.

10 Free things to do in Aruba, besides the beach

1. Ride the FREE trolley around Oranjestad

Free trolley in Aruba

Free trolly in Oranjestad

Oranjestad offers a free tourist trolley, that tours you around the capital of Aruba.  This trolley stops at all the main tourist points of interest.  Visitors are free to hop on and off the trolley and enjoy all the stop along the way.  The trolley also gives you a great opportunity to see the colourful city from a different perspective.

2. Explore the California Sand Dunes

California Sand Dunes

California Sand Dunes

The California Sand Dunes are very unique with white sand dunes rolling in every direction, paired with the ocean in the background.  The Dunes are located in the northern part of the island and are accessible from many points.  Take a walk over the Dunes and admire the wonderful views.

3. Climb Hooiberg

View from the top of Hooiberg

View from the top of Hooiberg

Hooiberg is a volcanic formation located centrally on Aruba.  Although Hooiberg comes in as the second highest point on the island, it has incredible views.  To reach the top of Hooiberg, you can park at the base of the mountain and climb the 500 steps to the top.

4. Visit Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations

Rock Formations in Aruba

Ayo Rock Formation

Both Rock formations are located relatively close to Hooiberg and can be spotted from the top.  After your climb up Hooiberg, head over to both rock formations and have a look at the mysteriously placed boulders.  You won’t need much time at either site, but they are worth a quick visit if you’re in the area.

5. Walk around the Balashi Gold Smelter Ruins

Balashi Gold Smelter Ruins, Aruba

Balashi Gold Smelter Ruins

The Balashi Ruins are fairly small to explore, but they are situated in a stunning location.  The contrast between the blue skies, deep ocean and rubble, makes for an amazing backdrop.  You can spend a few minutes strolling around the ruins and take in some Aruban history.

6. venture out to the Natural Bridge

Collapsed Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge is located a drivable distance, down a very bumpy dirt road from the Balashi Ruins.  The Natural Bridge has actually collapsed and sitting in fragments in the ocean, but its still a nice spot.  Besides the Natural Bridge, you can see lovely stretches of coastline and a number of small rock creations.

TIP: Spend half a day visiting Hooiberg, the rock formations, Balashi Ruins and the Natural Bridge, as they are all relatively close to one another.

7. Stop by the Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel

The Alto Vista Chapel is a quaint little chapel located amongst a sea of cacti and in front of the ocean.  The colouring, location and outdoor seating make the Alto Vista a very unique religious site.

8. Search for wild donkeys

Wild Donkey

Wild Donkey near San Nicolas

As soon as I heard there were donkeys roaming around Aruba, I made it my mission to find some!  I must admit, there weren’t quite nearly as many donkeys as I was expecting, but after days of keeping my eyes peeled, it was great to finally spot some.  We seen three donkeys on our visit and they were all extremely friendly and receptive to visitors.

9. Take in a sunset

Aruba Sunset

Aruba Sunsets <3

The sun sets on the east side of Aruba, directly over many beautiful beaches.  You can easily find a number of lovely spots to watch what the sun has to offer Aruba.  Take a stroll on the beach as the sunsets and marvel as the sky puts on an epic performance.

10. Search for Sea Shells

Conch shells in Aruba

Conch shells found on the beach

Aruba is home to more sea shells than I have ever seen anywhere else in the world.  Some of the beaches and stretches of coastline are literally covered with conch shells.  Not just small shells, but large, beautiful shells.  Its not encouraged to take the shells off the beach, but its great fun to look at them all and take pictures.

Conch Shells and Waves in Aruba

Aruba is a stunning island loaded with many amazing sites and free attractions.  While you’re visiting Aruba, make sure to visit some of the free sites that don’t include lounging on the beach. But of course, enjoy the beaches as well, they are stunning!!

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