Aruba,  Cruises

One Day in Aruba From Cruise Ship: Perfect Itinerary

Are you going to Aruba on a cruise and looking for the perfect One Day in Aruba from a cruise ship itinerary? Then I got you covered!

Aruba is a beautiful Caribbean island and forms, together with Bonaire and Curacao the ABC-island group. Aruba is famous for its white, sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue water. There are many great things to do in Aruba – and many of them you can check off in just one day.

As a seasoned cruise passenger, I know the drill of having to plan something to do for every single port you stay in. Luckily, I have created in this post the perfect one-day in Aruba itinerary from out the cruise ship.

And because not all tastes are the same – I have created multiple versions for your perfect day in Aruba.

Let’s get to it!

stunning drone shot of the coastline in aruba

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How to Plan Your Perfect Day in Aruba On a Cruise

There are many amazing things for you to do in Aruba when docking with a cruise ship.

As a seasoned cruiser, I feel like you have five options when choosing what to do on the island:

🚢 Spending the day on Renaissance Island with the Flamingos

🚢 Book a guided excursion or day trip

🚢 Explore the island with a rental car

🚢 Buy a day pass to one of the resorts

🚢 Explore Oranjestad on foot

If you are staying until late in the evening, make sure to book an Aruba Sunset Sail.

The Aruba Cruise Port

The Aruba cruise port is located in Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba.

This is one of the best cruise terminals in the Caribbean because it is located almost in the city center, so you can disembark and enjoy yourself without a fuss.

The Aruba cruise port is right across from the Aruba Bus terminal. You can catch a bus or a cab from there.

Cabs are required to offer you standardized fares all around the island. This minimizes the chance, that they try to rip you off.

You can walk from the Aruba Cruise Terminal to the capital city of Oranjestad.

Aruba Cruise Port Map
Aruba Cruise Port Map

1. One Day With the Flamingos of Aruba

Naturally, many people want to see the flamingos of Aruba when coming to the island on a cruise ship. With some good planning, you can make this dream come true.

Sadly, the flamingos of Aruba can only be found on one single private island, that belongs to the Renaissance Resort.

Luckily, there are ways to get to the flamingos of Aruba from the cruise ship. This excursion is quite expensive. If you are on a budget, I would not recommend picking this itinerary.

In order to see the flamingos of Aruba, you have to either get a day pass to Renaissance island or book a day pass for the Spa on the island.

Important: I have created a detailed guide on how to see the flamingos of Aruba. If you are planning on going to see them, you absolutely have to make reservations in advance, they only allow very few people to visit.

The excursion will cost you about USD 125 p.p. for the day.

I would recommend visiting Renaissance Island if you are willing to spend the money, it is an amazing place to relax and enjoy your day!

2. Book an Excursion on the Island

There are many amazing day trips and excursions that you can book from a third-party provider.

I know that cruise ship excursions can be super expensive and are usually a bit crowded, so I tried finding you some alternatives for your day in Aruba.

Important: It is important to book with a provider you can trust, otherwise they might not bring you back on time for the departure of your ship. I have always booked my excursions with VIATOR because they vet their partners extremely well and I have never been disappointed.

Snorkel Trip With Champagne and Lunch

This was by far my favorite day trip in Aruba! I can totally recommend it for one day in Aruba.

The snorkel trip takes you to the best places around Aruba. We sailed alongside the coast, where we could jump off to swim and snorkel twice. My favorite spot on this trip was the sunken shipwreck.

The crew was extremely nice and we could order as much champagne and cocktails as we liked. We opted for the lunch tour and we had an amazing Caribbean lunch buffet.

We met so many nice people on this excursion, so I will always remember this day trip very fondly! The price starts at USD 60,00.

Aruba Atlantis Submarine

Another great thing to do in Aruba is the Aruba Atlantis submarine experience.

You can explore Aruba on a Coast Guard-certified submarine. It goes to depths of 130 feet (roughly 40 meters). This trip offers an amazing show of the beautiful marine life and the coral reefs in Aruba without having to get wet!

The trip takes about 2 hours and costs around USD 100.

In my opinion, this was worth the money. Plus, the trip does not take all day, so you can still check out some other things around the island.

Island Ultimate Jeep Safari

This tour came highly recommended to me by friends, however, we did not have the time to take it.

I regret not booking this tour, because, in the end, we could not explore all of the island with the rental car. Some streets of the island are rather rough, so you need a 4×4 or an excursion like this one to see it.

The tour takes all day and covers every interesting spot on the island. With USD 128,00 it is also quite affordable for a full-day trip!

Some of the things you will see on the Island’s ultimate Jeep Safari:

  • Gold Mill Ruins
  • Natural Pool
  • Baby Beach
  • California Lighthouse
  • Arikok National Park
Aruba beach bay with beautiful white sandy beach
Rodgers Beach Aruba

3. Explore the Island with a Rental Car

If you would rather explore Aruba yourself than book a guided excursion, I have some great points of interest for you that you should visit.

Important: First of all, you will need a rental car or an ATV for your trip. If you are planning on exploring off-the-beaten paths, I suggest you take a 4×4!

This map includes all my favorite beaches in Aruba (blue), the best restaurants in Aruba (yellow), and photo points and other points of interest (red).

If you are planning on spending only one day in Aruba and are coming from the cruise ship terminal, you need to pick your favorite things you want to see in advance. You won’t have time to do all of them but you can get a great glimpse of the island in a day.

Find some more instructions and tips below on my absolute favorites!

Explore Oranjestad

Oranjestad is the colorful little capital city of Aruba – perfect for pictures. You can easily explore the cute town on foot.

There are many shops and luxury stores just waiting for you to explore them. The city is quite small, so you will most likely only need a couple of hours to see it (including some shopping).

You can find all the luxury stores, such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and much more in the city. Also, some cheaper brands, like Zara and Victoria’s Secret, have stores in the city.

Make sure to also check out the Renaissance Wind Creek Casino, it is located right by the ocean.

You can check out the flea market downtown. Also, make sure to take a ride on the (free) streetcars. They drive in loops around the entire city.

Find my favorite shopping centers and streets here:

  • Shopping on Main Street: mix of luxury retail stores, historic colorful buildings
  • Renaissance Marketplace: lively marketplace with music and entertainment
  • Renaissance Mall – over 60 of the best retail luxury shops and also restaurants
  • Royal Plaza – Outdoorsy pink mall with three levels of shops and dining (super instagrammable)

Check Out the Aruba Aloe Factory and Shop

The island of Aruba is famous for growing lots of Aloe Vera plants. They make many great products from the plant, which are known to be anti-inflammatory.

The Aruba Aloe Factory is located on the island and you can visit the museum and the production free of charge.

This is a great recommendation for slow travelers, who wanna learn more about the island and buy a sustainable souvenir from local production.

They have everything from hair products to sunscreen and body lotions. You do not need to make reservations for the tour. Check out their website here.

aloe plants in aruba on the floor

San Nicolas – The Forgotten Town

If you are planning on exploring Aruba with a rental car for one day, you need to put San Nicolas on your itinerary. It is so instagrammable.

It is a cute, picturesque town that “is easily 20 years behind in everything”. Apart from the history of the town, it is also famous for its street art.

Years ago, a street art festival was held in Aruba. Many houses were painted in the small town of San Nicolas, and most of the art is still there.

The village is very quiet and super cute! Also, it is right next to the two famous beaches, Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach. You can easily combine the trip.

Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach

The two famous beaches, Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach are quite far off the beaten track. But they are worth a visit. Close by the small town of San Nicolas, you can find the two beautiful little bays.

Baby Beach is an amazing, crescent-shaped beach and is famous for its beautiful blue water and endless white sand. You can rent beach chairs there and have an ice-cold cocktail in one of the two restaurants.

Rodgers Beach is right around the corner. It is very famous among locals and slightly less busy than Baby Beach.

In my opinion, they are both worth a visit.

Drone footage of Baby beach in Aruba with beautiful bay with white sands and blue water
Baby Beach Aruba

California Lighthouse

The California lighthouse is something that you should definitely check out during your one day in Aruba. You can easily reach it by car and park there while you take some pictures and take in the scenery.

If you have a solid car, you can also explore off-the-beaten-track Aruba right behind the lighthouse.

Even if you only stay for a week in Aruba, I would make sure to see the lighthouse. It is one of the most instagrammable places in Aruba.

4. Get a Day Pass for a Resort

If you are looking to find a nice, relaxing place to chill in Aruba, I suggest buying a day pass from a resort. A resort day pass grants you access to their private beaches, sun beds, and in some cases even their All Inclusive offers.

Here are some great suggestions for day passes in Aruba:

Things You Need to Know About Aruba Before You Go

  • The capital city of Aruba is Oranjestad. The cruise terminal is also located in Oranjestad, so you can check the colorful city out right from the ship without an expensive excursion.
  • If you are planning on exploring Aruba for a day, make sure to get a rental car. Many of the fun places are far off the beaten tracks and can only be reached by car. The roads are quite bad in some remote places, so make sure to get a 4-by-4 if possible!
  • To find the best photo spots in Aruba, check out my favorite Aruba Instagram Photo Spots.
  • Aruba is expensive. Be prepared to spend some serious money on the island. If you want to save money, make sure to eat and drink on the ship before your excursion.
  • Aruba is extremely safe compared to the other ABC islands. You can happily explore without being too scared in the evenings.
  • Make sure to tip well! Aruba is mainly visited by Americans, so the tipping culture in Aruba is pretty good. 20 % are expected if you were satisfied with the service.
  • The main language spoken in Aruba is English, although many inhabitants of the island speak Dutch and Spanish as well.
  • Aruba is great for snorkeling, bring some gear if you are interested in the exquisite marine life.
  • If you are planning on having a meal in Aruba, check out my favorite beachfront restaurants.
  • Tap water is safe to drink in Aruba
  • Grab some coupons at the airport or cruise terminal, to save a couple of bucks!
  • An amazing time to visit Aruba is December

What Snorkel Gear Do You Need in Aruba?

Here are my favorite things I use on a daily basis in Curacao for snorkeling:

Snorkel Glasses and Fins

Water Shoes (quick drying)

GoPro Hero 11 (amazing for super stable pictures underwater)

GoPro Dome (for these Instagram shots where you are half in and half out of the water)

Underwater Phone Case (if you don’t have a GoPro)

UV Protection Swimming Shirt

Non-toxic DeFog spray

Conclusion: One Day in Aruba from Cruise Ship Itinerary

In this blog post, we discussed what to do in Aruba on a cruise.

You have four options: go to Renaissance Island, book a Day Pass to a resort, get a rental car, or book an excursion. Of course, you can always explore Oranjestad by foot.

There is so much to do and to see in Aruba – and to make the most out of your day, a solid plan is key. I hope you love Aruba as much as I did!

In case you are on a longer cruise through the Dutch Caribbean, check out my One Day in Bonaire Itinerary and my One Day in Curacao Itinerary.

Wondering if Aruba is part of South America? Check out my geographical Aruba info.

More 1 Day Cruise Itineraries

🚢 1 Day in Malta – From Valletta Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Gibraltar – From Malaga Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in London – From Southampton Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Aruba from Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Curacao from Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Bonaire from Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Santorini from Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in Mykonos from Cruise Port

🚢 1 Day in the Dominican Republic on the Cruise Ports

🚢 1 Day Blue Mountains Itinerary – From Sydney Cruise Port

🚢 Awesome One Day in Cannes Itinerary – From Cruise Ship


Can you drive around Aruba in a day?

Yes, it is possible to drive around Aruba in a day. The island is not that big, so you can definitely get a rental car at the cruise port and explore. Make sure to get a decent car, as parts of the island are pretty rough and the streets are not great.

What is the best beach in Aruba near the cruise port?

Surfside Beach and Druif Beach are the closest beaches to the Cruise Port in Aruba. I would not recommend walking, but you can take a cab since the ride is short. If you wanna go a bit further, check out Palm Beach or Eagle Beach, they are simply stunning.

Can you walk around Aruba?

No, you can’t walk around Aruba. The island is pretty big and most major spots are far apart from each other. You can certainly walk around Oranjestad, but most other areas are farther away.

How to get to Eagle Beach from Aruba Cruise Port

The easiest way to get to Eagle Beach from Aruba Cruise Port is with a cab. They have fixed prices and won’t rip you off. You can also grab a rental car if you plan on visiting other things on the island.

What is near the Cruise Port in Aruba?

Oranjestad is near the Cruise Port in Aruba. You can explore the capital city of Aruba on foot from the cruise ship. It has nice shops, restaurants, and lots of colorful Dutch-colonial-style buildings.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.