Aruba Active Adventures
Aruba has a lot of hiking trails, the best of which are in Arikok National Park. It is possible to be accompanied on a hike by a park tour guide but this would need to be booked in advance. Arikok National Park can be contacted at +297 585-1234. Aruba's sun is unforgiving, and the desert-like landscape (think Arizona) doesn't offer much tree shade, but with plenty of water and a good hat, hiking is definitely worth the effort since you get to see places you would not otherwise reach. There are challenging hills, caves, abandoned gold ruins and mines, and limestone cliffs. Hike up to the top of Mount Jamanota you will see a 360 degree view of Aruba from Aruba's highest point. Most trails are clearly marked within the park. Sneakers are fine, but if you want to go pro hiking boots are great. To get a good look at the caves a flashlight is recommended.
Being a Dutch island one might think that there is the same level of organization for bikes as in the Netherlands. Not so. Arubans tend to prefer cars! Aruba's roads are not really conducive to cycling having no extensive cycling paths. So its pretty much an "at your own risk" affair. Many local riders enjoy cycling on the roads especially early morning the stretch of L.G. Smith Boulevard that passes through Malmok and heads to the California lighthouse. For mountain biking on the other hand, you're quite spoilt for choice in Aruba. The northern coast have a great array of unpaved paths that are ideal for mountain biking. One can easily go from one side of the island to the other solely by mountain bike and following specific trails. If you're heading from the lighthouse towards the Gold Mine ruins, expect a strong headwind which can be challenging, adding to the effort required but definitely providing a great workout. On your way back you'll really enjoy the help from the wind pushing you! A headwind could also mean dust so you might want to consider a bandana or dust mask of some kind. Not absolutely necessary but could help on a particularly windy day. Bikes are available to rent from Aruba Active Vacations starting at $25 for a full day's rental.
Whether you're an experienced rider or have never ridden before, Aruba has horseback riding options for you. Its a great way to go off the beaten path and get panoramic views of Aruba's coastline and "cunucu" (countryside). Rides are available at different times of day, from early-morning to sunset. Many ranches offer tours of with stops at the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, or along the shoreline both on the north coast and also close to the beaches near Malmok. Some offer Paso fino horses or trotters that warrant a very comfortable ride. With some rides you get to stand your horse in the ocean at a few different places, and the guide will take photos of you with your own camera at some spectacular spots - so don't forget your camera! Most times you can gallop, canter, walk as much as you like, although when in a group sometimes galloping is not possible if others in the group do not want to gallop. Click here for some Horseback riding tours.
Kayaking is best practiced in Aruba on the South coast of the island. The waters tend to be calmer, and there are also several inlets and a lagoon lined with mangroves that also provide some shade when you need to take a break. There is a channel that starts off near the airport, going past Renaissance island and stretches all the way to Mangel Halto and Savaneta. Its best to start from Savaneta , in fact most guided tours start from that area and follow the coastal mangroves, through Spaans Lagoen (Spanish Lagoon) and also cross to some of the smaller barrier islands. Click here to see more about Kayak tours.
Originating in Australia, Land Sailing uses wind power to propel a lightweight three-wheel go-kart-style frame across the landscape. In Aruba this is done primarily on the North Coast where the wind is strongest, and most people who have tried it say it is a definite adrenaline rush. Its best to avoid this after the rains though since it will be muddy, but sometimes getting splattered adds to the fun! The sport was introduced here by one of Aruba's windsurfing pioneers and these days one can rent them at Aruba Active Vacations.
Scuba Diving - Take the adventure under water. Aruba's waters average 80Ã???Ã??Ã?Â°F dipping to the 70s in "winter" (which does not actually exist in Aruba!). Coral reefs, wrecks, a wide variety of marine life, and spawning coral displays are just some of the things you can expect to see. Currents affect visibility in some areas, and this of course changes with sea conditions. Plankton is also plentiful and is essential to the coral, but can also affect visibility. On the resort side of the island one can expect visibility of 18 to 36m (59-118 feet). Except in the rainy season (October to January) freshwater runoff to the ocean is low to none. In terms of wrecks, planes and shipwrecks are popular, including the Antilla, which is the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. It is not unusual to see less common species such as sea horses, basket stars and eels. Unfortunately what used to be a less common sight, the destructive Lionfish has become more invasive after first being spotted in 2009. It is probably the only species for which spearfishing is actively encouraged, in all other cases spearfishing is illegal. Most scuba diving operators offer a variety of courses from beginners' resort courses to courses designed for Dive Masters. More about Scuba Diving in Aruba.
Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Aruba's almost constant trade winds guarantee an almost endless supply of natural fuel for both these activities. One can expect windy days from January through September, with the occasional lull in August and during October through December, although they definitely have their windy days too. Wind speeds tend to be the highest in May, June, and July, averaging 20 to 25 knots. During December through April, this average drops to between 15 and 20 knots, and from September through November they can range between 10 and 20 knots. Most windsurfing and kitesurfing activity is near the resort areas and popular beaches, particularly beyond Palm Beach at the Fishermen's Huts which is the venue for the famous Aruba Hi-Winds event held annually around July. If you've never done either of these two waterports, keep in mind that Kitesurfing tends to have longer learning curve, requiring a few lessons before you'll actually be moving on the board. With windsurfing on the other hand you could be up and sailing from the get go if you get the hang of it. For kids, windsurfing is probably the way to go unless they're pretty patient, but which kids are?! More about Windsurfing and Kitesurfing in Aruba
Karting - Aruba has an internationally recognized karting track where you too can enjoy the thrill of karting at Bushiri Karting Speedway. Many visitors enjoy this as a family, challenging each other on the track. The timing computer at Bushiri Karting Speedway keeps track of everyone's times and you receive a lap time sheet at the end showing you your best lap times. Different karts are available for adults and kids, and safety is number one with helmets provided and staff closely overseeing the races.. Click here to see more about Karting in Aruba.