Island Hopping: Exploring the 10 Best Day Trips from Aruba to Curacao

Aruba and Curacao offer visitors some of the most majestic island scenery in the world, with plenty of day trips for families, couples, and solo travelers. 

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What are the best stops between Aruba and Curacao?

The best day trips in Aruba and Curacao are:

  1. Aruba Full-Island Tour
  2. Mangel Halto and Baby Beach Snorkeling
  3. Jeep Safari 
  4. Catamaran Cruise and Snorkeling 
  5. Arikok National Park
  6. Sea Turtle Swimming at Grote Knip Beach
  7. Klein Curacao
  8. Curacao Full-Day Tour
  9. Curacao West Beaches
  10. Explore Willemstad

After extensively researching the tourism industry in the Caribbean islands, I have gathered enough information to create a detailed guide on Aruba and Curacao. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the best day trips from Aruba to Curacao to help you plan your next vacation to the Caribbean.

Where are Aruba and Curacao Located?

Aruba and Curacao are both island nations in the Caribbean Sea. The islands are extensions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and are part of the Dutch Caribbean Islands.

The mainland of South America is very close to Aruba and Curacao, with Venezuela being just 50 miles away.

The distance between Aruba and Curacao is 70 miles. These are neighboring islands that are conveniently close together, which is why most visitors tend to combine both destinations into a single trip to the Caribbean. 

How to Travel to Aruba and Curacao 

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There are flights arriving to various parts of the Caribbean daily, and you can fly into either Beatrix International Airport Aruba or Willemstad Hato International Airport in Curacao depending on where you want to start your trip. 

If you are having a hard time finding Curacao’s airport, please note that some airlines and booking agencies may advertise the airport as “Curaçao International Airport”.

Once you arrive at either destination, hopping between islands is incredibly easy. 

You can take one of the many island hopper flights traveling from Aruba to Curacao. There are currently a couple of dozen flights making the journey per day, and ticket prices can be as low as $128 per seat. 

Best Day Trips in Aruba

Aruba is loaded with day trips and you can easily spend your entire vacation enjoying this island alone. 

There are vibrant Caribbean landscapes and seascapes around the whole island, with world-class marine life and corals. The best way to experience the magic of Aruba is to opt for one of the following day trips.

1. Aruba Full-Island Tour

If you are in the mood for a full day out, there is no better way to get a taste of what Aruba has to offer than by signing up for the Aruba Full-Island Tour

For a price of $65 per person, you can join an intimate tour group that will take you to see the highlights of the island. The tour lasts around 7 hours and they pick you up right from your hotel, making this an easy and convenient way to start off your vacation in Aruba. 

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On the Aruba Full-Island Tour, you will get to see some of the best snorkeling spots on the island, natural rock formations, as well as historic sights, with the following stops being included in the tour:

  1. Aruba Aloe Factory
  2. California Lighthouse
  3. Sasariwichi Dunes
  4. Alto Vista Chapel
  5. Ayo Rock Formations
  6. Natural Bridge
  7. Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
  8. Baby Beach

2. Mangel Halto and Baby Beach Snorkeling

One of the best things that you can do in Aruba is going snorkeling to get a glimpse of the stunning marine life. 

Aruba has breathtaking corals and countless marine species that you can experience by hopping on a snorkeling tour. 

Some people come to Aruba specifically to be in the water and a snorkeling tour that takes you to both Mangel Halto and Baby Beach lets you see two of the best places on the entire island.

3. Jeep Safari 

If you are craving a rugged adventure in a 4×4, a Jeep safari around Aruba will be a highlight of your island vacation.

An off-road-ready 4-wheel drive Land Rover will take you to some of Aruba’s most beautiful and iconic destinations. You start the day off at ABC Islands Tours Aruba and you drive around the island visiting natural and historic sights such as Baby Beach and the California Lighthouse. 

The entire tour lasts over 9 hours and you have a certified guide with you from start to finish. This is a full-on experience that lets you snorkel, off-road, and get a taste of local culture all in one package.

4. Catamaran Cruise and Snorkeling 

How does starting your day on a catamaran sipping champagne sound? This is one of the best day trips in Aruba, and couples in particular tend to opt for this experience. 

The Catamaran Cruise and Snorkeling tour will certainly be a highlight of your trip to the Caribbean. Enjoy a bottomless glass of champagne while sailing across turquoise Caribbean waters in one of the most stunning travel destinations on the planet. 

After a lovely breakfast on the boat, the tour takes you to spectacular snorkeling sights where you can see untouched Aruba marine life at its best. 

The tour only lasts around 4 hours and they fill your belly with lunch before sending you off, making this an excellent half-day trip in Aruba filled with amazing natural destinations, delicious food, and plenty of bubbles.

5. Arikok National Park

If you want to experience some of the best nature that Aruba has to offer, you should take a day trip to Arikok National Park. 

You can find private transport to Arikok National Park or you can rent a car on the island and drive out yourself, which is the most budget-friendly approach. However, travelers looking for a more rugged experience might prefer taking an offroad vehicle such as a UTV. 

A great program on the island is the Aruba North Coast Exploration by Jeep and UTV tour. This is the ultimate way to experience Arikok National Park and you get to drive your own UTV on the guided tour. 

With this program, you will see the most iconic sights in Arikok National Park and you even snorkel in a famous natural pool on the island. What more could you ask for on a vacation in Aruba?  

Best Day Trips in Curacao

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Curacao is a real gem in the Caribbean and it’s often overlooked compared to a lot of the other islands in the region. 

This is a paradise destination that offers picturesque views and a plethora of activities for tourists. Consider taking one of the following day trips on your vacation in Curacao.

1. Sea Turtle Swimming at Grote Knip Beach

Few experiences in the Caribbean can match the feeling of swimming with sea turtles. One of the best places to swim with turtles on Curacao is Grote Knip Beach, which is a highlight for so many travelers visiting the island. 

You can rent a private boat or take the easy route by booking the Sea Turtle and Grote Knip Beach tour. They pick you up from your hotel and take you directly to the turtles, making this a hassle-free experience from start to finish. 

A professional photographer is included in the tour and they will take pictures of you with the turtles so that you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about capturing the moment.

2. Klein Curacao 

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If you want to take your Caribbean adventure to the next level, you should consider leaving Curacao for the day via boat to Klein Curacao. This is an uninhabited island not far from Curacao, and it’s hands down one of the best activities you can opt for.

The Klein Curacao Boat Tour is an all-day activity that starts early at 7 am and finishes in the evening. You get to experience the solitude of being on an uninhabited island while enjoying world-class snorkeling throughout the day. 

The tour includes all your meals and snorkeling equipment, and there is even an open bar. Few experiences in Curacao come close to visiting Klein Curacao island.

3. Curacao Full-Day Tour 

There is a lot to see on Curacao, and trying to hit every highlight on your own can become pretty exhausting. If you want to make the most of your time on the island, consider signing up for a Curacao Full Day Tour. 

This private tour takes you through the best spots in Curacao, and you have a guide with you the whole way. Given that this is a private tour, you are given some flexibility as far as the destinations that you can visit. 

If you want to see historic and cultural landmarks around the island, you’re there. If you want to go off-roading for a rugged adventure, no problem. The bottom line is that on the Curacao Full-Day Tour, you are guaranteed to have a fulfilling experience.

4. Curacao West Beaches

The west side of Curacao features some of the most pristine beaches on the island. You can rent a car and head out to the west beaches yourself or join a tour if you want to keep things simple. 

The Curacao West Beaches tour takes you to stunning beaches, and lush forests, and you get to see some of the most preserved coral reefs on the island. This is a guilty-pleasure beach day through and through with no fuss. Check out the following beaches in Aruba’s west for an excellent day trip:

  1. Piskado Beach
  2. Kenepa Beach
  3. Cas Abao Beach

5. Explore Willemstad

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Willemstad is the capital city of Curacao and it’s an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a constituent country of the Netherlands, Curacao has incredible architecture that resembles some of the most iconic Dutch buildings seen in places like Amsterdam.

If you want a more in-depth experience in Willemstad, you can always choose to sign up for a tour that takes you to the must-sees. The Discover Curacao Island Tour specializes in showing visitors the best of Willemstad and you can learn more about the history of Curacao.

Key Takeaways

  • The best day trips in Aruba are the Aruba Full-Island Tour, Mangel Halto and Baby Beach Snorkeling, Jeep Safari, Catamaran Cruise and Snorkeling, and Arikok National Park.
  • The best day trips in Curacao are Sea Turtle Swimming at Grote Knip Beach, Klein Curacao, Curacao Full-Day Tour, Curacao West Beaches, and Explore Willemstad.
  • The best times to visit Aruba and Curacao are during the peak-season months from December to March or during the off-peak season months from April to August.