The 6 Most Exciting Activities For Animal-Lovers in ArubA

Fondly nicknamed “One Happy Island,” Aruba is a tropical desert paradise with beautiful beaches, crystal-clear water, and exciting, rugged terrain. Aruba is also home to diverse animal life.

If you’re an animal-lover planning a getaway to Aruba, you’re in luck because Aruba offers fantastic activities for animal-loving travelers!

Below are my picks for the six best activities for animal-lovers in Aruba.

Table of Contents

1. The Butterfly Farm

Flit on over to Aruba’s magical little Butterfly Farm, where you can see a wide array of butterflies, cocoons, and even a couple of parakeets. If you wear bright colors and citrus-scented perfume or cologne, the butterflies may even land on you!

woman wearing striped multicolored dress standing beside Aruba Butterfly Farm sign
The Butterfly Farm

Take a Guided Tour (and See a Butterfly Pub Crawl)

The Butterfly Farm offers a fascinating 20-minute guided tour where you can learn interesting facts about butterflies. For example, did you know that butterflies can get drunk? That’s right. When butterflies eat fermenting fruit, they consume ethanol created from the sugar in the fruit. And the result is a drunk butterfly! So, you can basically witness a butterfly pub crawl as the butterflies tipsily flutter between the various fruit trays set up throughout The Butterfly Farm. Cheers!

butterflies eating fermented fruit on wooden tray at the Aruba Butterfly Farm
Butterfly Happy Hour
woman wearing a multicolored dress standing in front of a mural of a blue butterfly at the Aruba Butterfly Farm
Fun mural at the Butterfly Farm!

And, as if that isn’t enough of a reason to visit, The Butterfly Farm is also a fantastic place to take Instagram-worthy pictures!

Where is The Butterfly Farm Located?

The Butterfly Farm is located on J.E. Irausquin Boulevard, between the Palm Beach and Eagle Beach areas.

How Much Does Visiting The Butterfly Farm Cost?

When I visited The Butterfly Farm in 2020, the admission price was $16 per person. The Butterfly Farm also gave me a free return pass. The pass allowed me to return to the farm for free as many times as I wanted during my vacation. Check The Butterfly Farm’s website for the most up-to-date information on the admission cost and return pass.

a blue butterfly perched on green leaves at the Aruba Butterfly Farm
A beautiful blue butterfly at the Butterfly Farm
woman standing on footbridge at the Aruba Butterfly Farm
Hoping my colorful dress will attract a butterfly!

2. Explore "Under the Sea"

Aruba’s crystal clear water, fantastic visibility, and thriving marine life make it a top destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Don your scuba or snorkel gear—or hop on a SEABOB underwater scooter—and go swimming with tropical fish, stingrays, and turtles. While you’re underwater, you can also explore incredible shipwrecks, some of which are just below the surface!

snorkeling with yellow striped fish in Boca Catalina Bay in Aruba
Snorkeling with brightly-colored fish in Boca Catalina Bay

How Much Do Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, and SEABOB Tours Cost in Aruba?

Cost of Scuba Diving in Aruba ($100 and up)

Scuba diving tour costs vary depending on the company, the tour duration, and the number of dives and tanks. Prices generally begin at about $100 and increase from there.

Companies also offer scuba diving courses, which typically range from about $100 to $500, depending on the course.

Cost of Snorkeling Tours in Aruba ($50 and up)

Several companies offer sailing and snorkeling tours on which you sail to various snorkeling sites and enjoy drinks and snacks along the way. It’s a fun, relaxing way to spend a few hours or the entire day. Tour prices typically range from about $50 and up, depending on the company and the tour duration.

When I visited Aruba, I went on a fantastic sailing and snorkeling cruise with the Aruba Watersports Center. The cruise lasted for two and a half hours and cost $50 per person.

You can also rent snorkeling equipment (or bring your own from home) and snorkel for free at off-the-beach snorkeling sites. Popular off-the-beach snorkeling spots include Boca Catalina Beach, Tres Trapi, and Malmok Beach.

woman wearing yellow snorkel and goggles in turquoise-colored water beside Aruba Watersports Center catamaran
The catamaran from my sailing and snorkeling cruise with the Aruba Watersports Center

Cost of SEABOB Tours in Aruba ($100 to $150)

SEABOB tours in Aruba typically cost between $100 and $150.

snorkeling with yellow striped fish and black fish in Boca Catalina Bay in Aruba
Getting the “side eye” from fish in Boca Catalina Bay

Popular Scuba, Snorkeling, and SEABOB Tour Operators

3. Flamingo Beach

Feed a Flock of Flamingos at Flamingo Beach​

woman feeding a pink flamingo while sitting in the turquoise-colored water at Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island in Aruba
Feeding a flamingo at Flamingo Beach!

If you love flamingos, hop over to Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island (a private island owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino). 

At Flamingo Beach, you can actually feed a flock of flamingos! Just buy a cup of flamingo food, and then wade out into the shallow, crystal-clear water. In no time, the flamingos will come to you. Feeding the flamingos and relaxing in the water as the flamingos strut around you is so incredibly fun!

Flamingo Beach is also a fantastic place to take pictures (and chuckle as everyone does their mini Instagram photoshoots).

pink flamingo walking on the sand in front of the beach bar on Flamingo Beach at Renaissance Island in Aruba
A flamingo strutting across Flamingo Beach
two white hammocks hanging under a grey wooden pergola at Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island in Aruba
Hammocks at Flamingo Beach

I spent several hours at Flamingo Beach, just feeding the flamingos and relaxing in the water. And, let me tell you, sipping piña coladas and champagne while surrounded by half a dozen flamingos is absolutely magical! Visiting Flamingo Beach was, without a doubt, one of the best things I did in Aruba!

The flamingos at Flamingo Beach are very chill. But, they’re still wild animals. So, remember to respect their space when feeding them and taking photos.

Flamingo Beach is an adults-only beach. However, children are allowed to visit between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to feed and take pictures with the flamingos. 

The other beach on Renaissance Island, Iguana Beach, is open to all visitors though.

woman sitting in the ocean and drinking a pina colada with flamingos at Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Piña coladas and pink flamingos

Spend the Rest of the Day Relaxing​

In addition to being the place where your flamingo-related dreams come true, Renaissance Island is also a luxurious place to relax. Kiss your cares goodbye as you sway in a hammock or enjoy a massage in a private oceanfront cabana. After chillin’ with the flamingos at Flamingo Beach, I treated myself to a massage in an oceanfront cabana, and it was heavenly!

woman lying in hammock inside oceanfront cabana at Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island in Aruba
Relaxing in a private cabana

How to Get to Renaissance Island​

To get to Renaissance Island, you take a short ride in a water taxi. The water taxi departs from the Renaissance Marina in Oranjestad every 15 minutes, beginning at 7:00 a.m. The last water taxi back to the marina leaves Renaissance Island at 6:45 p.m. 

water taxi leaving Renaissance Island in Aruba
View of Renaissance Island from the water taxi

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Renaissance Island?​

Free Access for Guests Staying at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

If you’re staying at one of the two hotels in Oranjestad owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, you can visit Renaissance Island for free! This is a great deal. Even if you plan to stay at another hotel during your trip, consider spending one night at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino so you can visit Renaissance Island without paying extra. The water taxi is also complimentary for hotel guests.

 

Non-Hotel-Guests Have to Pay to Visit Renaissance Island​

You can still visit Renaissance Island even if you aren’t staying at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. However, you’ll have to pay. There are two payment options.

Option 1:  Buy a Day-Pass

The first option is to buy a day-pass for $125 per person. The day-pass includes one lunch and one cocktail at Papagayo Bar & Grill or Mangrove Beach Bar on Renaissance Island and access to the water taxi. You can purchase a Renaissance Island day-pass online. However, be aware that Renaissance Island offers only a limited number of day-passes, and the day-passes sell out quickly.

Option 2:  Book a Spa Treatment

The second option is to book a spa treatment on Renaissance Island. With this option, you pay for your spa treatment and the water taxi to the island instead of buying a day-pass. There are a variety of spa packages available. If you choose the spa treatment option, make sure to book your appointment well in advance.

When I visited Renaissance Island, I chose the spa treatment option because it gave me access to the island and a massage.

My 50-minute massage cost $160 (plus a tip for my masseuse), and the roundtrip water taxi cost $25. I also bought lunch (a $14 burger) and drinks at the Mangrove Beach Bar.

massage table inside a private oceanfront cabana on Renaissance Island in Aruba
Private cabana for oceanfront massages

4. The Aruba Ostrich Farm

Touring the Aruba Ostrich Farm

Get up close and personal with ostriches and emus at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. There’s a great guided tour, which lasts about 20 minutes. Without a doubt, the highlight of the tour is getting to feed an actual ostrich yourself! You also get to hold the massive ostrich and emu eggs in your hands.

man and woman feeding two ostriches at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
Feeding ostriches at the Aruba Ostrich Farm!
ostrich and cacti at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
One of many ostriches at the Ostrich Farm
Emu egg

Eating at the Aruba Ostrich Farm

If you’re hungry, you can order an ostrich egg omelet or a boiled ostrich egg to eat. Bring your appetite though, because one ostrich egg is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs!

baskets of grey emu eggs and white ostrich eggs in the gift shop at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
Emu and ostrich eggs in the gift shop at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
menu for the restaurant at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
The menu for the Aruba Ostrich Farm restaurant

Where is the Aruba Ostrich Farm Located?​

The Aruba Ostrich Farm is located on Aruba’s eastern coast, approximately 1.5 miles away from the Ayo Rock Formation. The address for the Aruba Ostrich Farm is Matividiri 57, Paradera, Aruba.

blue entrance sign for the Aruba Ostrich Farm
Entrance to the Aruba Ostrich Farm

How Much Does Touring the Aruba Ostrich Farm Cost?​

When I visited the Aruba Ostrich Farm in 2020, the guided tour cost $14 per person for adults. For up-to-date information regarding the tour cost, visit the Aruba Ostrich Farm’s website.

5. Horseback Riding in Aruba

Animal-lovers will also enjoy exploring Aruba’s rugged terrain on horseback! Several ranches offer horseback riding tours, and the itinerary varies depending on the tour. Some horseback riding tours explore Arikok National Park and the natural pool. Other horseback riding tours visit beaches, sand dunes, the gold mine ruins, and the hidden lagoon. Sunset horseback riding tours are available as well.

five brown saddled horses standing near cacti in Arikok National Park in Aruba
Horses in Arikok National Park

How Much Does Horseback Riding in Aruba Cost?

Horseback riding tours in Aruba typically cost between $80 and $200 per person, depending on the tour duration and whether it’s a private or group tour.

Find a Horseback Riding Tour in Aruba

For more details and to find your perfect horseback riding tour, check out these Top Aruba Horseback Riding Tours on Viator (my go-to site for finding awesome tours)!

6. The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

Another animal-related attraction is the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary. If you love donkeys and have a little extra free time, then consider stopping by the Donkey Sanctuary to pet and feed the donkeys.

four donkeys standing under a large tree at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary
Donkeys at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

Where is the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary Located?

The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is located near Santa Cruz, Aruba. For detailed directions, use Google Maps or refer to the “Directions” section at the bottom of the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary homepage.

brown sign at the entrance to the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary
Entrance to the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

How Much Does Visiting the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary Cost?

Admission to the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is free, but donations are appreciated.

two donkeys standing in front of the Visitors Center at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary
Aruba Donkey Sanctuary Visitors Center
blue and green mural of two donkeys on the wall of the Visitors Center at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary
Mural at the Visitors Center

Twilley’s Takeaways

If getting up close and personal with ostriches, emus, butterflies, flamingos, donkeys, horses, and exotic fish is your idea of the perfect vacation, then you’ll love the activities Aruba has to offer. 

Plus, several of the activities described above (like The Butterfly Farm, the Aruba Ostrich Farm, and the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary) could take as little as 30 minutes or an hour to do. So they’re fantastic, short activities to add to your itinerary as you beach-hop your way around this “One Happy (Animal-Loving) Island!”

All six of the animal-related activities discussed above are worth doing if you have enough time during your Aruban getaway. However, if your Aruba itinerary is tight, you may need to pick just a couple animal-related activities to enjoy. With that in mind, here is my personal ranking of the above-listed activities, with #1 being my top pick:

  1. Explore “under the sea” while scuba diving or snorkeling

  2. Flamingo Beach

  3. The Aruba Ostrich Farm

  4. The Butterfly Farm

  5. Horseback Riding

  6. The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

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