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Aruba

Aruba ATV Shore Excursion Tips

Aruba ATV tour
ATV tour view from atop Mount Jamanota. © 2021 Scott S. Bateman

An Aruba ATV shore excursion will take tourists through the island’s arid countryside, sometimes through neighborhoods and occasionally even on busy roads. It’s a fast and fun blast.

Aruba has more ATV shore excursions than just about any other island in the Caribbean. They are popular because they are often rough and rocky. Anyone who wants to take an ATV tour on a Caribbean cruise should consider Aruba has the top place to take one. (St. Lucia is another good choice.)

An all-terrain vehicle excursion is one way to see a large part of the island in a brief amount of time for anyone who likes a little adventure.

It also is a chance to visit the most interesting attractions on the island, although the actual attractions visited vary by tour. The Aruba attractions we saw on our tour included:

  • The baby natural bridge
  • Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba’s first chapel, which was built by the Indians and Spanish Missionaries
  • Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruin, built at the start of the 19th century and operated by the Dutch and English
  • Casibari Rock Formation, consisting of granite boulders
  • Mount Jamanota, the highest point on Aruba at 622 feet. This rocky climb to the top offers a clear view of the entire island and a glimpse of the Venezuela coast.

All of the above attractions are in Arikok National Park, which covers most of the southeast portion of the island.

Baby Bridge is a common stop on ATV tours.

We found the tour fun, exciting and educational. Although we have done more memorable excursions, this one was a great way to tour the island in one afternoon.

Other tours take people to the California Lighthouse and the Natural Pool, so it is worthwhile to check out each tour option to see which one has the most appeal.

An excursion starts with the operator’s bus picking up people at the hotel or the cruise terminal in Oranjestad and taking them to the starting point.

Everyone is given a brief introduction and practices driving their ATV in the vicinity.

Once people are comfortable with their vehicles, a guide will lead everyone off the operator’s property and onto the road leading to the various attractions.

The arid Aruba landscape makes the ride bumpy, dirty and dusty, especially when the ATVs go off road and start climbing Mount Jamanota.

Scheduling an ATV Tour

Aruba ATV Tour Map

A typical “half day” ride is two to four hours, plus traveling time by bus from the hotel.

Costs vary by tour operator and time of year, but expect to pay about $65 to $125 per person. The price depends in part on the length of the tour and time of year.

Aruba ATV tour operators include Watapana Tours, Aruba Off-Road, Aruba Tours, Rancho Notorious and Rancho Daimari.

It is worth mentioning that other motorized tours include Jeeps and Urban Terrain Vehicle or UTV, which offers more safety and room for a passenger. But Jeeps can’t climb Mount Jamanota.

Anyone interested in an ATV excursion can schedule it through the operator’s website, a cruise line or at most hotels while staying on the island.

Scheduling in advance has the advantage of locking in one of the limited number of openings available.

Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. These rough and rocky tours are not recommended for anyone who is pregnant or has back or serioius medical problems.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
March 13, 2021

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