Situated in the southern Caribbean Sea is a jewel island called Aruba. Together with other Dutch islands in the Caribbean, they are commonly called the Dutch Caribbean or Netherlands Antilles. Aruba is distinctly unique from other parts of the Caribbean region as you will be welcomed with a dry climate and cactus-strewn landscape. Be ready to hear the local language that is a blend of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and West African. Despite its dry climate, visitors will enjoy pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, casinos, and delicious Continental and local cuisine. Here is a quick guide to help you enjoy your days in Aruba and have you singing the Kokomo song.
Where to Stay?
The island’s northwest coast is filled with resorts and hotels to meet your needs. The 10-mile stretch of beachfront lies in between the capital city of Oranjestad and Palm Beach. Aruba can spell luxury for some of its visitors, especially in the Palm Beach high-rise hotel district. There you will find the Marriott, Hyatt Regency, Riu Palace, Holiday Inn, and the Radisson. Most of the big hotels have casinos and restaurants in their vicinity. If you’re looking for a more laid-back stay, you can check out the low-rise hotel district just north of Oranjestad. Most of the accommodations in the area are one or two-story beachfront rooms for a cozy and intimate experience. For a fewer crowd but packed with ocean activities, you can check out the hotels in Eagle Beach. Visitors can also enjoy strolling around the area for shops and restaurants. You can also rent out an apartment in Aruba for any short-term or long-term stays. Apartments also include amenities similar to hotels.
What to Do?
One interesting fact about Aruba is that all roads are accessible by any land vehicle, including public buses and taxicabs. Tourists can even choose to rent all-terrain vehicles, jeeps, scooters and motorcycles to go around the island. You can also rent a horse to go riding around the various sites.
- There are activities you mustn’t miss when visiting Aruba, like:
Explore Oranjestad’s Colorful Shops and Bars
Oranjestad is Aruba’s capital city. It features typical Dutch architecture, with the downtown area filled with shops and small boutiques. You will see plenty of pastel-colored buildings when going around the city. Head over to the harbor for some fresh catch of the day that you can cook at your rented apartment. Or grab a bite in the popular and recommended restaurants that reflect the flavors of Latin America, France and North America.
Hit the Greens
If you’re looking for sports, then bring your clubs and hit the island’s championship course, Tierra Del Sol. It will cost you $160, but the 18-hole par-71 course is a desert terrain that will reward you with an ocean view. Another course to try is The Links at Divi Aruba. For a cheaper alternative, go for 9 holes at the Aruba Gold Club for just $30. It’s the oldest gold course on the island. Playing here can be a challenge due to the oiled sand greens and wandering goats around the course. But if you can play here, you can basically play anywhere!
Dip your Toes in White Sand
Visit one of the most breathtaking beaches on the island, Eagle Beach. Walk around the widest beach in Aruba with its soft white sand. You can bring your lunch to enjoy in any of the shore’s shaded picnic areas or huts. Those with an active lifestyle can choose from various water sports, such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. You can also do paddle boarding in the clear blue waters.
Snorkel or Dive under the Blue Waters
The top thing to do in Aruba is snorkeling and scuba diving. Aruba’s shores are filled with marine life including bright corals, angel fishes, clown fishes, and the occasional octopus. Most hotels rent out snorkeling equipment for free to their in-house guests. There are also noteworthy diving sites around the island, including the Antilla Wreck and sunken airplanes just off Renaissance Island.
Sail into the Sunset
Aside from snorkeling, sailing is a popular activity in Aruba with its flat, shallow waters and reliable winds. Choose between a luxury catamaran, a teak schooner, a sailing yacht or a Hobie Cat. You can even use a deep sea fishing charter for boat trips. Take a sunset cruise to enjoy the view or hire a skipper together with your friends.
Hike or Explore Caves
What makes Aruba different from other Caribbean islands is the Arikok National Park. The park covers around 20% of the island. Visitors also get to hike desert-like hills filled with cacti or enjoy a mesmerizing coastline and the preserved local flora and fauna. Skip this if you’re afraid of animals as the Aruban rattlesnakes, parakeets and whiptail lizards live in the park. Explore the caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs that populate the area. There are also abandoned gold mines within the territory that visitors can check out. Admission to the park will only cost you $10 and children below 17 can enter for free!
If you want to experience the diversity of the Caribbean, Aruba should be your first pick on your travel bucket list. Great architecture, pristine beaches, luxury resorts, great snorkeling sites and a rich history should be more than enough to fascinate you and offer you the vacation of your dreams!