The slogan for Aruba could not be more appropriate, One Happy Island. This small paradise measures just 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across and is located in the Southern Caribbean, 15 miles north of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curacao, they are commonly referred to the ABC islands, and with a dry climate and rarely a rainy day, this is the ultimate getaway. Today, Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Read on for our top 5 reasons to visit Aruba.
5. The People
Arubans are extremely warm and friendly people hailing from scores of nations. Greeting you with “Bon Bini,” which translates to “Welcome to Aruba,” the Islanders will instantly make you feel right at home. Dutch and Papiamento (a jargon of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and African languages) are the official languages, but most everyone speaks English. The people of Aruba truly make this one happy island and you are always greeted with a friendly smile wherever you go there.
4. Sun, Sand and Sea
Beach aficionados will be captivated by the beauty of its white sand beaches. The ocean water is the perfect shade of blue and clear as crystal with soft white sand that extends for miles. Sit and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Eagle Beach, with the notorious Divi Trees making for a picture perfect postcard. In contrast, Palm Beach is the hustle and bustle place to be with many resorts and restaurants. Here is where you will experience the spectacular sunset.
Aruba’s diverse choice of beaches includes those that are perfect for windsurfing and kite surfing as well as a scuba divers paradise. You can dive shipwrecks and plane wrecks just off the coast. The Antilla shipwreck site is the largest wreck site in the Caribbean.
These unique beaches are easily accessible, open to the public and free.
3. Adventure in Aruba
Golf with the pros at Tierra del Sol’s 18-hole, par 71 course, a favorite among avid golfers due to its rugged natural surroundings. You can also hit the links at Divi Aruba and play over water and landscaped lagoons.
Adrenaline junkies can ride mountain bikes navigating rocky roads or explore the rugged terrain on ATV or jeep.
2. Rich Culture, Art and Music
Aruba has a culture of its own with more than 90 nationalities in residence. The Bon Bini Festival is held in downtown Oranjestad every Tuesday and showcases local culture.
While in the capital of Oranjestad, be sure to visit the Archaeological Museum focusing on the archaeology of the prehistoric Amerindian natives that lived in Aruba. The Historical Museum focuses on early history with an emphasis on the Spanish period under the Dutch West India Company as well as the period spent as part of the colony of Curacao and dependencies.
Then there is the annual “Carnival” beginning November 11, that started decades ago with small street fairs organized by immigrants of the English Caribbean working at the refinery. Today it is a dazzling display of costumes, music, and pageantry.
This flat desert landscape is sprinkled with remarkable natural wonders:
Arikok National Park
This nature preserve covers almost one-fifth of the island. Included are Mount Jamanota, Aruba’s highest point, coastal sand dunes, rough desert and underground caves. Be sure to check out the several absolutely amazing natural bridges created one million years ago.
Alto Vista Chapel
A small picturesque chapel reached by a winding road lined with the Stations of the Cross. Indians chose Alto Visa for their settlement in the mid 18th century. The island’s first Catholic Church inaugurated in 1750 is surrounded by the beautiful, serene Aruban countryside.
Climb up the island’s iconic landmark and you will be rewarded with an unparalleled 360-degree panoramic view of the island. The lighthouse was named after the S. S. California which sank prior to construction in 1910.
1. Cosmopolitan Sophistication and Cuisine
Foodies rejoice! Cuisine in Aruba is a diverse, aromatic, synergy of taste. Along with chefs from Europe, US, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America, come their native recipes. Dutch cafes and local eateries are everywhere. Try it all — American, Brazilian, Argentinian, steakhouses, seafood houses and Italian trattorias. Your hardest decision will be which world-class dining establishment to eat.
Spend the afternoon window shopping in the colorful boutique shops displaying local arts and crafts. Explore the plethora of shops to purchase gold, gemstones, diamonds and designer apparel, international brands with duty-free prices.
If you have any money left after your shopping sprees, try your luck in Aruba’s casinos offering non-stop action.
Aruba is a magical island that will make all your vacation dreams come true.
All images courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority.
Written by DLX contributor Nancy Barkley, owner and founder of Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways. Lifestyle Specialist of Luxury Travel, Honeymoons, and Destination Weddings.