A palm-fringed Caribbean paradise
Aruba is a picture-perfect Dutch Caribbean island located 18 miles off the Venezuelan coast. It boasts a dramatic and beautiful landscape, and is noted for its glorious white sandy beaches on the western and southern coasts. Inland the vistas are of high rolling hills and cactus-laden arid terrain. Arubans are extremely hospitable and the island has the highest number of return visitors of any Caribbean island. Days on Aruba are leisurely, with the emphasis on beach-life and water-sports. Picture whispering palms, long stretches of white, soft sand and turquoise waters gently lapping the shore. If you choose to step out of your flip-flops and do something a little more energetic, there are a number of scuba sites, great windsurfing and two golf courses. You can also shop till you drop on designer goods in the malls of the capital, Oranjestad. Or, for that 007 moment, head to Aruba’s casinos.
Aruba’s stunning beaches are a definite contender for the ‘best beaches in the world’ award. Sugary, palm-fringed and with shimmering azure waters, they are so perfect that you’ll think you’re dreaming. For rest, relaxation and indulgence, few places match Aruba.
When to Go?
The island has a year-round dry, sunny climate, making a visit good at any time of the year. Cooling trade winds keep the temperatures pleasant. Aruba receives only 16 inches of rainfall a year, with most of this from October to January. The average temperature is 27C (82F), with the hottest months from May to October and the coolest months from December to March. Aruba is outside the hurricane belt.
How to get there?
Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport is located near the capital, Oranjestad. There are daily flights to a number of international destinations, with many flights to Europe going via the Netherland’s Schipol Airport. There are no direct flights from the UK to Aruba. Getting around the island is by taxi or regular bus service. Taxis operate fixed fares and take a maximum of five passengers. After midnight there is an additional charge.
Explore Aruba’s beaches and you’ll find each more breathtaking than the one before. Palm Beach, Eagle Beach and Baby Beach are particular beauties. Spend time wandering around Oranjestad and see the attractive, ornate buildings. Visit Arikok National Park near Mount Arikok in the centre of the island. You’ll need sturdy shoes as the huge park is best explored on foot, but stick to the main paths. It’s an impressive place with peaks, interesting fauna and reptiles such as iguanas. Join in the fun at Aruba’s annual carnival, usually held in January.