Aruba is a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. It has sunny weather year round with beautiful beaches and gentle surf. The constant trade winds provide cool tropical breezes throughout the island and it is the cause of the divi-divi trees to slope southwesterly. European influence is displayed in the architecture on the island that features Dutch gables painted in tropical pastels and in the languages spoken on the island with English, Dutch and Spanish alongside the local tongue, Papiamento.
Aruba measures 20 miles (32 kilometers) long from its northwestern end to its southeastern end and 6 miles (10 kilometers) across at its widest point. Aruba together with Bonaire and Curaçao form a group of islands in the southern Caribbean referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. The citizens of these countries are all Dutch nationals.
The capital of Aruba is Oranjestad and it is the stopping point of our cruise today.
Aruba is famous for gorgeous palm-tree lined white sandy beaches which are home to calm clear waters, making them perfect locations for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. One of the most popular beaches in Aruba is Eagle Beach. This pristine beach has soft white sand and aqua blue water and features a variety of water sports. Eagle Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike and is located in front of some low-rise hotels. Eagle Beach is the host of Aruba’s most photographed fofoti (divi) tree and is a favorite nesting spot for sea turtles. The most famous beach for tourist in Aruba is Palm Beach. Palm Beach is a two-mile strip known for its white sands and turquoise waters. It is located near many of Aruba’s upscale beach resorts and has a reputation of being one of the most family friendly beaches in the world.
Aruba is well-known for its gentle wildlife. Our first stop after the beach was a visit to The Butterfly Farm. This magical garden is home to hundreds of tropical butterfly breeds from around the globe. Informative and entertaining guides will show you these fascinating and beautiful creatures as they develop from an egg to a caterpillar to the chrysalis stage and finally fully-developed floating butterflies. We also went to Renaissance Island to visit the famous Flamingo’s of Aruba. There is no charge for guests staying at the Renaissance Hotel but non-guests can pay a fee for this activity. Renaissance Island is only accessible by taking a boat ride from the Renaissance Hotel. The boats leave every 15 minutes and the ride is exhilarating. While on the beach the flamingos will playfully walk around greeting visitors and will eat from your hands if you decide to feed them. A visit to this island is definitely a favorite tourist activity. It was for us too. Other activities that sounded like fun include a visit to The Ostrich Farm, home to more than 80 of these large birds, or you can enjoy horseback riding on Daimari Beach. There are so many activities for entertainment during your stay in Aruba. You can do as little or as much as you want, the choice is yours.
Aruba is also known for its shopping. Shoppers often visit Aruba for its bargains on jewelry, perfumes, leather goods, designer fashions, electronics, clothing, locally made arts and crafts, Cuban cigars, souvenirs, and other favorably priced goods. If you are serious about shopping then you will want to visit the shopping district near the cruise port with the shops lined along L.G. Smith Boulevard. The shopping area is very busy when cruise ships are in port. Overall there are some good bargains to be found here.
Please make note that higher priced items are negotiable. For example, I was looking at a gold bracelet and they quoted me a price. I was really just looking and I wasn’t planning to buy. The sales person put the bracelet on me and even lowered the price a few times trying to persuade me to make a purchase. I finally did and was really pleased with the final price. Great bargains can be found if you take your time and shop around.
If your cruise is staying late into the night or you decide to book a beach resort vacation in Aruba, the nightlife caters for a variety of tastes. Our cruise ship was in port until 11 p.m. and there were several charming and exciting nightspots with dancing and entertainment. Aruba has its share of hotel resorts that offer casino gaming including blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, and baccarat. Most hotels and resorts also offer special entertainment activities such as tropical themed parties, beach barbecues and cocktail parties to mention a few. The nightlife offered hotels and clubs featuring international entertainers, fashion shows, dance groups, and a variety of music.
Aruba also offers an abundance of water activities besides those found at the beach. Other activities include deep-sea fishing, kayaking, beach snorkeling, snorkeling cruises, sailing, scuba diving, submarine tours, windsurfing, and kite surfing. Divers will love Aruba because of the large number of ship wrecks, caves, and reefs available to explore.
When we arrived here I didn’t realize how much the island of Aruba would have to offer for its visitors. Our cruise ship was in port for 15 hours and this island was the highlight of our vacation. Overall I think we accomplished our goal of getting to know the island and gaining a favorable impression of the culture and the people of Aruba. We fell in love with Aruba and we know you will too.
We hope we have provided you with enough information about Aruba and our trip to the island that you will make this a bucket list destination. Aruba has a tropical climate and is a perfect destination to visit any time of the year. Caribbean cruises that visit Aruba are available all year around with best rates available in early December and in the months of January and February. Rates are higher during the holidays, spring break, and summer months. Flights to the island are a great option too because you will get to spend more time enjoying the island.
We have listed some travel companies below to help you in planning your future vacations. If you have any questions please reach out to us on the Contact Us page and we will gladly reply.