Everyone loves a beach vacation, but with so many beautiful places to put your toes in the sand and enjoy the sunshine it can be hard to figure out where to get the most bang for your buck. The Caribbean is home to many beautiful and unique islands, but I have always felt that Aruba is one of the best places to relax and have fun on vacation. Known as a budget island, this small but mighty country boasts more than just great savings. Here are a few of the many, many reasons I keep coming back year after year to One Happy Island.
Aruba sits outside of the hurricane belt, so that perfect weather? Yeah, it’s year round. You’re always guaranteed sunshine here, with an average temperature of 83° and sunny skies no matter the month. The island is also known for its trade winds that help make the heat more tolerable. Don’t expect any rain storms here either, those winds help keep showers to a minimum. While some Caribbean locations are hit or miss weather wise, you are guaranteed sunshine in Aruba.
Aruba is a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela and is a melting pot of languages, food, and people. From the moment you arrive you can feel these different influences around you. Languages include English, Spanish, Dutch and the native language of Papiamento. The homes are brightly colored and reminiscent of traditional Dutch architecture, and it is the people who truly what make this place “One Happy Island.” Everyone here is friendly, helpful, and kind.
Aruba boasts some of the best food in the Caribbean. Personal favorites include Flying Fishbone, where you can enjoy fresh fish caught daily with your toes in the sand, or the local favorite El Gaucho’s for a plate of the most delicious Argentinian beef you’ve ever tasted. Madame Janette’s has offers a unique outdoor eating experience and delicious menu as well (be sure to try the Almond Crusted Grouper!). You’d be hard pressed to find a sub-par meal anywhere on this island.
The island offers plenty of tourist activities both on land and in the water. In addition to the water sports like tubing, jet skiing, or wind surfing, snorkeling is a must when visiting this unique country. The Jolly Pirates offer a fun and entertaining snorkeling cruise aboard an authentic pirate ship that stops in three locations; the German Shipwreck Antilla, Boca Catalina reefs, and a stop along Catalina Bay to jump off the rope swing.
While there are many tours offered, I find the best way to explore the desert side of the island (yes, Aruba is a desert!) is by ATV. There you will find some of Aruba’s more famous tourist attractions like the Natural Bridge, Natural Pool, Abandoned Gold Mine, and National Park. ATV’s can be rented for the day and are delivered right to your hotel! The landscape here is unlike any other in the Caribbean, and is well worth exploring!
Where you’ll spend most of your days, soaking up the sun. The beaches of Aruba are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. These blonde beaches along the stretch of hotels have gentle surf, while the desert side takes the brunt of the waves. Baby Beach is known best for its Divi Trees, while the majority of the seven mile strip is lined with hotels and offer lots of activity. Sunsets here are a beautiful assortment of pinks, oranges and purples that never cease to take your breath away. I spend every night of the trip watching it from the shore. This is what you come here for, and what keeps you coming back!
Have you ever been to Aruba? What are some of your highlights?