Aruba vacations offer something for almost everyone. A small island with white sandy beaches, Aruba is a friendly destination with less crime than other Caribbean islands, which makes is a great choice for family caribbean vacations. Things to do in Aruba range from scuba diving and other water sports to backpacking through Aruba’s desert interior.
An autonomous dependency of the Netherlands, Aruba is a small island (seventy square miles) fifteen miles north of Venezuela. While sandy white beaches and reefs characterize the southeastern shores, the northwestern shore, which faces the Atlantic, is a craggy coastline with dangerous water conditions. Most Aruba vacations take place on the southeastern beaches.
The interior of Aruba is an arid landscape, home to iguana, cacti and wind-carved rocks. The interior offers land-based things to do in Aruba, including horse riding, golfing and ATV activities.
Language, Money and Aruba Vacations
Although the official language of Aruba is Dutch, tourists on Aruba vacations find that English is widely spoken. In addition to Dutch and English, an Aruba vacationer will also hear Spanish and Papiamento (a local Creole language that grew out of Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and African languages).
The unit of currency in Aruba is the Aruba Florin. American dollars, however, are widely exchanged. As a result, Americans on Aruba vacations don’t have to exchange currencies.
Quick Facts about Aruba
- Capital: Oranjestad
- Currency: Aruba Florin
- Official Language: Dutch (English is widely spoken)
- Population: 71,891
- Main Religion: Roman Catholic
Climate in Aruba
Aruba vacations are blessed with a consistent tropical climate, with year-round temperatures averaging 81 ° Fahrenheit (27 ° Celsius). Trade winds from the Atlantic provide a regular breeze that helps cool the island.
An Aruba vacation is unlikely to be interrupted by hurricanes: the island lies to the south of the tropical storm zone. Consequently, Aruba offers the allure of a Caribbean island without the worry of violent storms.
Things to Do in Aruba
In spite of the island’s small size, tourists will find many things to do in Aruba. Perhaps, the most popular activities to do on an Aruba vacation revolve around water sports. Because of its lush beaches, the southeastern coast hosts most of Aruba’s water activities. Aquatic things to do in Aruba include snorkeling, scuba diving, jet boating, parasailing, fishing, windsurfing and waterskiing.
Many tourists on Aruba vacations spend most of their time in Aruba resorts. Because such resorts are so focused on water activities, tourists never realize how much there is to do in the islands interior. Exploring the windswept landscape of Aruba is an exhilarating and overlooked adventure.
Aruba is a nature lover’s delight. Over eighteen percent of the entire island has been set aside as the Arikok National Park. The park is home to iguana, many species of birds and cacti. One highlight of the park is the divi-divi trees whose strange shapes are created by the constant trade winds.
Besides water sports, other things to do in Aruba include horse riding, hiking and golfing (a golfer should include a few rounds at the Terra del Sol and The Links courses on his or her list of things to do on Aruba). Along with taking ATV tours, tourists can also rent both jeeps and scooters for the day to travel around the island.
Don’t neglect the northwestern shore of Aruba. While the northwestern coast is far to dangerous for swimming or other water activities, its crags, cliffs and surf are well worth seeing.
Nightlife during Aruba vacations centers around Aruba resorts and the main city of Oranjestad, home to the better quality restaurants. Oranjestad is also where most shopping gets done on Aruba vacations.
Casinos are amongst the more urban things to do in Aruba. Aruba resorts, especially those on Oranjestad, are home to a dozen different casinos if you want to try your luck.
Aruba resorts are divided into three areas: Oranjestad, Eagle Beach and Palm Beach.
- Oranjestad is where tourists should stay for Aruba vacations with an urban feel.
- Eagle Beach is home to low-rise Aruba resorts, and is only twenty minutes walk from Oranjestad.
- Palm Beach is home to the more luxurious, high rise Aruba resorts, including several of the casinos.
The Cost of Aruba Vacations
The average Aruba vacation is expensive: Aruba resorts don’t tend to come cheap. While a tourist can find modest accommodations in Oranjestad and Eagle Beach, the bulk of tourists stay in the upscale Aruba resorts. Nightly rates in Aruba resorts vary. Although some cost $50 to $60 dollars a night, resorts with four star accommodations can cost over $300 a night. On average, the nightly rate for Aruba resorts runs from $120 to $175.
Safety and the Aruba Vacation
Aruba vacations are very safe compared with vacations elsewhere in the Caribbean. As noted before, the risk of hurricanes is slim to none. Crime rates are very low, although tourists should take sensible precautions.
Aruba drinking water is perfectly safe, as it comes from the island’s world-class desalination system that removes the salt from sea water for drinking.
Perhaps the greatest danger on an Aruba vacation comes form the many water sports. Jet boaters have been involved in accidents in the past, and tourists have drowned because they failed to consider ocean conditions. All in all, Aruba vacations are remarkably safe.