You’ve probably heard that Aruba is a picture-perfect spot for a warm-weather escape, and we agree whole-heartedly. The place they call “one happy island” might be one of our newest Caribbean destinations, but we’ve quickly fallen in love. We think you’ll like it too, so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite things about this island paradise.
There really aren’t enough adjectives to describe the beauty of Aruba’s beaches, but we promise you’ll love them. Eagle Beach is consistently on the list of top beaches in the world, but there are plenty more options available. Calm beaches perfect for swimming or sunning can be found on the west side of the island, and if you’re looking for big waves, you’ll want to head east. Either direction you go, you’ll be rewarded with views that will make everyone back home extremely jealous.
With an impressive number of sunny days per year, the weather in Aruba is practically flawless no matter if you’re a beach lounger or a thrill seeker looking for outdoor adventure. It can get windy on the island, but in the midst of those warm Caribbean temperatures, a bit of a breeze is welcome.
Oh, and that wind we just mentioned actually makes for world-class wind and kite surfing, attracting athletes from around the world. If you prefer to go under the water rather than cruise along the top of it, try your hand at scuba diving. Some of the best WWII wreck diving sites in all of the Caribbean are located just off the coast.
Did you know more than 20% of Aruba is covered by a national park? Arikok National Park delivers dramatic landscapes perfect for exploring and is teeming with wildlife that you truly cannot see anywhere else. We definitely recommend taking the time to check it out!
You know we love nonstop flights from Minneapolis/St. Paul and the simplicity of Terminal 2. We’re all about traveling easy, and that’s another reason why we’re big fans of Aruba. First off, there’s also no need to worry about currency exchange rates as the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. Our favorite part, though? Pre-clearance. In Aruba, U.S. citizens go through passport control before heading home, so once you’re back in the U.S., you can hop off the plane and head straight to the car.
Aruba’s rich, multicultural past has had a distinct influence on the cuisine, architecture, and people. Now part of the Netherlands, its Amerindian, Spanish, and Dutch roots can be found almost everywhere on the island. Oh, and while there are more than 90 different ethnic groups that call Aruba home, most speak a minimum of four languages – the official languages of Dutch and Papiamento, as well as English and Spanish.
The best kind of travel comes with peace of mind when it involves personal safety. Aruba is considered to be one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, and is generally very safe for tourists both during the day and at night. It also lies outside of the hurricane belt, so extreme weather is less of a risk. That said, we always recommend using common sense when it comes to your valuables and personal well-being when traveling to any destination.
There are a wide variety of hotel options available on the island, including both all-inclusive and European plans. (For those who may be unaware, “European plan” means you are paying only for your room, and typically no meals or beverages are included.) If your dream vacation means switching between the pool and the beach without having to worry about leaving your hotel, resorts such as the adults-only Riu Palace Antillas or family-friendly Barcelo Aruba can be perfect choices. If you’re looking to go off-property and experience the nightlife or cuisine of the region, hotels located in the heart of the entertainment district like Hilton Aruba have you covered.
As we mentioned before, Aruba has one of the most ethnically diverse populations around, which means there are also plenty of different types of cuisine to be found. No matter which flavor is your favorite, chances are you’ll find it here either at your resort or out in town. Taking advantage of the island’s Caribbean locale means most restaurants also feature fresh local seafood. If you’re on the hunt for traditional Aruban dishes, we recommend giving pan bati (corn flour flatbread), calco stoba (conch stew), or keshi yena (stuffed cheese) a try.
If you’re a traveler who likes to try your luck, many of the larger resorts have their own casinos, and you don’t need to be a guest of the hotels to stop by and play. Slots, table games like blackjack or craps, and sports books are all available on the island. If gambling isn’t your ideal vision of a night on the town, there are several dance clubs to choose from, too. Or, better yet, bar hop on one of Aruba’s unique party busses.
Taylor is the partner and promotional Social Media Manager at Sun Country Airlines. What she loves most? Sun Country’s love of all things Minnesota and the airline’s focus on making everyone – from crew to passengers – feel right at home. If she were hopping on a flight tomorrow, she’d be headed west to Portland or south to Puerto Vallarta.