Aruba holiday highlights

Aruba is an exotic paradise located deep in the southern Caribbean Sea. Although the island is just 20 miles long, it has plenty to offer – from secluded beaches, natural rock formations and coral-encrusted shipwrecks to chic resorts, adventure sports and glitzy casinos. The pristine beaches and year-round sunshine make Aruba a popular destination for both families and honeymooners looking for a mixture of adventure and relaxation.

Culture

Originally a fishing outpost for Amerindians from the Arawak tribe, the island has changed hands a number of times. Switching between Spanish and Dutch rule, it is now a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (The Netherlands Antilles). Today it is influenced by more than 90 nationalities and this is reflected in the colourful architecture and eclectic cuisine found across the island – a fusion of Caribbean, South American and European dishes.

Beaches

Aruban beaches typically feature wide white bays backed by intimate and stylish resorts and superb all-inclusive properties that offer excellent family-friendly activities. The sheltered south and west coasts are home to the island’s finest beaches and calm, inviting waters. In the north west you'll find lively Palm Beach and neighbouring Eagle Beach which is more relaxed and offers pristine white sands. Our featured resorts are set on this beautiful beach. The adults-only Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba offers a romantic and secluded setting as well as exceptional dining. Alternatively, the intimate and stylish Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa is perfect for those looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday.

To the east of the island, you will find the rugged Windward coast. Home to stunning limestone coves and desert scenery, this wild coast is well worth a visit. Although it’s unsuitable for swimming due to the strong current and thundering waves, it’s incredibly scenic. Aruban beaches typically feature wide white bays lapped by cerulean seas and backed by intimate and stylish resorts as well as superb all-inclusive properties that offer excellent family-friendly activities. The sheltered south and west coasts are home to the island’s finest beaches and calm, inviting waters that are perfect for swimming.

In the north west you’ll find lively Palm Beach, a popular two-mile strip lined with shops, restaurants and beach bars. Neighbouring Eagle Beach is more relaxed and was voted 3rd in the Top 25 Beaches in the World at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017.

Renowned for its soft white sands and crystal-clear waters, it also offers shady picnic areas and is a beautiful spot for watching the sun set. During nesting season the beach is dotted with red and white markers to protect turtle nests. Leatherback, loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles all lay their eggs on Eagle Beach and the chance to watch the tiny hatchlings leaving their nests and finding their way to the sea is a very special experience (May to November).

Our featured resorts are both set on this stunning beach. The adults-only Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba offers a romantic and secluded setting as well as exceptional dining. Alternatively, the intimate and stylish Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa – which is dedicated to wellness – is perfect for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday.

On the east of the island you will find the rugged Windward coast. Home to stunning limestone coves and desert scenery, this wild coast is very scenic but isn’t suitable for swimming due to the strong current and waves.

Natural wonders

The incredible 7907 acre Arikok National Park, which encompasses almost 20% of the entire island, showcases diverse geological landscapes, provides a sanctuary for native flora and fauna, and affords a glimpse into Aruba’s rich past. Follow hiking trails and pass abandoned gold mines, plantation house ruins and ancient Arawak paintings and fossils. Discover an island desert strewn with cacti and divi-divi trees before exploring the shadowy caves beneath your feet. If all this sightseeing under Caribbean rays leaves you a little hot and bothered, then you can take a refreshing dip in the Natural Pool before returning to your beachside resort.

Oranjestad

From the instant that you set foot in the capital of Oranjestad, you’ll discover that it is undoubtedly Dutch in its origins. Named after the Netherlands’ first king and the first heir to the House of Orange, William of Orange-Nassau, the city features colourful colonial buildings covered in intricate carved wooden detail and traditional Dutch tiles.

The local’s legendary hospitality pervades through the streets of the town, exemplifying the highlights of an Aruban escape. Chic bars, cafés and duty-free shops can be found in the town’s malls and on the marketplaces and plazas, overlooking the charming marina.

Climate

Located below the hurricane belt in the Southern Caribbean, Aruba enjoys year-round sunshine and has more sunny days than anywhere else in the Caribbean, making it the ideal destination for sun-worshippers.

Aruba key facts

Time difference

GMT -5 hours

Currency

Aruban Guilder. US dollars are also accepted locally.

Flying time to destination

12¼ hours

Language

Dutch. Most locals can also speak English and Spanish, and you’ll hear the local Papiamento.

Aruba good to know

Etiquette

Religion
Roman Catholic

Dialling code
+297

Tipping

Most hotels include a service charge in the bill. If not, tip 10-20%.

Religion

Roman Catholic