By Kristy Tolley
Though taking up just about 75 square miles of real estate in the Southern Caribbean Sea, the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba teems with lures.
Aruba boasts miles of powder-fine white sand beaches, varied diversions and upscale all-inclusive resorts. You can’t help but be happy here. Read on for three reasons to book your Aruba escape today!
Situated below the hurricane belt, Aruba gets more sunny days than any other island in the Caribbean, making it an ideal tropical getaway any time of the year. What better way to spend those sun-kissed days than on a beach? There are certainly plenty from which to choose.
Two-mile-long Palm Beach has garnered a spot on many “best of” lists, including one of Conde Nast Traveler’s “24 Best Island Beaches in the World” for 2019. Home to the island’s luxury high-rise hotels, this beach provides easy access to beach bars, restaurants, casinos and shops. Also, the calm waters and gentle surf make it a haven for snorkelers and swimmers.
A healthy coral reef offshore and pristine visibility make Mangel Halto a popular spot for snorkelers and divers. Lush mangroves, shallow sections of water for wading and kayaking and the beach’s relative seclusion are other draws.
Located within Arikok National Park on the island’s northeast coast, secluded Boca Prins offers a striking counterpoint to calmer waters along the popular tourist beaches. Constant winds have created impressive dunes, and the waves have chiseled out a dramatic cove. The dangerous surf makes swimming off limits. However, the views are worth the trip. Tuck into Boca Prins Bar and Restaurant for fresh seafood and vistas that really stun.
One of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks, SS Antilla lies off the coast of Aruba in Malmok Bay. Surrounded by gentle currents, it’s perfect for all levels of divers. Experienced divers can check out the SS California wreck, which rests in the choppy waters of Aruba’s windward side. The ship’s wooden hull holds a wonderland of colorful sea life, and the water clarity creates ideal conditions for underwater photography.
The previously-mentioned Arikok National Park showcases Aruba’s striking and rugged landscape. Spanning some 13 square miles, it’s replete with cacti and other succulents, as well as goats, migratory birds and other wildlife. The park also holds Fontein Cave, which features cave drawings created by Arawak Indians that date back to the pre-Columbian era.
The bustling harbor city of Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, is replete with shopping and dining opportunities. Peruse the Local Market for locally made items and Aruban souvenirs. Enjoy a walking tour or explore the city via free trolley.
Views With a Room
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a 14-acre, adults-only oasis. The property includes 104 guest rooms, suites and penthouses with private balconies or terraces. You’ll find an extensive wellness program, a spa and other amenities.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino offers the best of both worlds with a family-friendly resort and adults-only option. A stay here includes free access to the resort’s 40-acre private island where you may encounter brightly-hued flamingos.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino boasts the largest casino on the island — with over 26 gaming tables, sports betting and slot machines. Unwind in one of 12 private treatment rooms in the resort’s Balinese-style Mandara Spa.
Situated on the largest stretch of Palm Beach, the 15-acre Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino was the first luxury resort to open in Aruba in 1959 (then the Aruba Caribbean Hotel). Each of the 357 guest rooms and suites offers a private patio or balcony. They boast an onsite dive center, too.
Also on Palm Beach, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba provides all the amenities you expect from the Ritz-Carlton family — marble baths, signature linens, an onsite spa and upscale (beachfront) dining at BLT Steak.
Aruba’s only 18-hole championship golf course — Robert Trent Jones II’s Tierra del Sol — is at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino. Comprised of 359 guest rooms (including 16 suites), the resort features four restaurants and a multi-level pool with a three-story slide, among other amenities.
Find your happy place in Aruba! Call 800-374-2865 or visit AAA.com/GoTravel.