Tailored for tourists
It's all about fun and sun in Aruba. Belonging to the Netherlands, it can sometimes feel like a more exotic version of Holland; there is even an imported windmill overlooking Eagle Beach. The official language is Dutch, but thankfully both English and Spanish are widely spoken.
Aruba is a small island in the Lesser Antilles, and when grouped with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms the ABC Islands in the west Caribbean Sea. Over the years, the country's economy has been supported by gold mining, aloe cultivation and oil refinery, but it's now almost entirely maintained by tourism.
It is no exaggeration to say that Aruba boasts some of the world's best beaches. The stunning Eagle Beach on the island's north west coast was awarded third place in TripAdvisor's 'World's Best Beaches' poll in 2011.
The beaches on the south coast are sheltered from strong currents, making them perfect for bobbing around the inlets on your inflatable ring. There's even a bay called Baby Beach, so called because it's safe for your little ones to splash around in.
The warm, clear blue waters, so typical of the Caribbean, are perfect for swimming. Just off the coast, you can don your snorkel and flap your flippers alongside colourful reef fish and sea turtles.
Wreck diving is also a popular pastime, thanks to the many spooky shipwrecks littering the Caribbean's seabed. If it's rugged rocks and crashing surf you are after then head over to the north east coast where strong winds make Aruba a surfers' paradise.
Arikok national park
When you've had your daily dose of sun and sea, brush the sand from your feet and explore inland. Hop on a jeep safari tour and explore Aruba's natural charm. If you're partial to a bit of nature, wander over to Arikok National Park.
Covering 20 percent of the island, it's the largest national park in the Caribbean. Wandering amongst twisted trees, cacti and abandoned gold mines you'll feel as though you've landed in a Wild West film set rather than the Caribbean.
In Noord you can find Philip's Animal Garden. A fun interactive zoo experience with massive snakes, farm animals, friendly camels and many more that kids will love. For more creature comforts look for the Butterfly Farm, Ostrich Farm or the Rancho Daimariin in Oranjestad.
When night falls, relaxing island vibes are reverberated around the popular beach bars. Enjoying a cocktail under the stars is enjoyable but there are also outdoor nightclub venues in case you feel like staying up late.
In many bars you're encouraged to get in the swing of things and enjoy a salsa lesson but the real party isn't found in any building. It's not even found on the beach.
The brightly coloured Kukoo Kunuku party bus can be spotted trawling the streets of Noord. Hop aboard and you can be taken on a dinner and bar crawl or a bar and nightclub trek across the very best venues of Aruba.
Enthusiastic about bling, you're likely to spot more gold, diamond and jewellery shops than any other kind on the streets of Aruba. The establishments prove popular because of the price and selection on offer to customers.
Souvenirs, cigars, clothes or alcohol can be found across the town centres too. Oranjestad in particular has the largest offering across the pastel coloured buildings and malls.
South American and Caribbean flavours
Despite being a small island, hundreds of restaurants are packed into Aruba with international cuisine available. You're offered a choice between dining in the lavish surroundings of a fancy restaurant or the authentic feel of a beach shack.
Often the price will reflect your surroundings but whether made in an industrial grill or on an open fire, Aruba offers delicious options come meal times.
The journey to Aruba may seem a little daunting at around 14 hours, depending on the length of any layovers, but there is no better place to recover than on an Aruban beach.
Queen Beatrix International Airport is centrally located in Aruba and the transfer time to your resort is likely to take less than 20 minutes.
The island is so small that many attractions are within walking distance. Taking the cleverly named Arubus is the cheapest way to get around and there are several services that link resorts to Oranjestad.
Best time of year to visit
Average temperatures in Aruba are always approaching 30C while remaining dry for the majority of the year.
The only wet months of note are November, December and January but even then the days that see rainfall only suffer from short but heavy showers.
While the island has plenty to see, do and experience, Aruba truly is a place to enjoy doing as little as possible. Relaxation is the name of the game, and it's all about being happy. Aruba prides itself on being a happy island. Heck, even the car license plates say Aruba is 'One Happy Island'.
Location of Aruba
Average monthly temperature (°C) for Aruba