Aruba names itself the ‘Happy Island’ and with its beaches so breathtakingly beautiful it’s easy to see why. If free days out consisting of white sands, swaying palm trees and sea waters warm enough to bathe in are your idea of the perfect holiday, then this Caribbean island is for you.
The soft sands and bright blue waters at Palm Beach are considered to be one of the world’s best, along with unbeatable sunset views from the pier. The strip of coast here stretches 11km along towards Eagle Beach. This one gained fourth place on TripAdvisor’s poll of the world’s best beaches in 2018.
For an authentic beach experience, head to Rodger’s Beach where you’ll rub shoulders with the locals as they gather here for their family picnics or a leisurely game of football. Nearby you’ll find the Seroe Colarod’s Baby Beach, another hotspot to tick off your list.
For the ultimate peace and quiet head to the relaxing Arashi Beach. Located on the north of the island, this stretch really is as peaceful as they come. Although there aren’t any shops or restaurants nearby it’s the perfect place to pack up a picnic for a day spent simply listening to the waves curling up onto the shore and doing nothing but unwinding.
While these beaches are hard to beat, there’s another that has been known to steal a lot of the limelight and can be found on the heavenly De Palm Island. Just a short five-minute ferry ride from Aruba’s south west coast will take you to a day in paradise. Its three talc-white beaches aren’t the only thing it has to offer, there’s also a bucket load of activities to get involved in. From snorkelling and banana boat rides to whizzing down the slides at the Blue Parrotfish Waterpark, there’s something for everyone.
An abundance of affordable activities
Along with days spent on the beach, there are plenty of other affordable things to do, some of which don’t involve spending a penny.
The Caribbean Sea is well-known for being a scuba diver’s paradise and with coral reef running down the side of Aruba’s western and southern sides, it’s one of the best spots for exploring the mesmerising underwater world. Dive in from sites such as De Palm Island, Kantil or Barcadera for the opportunity to come face to face with the likes of neon parrotfish or giant manta rays. That’s not the only thing you can discover whilst down under, if you head to Antilla you can also swim your way around some of the Caribbean’s biggest shipwrecks from World War II.
If you’re one that likes to head out and explore, head towards the Old California Lighthouse for sea views that are out of this world. Made of elegant stone, this landmark dates all the way back to 1910 and stands guard over the northwest tip of Aruba. Once you’ve got enough Instagram pictures of the enviously beautiful scenery, check out the California Dunes that are close by. With their aloe plants and spiky cacti, you’ll feel like you’re in the Sahara.
Head out an adventure to Arikok National Wildlife Park for a day filled with nature, wildlife spotting and admiring Mount Yamanota – Aruba’s highest point at 620 feet. In terms of wildlife expect the likes of Aruban parakeets and burrowing owls, plus there’s members of the reptile family running around like iguanas and whiptail lizards. Nearby you’ll stumble across Fontein Cave – the only cave on the island and one of Aruba’s top things to see. Inside you can get a glimpse of the ancient artwork by the Arawak Indians who lived on Aruba long before the Dutch came along.
For an unforgettable encounter with nature, take a trip to the Butterfly Farm. With the clue in the name, you can spend the day checking out these wonderfully winged creatures in their natural habitat. Picture a setting of tropical canopies, trickling waterfalls and exotic orchids where you can watch the most beautiful multi-coloured butterflies fluttering around freely.
Just a 15-minute drive from the Palm Beach resort will take you to the Medieval mine at Bushiribana. This isn’t just any mine – it was initially discovered in 1824 with more than 3 million pounds’ worth of gold. Holidaymakers can now visit here and explore exactly where the treasure was sourced.
Small yet so much to offer
Aruba may be small in size, yet it’s packed from coast to coast with some of the Caribbean’s finest resorts.Palm Beach is the islands have-it-all resort including beside-the-beach hotels, international restaurants and a bundle of buzzing bars. Throw in a mix of swish casinos, luxury shops and an endless supply of entertainment and you’ve got the complete holiday package. The main attraction is its J.E Irausquin Boulevard, here you’ve got everything you could possibly need including a huge shopping centre and an entertainment complex to keep the whole family entertained.
Next door to the popular Palm Beach you’ll get a true taste of paradise in Aruba’s dreamlike resort, Eagle Beach. Boasting a two-kilometre beach with the whitest sands you’re likely to ever stumble across, this area is the place to go for the ultimate Caribbean escape. It offers a much quitter option than its next door neighbour at Palm Beach. Alongside its pristine beach, you can expect just a small cluster of hotels and a handful of laidback beach bars and restaurants.
Head a little further south and you’ll arrive at Druif Beach – another peaceful, paradise spot. There’s a small selection of hotels alongside its tropical beach meaning you’ve got the Caribbean Sea right on the doorstep. You’ll find a few bars, restaurants and a nine-hole golf course here too.
The pocket-size capital city Oranjestad is unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. Along with being a regular port of call for cruises, large malls and designer boutiques, it has so much more to offer those that are seeking a cheap holiday without splashing out on designer goodies. On your must-see list make sure you’ve got the Dutch-inspired Paddock bar and the trendy harbour ready to tick off. The main historic attraction in Oranjestad though is the Fort Zoutman. This is the islands oldest fortress that was initially built to stop the pirates pinching their horses back in the 18th century.
Boasting a prime spot on Eagle Beach, the Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa has everything you need for a budget-friendly stay. Along with a cocktail happy hour and live music to enjoy each day, there's an open bar every Tuesday from 4-5pm courtesy of the manager. And for the sportier spices, there's free sports and activities to get involved in too, including a complimentary yoga session on the beach.
Set right next to the platinum sands of Palm Beach, the Riu Palace Antillas is the perfect place to stay if you're looking for affordable luxury. Reserved exclusively for adults you've got white sands, two swimming pools and a selection of restaurants at your fingertips. Not only that, as an All Inclusive resort it means there's tons of activities included in your holiday package including kayaking, snorkelling and paddle boarding.
At this fantastic All Inclusive resort you get two for the price of one with a complimentary pass to its sister hotel, the Tamarijm Aruba All Inclusive. That means you get a total of four pools, ten restaurants and eight bars to choose from. And that's just a few things you can look forward to in this summer steal. There's also a load of activities and a spectacular evening entertainment programme.