With the highest rate of repeat visitors anywhere in the Caribbean, Aruba remains one of the most popular destinations.Arubans are famous for their friendliness and hospitality, the climate is perpetually sunny and welcoming, and great care has been taken to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the environment. What continues to draw people back over and over again is the great pride and care that Arubans take to ensure that tourists have everything they could possibly need to make their stay both enjoyable and exciting.
The tourist industry here is extremely well-organized, developed, and diversified, catering to a wide variety of different interests. Those who prefer privacy can find a secluded stretch of beach or go exploring through the countryside on their own, while those who are more outgoing can take advantage of Aruba's vibrant nightlife, the casinos, the discotheques, the different theme parties, the music and folkloric festivals. Those interested in another kind of wildlife can go bird-watching in a protected sanctuary or take a tour of a coconut plantation or hike through the Arikok National Park tracking the island's exotic flora and fauna. Of course you can always trek through the shopping area of Oranjestad
Sports enthusiasts can enjoy Aruba's water sports including snorkeling, scuba diving in any of the 42 different diving sites, engage the incredible island winds by windsurfing, rent water-skis or parasails, or charter a boat and go deep-sea fishing. The island offers two golf courses, one of which is professional calibre, an ATP sanctioned tennis center, racquetball courts, trails to go horseback riding, even several bowling alleys. The different hotels provide a whole range of activities for singles, honeymoon couples, and families with children. Whatever kind of vacation you are looking for, the odds are you will be able to find it in Aruba.
The westernmost of the Caribbean islands, Aruba lies just 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela and 42 miles west of Curacao. The island covers an area of 70 square miles, 20 miles at itslongest and 6 miles at its widest. Approximately 81,000 people reside here full time, and more than 540,000 visit during the course of a year. The southern, leeward side of the island is famous for its long stretches of powdery white sand beach, while the northern coast features a rugged and dramatic landscape and secluded coves ideal for swimming.
Aruba enjoys a dry and sunny climate which is kept pleasant and temperate year-round due to the cooling effects of the tradewinds. The average annual temperature is 83 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), and rainfall amounts to just 17 inches a year. Aruba is located well below the hurricane belt.
The population of Aruba is of mixed descent and can trace its ancestry back to 40 different ethnic backgrounds from around the world. The native language is a creole dialect called Papiamento which is made up of elements of Dutch, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, a number of different African languages, and Arawak Indian. Nearly everyone on the island is able to speak English and Spanish, however, in addition to the official language, which is Dutch.
The southern, leeward coast is lined with beautiful, sparkling
white sand and is commonly known as the Turquoise Coast for the
colorful tint of the water. There are many secluded sections of
private beach or more popular strips by the hotels. Baby Beach down
at the eastern tip is a natural wading pool that is perfect for
families with small children. The northern coast is more rugged and
windswept and can be dangerous for swimming.
Windsurfing in Aruba
The very shape of the Divi-divi tree is poetic testimony to the
patient consistency of Aruba's cooling trade winds. So is the fact
that Aruba is host to the annual Hi-Winds Windsurfing Pro-Am Grand
Prix World Cup Tournament in June, an event that requires a good bit
of wind just to announce. Aruba's fame as a windsurfing destination
has attracted some of the most skilled competitors, and instructors,
in the world. Novices can take advantage of the gentler winds and
abundance of equipment and instructors along the island's southern
shore, and advanced students and experts have a choice of any number
of prime locations along the northern and southeastern coasts. Aruba
has earned the name of the "Windsurfing Capital of the
De Palm Tours
The offshore waters offer great visibility of up to 100 feet and the 42 major dive sites provide an amazing variety of underwater activity: numerous shipwrecks from 25 to 400 feet deep are waiting to be explored, and the waters are teeming with sea life including manta rays, barracuda, and the rare green moray. All levels of diving from beginning to advanced are available, and instruction and equipment can be arranged for at any of the major hotels. For the less adventurous, glass-bottomed boats and submarines make trips out to view many of the aquatic sites.
Gaming in Aruba
Gaming is not only legal on the island, but there are eleven casinos from which to choose--some casual, some overwhelmingly glamorous. In addition to blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, baccarat, and hundreds of ringing slot machines, Aruba's casinos offer Caribbean Stud Poker, invented in 1988 in Aruba and currently skyrocketing in popularity all over the world. In Caribbean Stud Poker, as in blackjack, each player vies only with the dealer. Unlike blackjack, however, Caribbean Stud Poker offers players the thrill of a progressive jackpot that can reach into the hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars.
Gaming in Aruba generally runs from mid-day to just before dawn,
although the Crystal Casino at Sonesta is open twenty-four hours a
Alhambra Casino & Alladin Theatre
Boats can be chartered to fish for sailfish, marlin, tuna, bonito and wahoo or just to go out watching for dolphins off the coast of Savaneta. The international White Marlin Competition is held in Aruba each October.
Most of the hotels, in addition to the sporting shops, offer equipment and instruction in water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, and sailing.
There are two golf courses on the island, the professional calibre 18-hole Tierra del Sol designed by Robert Trent Jones II and the 9-hole Aruba Golf Course.
A warm, balmy climate and a remarkable landscape make Aruba an ideal environment for golfing. With the recent construction of Tierra del Sol, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the island's natural potential has been carefully groomed to create a world-class course.
Situated at the northwestern tip of the island and conveniently located to the island's major resorts and hotels, Tierra del Sol is an 18-hole, par 71 course that can hold its own with any other course in the world. There is more to this course than its meticulously designed and maintained greens, however. The Robert Trent Jones group, appreciating the natural resources of the island, has managed to pair peerless course design with a celebration of Aruba's wildlife. From the wild, green parakeets on the organ-pipe cactus to the lizards and salamanders that bask on rock formations, the wildlife of Tierra del Sol has become an attraction in its own right. A saltwater salina on the 4th hole is home to several exotic bird species. Wild burrows graze alongside the par-5 fifth hole, and Aruba's endangered burrowing owls perch atop the small coral caves near the par-3 sixth hole. Afterward, golfers can relax at Tierra del Sol's clubhouse and swimming pool, or take in the panoramic views from the restaurant.
Aruba's other major golf attraction, the Aruba Golf Club, a nine-hole course offers enthusiasts the opportunity to play the most unusual golf course in the Caribbean. With oiled sand greens, steady trade winds, and the occasional goat as a hazard, the Club course is well worth a visit.
Tee times at Tierra del Sol and the Aruba Golf Club can be
arranged through the front desk at your hotel, or you can call Tierra
del Sol directly at 60978 (fax 60671).
Between the hotels and the racquet clubs, there are top quality tennis courts throughout the island. The Aruba Raquet Club is ATP sanctioned deigned by Stan Smith Design International and features eight courts, and a healthclub.
There are several stables on the island that rent horses for
romantic rides along the beach, or to explore the rugged
Surprisingly, bowling is a very popular sport in Aruba, and local teams go on to compete in world championships. A state-of-the-art bowling center is located on the Eagle Strip.
Most of the best shopping is to be found in the downtown area of Oranjestad, the capital, but many of the shops have satellite branches in a few of the larger hotels. Quality merchandise from all over the world, particularly Latin America and Europe, attract many shoppers looking for bargains. Store hours are typically 8 am to 6 pm with a two-hour break for lunch between noon and 2 pm.
By e-mail: Patrick Michaels,
(800) 488-0951 Special Number for Web Surfers, includes after-hours service.