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Vacation Destinations: What To Do In Aruba
Background on the Island of Aruba
Aruba is located in the southern cluster of Caribbean Islands known as the Lesser Antilles. A tourist hotspot, the islands making up this cluster were once nicknamed "Las Islas Inutiles" or The Useless Islands, which has turned into one of the most visited destinations in the whole Caribbean. Ranging from students on Spring Break to Honeymooners, Aruba has a wide variety of offerings for everyone.
One thing noticed right away is the limestone rock that juts out of the landscape and blindingly white sandy beaches. A true paradise that offers crystal clear waters that divers flock to, both for reefs and sunken shipwrecks.
Locals speak English which is helpful but also Dutch after being put under administration by the Netherlands in the 1630's and a local Papiamento which blends many languages together. The locals also provide the island with a laid back, casual feel that translates from the shops to the restaurants, although both may get expensive. The island uses both the US dollar and Aruban guilder as their currency, so make sure to bring plenty if you really want to fully experience the island.
Along those lines, research Aruban dining before you make this trip as the vast amount of dining options can be a bit daunting. The areas around the tourist heavy Palm Beach offers the widest variety of eating, including French, Indian, Japanese, Mexican and Caribbean entrees while the lesser tourist populated area known as the Oranjestad brings Dutch influence to the island.
What Aruba Offers
Most vacationers are thinking of one thing first when it comes to their trip: the beach. Aruba has three primary beaches that each offer their own appeal. Palm Beach is right off the most hotel heavy area of the island making it the trendy spot for everything, jam packed with activities for visitors. Eagle Beach is more secluded and quiet which may be the spot for a newly married coupled on their honeymoon who want to sunbathe and sip on island drinks. Baby Beach is definitely the family spot, calm waters and lagoons offers a tranquil experience that can be remembered for life. One thing that pops up in each location is the unique divi divi tree that has twists and turns most trees can't offer.
Aruba is situated where the Trade Winds continually blow through. This offers both a cooler feeling (Which can lead to unexpected sunburns) to the island and a perfect setting for such water sports as windsurfing. Below the waves, scuba diving is a huge attraction that is offered all over the island, multiple ships have sunk right off the shores and shouldn't be missed.
Many travelers enjoy sightseeing while they are on vacation and besides the beautiful reefs and ship wreckage seen while diving, the mainland offers many sights as well. Aruba offers a large lighthouse known as the California Lighthouse which is a sight to see as well as their own Arikok National Park that harbors the indigenous wildlife that can be seen. For families, parents may want to take smaller children to the Donkey Sanctuary or Ostrich Farm (although the fact that they allow you to eat Ostrich may be a little traumatizing for some!).
Once the kids go to bed, parents can venture out at night to a bevy of casinos, dance clubs or take a booze cruise. Most nightlife is located in the Oranjestad, but be prepared to yawn the next day because Aruban parties go all night. Be ready to listen to jazz in the streets as you watch outdoor shows.
Spring break is a great time to visit the island of Aruba but with the size of their Carnival celebration and Halloween becoming larger, these may be times to look into visiting. The dutch influenced Sinterklaas celebration in early December make the island a place to visit year round.
No matter what time of year, why you are visiting or who you are coming with, Aruba is a must if you are thinking of frequenting a Caribbean Island. The mixture of beauty and diversity is seen throughout the different islands but if food and varying activities are what you are looking for, Aruba may be the spot for you.