ARUBA: Best Things to See and Do
Welcome to the first post in #wanderlustseries!
Today we’re talking about:
Aruba!

Aruba is a Caribbean Island I have yet to travel to.  I consider myself extremely lucky that I’ve literally been to ten Caribbean Islands in the past, mostly on cruises with my family.  But every time I hear someone mention that they’re heading off to Aruba, I can’t help but get a wee bit jealous.

Aruba is known for it’s dry climate, with an average of 82 degrees.  It is located outside of the hurricane belt, and has more sunny days than any other Caribbean island.  It’s cactrus-strewn landscape makes it slightly different than other islands nearby.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to go here?!

image via Travelling Pooh // Flickr CC

So where is Aruba located anyways?

Most people know that Aruba is located in the Caribbean, but most don’t realize that Aruba is located just 17 miles north of the coast of Venezuela.  With direct flights from the US, it is fairly easy to get to.  It’s closer to South America than Miami, Florida!

Top Things to Do and See in Aruba:

Go on a Jeep Tour of the Island

 
This is one of the best ways to see the island.  The tour will take you off-the-beaten-track, including the rugged northern coast of the island.  You can also take a 4×4 tour, albeit fun, the more expensive way to do it.
Aruba Jeep Tour
image via e.ip // Flickr CC

Horseback Ride to the Natural Pool

 
Much information tells you to rent a Jeep and drive to the Natural Pool, but the drive is a treacherous one – with flat tires stacked up along the side of the road.  Why not get there by horseback?!
Once you get here, jump in (but be careful as many of the rocks are slippery).  Bring your snorkeling gear to admire the colorful fish in the pool.
 
DSC_0052
image via eurobuie // Flickr CC

Go Snorkeling

 

Snorkeling is basically the number one thing to do in Aruba. There are enough coral reefs and marine life to keep anyone busy for days. Conditions are almost perfect, with coastal waters having an average temperature of 80°F (27°C), and visibility ranges from 18 to 30m (59-98 ft). The best snorkeling sites are around Malmok Beach and Boca Catalina, where the water is calm and shallow, and marine life is plentiful.

Aruba, Aquatic life
image via kuban111 // Flickr CC

Take a Sunset Sail

 

Take a romantic sail as the sun is setting. Most (if not all) include rum punch, which everyone always loves.

Aruba Sunset at Druif Beach - Divi Tamarijn
image via atramos // Flickr CC

Explore Oranjestad

 

Oranjestad is the capital and largest city in Aruba. It is decorated in typical Dutch architecture but with plenty of pastel colored buildings. In downtown Oranjestad you can go shopping at small boutiques, while the harbor is known to be the place to buy fresh fish. The city also has some museums that are worth checking out.

Oranjestad
image via r_ocanto // Flickr CC

Watch Flamingos frolic on the beach

 

You can find these beautiful pink birds on Renaissance Island. Owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in the capital city, the island is man made, and accessible via boat. Here you will also find pelicans and small amphibians.

Aruba_flamingos-renaissance island
image via DreamTravelMag // Flickr CC
American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) - Aruba Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) - Sept. 18, 2009 459 RT CRP
image via TVL1970 // Flickr CC

Eagle Beach

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a day relaxing on Eagle Beach?  Just look at those waters? Hang out in a hammock with a cocktail and I can promise you you’ll feel more relaxed than ever!

Eagle Beach, Aruba
image via Ken Meegan // Flickr CC

Hike Mount Jamanota

This is a very difficult hike, up 620 feet, through jagged, rocky terrain and passes through desert brush and cacti. While hiking, you can see unique and fascinating wildlife. The views from the top are worth it, although takes about 5 hours.

Mount Jamanota

Some additional facts about Aruba:

  • Aruba’s water is safe to drink and meets the highest quality standards of the World Health Organization
  • Aruba has an exceptionally diverse population, with more than 90 nationalities present. Arubans share a rich history and a warm culture of hospitality
  • Dutch and Papiamento are Aruba’s official languages​​, but most Arubans speak at least four languages​​, including English, Spanish and Portuguese
  • The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban florin (Afl), which is divided into 100 cents. The silver Florin coins are divided into denominations of 5, 10, 50 cents, and one florin. American dollars are readily accepted everywhere on the island
  • Aruba’s pristine, white-sand beaches and calm turquoise waters are unlike any others. TripAdvisor.com recently named Eagle Beach one of the top ten beaches in the world

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