Get away from it all in sunny Aruba, a Caribbean port famed for its warm waters and gorgeous white sandy beaches. Along with neighbouring islands Bonaire and Curacao, Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There’s a Dutch colonial influence throughout, blended with a mellow island vibe and splashes of American culture. The island’s tailor-made for leisure - sip a pina colada in a sun lounger at Eagle Beach or test your luck in a glittering Palm Beach casino. Capital city Oraniestad features a bevy of shops, restaurants and beach bars to enjoy along with its museums and markets.
Aruba is an ideal destination for travel throughout the year. It offers an enviable position outside of the main hurricane belt in the Caribbean, which makes it possible to travel here even during the late summer months when other islands might be stormy.
This picture-perfect island is only six miles in width and 20 in length, with the Arikok National Park covering a fifth of the island. Within this natural reserve, you’ll find hiking trails, secluded beaches and a lush backdrop for trying your hand at windsurfing, snorkelling or diving. The park is dotted with cacti, home to unique wildlife like iguanas, burrowing owls and whiptail lizards.
Oraniestad is the island’s capital, filled to the brim with attractions like stately Fort Zoutman as well as artisan markets where you can pick up souvenirs. You’ll see the Dutch influence in the city’s colonial-era architecture, but if you want to really feel like you’ve been swept away to the Netherlands don’t miss a visit to ‘De Olde Molen’, a red-and-white Dutch windmill housing a museum and restaurant.
Dining options in Aruba reflect the island’s reputation as a cultural melting pot, with local dishes including everything from Creole beans and rice to Asian-influenced nasi goreng or satay. Seafood is the star of the show, including super-tasty grilled red snapper and mahi-mahi.