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Island Destination: Aruba

September 14, 2022

Aruba is literally a desert island in the Caribbean, meaning much of its landscape resembles the Southwest, right down to the cacti. The coastline, on the other hand, makes way for sprawling, palm-lined beaches and aqua-blue water. For lovers of nature and diverse landscapes, there’s much to love about Aruba.

Getting There

Aruba is easy to get to from the U.S. All you need to have handy is your passport — and, on the heels of Covid, any health documentation required at the time of your trip. When you pack, plan for beach vibes and casual fun in the sun. Formalwear really isn’t needed when you’re on island time. Whatever you do, don’t forget your sunscreen! Even on overcast days, the sun is very intense on the island, so ample SPF is a must.

Weather Forecast

When it comes to weather, Aruba truly enjoys near-perfect weather in all seasons. The island is located outside of the Hurricane Belt, keeping it far away from any storms. On occasion, there may be some effects from larger storms, but it’s usually just some short rain showers. Most rainfall happens between October and January in Aruba — but even on days with some rain, there’s also ample sunshine.

When to Visit Aruba

If traveling during the high season of mid-December through mid-April, know that the island tends to be more crowded since many people are looking to escape the cold. Over these months, hotel rooms go quickly and prices are higher, so be sure to book well in advance. Low season starts in mid-April and lasts until December. Remember, Aruba has gorgeous weather year-round, so going in the off-season can afford you a similar experience with fewer crowds and lower fares.

You could also plan your trip around one of Aruba’s many festivals. There are several music festivals that would be fun for couples who are into that scene. Carnival, which takes place between January and March, is another popular time to visit Aruba. Carnival season brings weeks of festivities, parades, contests, music, and dancing.

Photo: Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard on a summer day. Photo by Mihai Andritoiu on Shutterstock

Where to Stay

Aruba is host to a ton of fun options for lodgings. As you might imagine, there are ample resorts and all-inclusive options. There are also timeshares, apartments for rent, and boutique hotels ranging from the adorable to the height of luxury. Whatever vibe you’re hoping for, you’ll find it here.

Aruba on the Beach

After the stress of wedding planning, maybe all you want to do is lay in the sun, soak up some rays, and cool off in that stunning sea. No one would blame you for that, and Aruba is just the place to kick back and relax. If you stay along one of the pristine beaches, your itinerary may take you from beach to pool to cocktails and back again. If you’re looking for a resort with a luxurious spa experience, you’ll find it in Aruba. Not sure which beach is the right one for you? Consider Palm Beach, consistently rated one of the best beaches in the world.

Aruba on the Water

From champagne brunch cruises to happy hour sunset sails to moonlit dinner and dancing excursions, there’s no shortage of nautical experiences to be had by boat. The water is so clear around the island, you can enjoy great views of coral formations, marine life, and even shipwrecks without ever making a splash.

For all you adventurous water babies, there’s an incredible variety of activities to be had. You can find everything from a snorkeling or scuba diving cruise to a swim-with-the-dolphins adventure to deep-sea fishing. Skim the sea with wind and kite surfing — a popular activity because of Aruba’s steady stream of trade winds and calm pockets of water, making it perfect for beginners.

Photo by Steve Photography on Shutterstock

Adventurous Aruba by Land

On dry land, animal lovers can horseback ride either through the exciting desert terrain or along an easy-breezy stretch of coastline. Horses not your thing? Rent bikes or mountain bikes to give yourselves a tour of the island. About 20% of Aruba is made up of Arikok National Park, filled with endless trails, caves, natural pools, flora, wildlife and more. Hikers would surely love exploring the park — just make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, sturdy and comfortable shoes, snacks, sunglasses, and a hat. Feeling sporty? Golfers can swing away at one of Aruba’s three golf courses.

Things to See & Do

Which attractions will you pick? Some tourist favorites include the scenic California Lighthouse, first constructed in 1910, with its 360-degree views of the island. The Alto Vista Chapel, known as “Pilgrims Church” stands in the hills with a breathtaking view of the Caribbean below. Built in 1750 and reconstructed in 1953, this chapel is a sacred place of peace for the locals.

If you’re an art lover, the Aruba Art Fair in San Nicolas is not to be missed. This is a yearly festival where both international and local artists create incredible street art. To accompany the visual art, the three-day festival also includes music, dancing, and other live entertainment.

Looking for a little nightlife? There’s a tour for that. In addition to ATV tours, hiking tours, historic walking tours, and food tours, Aruba boasts bar-hopping tours as well. Sounds like a great way to really let loose and celebrate for an evening. And the great thing? After the last island cocktail, the beach will still be there to welcome you back for some romantic R&R.

Photo: Landmark Alto Vista Chapel along the Aruba Coast in Noordby. Photo by Structured Vision on Shutterstock

Cover photo by Fokke Baarssen on Shutterstock