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How to plan the perfect Aruba vacation

The island boasts more sunny days than any other Caribbean isle, pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters that are beyond inviting, the vibrant capital city rich in culture, and some of the best beaches: Aruba truly has it made for a vacation destination that’s a one-stop shop for any and every kind of traveller. 

Looking at a map, or better yet, travel the island and discover Oranjestad to the west, and the best beaches along the south with the hotel strip overflowing with family-friendly options, luxury getaways, and adults-only vacations. Stick to the tried and true routes for resorts ranging from small inns to luxury all-inclusive vacations, or venture off the beaten path and discover all that Aruba offers through its city streets and sandy pathways.

Aruba, with its dry climate and sunshine-filled days, is perfect for the beach lover, the family looking to escape for a vacation, sports-fanatic, or the couple looking to escape for a week (or more!) of uninterrupted warmth and luxury. 

What can I do in Aruba?

Prepare to truly uncover all this Caribbean island has to offer: watersport enthusiasts will be in heaven here where the beaches, waves, and tropical climate make the island perfect for all things sports. Relax on the white sand beaches if adventure and adrenaline isn’t running through your veins and watch as kite surfers flip through the sky and over the waves, and while scuba divers emerge from the depths to the bright blue surface. Constant trade-winds off the coast make Aruba the perfect kite-surfing destination, while a myriad of other watersports await for travellers of any background, experience level, or daring mindset.

All-inclusive vacations mean your daily and nightly activities and entertainment are included: slide from the pool to the beach for everything from sports and watersports to dance lessons, and leave dinner and head straight for the disco or bar for live music, dancing, and shows after the sun has tucked in for the night.

Though most Aruba vacations are enjoyed with the care-free attitude and luxury of an all-inclusive, you’ll want to explore more of the beautiful island than just your resort grounds when visiting. Plan to enjoy one of the countless excursions, either organized through staff at your resort or through an outside company – often with pamphlets and information in your resort lobby – to enjoy everything from scuba diving and snorkeling to exploring caves, hidden beaches, horseback riding and discovering the magic of Oranjestad.

For the traveller looking to get out and see more of the island, and make the most out of their Aruba vacation, consider the following options for excursions:

With over 20 dive sites and 11 wrecks to discover, divers won’t be bored with a vacation to Aruba. Options here range from learn to dive programs to dives for the experienced diver looking to explore new waters and get to know Aruba on a deeper level. Choose from wreck, reef, and night diving options, explore the Antilla – the largest wreck in the Caribbean – where parts of the wreck are now covered in coral for experienced divers. Shore dives include off the beautiful beaches of Baby Beach, Mangel Halto, and De Palm Island. 

Baby Beach

With two golf courses on the island (one 18-hole at Tierra Del Sol Resort, Spa and Country Club and one 9-hole at  Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort), Aruba also has a number of other outdoor activities for the traveller looking to soak up the sun throughout their vacation. Visit Arikok National Park, where you’ll be able to discover almost 20% of the island as a designated national park.

Tierra del Sol Aruba

The resort area is only approximately 15 minutes driving time from the capital of Oranjestad, where history, architecture, food, and more adventures await, and many travellers opt to explore some of the city while visiting the island. European influence on the Dutch Caribbean island are apparent in architecture and language, where bright colours of buildings reflect from the bright people that call the island home.

Travel style and where to stay in Aruba

Most Aruba vacations are enjoyed with the all-inclusive lifestyle in mind: pay once, and enjoy all this sunny island have to offer – from the beaches to the drinks, food, and everything in between. While the island is easily travelled by rental car to explore both the blue water lined beaches and the capital of Oranjestad and all that the in-land has to offer, an all-inclusive vacation will still let you enjoy watersports, excursions, and cover airfare, accommodation, dining, and most entertainment.

All-inclusive resorts in Aruba tend to be higher-end hotels that are often independently owned. For a true luxury experience, opt for a 4- or 5-star hotel and sit back, relax, enjoy a drink, and let the waves lap your toes.

For a vacation that has it all: Occidental Grand Aruba, 4-star

Opt for the Occidental Grand Aruba along Palm Beach, where your vacation can be fun for the whole family, adults-only, or a mix of everything. The Occidental is conveniently located close to Oranjestad for visits to the city for shopping, dining, or excursions, while the resort itself offers countless water and land sports, nightly entertainment, a casino, disco, kids club, and multiple restaurants on site.

For an adult-only vacation: Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino, 4-star

Soak up the sun with your special someone at the private beaches of Renaissance Island (a.k.a. Flamingo Beach) in front of the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino, making your Aruba vacation a romantic and exclusive experience. Just 5 minutes from the airport, this trendy resort situated at Oranjestad's high-end shopping mall, offers 9 on-site restaurants, 2 on-site casinos, water and land sports, and of course, snorkeling off Aruba’s shores in the turquoise water.

For true luxury on vacation: The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, 5-star

Indulge in true luxury just off the white sands of Palm Beach at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. Known as one of the most luxury resorts on the island, you’ll be treated to a true Aruban welcome from the minute you arrive. Soak in two pools or in the ocean, test your luck at the casino, enjoy the tranquility of the spa in this tropical haven, or enjoy the kids club with the young ones.

For a private vacation: Bubali Bliss Studios 

Walking distance from the famous Eagle Beach, settle into your home away from home with one of the studio apartments at Bubali Bliss Studios. Located on an Aruban villa, these apartments offer an intimate, relaxed, and private escape on the island. With a full kitchen in each apartment, these 10 brand new boutique apartments offer the best of Aruba: a Caribbean feel both in and outside, and the relaxing vacation away that you’ve been looking for. We’ll probably see you year after year…

When should I visit

There’s never a bad time to visit: Aruba holds an average temperature of 82 F. The island is outside the hurricane belt, meaning it’s a popular year-round destination with summer weather ranging from 27C to 32C while the winters sees comfortable temperatures between 24C and 31C. Find your way from the airport to your resort with included transfers if you’ve opted for an all-inclusive vacation, choose to rent a car for between $50 and $60/day or use the daily bus service for a one-way fare of USD $2.30 along the hotel strip.

Looking for more tips and tricks for travel to Aruba? Download the Aruba app for an Aruba travel guide directory, trip planning, and other tips like public transportation, money tips, and driving tips. 

This article is by Laura Cooper, a travel blogger with www.tripcentral.ca, a Canadian travel agency specializing in all inclusive vacation packages, cruises, tours, and more. 

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About the blogger: Laura Cooper
Laura Cooper is a travel blogger with www.tripcentral.ca, a Canadian travel agency specializing in all inclusive vacation packages, cruises, tours, and more.