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Parents still pondering holiday destinations for the school summer break will find that Aruba passes the test for family fun with flying colours.
This Dutch Caribbean island has been steadily growing in popularity with British travellers over the last decade and more and there is particularly good reason for this for families.
Here’s six good lessons parents can learn about Aruba and put it top of their geography paper:
1. Family-friendly hotels: Aruba boasts 20 resorts fronting the key coastal areas of Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, with most participating in the island’s One Happy Family programme. This package includes a range of special deals and promotions for families, including free breakfasts, free stays for children and a check-in gift. For more information on this family package, please visit the One Happy Family page. Many of these hotels also offer special facilities for children, such as kids’ clubs.
2. Family-friendly beaches: All the main beaches in Aruba offer safe bathing, with no sudden deep water or strong currents. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are idyllic golden sand beaches with a wealth of watersports and other activities. In the south of the island, Baby Beach, close to San Nicolas is, as its name implies, a perfect paddling and splashing beach for very young children – as well as older more adventurous visitors. There are other choices, too, featuring sunshades, soft sands, calm waters and excellent spots for snorkelling. These include Mangel Halto and Arashi Beach, an Aruban family favourite on Sundays.
3. Great (virtually guaranteed) weather: Aruba enjoys a consistent year-round climate, with temperatures averaging 26°C, with a cooling trade breeze. The chance of rain in the summer months is minimal, so there is virtually no chance of families being cooped up in their hotel room when the skies open. Aruba has the most sunny days of any Caribbean island.
4. Fun-filled activities for children of all ages: Aruba is one big kids’ playground, with extensive options to keep them entertained. Many of them are free or low-cost, so parents are unlikely to break the budget. There are educational options too, like trips to the Donkey Sanctuary, Aruba Ostrich Farm or the Butterfly Farm. Nature opportunities are widened at Philip’s Animal Garden, one of the Caribbean’s most noteworthy animal and rescue centres. Activities for the whole family include hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, snorkelling and kayaking.
5. Easy to get to: Travelling to Aruba is a doddle. Leading operator Tui operates a daily non-stop flight to the island from London-Gatwick, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers departures from 17 UK airports, connecting at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to its daily service to Aruba. Many well-known travel companies offer the KLM option.
6. Eco-friendly: With a growing awareness among the younger generation of the environment, they can be reassured that Aruba is the leading eco-friendly island in the Caribbean. It aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2020, has banned single use plastic bags and has a number of environmental initiatives in place. These include The Aruba Reef Care Project, the best-known and largest volunteer environmental initiative on the island. Launched in 1994, it now attracts more than 1,000 participants who every September scour the beaches and dive and snorkel various sites in a massive clean-up effort.