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With New Year just around the corner, travellers’ thoughts will be turning to new destinations, new experiences, new holiday ideas.
As British Airways adds the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba to its network from March, this year-round destination is ideally placed to bring first-time enjoyment to UK holidaymakers.
Aruba, 19-miles long and with a unique South American vibe, is not short of unique experiences for travellers seeking thrills or serenity.
And planning one’s visit has become easier with the launch of the Myaruba app. It enables travellers to easily create a custom itinerary, saving must-visit places and activities. These include places to explore, eat, stay, play, relax and more.
With an array of categories from beaches, arts and culture, and wellness to shopping and water activities, there will be no shortage of inspiration. Once the itinerary is set on one’s mobile phone, users do not need data or Wi-Fi to view it while on the island. Download at www.aruba.com.
Visitors can literally take the plunge with one new activity - Skydive Aruba! A tandem skydive is the quickest and easiest way to experience the thrill of free fall at 120mph, while securely attached in a harness to a professional instructor.
Sky-high, leaving the aircraft at 10,000ft, Aruba offers breath-taking views of Venezuela, Curaçao and the crystal clear blue of the Caribbean below. No prior skydiving experience is required. The freefall lasts around 35 seconds before the gentle glide back down to earth starts.
Skydive Aruba offers hotel pick-ups and return and charges US$299 (approx £240). For reservations go to www.skydivearuba.com.
Aruba is renowned for its miles of white sand beaches, with Palm and Eagle Beaches the best known. But more and more visitors are now discovering Mangel Halto, which offers some of the island’s best snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding.
This secluded beach – a 10 to 15-minute drive south from capital Oranjestad - is a perfect sunning and snorkelling spot with calm, shallow waters rich in sea life supported by an intriguing network of mangroves.
Sun bathers who like a quiet beach and their privacy tend to go here. The public beach huts and shaded areas are also perfect for a beach picnic or to watch Aruba's sunset. The area offers a sand beach, a wooden sun deck, and access through the mangroves for open water kayaking and SUP boarding.
Mangel Halto Beach also serves as an excellent shore diving site in Aruba. It is possible to walk out to the edge of the reef to see such species as parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, sergeant majors and blue tangs as well as deep water gorgonians, sponges and anemones. The reef plunges to depths of 110 feet where octopi, morays and barracuda abound.
Finally, the New Year also provides an earlier-than-usual opportunity to experience the true Latin vibe of carnival. Aruba’s 69th carnival runs from January 7 to February 19, weeks earlier than in many previous years.
Aruba’s Carnaval consists of festive “jump-ups” (street parties), spectacular parades, and musical events. Dazzling costumes and music play a central role in events, ranging from the carnival queen elections to the Grand Parades, which wind their way through the streets of second city San Nicolas and Oranjestad. The Grand Parade in Oranjestad will take place February 19.
We’re just getting started with the amazing effects Aruba has to offer. Dig into your trip details below to unlock a Caribbean experience that will leave you sunnier, happier, and (of course) a little more tanned.