Pocket-sized side trips
California Lighthouse, Alto Vista
I’ll be honest, when it’s warm I don’t always want to be trekking around all day in the heat ticking off lots of different attractions. Thanks to never being far from the beach in Aruba, and the bite-size nature of the popular tourist spots, you can easily do a half-day visiting sights, or combine them with a beach visit.
For example, the California Lighthouse stands above the California Sand dunes, alongside the beautiful Arashi Beach. You can enjoy some time on the sand and gently trek towards the lighthouse. From the top, you can admire some amazing views across the island and get great photos.
Likewise, the chapel of Alto Vista provides a popular photo-spot, or The Butterfly Farm and Donkey Sanctuary offer an animal-friendly attraction. There are plenty of pocket-size activities to fill your time with if you can pull yourself away from the beach!
An array of cuisine
Aruba is an island packed with various difference cuisines, ranging from typical American cooking to Dutch and Indonesian influenced cuisine due to the islands colonial past with The Netherlands. Whether it’s typical fast food, luxury resort dining, or picnic bowls on the beach, you can find pretty much anything ranging from cheap street-food to super expensive and exclusive options.
That said, there are still plenty of local dishes well worth sampling, from sweet flat-bread (Pan bati) to warming stews which may seem a bit out of place given the climate of the island, with goat stew (Kabrito Stoba) and fish (Keri Keri) two popular options.
To get a bite-size introduction to both the history of the island and the multi-cultural foodie offering, join one of the fantastic Aruba Walking Tours around the capital, which includes stops at local restaurants in the price for a sampling of various dishes. Oh, and don’t forget all the rum!
Ideal for everyone
Lastly, and often the most critical factor whether it’s a trip with your mates, as a couple, or a family, is that I just can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t like Aruba.
The climate is pleasant, but not too hot. The beaches are ideal for lazy days, while those who want to hike or have adventures can. You can easily stay in the most pristine hotel, or book a private apartment, and the food scene covers pretty much anything you could wish for.
As such, I really do think it’s a very safe bet as a holiday destination for everyone. There is literally nothing not to like, which is rare for me to say of a place, and while other islands in the Caribbean dazzled me in different ways, such as the lush green hiking in Dominica, or the seemingly never-ending beaches of Antigua and Barbuda, they didn’t seem to tick as many boxes or offer such a crowd-pleasing array of options.
So, if you are looking for an easy, relaxing and most importantly happy island escape, Aruba might be the perfect ticket!