With its flawlessly clean beaches, incredibly inviting turquoise waters, and opulent hotel resorts, Aruba certainly fits the quintessential image of a luxury holiday destination. Just 29km from the Venezuelan coast, this Caribbean island has a formidable reputation as one of the most prestigious tropical retreats in the world, and still belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Unlike many other locations in the Caribbean Sea, Aruba has a predominantly dry climate, which means holidaymakers can enjoy plenty of sunshine and relatively little rainfall for most of the year. The island is home to dozens of nationalities, and the majority of the population speaks Dutch, English or Spanish, as well as Papiamento and Portuguese.
Places of interest
If there's only one place to include on your Aruba itinerary, this has to be it. Thanks to its pristine white sands, Eagle Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean, if not the world, and is surrounded by numerous deluxe resorts and trendy bars.
Overlooking spectacular Arashi Beach, the California Lighthouse was completed in 1916 and takes its name from the California ship that sunk near here 25 years earlier. The lighthouse offers fantastic views of the island's northern coast, and is probably the best spot to witness the sunrise and the sunset.
The Alto Vista Chapel
This charming Catholic church also offers excellent views of the coast and was completed in the 1950s. However, an older church stood here around 200 years earlier, although this fell into dilapidation by the early 19th century, and was rebuilt following a successful campaign by local teacher Francisca.
For a truly unforgettable experience, consider booking a stay at the high-end, majestic Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, or choose the affordable and beautifully preserved, budget-friendly Aruba Beach Villas. Other top-rated hotels on the island include the chic Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba and the enchanting Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino.
Treat yourself to some delicious international dishes at the Carte Blanche Restaurant in Palm - Eagle Beach or 2 Fools and a Bull in Noord, or choose Kamini's Kitchen in San Nicolas for other delightful Caribbean recipes. You can enjoy other superb local and Portuguese dishes at Gostoso in Oranjestad, or try Wacky Wahoo's for some fabulous seafood.
Scuba diving and snorkelling
As you might expect, Aruba is a particularly popular destination for scuba diving, snorkelling and other water-based activities. Popular clubs include the Blue Melody & Black Pearl Sailing on Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba Bob Snorkelling in Savaneta, the JADS Dive Centre in San Nicolas, and Seabob Aruba in Noord.
How to get to Aruba
Throughout the year, there are countless flights to Aruba from major cities in North America, Europe and South America, although many other tourists visit the island as part of a Caribbean cruise.