This island in the Dutch Caribbean is a charming mix of contrasts: casinos alongside windswept wild lands, cacti with surf, and Dutch culture talked about in papiamento, the island language that is a blend of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and West African. Indeed, plenty of people visit Aruba to enjoy its pristine, mesmerizing beaches and its luxurious resorts, but this Dutch Caribbean island also has a wild side, in the natural sense: The Arikok National Park, for instance, is an unusual landscape of cacti, twisted divi-divi trees and abandoned gold mines. But the island—and expecially its capital city of Oranjestad—offers the chance to gamble, eat excellent Continental and local cuisine, and shop for anythingfrom local crafts to Delft pottery. Explore this Aruba travel guide to start your own course to this unique island.
Things Not to Miss in Aruba
• Go hiking, off-roading or cave exploring in Arikok National Park
• Wander the colorful shops and bars in Oranjestad
• Enjoy the white sands of Eagle Beach
• Snorkeling or day cruising along the blue waters
• Look into the island’s past at Fort Zoutman and the Aruba Historical Museum
When to Go to Aruba
The Aruba travel season lasts all year, since the weather stays consistently warm with a fairly constant, average temperature. The island gets the most crowded during the early months of the year, when Americans and Europeans travel to Aruba to escape winter. (And South Americans come during their winter, in July and August.) Aruba has one distinct weather advantage over some of its Caribbean neighbors: it lies nicely outside the hurricane belt, so the threat of storms is lower during the summer and fall months.