Aruba: Caribbean Desert Island Perfection

 

What Else Other than White Sand Tropical Perfection in Aruba?


For guaranteed year-round sunshine and the most brochure-perfect beaches, head to Aruba for your holiday in the sun - a tiny island in the Southern Caribbean. With a curious mix of exotic salsa culture and Dutch heritage, Aruba affords a myriad of gastronomy options, an abundance of water sports and outdoors activities, and, some of the world’s finest white sand beaches. Aruba can only be described as bliss.

Orange sunset on Palm Beach, Aruba - outside Divi Phoenix ResortA mostly flat and dry island with a desert interior, Aruba is strategically placed just North of Venezuela and its imposing mountains, which kindly catch the rain clouds. This leaves Aruba dry and cloud-free for all kinds of sun-worshippers to indulge in their idea of heaven. The brightest turquoise waters and finest white sand beaches are in abundance, which pleases all kinds of tourists from those looking for seclusion of the highest order, to those looking for a buzzing beach resort hub of watersports, bars, swimming pools and shops. Beautiful and totally uncivilised Arashi beach will suit the former, whilst the bustling and popular Palm Beach and its well-developed resort area will suit the latter. An excellent happy medium is the long and wide Eagle Beach, with a number of hotels across the road and a few restaurants, also harbouring areas of quiet seclusion.

Hotels in Aruba


The Divi Aruba Phoenix Hotel at the edge of Palm Beach and the beginning of Eagle Beach is an excellent place to stay with a quiet and calm area of perfect sand and calm sea right outside, and access to the bustling part of Palm Beach  resort within five minutes’ walk along the oceanfront. Try and stay in the low rise studio apartments at this hotel as these are of far higher quality. They feature island d├ęcor and are extremely clean with small kitchen, seating area and if you’re lucky, patio doors right out onto the pool and the beach.

Website: www.diviarubaphoenix.com
The accommodation  and hotels towards the centre of Palm Beach resort is generally more expensive but there us alot of choice in the way of luxury and price. It is a much busier area with all sorts of beach-related activities right on the sand - perfect for those wanting to be in the centre of the action.

There is of course accommodation and hotels in Oranjestad - the capital town of Aruba. It is approximately a 15-20 minute walk to the beautiful and spacious Eagle Beach resort, which has a varied array of hotels nearby too - across the road from the actual beach. This is also an ideal place to stay as bus stops are located along the main road.

Activities in Aruba


Although whilst on Aruba the idea is to relax, relax, relax,  there are numerous activities not to be missed on your holiday. This includes the off-roading desert trip to the ‘natural pool,’ sailing and snorkelling trips - particularly from Palm Beach resort and a visit to the butterfly farm (just behind the Divi Phoenix Hotel on the edge of Palm Beach towards Eagle Beach. 

The butterfly farm is a wonderful open-air netted enclosure for many species of butterflies from all over the world, including the huge Indian moths. If you are lucky you may witness a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis if you arrive in the morning. There are designated boxes around the enclosure for the many colourful chrysalises, which you can see hanging, ready to emerge. The staff at the butterfly farm are ever so friendly and knowledgeable, and once you pay you can re-visit as many times you like within a week.

The ‘natural pool’ is a huge round rock pool on the windward side of the island. The only way to reach it is across the dusty desert interior by quad-bike or Jeep. Fantastic views of the island’s rocky and slightly hilly landscape with the many huge cacti and green iguanas is a good enough reason to take this trip. The Jeep trip is recommended as this is the safest and more comfortable way to arrive, although it doesn’t feel like it when you are bouncing along in a Landrover Discovery at a 45 degree angle with cliffs below plunging into the writhing sea below. This trip is an utterly thrilling experience and adds to a sense of achievement upon arrival at the beautiful natural pool. Ladies tie back your hair and wear a hat – it gets mighty dusty and windy in the Aruban desert. I never thought I’d know what it felt like to have straw for hair but lo and behold, I now have that pleasant memory.

Although the natural pool is busy and popular with tourist trips, it is a fantastic experience to be in a clear, calm natural pool with the frothing sea bashing the surrounding rocks to kingdom come. The pool is deep so bring swimming aids if you need them. A snorkel is a must – the tropical underwater world in this pool is fascinating.

A Jeep trip to the natural pool can usually be booked through most hotels, there are numerous companies offering this trip.

Aruba’s capital - Oranjestad - is a hodgepodge of Dutch influenced baroque style buildings and eateries, South American bars and restaurants, and more fine jewellery shops you have probably ever seen! Two excellent restaurants are Senor Frog’s with fantastic Exotic Mexican choices and a simply buzzing atmosphere, and The Paddock, a delicious Dutch influenced restaurant with funky cow-themed exterior.

Webstite for Senor Frog’s: www.senorfrogs.com; website for The Paddock: www.paddock-aruba.com





Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2012
All Rights Reserved

 




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