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Say hello to one of the Caribbean’s most eclectic islands. From picture-perfect beaches and slick casino hotels to iguana-populated outback and breaker-battered cliffs, little Aruba is one of 2023’s most enticing holiday options. Escapes here combine sun, sea and sand with generous doses of nature and culture.
Relax on sumptuous beaches
Part of the Dutch-administered ‘ABC islands’ – the other are Bonaire and Curaçao – autonomous Aruba sits in the southern Caribbean. Almost all visitors head to its western flank, where sublime beaches are the order of the day.
Brash, bold Palm Beach and subtler Eagle Beach are the headline pair, offering Aruba holidaymakers the quintessential Caribbean experience: miles of soft, sugar-white sand, warm, transparent waters perfect for diving, high-dollar casinos and high-end restaurants. Just north is the 18-hole Tierra del Sol championship golf course and spa.
Aruba’s excellent all-inclusive resort hotels are concentrated here, as are some more boutique-style retreats.
Have a capital time
Cute and colonial-style, neighbouring capital Oranjestad shows its Dutch heritage with bright-orange gabled houses and store windows filled with blue-and-white Delft pottery. From the seaside market to ritzy Main Street, the shopping is excellent, so leave some room in your suitcase!
There’s also a fairly new eco-friendly streetcar system. At night, Reggaeton and local Tumba sounds blare out from the bars, cocktails flow and the main streets thrum with revellers.
Discover another side to Aruba
Head east and you will find a wilder side to Aruba: scrub and iguanas, lonely lighthouses and big breakers, abandoned gold mines and colossal cacti. It’s an ideal destination for a day-trip away from the beach.
Wildest of all is Arikok National Park, a rocky, desert-like expanse populated by pink flamingos, indigenous, near-horizontal divi-divi trees, and the world’s strongest aloe vera plants.
Activity-minded tourists on holiday in Aruba can off-road, cave, surf or windsurf, or just stick to hiking and swimming in the natural rock pools.
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