2020 has been a devastating year for travel, but with a recovery on the horizon in 2021 travellers are getting their destination bucket lists ready, and at the top of that list is the happiest island in the world, Aruba! Here are some of the best reasons Aruba needs to be your first destination after lockdown!
This is a paid article written in partnership with the Aruba Tourism Authority UK with products or services supplied by them. Full editorial integrity is maintained at all times. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
After a long and terrible year of lockdowns and international restrictions, Aruba is open to international travellers again and with a robust battery of measures to keep health risks to travellers as low as possible they are more than ready to bring some happiness back to the world and show visitors exactly why it is one happy island. Here is exactly why travellers should be booking those flights right now and flocking to Aruba in the new year!
Aruba Is Safe.
Travellers who are worried about travelling post pandemic really have nothing to worry about. Aruba is a relatively safe and low risk destination in general with stable and relatively low numbers of Covid19 cases, and a part of keeping it that way is the many steps Aruba is to minimise risk.
To keep travellers as safe as possible as things continue to improve, the Aruba Tourism Authority and the Department of Public Health have introduced a new ‘Aruba Health and Happiness Code‘. This is a new certification programme applied to all local tourism operators, hotels, restaurants, retail and any business travellers are likely to use to reassure them that every place they visit is safe and clean. To get the required certification, each business will have to show that they are meeting strict health and safety and infection prevention control procedures to minimise the spread of not just COVID19, but any other common illness with a similar transmission route, including diarrhoea and vomiting.
With these robust infection prevention control measures, as well as your own personal hygiene measures, travellers have no reason to fear travel to Aruba post pandemic.
The Perfect Weather.
As a desert island in the middle of the Caribbean, Aruba is very rightly lauded for its sheer amount of sunshine, and is perhaps the best guarantee of perfect weather you will get anywhere! With an average of just 18 inches of rain a year, and a location firmly outside of the hurricane belt which affects a large part of the region, you are pretty much guaranteed blue skies and hot sun year round, which is probably one of the main reasons why everyone is so happy!
Be careful of the sun though and don’t underestimate it like I did! Make sure you use sunscreen!
Aruba is famous for its beaches, and in a region known for its beaches and island paradise lifestyles, the fact that Aruba stands out should tell you everything about why Aruba’s beaches should be on everyone’s bucket lists for 2021!
Eagle Beach is one of Aruba’s most famous stretches of beach, and its wide stretch of pristine white sand and turquoise water has netted it numerous awards and is often considered one of the best beaches in the world! How can you refuse that?
But if the best beach in the world isn’t good enough for you there is always Palm Beach, Aruba’s most popular high rise hotel hotspot. Perfect for people watching and having everything you need for a beach holiday Palm Beach can get a little crowded, but there is also Baby Beach with its shallow waters and smooth sands perfect for those travellers with families or young ones in tow.
Arashi Beach near the lighthouse is one of the best swimming spots on the island and Boca Catalina has easy, shallow waters and plenty of marine life perfect for snorkelling, and is usually not as busy as others.
Malmok beach is another popular swimming and snorkelling spot with hidden coves, shallow sandy waters and the famous WWII German shipwreck the SS Antilla just off the coast!
This is just a small selection of Aruba’s seaside offerings, but suffice it to say if you are eager to get back onto a beach in 2021 Aruba has something for everyone!
The constant trade winds that hit Arubas beaches make for the ideal conditions for a wide variety of watersports, and professional kitesurfers and windsurfers flock here to take advantage of the steady speeds of 20 and above knots, and there are surf schools on many beaches offering lessons at all levels.
From surfing and SUPing to anything with a sail, Aruba is the perfect watersport destination no matter what your level of expertise. You can even hire a kayak and go sea kayaking if you feel up to it! It is an awesome way to see Aruba’s spectacular coast and there is nothing like paddling yourself up to a secluded, hidden cove and enjoying a deserted white sand beach all to yourself! Just watch out for those trade winds, you don’t want to be blown out to Venezuela!
The Diving And Snorkelling.
Aruba is known as one of the premier diving spots of the Caribbean, and the wreck diving capital of the entire region with over a dozen sunken planes and ships to explore.
No matter what your level or what you want, you can be catered to in Aruba, from very easy beaches with shallow water and sandy bottoms and plenty of sea life, catamaran excursions that will take you out to lesser visited spots or dive schools that will take you to any level of your PADI training you like, Aruba is ideal for anyone who wants to spend some time in the water.
Aruba is famous for its adventure activities both on and under the water, but many people don’t realise is that there are a wealth of inland adventure opportunities too, from horseback riding to four wheel drive safaris.
There are plenty of tour operators you can hire a bicycle from and take a tour of the islands interior all the way up to the famous California lighthouse, or you could get yourself a dune buggy if you don’t fancy the exercise.
If all out adrenaline is more your thing however you have to get yourself in a 4 wheel drive adventure and get thrown about like a ragdoll in a washing machine as the driver crashes through Aruba’s rugged rocks and dunes. Honestly, you won’t see very much and you will come out feeling battered, but you will have a whale of a time!
Arikok National Park.
Arikok National Park makes up roughly 20% of the interior of the entire island and is home to a huge array of protected indigenous wildlife and plant species. Aruba’s interior is a surprising landscape of dry river beds, desert and mountain terrain and land formations made of lava and mineral build ups, and hidden cave systems to explore and is one of the most unique and spectacular landscapes in the Caribbean.
A day or two spent exploring the truly awesome cave systems is worth the trip to the park alone, the Fontein cave has excellently preserved ancient Arawak Indian drawings on the ceilings, and the Guadirikiri Cave is home to nests of bats and holes within the rock that shoots beams of sunlight through the caverns, making for an almost divinely atmospheric experience.
Aruba is extremely protective of its national park and takes conservation very seriously. A small fee at the entrance to the park helps to pay for the upkeep and protection of the flora and fauna as well as educational programmes.
Petroglyph Rock Art.
Everyone marvels over modern day street art but that is absolutely nothing compared to Aruba’s ancient craftsmanship. Towering rock formations add an air of adventure and majesty to the topography, with Casabari’s boulders allowing hikers a spectacular view of the island and some great bouldering opportunities, but it is the ancient rock drawings of Ayo Rock, dating back thousands of years, give a true sense of wonder and a sense of history to these monolithic structures.
Colourful Dutch Architecture.
Aruba is famous for its colourful blend of Mediterranean and Dutch architecture, with bright colours exploding everywhere you look and the two dominant cultural influences exemplified in many of the local buildings, especially in the capital, Oranjestad, with the impressive Aruba City Hall and even a Dutch windmill on display near Palm Beach!
The oldest example of Dutch architecture is Fort Zoutman and the Willem III Tower, both dating back to 1796 and are interesting showcases of Dutch colonialism on the island.
Architecture isn’t usually the highest thing on most travellers lists when they come to the island, but I think it really pays to just pay a little attention to it as you explore, as it adds just another interesting layer to the happy island.
Health And Wellness.
Happiness is an integral part of health and wellness and vice versa, and Aruba could not be One Happy Island without being known as one of the Caribbean’s health and wellness meccas!
Aruba has a thriving yoga culture with classes and retreats dotted throughout the island as well as many surf shops and operators offering stand up paddleboard yoga! Although a word of warning the one time I tried that face planting the ocean 50 times was not my idea of relaxing!
Spas are also plentiful in Aruba, from smaller local operators through to the in house spas in the larger hotels and resorts, and almost every type of massage and therapy is on offer here, but perhaps one of the islands most unique experiences is any of the therapies that use Aruba’s national plant, Aloe Vera.
Aruba Aloe is the oldest Aloe company in the world and produces Aloe Vera products that are used in a wide variety of health and wellness treatments, as well as being the perfect after sun skin care product! All its product are grown locally and is a huge part of the local economy.
Helping The Local Donkeys.
Tucked away in the islands interior, the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary protects and cares for some of the islands most vulnerable and at risk inhabitants, donkeys.
Not native to the island, donkeys were used as beasts of burden before they were made obsolete with the introduction of the engine, and were then for a long time treated as nothing but a nuisance and a pest, with the wild population of donkeys often killed, harmed and left for dead. They were just sadly considered persona non grata by the islands inhabitants.
Thankfully the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary was set up in 1997 as a completely not for profit organisation, providing food, shelter and veterinary care to hundreds of donkeys who very much need it, run and staffed largely by volunteers.
Preferring to keep the donkeys in the wild if it is possible, where the population has slowly grown back to a small but sustainable number over the years, the sanctuary only takes in donkeys who are injured or need permanent care and provide them with a safe haven on a 10 acre plot of land.
Travellers can help support this amazing cause and help the islands donkey population by visiting here and making sure that their tourism dollars have a positive impact.
The World Leading Eco Destination.
Eco tourism is more than just a buzz word for Aruba’s tourism board, Aruba really is a world leader when it comes to putting the environment at the heart of everything it does to keep the happy island beaming for future generations. The adults only resort Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort has won 45 awards in the last decade for its eco credentials, including the Climate Action Award from the World Travel and Tourism Council for achieving full carbon neutrality, and the annual Reef Care Project and National Coastal Clean Up Day use the power of volunteering to make a difference to the island’s delicate coast.
Aruba is also the first island in the Caribbean to completely ban all single use plastic bags, cups and straws as well as styrofoam boxes, and the Ministry of Envioronment has even taken the innovative step of banning all sunscreen that includes oxybenzone because of its harmful effects on coral reefs.
Travel is returning to normal and 2021 will see a huge rush of travellers return to their favourite destinations again! As you plan and dream of where you want to go, make sure Aruba is right at the top of the list. You won’t regret it!
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