Award-winning beaches, designer shopping malls and a capital city with a distinctly Dutch feel – it’s all on the cards on a holiday to Aruba.
The Happy Island
Aruba calls itself One Happy Island, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The Arubans’ reasons to be cheerful start with their beaches – the island is circled by almost 70 kilometres of sandy shoreline. The stretch that gets the most attention is the 11-kilometre sweep linking Palm and Eagle beaches. The latter even made it into the top three on TripAdvisor’s 2017 poll of the world’s best beaches.
Head to the capital, Oranjestad, and the Caribbean influences take a backseat. Here, there’s no hiding the island’s ties to the Netherlands. Gabled roofs are everywhere and the buildings are painted in merry-go-round colours.
Arikok National Park
Aruba’s interior is the cherry on top of the island’s cake. The walking trails in Arikok National park will introduce you to shoulder-high cacti, skittish iguanas, and two species of bird that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
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Druif Beach joins the troupe of beach resorts on Aruba’s west coast. But it’s no chip off the old block. It’s given high-rise hotels the brush-off, so the sands are escorted by low-level, pastel properties instead. And the beach is one of the most deserted on the island. Picture Caribbean-pale sands and cling film-clear water.
Palm Beach is the head honcho of Aruba resorts. Sandwiched between Eagle Beach and Malmok Beach on the west side of the island, this place cashes in on its classic-Caribbean stretch. And sure enough, the high-rise hotels have gravitated towards it. They top up the sands with a good mix of restaurants, beach bars and casinos.
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