The Caribbean has for a long time been on my hit list of places to explore. After browsing beautiful photos of Barbados, Bermuda and St Kitts for years I was eager to explore more of that side of the world, then I came across Aruba.
At the end of May, my boyfriend’s Uncle and Auntie moved out there and I decided Aruba was the island for me. Beautiful beaches, adventure, activities and history all resided on this 20-mile long island located in the south of the Caribbean, close to South America, also known as the Dutch Antilles. This is my guide: Aruba: Culture, food and adventure!
I spent time in Aruba in July with three fellow bloggers for a week of fun-filled activities, food and new experiences. Aruba, which is famous for its white sandy beaches, all year sunshine and interesting history is the alternative destination for it’s million tourist each year. Aruba offers tourists an alternative Caribbean with history, culture, activities and adventure.
The island is only 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles and unlike many other Caribbean islands, Aruba is below the hurricane belt so does not suffer with dangers like this and instead has a dryer climate without much rain at all. In the interior of the island, you’ll find a desert like terrain across the island and in Arikok National Park, this is even more apparent, a desert-like preserve with a variety of wildlife, cacti and dramatic rock formations. You’ll also find some of Aruba’s most striking views, as the ocean crashes against the rugged shoreline below.
READ MORE: Aruba Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know
Aruba is popular with couples, newlyweds, families and groups of friends all looking for a relaxing holiday or action-packed adventure. I travelled with KLM from Heathrow via Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam to the beautiful island of Aruba where I stayed for six nights in the luxurious Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The flight took an hour to Amsterdam and then nine hours to Aruba with a small stop at Bonaire before landing at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA).
The hotel is situated in Oranjestad and is one of two hotels on the island under the same name, one which is a family hotel and one which is an adult-only hotel. I stayed within the adult-only hotel which boasted an array of amenities from rooftop pool, restaurants, casino, spa, marina and much more.
And the best bit? As a guest of the hotel you also have access to the beautiful Renaissance Aruba Private Island – a ten-minute speed boat ride from the hotel across the waters to a private island where you can snorkel with fish, grab a cocktail and even have your photo taken with a family of flamingos. This was the highlight and is a little piece of Caribbean paradise.
Throughout the five days we were in Aruba we indulged in great food (see my next post about all this!) and an array of activities including paddle boarding on Palm Beach, unearthing coral reefs full beautiful coloured fish, taking a buggy up to the top of the lighthouse to the north end of the island, sailing the seven seas with Jolly Pirates Boat Trips, power-snorkelling on De Palm Island, windsurfing on the Eagle Beach, exciting adventures with a 4×4 Safari and even hiking through the Arikok National Park. I have another blog post coming about all the activities I got up to during my trip.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this beautiful island from the traditional beach shacks, to the staring across the ocean from the lighthouse at one end of the island to snorkelling at Baby Beach and being totally shocked by amazing fish hiding in the coral reefs. I will be back very soon and cannot wait to explore more of this incredibly vibrant and exciting country. Aruba truly is a country of wonders, surprises and delights!
Read about my recommendations of places to eat in Aruba here.
My visit to Aruba was complimentary as part of a blogger press trip in July 2016. All views are my own.