First-time visitors to miniature little Aruba in the midst of the ABC Islands could be forgiven for thinking they weren’t actually in the Caribbean.
With its rugged coastal reaches of chiselled cliffs and salt-sprayed headlands (particularly along the wild east coast), sweeping areas of windswept sand dunes and cacti groves in place of lush rainforest, this one’s got very little in common with its near neighbors in the Antilles and Leeward chains.
But that’s all part of Aruba’s draw.
Not only does the island enjoy a sheltered position away from the main Atlantic Hurricane belt (meaning it’s typically acceptable to visit all year round), but also a unique balance of Carib luxury and adrenaline-pumping activities.
Visitors can dune buggy by morning and laze on Eagle Beach by afternoon, slap casino chips or guzzle rum in the night, trace Dutch history or roam forests of curious divi divi trees – the list goes on…
Here are the best things to do in Aruba:
1. Enjoy the sands of Eagle Beach
Hailed by many an Aruban veteran as the single most handsome stretch of sand on the island, Eagle Beach arches its way around the west coast here just a stone’s throw from the capital at Oranjestad.
Both accessible and gorgeous, the spot comes with talcum powder sands and calm shore waters coloured like an aquamarine and deep-blue camouflage.
Visitors enjoy excellent snorkelling opportunities, along with oodles of sea kayak and jet ski rentals, not to mention all the top-class cuisine and cocktail joints that line the banks of nearby Divi Divi.
What’s more, thanks to its elongated length, Eagle is rarely overcrowded.