There’s no shortage of happy people on flights to Aruba. Just knowing that the Aruba flight will land in a veritable paradise, a few miles north of Venezuela in the Dutch Antilles is enough to keep vacationers happy until their feet hit the warm, sandy beaches. It’s not just the vacationers booking flights to Aruba that keep this country jovial; seldom does a frown appear on the faces of natives, especially in February for the annual calypso Carnival.
What makes more than one million visitors a year who travels to Aruba so happy? You can’t beat the miles of white beaches, endless views of aquamarine ocean and year-round sunshine. In addition, there are superb resort hotels, gourmet restaurants, top class watersports activities, breathtaking diving and snorkeling opportunities, a championship golf course and 24-hour casinos. When booking your trip to Aruba, make sure you book hotel accommodations and reserve a rental car (if necessary) as Aruba tends to book up fast during its peak travel season. Cheap flights to Aruba and budget hotel accommodations can be purchased for travel during the rainy season. No matter when you visit Aruba, it’s likely you’ll be booking a return flight to Aruba before you even leave the country.
Aruba, one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean, welcomes almost one million visitors each year. The minute you step off your Aruba flight and drive to your hotel the long stretches of white sand beaches will take your breath away.
Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, is where all the action is. It’s full of restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and shops and strolling through this small town is delightful. Dutch and Baroque architecture with a Caribbean twist are dotted along the streets and the bustling waterfront welcomes cruise ships, yachts and fishing boats, some that dock for a day, some that stay for months. A 20-minute walk west of Oranjestad is the beach town of Eagle Beach. There you’ll find a variety of accommodation from small boutique hotels to large all-inclusive resorts which tend to cater more toward the budget-conscious. Or, for those looking for a little more glitz and glamour, the next town after Eagle Beach is the swanky Palm Beach with upscale resorts along the famous Waikiki strip.
Aruba is tropical and averages a temperature of 82 degrees year-round. Cooling winds make for a very pleasant stay. The rainy season lasts from October through January, but the rains are generally erratic and short-lived.
Wintertime in the U.S. – rDecember to March – is peak season for visiting Aruba. Book Aruba flights and hotel rooms ahead of time for the best rates and travel dates.
The temperature on the island is good throughout the year, an average of about 82F, so any time you visit will be hot. Airfare prices fall drastically outside the peak season. If you plan to travel during the rainy season (September through December), bring a waterproof jacket.
Aruba is typically bright and sunny with average daytime highs around 82 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, so any time is a good time to plan a visit. The peak season runs from December to April. This is also when prices are at their highest.
September and October are the best times to get deals on travel to the area. Temperatures are slightly higher with daytime highs in the 90s, but the beaches are rarely crowded and you can get in most restaurants without reservations.
Flight times to Aruba vary depending on where in the United States you are traveling from. Non-stop flights from Atlanta take approximately 4 hours, while flights from New York City take around 4.5 hours. From Seattle, expect the trip to take a little over 8 hours, and from Los Angeles a non-stop flight takes about 7 hours and 14 minutes.
The Queen Beatrix International Airport is the main airport in Aruba. Many airlines fly to this airport from the United States including KLM, Delta, Jet Blue, Netherlands, Air Canada, American Airlines, Southwest and United Airlines.
When packing for a trip to Aruba, take into consideration the temperatures are warm year-round. There tends to be a constant breeze and it may rain occasionally. Even during the rainy season from October to January it rarely rains all day. Bring lightweight clothing for during the day, and be sure to pack a bathing suit if you plan on swimming or sunbathing. Sandals are ideal for the beach, while comfortable tennis shoes are best for sightseeing. At night, men fit in with a pair of khakis or cargo shorts and a polo or button down. Women may opt for sundresses or other casual dress. Sunscreen is a must, and it’s a good idea to pack a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face. Bring a camera and a backpack for sightseeing and hiking.
The plane ride to Aruba might be calm, but touring the country can be a bit rough. The Arubus departs from Oranjestad to destinations through the island. Pay the bus driver as you enter, and hold on tight. Roads are poor in most of the country and the drivers can seem foolhardy to tourists. The service, however, is cheap and the buses connect with many of the beach resorts.
Taxis can also be taken from the town and main resorts.
To see much of the island, you’ll need to hire a car. Four-by-fours are recommended due to the bad roads. When booking your flights to Aruba, check out car rental rates. Many times, travelers can book both Aruba flights and car rentals for a budgeted price.
The beach is the primary spot for tourists in Aruba. Eagle Beach is known as the low-rise beach because many of the resorts and hotels are only a few stories high. It is also one of the most popular beaches on the island. Here you can rent watersports equipment, take a sunset cruise or sign up for sea turtle watching. Palm Beach is the best to go for swimming. You can also enjoy peaceful sunbathing or walk along the water’s edge and collect shells.
Children enjoy a visit to the Donkey Sanctuary. This organization is dedicated to caring for and sheltering the island’s donkey population. Purchase a bag of apples or carrots and spend a few hours petting and feeding these gentle creatures. For more animal adventures, explore the Arikok Naitonal Park. This reserve is home to a variety of rattlesnakes, parakeets, goats, donkeys, iguanas and other animals. The park is open daily and children 17 and under get in free.
The California Lighthouse is located on the north end of the island. Climb to the top to see a view of the island from a different vantage point. Visit at night when the lights are lit for a beautiful view of the landmark. Go snorkeling and explore the Pedernales Wreck. This World War II tankers provides a perfect dive for beginners. You may also spot eel, small reef fish and parrot fish on your exploration. On Tuesdays, visit the Bon Bini festival for a taste of island folk traditions, or explore the Bushiribana Ruins, where early settlers used to extract gold from the Ceru Plat Hills.
The Queen Beatrix International Airport is the main hub for Aruba Airlines and Insel Air Aruba. These airlines offer flights to other destinations. There are many other airlines that provide services from Aruba including Avianca, Copa Airlines, Spirit Airlines, WestJet, Wingo and Sun Country Airlines.
(prices quoted are from London)