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view from jr suite-reducedWith 28 island nations in the Caribbean, you have a hard choice trying to decide which is the best for your vacation or honeymoon.  But if you picture an island paradise where the weather is almost always 82-degrees a few clouds scattered across the sky and a  Caribbean island surrounded by the  clear turquoise waters along white beaches, you’ve started to eliminate some.  But if you picture an island where you don’t need to worry about hurricanes, you’ve narrowed it down to just 3- the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.  The most popular with tourists world wide is Aruba.

This island in the southern Caribbean is the perfect island destination for vacationers who want great weather, beautiful beaches, luxury hotel chains or boutique resorts, casino gambling and a vibrant nightlife but is Aruba the right vacation or honeymoon destination for you?

Why Aruba?

When you get tired of the sun and the beach, there’s scuba diving, snorkeling, great windsurfing, and all the other water sports you expect from a sun-and-sea vacation.  If you want some land based activities and adventures, you can golf, ride a horse, hike, or drive an all-terrain vehicle over the island’s desert full of cacti, iguanas, and strange boulder formations.

You can choose from luxury resorts, all-inclusive resorts and small family run boutique hotels on Eagle or Palm Beach.   The high rise section, Palm Beach, boasts resorts like the Hyatt, Radisson, Marriott, Occidental, Riu.  The low rise area, Eagle Beach, is home to Bucuti Beach Resort, Manchebo Beach Resort, Amsterdam Manor and the Divi resorts.

If you’re interested in great restaurants, you may be surprised at how many really great restaurants there are in.Aruba.  Many of My Vacation Lady’s clients prefer not to stay at an all-inclusive resort because of all of the great restaurants.  Even if they do decide to stay at an all-inclusive, many will venture out for a night or 2 to try some of the island’s great restaurants.  There is also a dine around plan that is offered with over 20 different dining options if you want to control your out of pocket meal expenses.

outside senor frogsAfter the sun sets, the fun really begins. You can try your luck in one of the island’s many casinos, take in a live Vegas-style show, or listen to some amazing live music, including Latin jazz and Caribbean sounds such as the island’s own Tumba music. Bars, clubs, booze cruises, you name it — if you’re looking for a party, you’ll find it.

When is the best time to go to Aruba?

The weather is predictably wonderful — warm, sunny, dry, and breezy. The island is far outside the hurricane belt so the chance of having your vacation or honeymoon bothered by a hurricane is virtually non-existant.

Luckily, the cooling  trade winds make it easy to forget just how warm it is and it’s not as humid as most of the Caribbean- even in summer.  Rainfall averages about 18 inches a year, with the most rain falling from October through January. Even during the wetter season, then rains tend to be brief and it’s rare for the sun not to shine most of the day.

What are some of the fun things to do in Aruba?

arubaWater sports make up a big part of Aruba’s allure.  The beaches are wide white sand beaches and the water is crystal clear.  You can try fishing, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, para-sailing, windsurfing and kite surfing.  Aruba is known as a great snorkeling and dive destination with a dense coral population.   Sunken airplane fuselages and shipwrecks (including the largest in the Caribbean) are among the most popular dive destinations.   The 400-foot Antilla shipwreck is a must see for divers and De Palm Slope, off De Palm Island, features magnificent coral for snorkelers.    Aruba is considered as one of the top wreck diving destinations on the Caribbean.

If you like to hike and explore, Arikok National Park has the best trails.  Climb the island’s highest hills, explore abandoned gold mines, poke around plantation ruins and trek through caves.

ArubaNaturalBridgeExplore Aruba by horse, bike or by ATV.   You can stop at Alto Vista Chapel and California Lighthouse and then ride along the shore.  Or you can start at the crashing waves and sand dunes of the northern coast before heading for the Natural Bridge.  There are many ranches and tour operators that can make sure you see the beauty of Aruba’s outback.

If you are into bird watching, the Bubali Bird Sanctuary attracts more than 80 bird species.

aruba from waterWant to do some shopping?  Aruba is for you.  You’ll find an enormous selection of international brand name products and prices that are 10 – 35% lower than those in the United States.  From downtown Oranjestad, to the harbor markets to the resort shops, you’ll find clothing, jewelry, perfumes, accessories and souvenirs and much more.

How expensive is Aruba?

Compared to destinations like Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, Aruba is more expensive but many of My Vacation Lady’s clients would rather pay more or stay for a shorter time in Aruba and not risk the chance of a hurricane playing havoc with their honeymoon or vacation.

What type of traveler would Aruba be best for?

Aruba is determined to make sure you have a good time. It’s a great place to unwind and relax, especially after the stress of everyday life.   Few islands work as hard to make you feel as special and pampered.  You’ll likely  learn your first Papiamento phrase when you get off the plane — bon bini (welcome!).   Some of the last words you’ll say before you board the plane to head back home will probably be in the local dialect, too — masha danki, Aruba (thank you, Aruba).

Aruba is a great destination for so many reasons but if you are looking for the adult only all inclusive resorts with the private plunge pools or the swim out rooms or the rooms with 4 poster beds and Jacuzzi’s for 2 in the room and outside of your room, Aruba may not be for you.  The hotels in Aruba were built before t the amenities of some of the newer resorts that cater to honeymooners became popular.  If you can live without these type of rooms, will you love Aruba.

aruba signPaul and Sandra honeymooned in Aruba in October 2012 and this is what they had to say:

“Aruba was amazing. The resort was amazing. Our excursions worked out perfectly. It was the vacation and honeymoon that we needed!  The ONLY negative thing about the trip was coming back to the states. No lie. Everything was perfect and we truly appreciate it.”

Ann and Jerry vacationed in Aruba in December 2012 and absolutely loved it.  Both are pretty particular travelers and Ann came home and called right away to say that they loved Aruba and the resort so much that they were going to start saving for their next vacation.

Laura and John have probably visited Aruba at least once a year since I’ve been helping them plan their vacations in 2007.

Take a look at this video and see if Aruba might fit your dreams

My Vacation Lady takes the personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning.  If Aruba is NOT the right destination for you, we’ll let you know and we’ll help guide you to a destination that will better suit your dreams and budget.