Are you really tired of the cold, snow and icy rain? Aruba is almost on the Equator and generally not very expensive. Here are some fun facts on Aruba that you may not have known:
- Travel to the Southern Caribbean island of Aruba and you’re likely to hear a friendly “Bon bini!” upon arrival. This means “welcome” in Papiamento, the native language, which is a mix of African, Creole, Portuguese, Dutch, English and Spanish influences.
- Through the years, Aruba bounced among Spanish, Dutch and English rule. Today, it functions as an independent entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Oranjestad , the capital, you’ll find distinctive Dutch colonial architecture — tall buildings (four story) in pastel colors with gabled roofs.
- Aruba is about 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela, and it’s outside the hurricane belt. It has a warm, sunny climate year-round, with an average temperature of 82 degrees. The beaches in Aruba are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
- Fishing enthusiasts can cast a line for marlin, wahoo, amberjack, kingfish and tuna, and many restaurants will even cook your catch of the day. Divers can explore more than half a dozen shipwrecks off Aruba’s shores, including the remains of a 400-foot-long German freighter called Antilla, and part of the tanker Pedernales, which is a shallow dive that’s said to be good for beginners. Windsurfing is very popular in Aruba, thanks to the constant 15-knot trade winds.
- The island’s desert-like interior is a marked contrast to the sparkling turquoise seas, characterized by cactuses, brushy plants and dramatic rock formations. (Some call it Hell, because it is so hot) Look for the distinctive, gnarled divi-divi trees, permanently bent by the winds and pointing in a southwesterly direction.
- Arikok National Park encompasses nearly 20 percent of Aruba’s land mass. Biking, hiking and horseback trails lead to cactus-studded landscapes, caves, rocky coasts and rolling sand dunes. The Bubali Bird Sanctuary is home to more than 80 species of migratory birds, such as herons, skimmers, cormorants and egrets.
- For a taste of Aruba’s local fare, sample the coconut candy known as cocada or the liqueur called coecoei, which is made from a centuries-old recipe and used in a variety of island cocktails. Keshi yena reflects Aruba’s Dutch roots — it’s a mixture of chicken, capers, green olives and raisins baked in a hollowed-out Edam cheese rind.
- Most of the larger resorts have casinos for those who like games of chance. Souvenir hunters looking for typical Aruban products can shop for locally made cigars, rum and hot sauce, as well as items that contain aloe, one of the island’s most successful crops.
Call today? And get away!
Edited from Vacation to go.com