If you've been dreaming of the perfect sun-drenched get-away, then a holiday in Aruba fits the bill perfectly. This tiny island may technically be part of the Netherlands, but its white sandy shores and lagoons make it a picture-postcard Caribbean location. Eagle Beach in particular is regarded as one of the finest beaches in the world. Hikers will enjoy exploring the harsh splendour of Arikok National Park, and then there's the capital city of Oranjestad, where you can visit the age-old landmark of Fort Zoutman and relax in some of the many restaurants.
Thomson offer direct flights to Aruba from London Gatwick and Manchester, with the journey taking just under 10 hours. Carriers like KLM and American Airlines also offer indirect flights from the likes of London Heathrow and Birmingham, although the saving on price isn't too great. Queen Beatrix International Airport is your gateway to the island, and once your Aruba holiday is underway you can easily get a cab to wherever you want to go. Saying that, a fantastic, cost-effective way to see the sights is to take the Arubusthe bus system is extensive, cheap and hugely convenient.
Of course, your other option is car rental in Aruba, and a sturdy Jeep will certainly come in handy if you want to explore regions like the Arikok National Park. Just be wary of the fact that you may well end up with a car that's getting on in years and isn't necessarily in the best of health! On the plus side, you don't have to worry too much about getting lost in Arubaas the island's so small, you'll work out where you are eventually.
There are plenty of hotels in Aruba to choose from, and if you're hoping to get away in the summer months, then here's some good news: summer is actually the off-peak season in Aruba, so prices will be low and it won't be too busy with fellow tourists.
A VisitAruba discount card is available, which can provide savings on restaurant meals, car rental, hotels and beach activities. If you really want to be a savvy tourist, you're best off avoiding the more high-end restaurants and chain places, and seeking out local bars and eateries which offer traditional dishes at low prices. That way you'll be getting a proper, authentic taste of the Caribbean during your holiday in Aruba AND saving cash into the bargain.
Updated 15th May 2013
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