It’s good to know your ABCs, especially when they are Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, the “ABC Islands” of the Southern Caribbean. Aruba, where cruise ships dock in the capital city of Oranjestad, is the most-visited of the three. If you haven’t cruised there yet, there are some things that may surprise you about Aruba:
· While the island has a European flavor, thanks to Spanish and Dutch colonists, it’s just a few miles off the northern coast of South America.
· Aruba lies well south of the path of most hurricanes that enter the Caribbean.
· Aruba is an arid island with plenty of cactus. It’s the Caribbean island with the least annual rainfall and the most sunny days, too.
There’s a lot to do on Aruba, but the beaches are the real star of the island. The soft white sand has a high crushed shell content that keeps it cool on your feet, and the deep blue water will tempt you to wade right in. Catch a taxi from the cruise ship dock to any number of beaches, including:
· Baby Beach, with its warm and shallow water, is perfect for families with little ones.
· The very popular Eagle Beach is the longest stretch of white sand on the island. There are shaded picnic areas and lots of amenities.
· Palm Beach is a good choice if you want to be active. There’s scuba, parasailing, beach volleyball and banana boat rides.
· If you snorkel, try Malmok Beach, where you can find lots of colorful fish just 10 feet offshore. A little farther out, you’ll see the wreck of the SS Antilla, a German freighter scuttled in 1940, peeking out of the water.
There are other ways to enjoy Aruba’s beauty and enviable weather, too. Take a horseback ride to the California Lighthouse. Test your golf game at Tierra del Sol, a Robert Trent Jones-designed, par 71 course. Or, take an excursion to Arikok National Park to explore caves, cliffs, natural pools and an old gold mine.
If you need a break from the sun, there’s great duty free shopping right by the cruise ship dock. Browse the designer clothing and jewelry and select some locally made mementos, such as handmade driftwood candle holders. Aruba also has excellent casinos where you can try your luck.
Let Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, tell you about the variety of ships and itineraries that can take you to Aruba and other Southern Caribbean islands.
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