You’ll hear Papiamento and a delightful blend of other accents throughout the island nation. Dutch and Spanish reflect Aruba’s colonial history while Americans can rest assured that almost everyone speaks English as well.
But really, the most important dialect on Aruba is one that all persons understand – the language of fun! Even cars note Aruba’s official attitude with every license plate carrying the motto: “One Happy Island.”
Aruba differs from most Caribbean islands in that it’s geographically located out of the hurricane corridor. That means that the fun-in-the-sun rarely gets interrupted, so you can indulge in beach and water activities every day.
The wide expanse of powdery white sand at Eagle Beach is an especially nice place to hop in the water or just sit under a palapa and enjoy an ice cold Balashi, the local beer. Jet skiing, parasailing and banana-boating are popular diversions, and the clear waters are a snorkeler’s paradise and a diver’s dream.
Coral reefs and formations have taken over many of the shipwrecks in Aruban waters and 70-feet down on the Malmok Reef lies the purposely sunk Debbie II, a fuel barge frequented by barracuda that prowl amongst giant sea sponges in purple, green and orange. You can also visit the German freighter Antilla, which at 400-feet is one of the Caribbean’s largest wrecks, or inspect pieces of the California, the ship that gave its name to one of Aruba’s most prominent landmarks, the California lighthouse.
Of course you don’t even have to get in the water to enjoy your time at sea. Most of the ships are party boats ready to feed you and ply you with rum drinks if you choose to sit back and listen to some reggae while watching others splash around.
Exploring Aruba by land is easy, and there’s a lot to do. The urban center of activity is Oranjestad, the nation’s capital and the location of the airport and cruise ship piers.
Nearest the piers are the shopping areas that you can navigate on foot. There’s something for every taste, ranging from designer outlets to kitschy souvenir shops.
A bit further into town you’ll find countless photo opportunities offered by the colorful buildings and architecture common in much of the Dutch Caribbean. Coin enthusiasts will want to see the impressive collection at the Numismatic Museum of Aruba, which houses a sparkling display of coins from around the world as well as a wealth of paper and metal monies used throughout Aruban history. Also on display are many items that were used as money long before coins were invented.
At the Aruba Aloe Experience you can take a brief tour that begins with an explanation of the various curative powers of aloe and a demonstration of how the plants are cut to extract the portions of the plant that have healing properties. The tour also includes the viewing of a short film, access to the aloe museum, a tour of the processing and packaging facility and a stop at the factory outlet where you can buy some of the best aloe products available.
Rent a car or book a Jeep tour to see the rest of beautiful Aruba, but make sure to save some energy for the Aruban night too; beach sundowners, nightclub dancing and casino gambling are just a few of the ways you can wrap up a relaxing day and an unforgettable stay.
The Soul Beach© Music Festival takes place May 21-26 in Aruba. For more information, visit www.soulbeach.net or www.aruba.com.