The ideal Caribbean vacation used to mean hours of tanning on the beach, margarita in hand, with Jimmy Buffet crooning in the background. Today’s traveler, however, seek engaging and enriching activities as an alternative to simply lounging around the hotel. The trend towards active vacations can be seen in the growing awareness in eco-tourism and interest in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and climbing. The island of Aruba is responding to this increasing demand for active vacations by proving that it has much more to offer than Caribbean sun and sand. The island, 20 miles long by 6 miles wide, is the right size for convenient exploration off the beaten path while the semiarid topography and geological formations offer a wealth of activities distinct from other Caribbean isles. With an incredible marine life as well, Aruba’s diversity provides adventure for water babies and landlubbers alike.
Island’s caves offer underground adventures
Most visitors don’t expect to find underground caves on a tropical island. At the Guadirikiri cave, sunlight filters through two inner chambers, providing the perfect photo opportunity for cave explorers. The cave’s 100-foot long tunnel is home to hundreds of harmless bats. Nearby, the Fontein cave is testimony to the island’s native population. Still-visible drawings by the Arawak Indians decorate the cave’s ceilings and are a powerful reminder of the island’s indigenous history. Couples aren’t the only ones who will want to visit the Tunnel of Love, so-called because of its heart-shaped entrance. A 300-foot long tunnel winds through eerie rock formations and narrow passages.
Off-road safaris explore Aruba’s wild side
Renting a 4-wheel drive is the best means for an unforgettable around -theisland tour. Well-known sites along the way include the picturesque California Lighthouse, the charming Alto Vista chapel and the Bushiribana gold mill ruins. The back roads of Aruba run along the rugged north coast, passing eerie rock formations, cacti and the famous divi-divi trees. Car rentals and guided tours can be made through any of the several companies on the island. An international driver’s license or any valid license held for at least two years is required for car rentals and you must be older than 23 years of age.
Island tours by horseback
Horseback riding is another way to tour Aruba’s environs. Half-day organized ranch tours lead riders through the cunucu, or countryside, and along the coastline. Sand dunes and desert-like plains complete with cacti provide a setting unique to a Caribbean island. Some tours combine land and sea, taking vacationers along a rocky trail to the Natural Pool, protected from the rough northeastern coast by an outcropping of rocks. Other tours include sunset tours on the beach where riders will enjoy a romantic afternoon noon while the day says goodbye or tours near the white sand dunes near the California lighthouse.
Explore the island in a different way
If you want to explore Aruba in a different way, choose one of these options such as a Jeep Safari tour, a bumpy ATV tour through the rugged island terrain or just by one of the several bus tours which can be either air conditioned or just open air busses. Any of these trips that you choose, have their own unique way of letting you experience Aruba and enjoy a day filled with lots of adventure and fun in the sun. Any of these adventures into either the countryside or just the regular roads of Aruba, will offer all the fun and excitement that Aruba is so known for.
Making the most of Aruba’s trade winds
Constant breezes make Aruba one of the best windsurfing sites in the world.
Some of the more popular windsurfing areas, for windsurfers of all skill levels, lie along Arashi and Hadikurari Beach. In June, the Hi-Winds Amateur World Challenge draw professionals, amateurs and spectators to the island for great racing conditions and warm weather, that’s why Aruba is considered “The Windsurfing Capital of the World”. Another activity that has become a major attraction on Aruba is Kite-Surfing which has become the top activity among both the younger and the already experienced surfers. For those who want to try this new sport or just sit on the beach and enjoy the spectacular jumps performed by these surfers, should hit the Fisherman Huts after 4:00 PM in the afternoon. Another popular activity on Aruba is parasailing, where you will enjoy Aruba’s picturesque scenery while hanging almost 30 feet in the sky from a parachute that’s being pulled by a speed boat.
Sailing and snorkeling while on Aruba
Sailing, that’s a must while on Aruba, as almost all of the different water sport companies on Aruba offer daily snorkeling trips and sunset trips on their beautiful and comfortable catamarans.
Another popular activity that has recently been introduced is the Sea trek, where you just have to wear a head mask filled with oxygen and you can walk underwater in a spectacular underwater park. This is a great activity for families and a once in a lifetime experience.
Other sea activities that you may choose from while vacationing on Aruba is the Glass Bottom boat, the Seaworld Explorer or the famous, Atlantis Submarine, where you have the great opportunity to see Aruba beautiful coral formations and the colorful fishes without getting wet. Even if you are not a diver or you can’t swim, the Glass Bottom Boat and Seaworld explorer will take you to the spectacular “Antilla Shipwreck” and let you see why Aruba is positioned as one of the top Wreck diving destinations in the Caribbean.