Search

Travel Feature: Aruba

15:09 28 June 2012

The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort

The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort

Archant

It’s fair to say when Londoners are considering a trip to the Caribbean, Aruba isn’t necessarily the first thing in our minds.

Aruba - Travel information

Travel

KLM run five flights a week from Heathrow to Aruba via Amsterdam.

Prices start at £794 pp

Call or visit www.klm.com

When on the island, taxis are pricey, though not extortionate. The local bus services are easy to navigate and possibly a better bet.

Accomodation

Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts

L.G. Smith Blvd. 55B & 55C

P.O. Box 1347

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Tel: +297 583-1100 ext 103

Web: www.bucuti.com

Prices range from $308 for a garden view room to $515 for a penthouse in the low season (April to December)

and $448 to $662 during the high season.

Currency

Officially the Aruban Floren (2.75 to the £1), but dollars universally accepted.

Jamaica, Barbados and even Cuba seem to feature more prominently in the nation’s collective holiday consciousness.

And this is very much our loss – Aruba is a true island paradise, with world-class snorkelling, a bustling nightlife and idyllic beaches where unbelievably clear azure waters lap gently against the white sand.

It lies about 18 miles north of Venezula and this location affords it a dream climate: the average temperature is 27C all year round with a constant cooling breeze that stops pasty Europeans getting overheated.

Getting there is a cinch too – a legacy of its colonial heritage means that Royal Dutch airline KLM fly there about five times a week.

Speak the lingo

Speak the lingo:Although the official language of Aruba is Dutch, Pariamento – a creole of African languages, Spanish, protugese and even English - is more widely spoken. Here are a few useful phrases:

Good Day – Bon Dia

Thank you very much – Masha Danki

How are you? – Kon ta bai?

Have a nice day - Pasa un bon dia

Goodbye – Saludes

Though you have to change in Amsterdam’s impressive Schiphol airport, the journey seems a piece of cake and KLM is a very luxurious way to fly, with a wide choice of entertainment and very friendly air stewards who keep the free drinks flowing at a good old pace.

For those who don’t know, Aruba is part of the Dutch Caribbean but was originally “discovered” by the Spanish in 1499 who quickly forgot it again when they couldn’t find any gold or other desirables.

The Dutch turned up in 1636 and took more of a shine to the place and their influence is very much in evidence today. There are five main areas you tend to visit as a tourist: the capital Oranjestad, which has high- end shopping, yachts and casinos; the high-rise district, with big hotels and raucous nightlife; the low-rise hotels, where couples relax; St Nicholas, the second town and home to the famous Baby Beach, and the striking Arikok National Park.

We stayed in the Bucuti Beach Resort in the low-rise area, an adults-only boutique hotel on the breathtakingly beautiful Eagle Beach.

The whole place is built with comfort and luxury in mind and things like champagne while you’re checking in help set a happy mood for the holiday.

You literally step out of your room on to shimmering sands which are regularly voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The place has a gym, a great pool, spa facilities and private, romantic dining on the beach. But my favourite thing was the sunset. Sitting at the beach bar sipping a frozen margarita as the glorious globe hit the water was a truly spiritual way to start an evening.

But there is more to Aruba than relaxing in beautiful surroundings and a great way to get to know the island is a Jeep tour.

These huge off-road beasts take you on a bone-shaking whistle-stop tour of some of the island’s noteable features, including the historic California lighthouse and 14th century Alta Vista chapel, as well as the amazing natural bridge.

The hair-raising off-road adventure takes you through the Arikok National Park, which illustrates the stark contrast between the north and south of the island.

While the former is all beautiful beaches, the latter is a harsh, desert-like landscape in which huge waves break on the jutting, rocky shore.

If that sounds a bit high-octane, a more relaxed afternoon can be had on the private De Palm Island.

Entertainment

Eating Out

Pinchos Bar and Grill

L.G. Smith Blvd 7 , Oranjestad

Tel: +297 583 2666

Papiamento Restaurant

Washington 61, Aruba.

Tel: +297 - 594-5504 / 5864544

Web: www.papiamentorestaurant.com

Hadicurari

Fisherman’s Pier, Aruba

Tel: +297 586 22 88

Web: www.hadicurari.com

The Old Fisherman

Avenstraat 36, Oranjestad

Tel: +297 588-3648

Web: www.oldfishermanaruba.com

To Do

Jeep Tour and De Palm Island

De Palm Tours

www.depalmtours.com

Snorkeling, diving and boat trips

Red Sail Sports

Tl: +297 586 1603

Web: www.aruba-redsail.com

While the place is slightly Blackpool-esque, everything is inclusive – food, drink, the banana boat and even the brilliant snorkelling, where playful bright blue parrot fish investigate you as you swim by.

And if snorkelling tickles your fancy, Aruba is a great place to be. After a fantastic lunch of red snapper and grupa at the Old Fisherman in Oranjestad (beloved of locals, I am told), we went on an afternoon boat trip to some of the hot spots in the surrounding seas.

After exploring some coral, we snorkelled over the Antilla, a sunken Second World War ship, which was one of the most exhilarating aquatic experiences of my life.

Following the shipwreck along its 400ft length was an eerie journey, as large fish swam out of portholes and sea cucumbers reached skywards from the turrets.

In terms of eating out, Aruba is spectacular and we had some truly fabulous food. Grilled fish is the order of the day and, at Pinchos Bar and Grill, they do some of the best.

This popular restaurant is on a little wooden pier, allowing you a delightful sea view as you dine. My mixed seafood platter, featuring big juicy prawns, swordfish and lobster tail, was absolutely phenomenal.

Another eaterie worth a look is Papiamentos, which is housed in an old cunucu manor crammed full of Dutch antiques. We ate outside next to the pool, amid the trees, and it’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting. The food is also excellent; we had the hot stones, which are shoved in flames for two hours making them hot enough to cook your own meat, exactly as you like it, at your table.

Due to jetlag, we didn’t party as hard as we would in London, but worthy of note is the Boogaloo Bar, a pub on a pier in the high- rise district, which has live music most nights a week and an easy mix of tourists and locals.

And every Thursday in St Nicholas, the Carubbian festival is a charming mix of live music, street food and dancing in the street.

In fact, a constant theme of the holiday was how friendly the people were. Mix that with the divine beaches, superb snorkelling and outstanding food, it’s a heady mixture. And one which Londoners will find hard to resist as more discover this postcard perfect paradise.

Latest Islington Stories

Yesterday, 20:11
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Yesterday, 17:00
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in THE NICE GUYS. Picture: Daniel McFadden

Shane Black has had his ups and downs in Hollywood – going from a million dollar screenwriter (Lethal Weapon) in the ‘80s to being largely ignored in the ‘90s.

Yesterday, 15:33
Who doesn't love bunnies?  (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The pop-up bunny cafe that stoked the fury of animal rights campaigners this week has been cancelled after controversy and alleged threats.

Yesterday, 13:43
The Bloodhound, which will attempt to break the land speed record next year

A unique vehicle powered by a combination of rocket fuel and jet engines was among the highlights of this year’s Clerkenwell design week at City University.

Yesterday, 12:00
Bob Paisley in Bill Clinton Hercules

There is an interesting double bill at the Park Theatre.

Yesterday, 10:33
Henry Hicks died following a police chase in Islington (Picture: Arnaud Stephenson)

The family of Henry Hicks last night demanded answers from Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe after it emerged during a heated public meeting that the officers involved in his death will not face charges.

Yesterday, 08:00
Murderer John Christie responsible for the deaths of at least six woman, including his wife (pictured) at his home in 10 Rillington Place, London. Picture: Trinity Mirror

A corrupt and failing police investigation sees an innocent man hanged and a murderer on the loose in Howard Brenton’s award winning early play, Christie in Love.

Yesterday, 07:15
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits out against England in 2015

James Franklin has warned that Middlesex cannot expect his former New Zealand team-mate Brendon McCullum to single-handedly transform their fortunes in one-day cricket.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe