Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/BrocreativeInstructor Flo flying high!beachBaby BeachMarch 25, 2009- Aruba, Hotel in Palm BeachAtardecer en ArubaBeach ViewBoca PrinsSunsets that take your breath away

Families will love:

  • Long stretches of soft sand and calm sea
  • Gorgeous weather with little rainfall
  • Divi-divi trees bent by the tradewinds

Come to Aruba for its beaches -- long stretches of soft sand that edges the calm, turquoise sea -- and the array of amazing restaurants and hotels. Instead of lush green forests, like the ones on many Caribbean islands, Aruba spreads out in a desert-like landscape of red dirt, cacti and divi-divi (watapana) trees whose arched branches are bent by the island's constant ... more
Come to Aruba for its beaches -- long stretches of soft sand that edges the calm, turquoise sea -- and the array of amazing restaurants and hotels. Instead of lush green forests, like the ones on many Caribbean islands, Aruba spreads out in a desert-like landscape of red dirt, cacti and divi-divi (watapana) trees whose arched branches are bent by the island's constant tradewinds. Those breezes, 15 to 25 knots in summer and 10 to 20 knots in winter, keep you comfortable.

With less than 20 inches of rain a year, mostly in November and December, Aruba virtually guarantees sunny weather. Even in late summer and fall -- when much of the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda can count on afternoon rain and possibly hurricanes -- Aruba may receive a few showers but no storms, since the island lies below the traditional hurricane belt. Combine little rain and constant breezes with low hotel rates, and you get a great off-season, budget-stretcher vacation.

For those adults interested, Aruba hosts 11 casinos, many attached to upscale hotels. Unlike in Las Vegas, where you have to walk through the casino to navigate the hotel, Aruba's resort casinos are located in buildings that adjoin the resorts without impinging on them.

Aruba, along with Bonaire and Curacao, form a trio of islands close to Venezuela that have a Dutch heritage. In 1986, Aruba gained autonomy from the Netherlands Antilles. The island is a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In addition to Holland, the island's early settlers came from Africa, Spain, Portugal and South America. Papiamento developed from the mix of languages of African slaves, Portuguese missionaries and the Spanish and Dutch settlers. In March 2003, Papiamento became one of Aruba's official languages.

Here's some Papiamento to get your vacation started: "bon bini" (welcome) appears on many signs. If you need something, state "Mi kier" (I want). When you receive the item, say "Danki" (Thank you). If you're hungry, try "Mi tin hamber" (I'm hungry) -- and, if thirsty, "Mi tin sed." Are you having a good time? Then smile, and say "Tur kos ta bon" (Everything is going well).

Be sure to check out our exclusive Caribbean Vacation Guide for Families, offering plenty of useful information about various Caribbean islands!

Written by Candyce H. Stapen less

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