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If you're looking for an escape from the ordinary, Aruba offers a cultural trip around the globe, without the added jet lag. With more than 80 nationalities spinning around this kaleidoscope of culture, you’ll find a number of unique experiences in the lively tropical hues of downtown Oranjestad, the succulent flavors of a Euro-Caribbean fusion of food and in the most vibrant celebrations Aruba has to offer. Much like the people who call Aruba home, the island’s varied geography provides visitors with a host of natural attractions to see and explore like white-sand beaches, mountainous peeks and a desert-like interior. After a healthy dose of Aruba’s culture, head toward the western shore. It’s a posh destination that has all the gambling and excitement of big city life, but you'll still have the beach a few steps away.
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Mapping Out Aruba
Aruba can be broken up into three different regions for visitors to explore. The first, Oranjestad, is Aruba’s capital. With plenty of colors, sights and sounds, it’s best explored on foot so travelers can enjoy a tasteful mix of new and old Aruba. Western Aruba is where travelers will spend the majority of their time, as most resorts are located here. The area features a booming nightlife, casinos, restaurants and shopping centers, in addition to the beautiful beaches. Finally, Eastern Aruba is considered to be the adventurists’ destination. It’s less populated and home to the island’s vast Arikok National Park where you can take jeep tours and explore Aruba's beautiful landscape.
Barhopping on the Kukoo Kunuku
Climb aboard a psychedelic ’57 Chevy bus and party like there’s no tomorrow! After a night out barhopping on the Kukoo Kunuku, you'll be able to say you've experienced the ultimate pub crawl.
As E-Entertainment Television’s #1 excursion, these wacky hand-painted buses drive you around the city for the best bar hopping in Aruba. Every outing starts out with a champagne toast, followed by dinner under the stars. Then with Caribbean music to light your way, the Kukoo Kunuku bus takes you to a number of different bars and clubs. It’s a party on wheels that will send you home with a busload of memories. Go ahead and climb aboard the Kukoo Kunuku -- it's an Aruban adventure you won't want to miss.
High Rollers Paradise
Aruba’s casinos are one of the biggest draws to the island. From the pulsating lights and sounds of the strip, Aruba offers a true Las Vegas style experience right on the beach.
Many of its casinos were modeled after some of Vegas’ most upscale casinos. But while most gamblers are from the US, there’s no need to dress up Vegas-style. The barefoot elegance of Aruba’s casinos attracts high rollers and non-gamblers alike, so you can have a brush with Lady Luck anytime!
Golf Like a Champion
Located on Aruba’s northwest tip, the Tierra del Sol golf course is the island’s only PGA championship golf course. With 18 challenging holes, this Robert Trent Jones II designed par-71 course takes advantage of the island’s rugged landscape.
The course is conveniently located 5-10 minutes away from all of the island’s major resorts, so you can take in a quick game and still have time to explore parts of the island. However, if you'd rather just hit a few balls, the course also includes a full length practice range, putting greens, chipping areas and a magnificent clubhouse that sells a fine collections of clothing, balls, clubs and other accessories.
Shop! You Can't Stop!
While you came to Aruba to relax, you'd be crazy if you didn't spoil yourself with some much needed shopping! With so many great stores to choose from, who could resist the temptation to shop 'til you drop?
Shopaholics and window-shoppers alike will find pleasure in the huge selection of international name brand products priced up to 35% less than those in the United States. With all those savings, you'll have the chance to pick up those earrings you have been dreaming about, those shoes you saw in a fashion magazine, that dress.....well, you get the picture.
From jewelry store-lined streets to upscale chic malls, Aruba’s bountiful selection of shopping centers offers an escape from the high-rise resorts, but remains equally impressive. Stores are generally open Monday through Saturday, from 9am-6pm.
It's a Dazzling Affair
We know you can find many Carnival celebrations in the Caribbean islands, but until you've experienced the glitz and glamour of Aruba's Carnival, you won't realize what you've been missing.
In January 2014, Aruba will celebrate 60 years of Carnival festivities that showcase the islands rich cultural history. You'll find eye-catching parades, gorgeous costumes, dancing, Caribbean cuisine, all set in a lively atmosphere.
The events kick off January 1 and won't stop until March 4. So, if you're traveling to Aruba during these months, be sure to check it out all the Carnival details. With locals and tourists out enjoying the fun, it will be easy to see why people call this "One Happy Island".
Aruba Quick Facts
Dutch (official language), Portuguese, Creole, Spanish, French and English
Aruba’s currency is the florin, but the US dollar is generally accepted everywhere.
Aruba uses 110 volt outlets
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from Aruba.
Aruba’s drinking water flows from the world’s second largest desalinization plant and is completely safe to drink.
Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
The peak tourist season spans from mid-December through mid-April.