Aruba Sand Dunes

Along the rugged north shore of Aruba, you will find some of the finest sand on the island, in a snowy landscape of rolling hills. This desert like environment offers a great day trip opportunity from your villa in Aruba, as although you can’t drive on the dunes, they can fully be explored on foot.

The dunes are known as the Californian Dunes, named after the ship ‘California’, whose wreck lies just off of the shore. Further along the shore, you will find the beautiful dines of Wariruri and Arikok National Park. Expect to find Aloe, Cacti and Divi Divi trees scattered across the environment creating a truly desert like scene.

If you are up for a trek, then this part of the island is definitely worth a visit, regardless of whether or not your villa rental is nearby. For a good vantage point, head to the California Lighthouse, situated at the northern tip of Aruba. The lighthouse is one of the island’s premier landmarks, and is a great place to visit day or night to take in the 360 degree views that it offers.

If you don’t fancy making the trip yourself, there are many tour companies that offer a guided tour of California Lighthouse from you Aruba house rental. With a tour, you will get the added benefit of a complete historic description by an informative guide.

For a full day out, why not finish of your day trip with a visit to the restaurant of La Trattoria El Faro Blanco, located at the base of the lighthouse? It is here you can tuck in to some delicious Italian fare. Alternatively, head to Simply Fish, where you can try some delicious Arubian dishes and enjoy the culture of the island before heading back to your Caribbean vacation home.


5 must see sights in St Barts

The beautiful island of St Barts holds many attractions, therefore it is no wonder that thousands of people year after year come looking for a St Barts luxury villa rental. Here are some of the must see sights.

Saline Marshes

Although the beaches of this area of the island are some of the best in the world, the marshes are also an attraction in itself. This magical wildlife habitat is often overlooked, yet it is the home of a huge array of rare bird species, and truly is a nature lover’s dream.

The Port of Gustavia

If you were to visit one place in all of St Barts, then let it be the Port of Gustavia, a perfect example of how the island manages to merge history with modern luxuries. Superyachts glide in and out of the harbour, and the colourful colonial building now house a range of designer stores and restaurants. Come here to shop, dine or people watch on a day trip from your St Barts accommodation. Alternatively, you could look for some vacation rentals in the direct area, the options are endless.

Columbier Orientation Table

This viewpoint is located on the outskirts of Columbier Village, and offers some spectacular sights from Flamands all the way to Gustavia. If you want to see almost the whole island from a bird’s eye view, then this is the place to head, you may even spot your villa in St Barts! Once you are done looking, take the short 20 minute hike down to the beautiful Colombier Beach and enjoy the soft sand and surf.

Toiny Coast

Escape bustling city life and head to the beautiful views of Toiny Coast. Although this is a popular spot for many people, surfers are particularly fond of it due to the windswept headlands. If you don’t want to hit the waves, then there are plenty of walks along the rocky coastline where you really will feel the wild in your hair.

Gouverneur Beach

This is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and for good reason! It is unspoilt and picture perfect, yet the fact that it is a little out the way means that it is rarely crowded like some of the bigger beaches.

 


Beneath Barbados waters.

There is no question that the waters around the island of Barbados are simply teeming with life, bringing people form all over the world to get a Caribbean vacation rental and enjoy the waters, either by snorkelling or scuba diving. There are two hot spots for seeing the life beneath the waves.

Carlisle Bay Marine Park

This marine park is located in St. Micheal, so likely to be just a short drive from your Barbados holiday rental. With calm waters, a sunken shipwreck and the chance of seeing turtles in their natural habitat, it is a very popular snorkelling spot. Ruined boats are strewn across the sea floor, so it is not uncommon to see rusting cannonballs and old anchors resting on the sea bed. If you opt to take a guided snorkelling tour, you may also get the chance to feed the fish, and have them flock around you while you swim. Guided tours also come with the benefit of transport to and from your Barbados accommodation.

Folkestone Marine Park

At Folkestone Marine Park, located in St James, you can explore an artificial reef that is simply teeming with a variety of sea life. The reef has been created by the sinking of the Stavronikita ship, which now rests in 120 ft of water less than half a mile out to sea, which is best seen by an organised scuba tour. Again, you can be picked up from your holiday rental and taken directly to the dive site.

If you fancy staying a little closer to shore, then simply put on a snorkel and swim around the inshore reef, about one third of a mile from the coast, and home to fish, anemones, sea lilies, corals and sponges.

Once you have seen all there is to see in the water, then be sure to take a walk around the informative museum which is full of information about all the creatures that you may have just witnessed under the water.


5 reasons why Aruba should be your next vacation destination

If the blue waters, huge range of Aruba vacation rentals and picture perfect scenes are not enough to convince you, here are 5 reasons why you should rent a villa in Aruba and why it is the ideal vacation destination.

Fantastic year round weather

Situated right on the fringes of the hurricane belt, the island of Aruba is blessed with more sunny days than any other Caribbean island. That means there is very little chance of having to stay cooped up inside on a rainy day, and more relaxing round the pool of your luxury villa rental.

Activities for all ages

No matter the ages of your party, there will be an activity that all can enjoy. With a butterfly farm, donkey sanctuary, museums, natural wonders, art galleries, water sports and more, it is impossible to be bored. If all else fails, one of the best things to do is simply enjoying a swim in your Aruba holiday rental pool!

Beaches Galore

Most people venture to this beautiful island for the many stunning beaches. There are beaches all over the island, with powder soft sand, calm waters and many cool snorkelling spots. Some of the best beaches include Mangel Halto, Palm Beach and Arashi Beach.

A friendly welcome

When you arrive on the island, you can expect a friendly welcome, which could be in many languages, such as Dutch, Spanish, English and then the local language of Papiamento. The majority of locals will go out of their way to please visitors, including those offering Caribbean vacation homes, and will celebrate with any excuse that they can.

Eco-friendly

Aruba is largely an eco-friendly island, meaning the people respect the environment and the local flora and fauna, doing all they can to protect marine life and the various ecosystems that can be found on land.


Exploring Christoffel National Park in Curacao

When thinking about vacationing in the tropical paradise that is Curacao, the first thing that comes to mind is not likely to be rock hiking. However, the island is so full of beautiful landscapes, it would be a shame not to experience at least some of it on foot.

One of the most popular places to explore is in Christoffel National Park, likely to be easily accessible from your Curacao holiday rental. The west side of the island is where the most rain falls throughout the year, creating a truly lush landscape. There are a number of things to do in the park, some of which can’t be missed.

Hike to the highest point

Seasoned hikers can take the two hour climb to the top of the highest point of the island, Mt. Christoffel, reaching 1,227 feet. The views from the summit are simply stunning, and you may even be able to spot your Curacao accommodation.

Find hidden beaches

When headed for the beach, most people will head to those that are found in the resort towns. Two of the island’s best beaches however are found just outside of the park, and truly are a hidden gem. Knip and Klein Knip, both pristine coves with fine white sands and lush blue waters.

Take a scenic drive

The Mountain Route is one of the most scenic drives on Curacao, as it winds through the green hills and provides you with stunning views of the former plantation estates below. The route is 7.5 miles long, so you could easily bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it from your villa in Curacao.

Learn about the history of the island

A lot of the island’s history can be found within the park in the form of the plantations that still lie within its grounds. By visiting Savonet, Zorgvliet and Zevenbergen you can learn more about the Atlantic slave trade.


The Curacao Art Scene

The people of Curacao have always fully embraced their colourful surroundings and rich culture, and this couldn’t be seen any more clearly than in their art scene. The island has inspired a huge number of artists, housing over 30 artists from both Curacao and all over the world. It is hardly surprising therefore, that there are many art galleries dotted around the island, all of which are worth exploring as a day trip or a short visit from your Caribbean vacation rental.

Chichi Curacao Serena’s Art Factory

Located in the vibrant city of Punda, the Art Factory is an explosion of colour. You can see how these incredible sculptures are made by the team free of charge, pick up a souvenir to take back to your holiday rental, or even paint your own sculpture. The sculptures are created by 60 local women, and are beautiful to witness.

Gallery Alma Blou

This is the oldest gallery in Curacao, and also the largest, holding a huge amount of authentic Caribbean art. Even where the gallery is housed is stunning, in a beautiful 18th century mansion. The collection is made up of mostly local artists, inspired by their home’s nature and culture.

Ritz Gallery

The Ritz Gallery is housed in a former ice cream factory, which served the island for 70 long years. On a visit from your Curacao villa, not only can you experience its distinctly village like feel, but also an interesting collection of stone statues from Indonesia, and an exposition of the renovation of the factory.

Jean Girigory Gallery

This gallery is dedicated to displaying the works of Jean Girigory. Jean works in a number of mediums, from paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glassworks and more. Although relatively small, there is a lot of talent on show.

Nana Sanchez Gallery

The artist Nana Sanchez draws her inspiration from her surroundings, recreating the bright colours and scenes that draws people to get a Curacao house rental year after year. Not only can her work be seen on the island, but also all across Europe and North and South America.


The Sporty Island of Barbados

What some people may not realise when getting a vacation rental in Barbados, is that the island is big on a range of sports. Surprisingly, the number one sport that the island is known for is its cricket. The island is well known in the Caribbean for its sports tourism, and the locals demonstrate a passion for a range of activities such as polo, water sports, horse riding, track and field, tennis and golf to name just a few others. This passion, as well as an abundance of sporting history, had lead to a number of excellence sporting facilities cropping up over the island, and the locals take part in a number of international competitions.

 

Cricket

Organised cricket started to take place in Barbados back in 1892, and today the sport is played all year round. There are a number of cricket grounds, but the most well-known is the Kensington Oval, which is in Bridgetown. For many, cricket is not just a hobby, but a way of life, so no matter what time of year you decide to get a Caribbean villa, Chances are there will be some sort of match taking place in the Oval. Over the years, a number of Barbadian players have become well known for their skill on the pitch.

 

 

Surfing

The south coast of the island is the perfect place to get a vacation home in Barbados if you are looking to find that perfect wave. People come from all over the world to surf the south coast surf, with the most consistent breaks found at South Point and Brandon’s. November to June is the best time for surfing in Barbados, and at low tide, as it is here that the waves come in very quickly.

Golf

The island of Barbados is home to 5 PGA Standard golf courses, many which have some lovely Caribbean luxury villas located around them. As well as just playing for fun, visitors are also eligible to take part in a number of competitions during their stay such as the Barbados Open and the Festival of Golf.

 

Sailing

The island continues to attract a number of professional and recreational sailors every year, who come to take in the beautiful sights and make use of the number of sailing facilities. The conditions are often labelled ‘champagne sailing’, and due to this a number of World Sailing Championships have been held in Barbados. Sailor or not, there are many sailing festivities to take part in or watch throughout the year.


Delving into Aruba’s History

Aruba is an island rich in history, and getting a villa in Aruba would not be complete without delving deeper into its interesting past, and there are many ways this can be done!

National Archaeological Museum

For a general overview of the rich history of this Dutch island, you are best to start your journey at the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba, located in a renovated home in Oranjestad. As soon as you step in the doors you will be impressed with collections dating back over 4000 years ago. There are plenty of hands on and interactive exhibits which are a great way to entertain children, making it a great day out for the whole family.

Arikok National Park

Head to Arikok National Park to not only see some beautiful landscapes, but also get a glimpse of history. The park covers 18% of the total area of the island. In it you will be able to find Fontein Cave, which is home to ancient Arawak cave paintings that date back to the pre-Colombian era. As the island is small, no matter where your Caribbean vacation rental is located, the caves should be easily reached.

SS Antilla

For a fascinating look at the island’s history, take a dive to visit the SS Antilla wreck just off of the coast. The wreck is the largest in the Caribbean, and was believed to be supplying German U-Boats during World War 2. Divers can explore the boat and the interesting marine life that have now made it their home.

Aloe Vera Factory

One of the products Aruba is most famous for is its Aloe plants, and, you can find out more about its production at the Aloe Museum and Factory. The plant was first introduced to Aruba back in 1840, and at one point its growth covered around 66% of the island! The museum was where the first aloe vera was planted, and it is still in use today. It also features a working factory and exhibits on the industry’s equipment.

Walking Tour of Oranjestad

One of the best ways to get to know the island’s capital of Oranjestad is to take a walking tour. You can learn more about many of the lovingly restored historical landmarks such as Fort Zoutman and the Willem III Tower before retiring back to your Caribbean holiday rental.


The Incredible Curacao Carnival

At the start of the year, Curacao plays host to a very special event, the annual Carnival. This carnival is one of the longest-lasting Carnival spectacles in the whole Caribbean, and is one of the best times to look for a holiday rental in Curacao.

The founding of the Carnival dates back many years, and began as a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of ‘Carne Levale’, which means that people would give up meat for the period of Lent. To celebrate the occasion, a series of parties would take place. However, it was not until 1969 that it began to gain in popularity as an island wide event.

The first day of the event is known as Jump In/Jump Up. Various dance troupes and groups assemble, and over the following few weeks will organise jump ups and jump ins to raise money for them to participate in The Grand Parade, also known as the Gran Marcha.

This incredible spectacle takes place in either February or March, and are a culmination of costumes, floats, characters and the winners of beauty contents, who take on the role as ‘Carnival Royalty’. The Gran Marcha takes place on Sunday, and the Marcha di Despedida, the Farewell March, is always on a Tuesday evening. This final parade usually takes place in the dark, and the streets come alive with sparkling lights and fires.

If you manage to get a Caribbean vacation home at the time of the Carnival, be sure to take a camera! The route always starts at Santa Maria, and winds its way through Otrobanda, so you should try and get there early to get the very best viewing spot.

While there, don’t forget to check out the Tumba Festival, which is a four-day musical extravaganza, where local musicians compete to have their music selected as the year’s official Carnival Tumba song. Usually it is quite a party, filled with laughter, drinking and music, and th elikelyhood is, you won’t be returning to your villa in Curacao until the early hours!


Island Highlight – St Jean

Although Gustavia may be the most populated part of the island, then second most popular tourist area on the island is St. Jean. Located in St Barts heart, it is a town simply full of amazing dining opportunities, large and uncrowded shopping plazas, and a range of tiny, unique boutique establishments. It is also nearby the islands only airport, making transport links to your villa in Barbados easy.

Once you have filled your days with shopping, wandering down the picturesque streets and having a bite to eat in one of the many pavement cafes or upscale restaurants, it is time to hit the beach. The beach of St. Jean is actually two beaches, split by the Eden Rock which sits proudly on the coastline, with a hotel perched on the top.

The bay is a beautiful crescent of powder soft, white sands, and is home to a natural coral reef which helps to make it a swimming hot spot. People come from vacation rentals all over the island to dive beneath the waves and see the huge array of marine life that thrive just below the surface.

If water sports are your thing, then there are a number of water sport centres around the town and bay that offer the rental of sporting equipment such as snorkel gear,snorkel gear, windsurfers and much more, as well as an array of other beach toys.

Due to the stunning bay, St. Jean is also home to the St. Barts Fun Cup in February, which is three days of Regattas. The lively atmosphere, excitable crowd and festival atmosphere make it a great time to have accommodation in Barbados.

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