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 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.


Aruba Donkey Sanctuary!

Donkeys have a long-standing history with the island of Aruba. Locally known as ‘burico’, up until recently, these gentle creatures served the people of Aruba in a number of ways. They used to be the primary form of transportation, while also working with farmers and tradesmen. Although many were kept by owners, some also ran free in the Aruba countryside. At the end of the 20th century, there were over 1400 donkeys living on the island.

Learn more about the tradition of `burico` while enjoying your time at your Aruba vacation rental.

As the use of technology grew and Aruba become more developed, cars and machinery began to replace the humble donkey. As people no longer had any use for then, many were lost or killed, and by the 1970s, there were only around 20 donkeys left.

In 1997, ‘Stichting Salba Nos Burico’ was established, which translates as ‘Foundation Save Our Donkeys’, and quickly became a place where injured or displaced donkeys could go and live in safety.

Today, the burico of Aruba have over 40,000 square metres to roam freely, near Arikok National Park and Mount Jamanota. Annually, 26,000 visitors come to the visit the donkeys that live in the sanctuary to not only fawn over the creatures, but also make the most of Aruba’s countryside. Many love to be petted, and all love to be fed, making it a great day trip from your luxury villa rental in Aruba.

Local businesses are also keen to help the project, making generous, regular donations of money, transportation and resources, or simply buying products from the gift shop.

There is no admission fee for visiting the sanctuary, although of course donations are greatly appreciated, and allows for continual care of the gentle creatures. If you are feeling up for it, you can even hep with the daily chores that go with caring for the donkeys before heading back to your accommodation in Aruba.

The future of Arubian Donkeys is still uncertain, but one thing is for sure, the Donkey population on the island is making a fast turn around, thanks mostly to the work of the volunteers at the Donkey Sanctuary.


The Holiday Season is Nearly Here in Aruba!

You may picture the holiday season to be cold and snowy, but many people choose to enjoy the Christmas seasons on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Aruba holidays are celebrated with music, events and great food, and it is a great place to rent a villa in Aruba!

Christmas Trees

Every single year, real pine trees are imported down from North America for businesses and individuals to purchase. There will certainly be something strange about driving along in the sun and seeing pop up Christmas tree shops, but the locals would not be without them at this time of year.

House of Lights

Although many families will decorate their homes with lights, the main ‘House of Lights’ is located in Seroe Preto, and is a sight to behold! You could even dress your Aruba accommodation up to match.

Gaita Music

Although Gaitas originate in Venezula, people in Aruba have customised this holiday tradition to make it their own, and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. Popular bands will play at restaurants and bars, and will likely also play on the radio so you can dance along in one of our Aruba vacation rentals. The distinctive sound is often made from instruments such as the maracas, cuatro, charrasca and tambura.

Street Decorations

The first sign that the holiday season is approaching in Aruba is when the streets themselves start to become festive. The roads come to life with lights, garlands, poinsettia and more. In the town of Oranjestad you will likely see life-sized figures from the nativity, while roundabouts also undergo a complete festive makeover. Every year, local businesses are assigned a roundabout to decorate, which can turn slightly competitive!

Shopping

Downtown Oranjestad is a popular shopping location around the Christmas period thanks to the range of stores to choose from. Many shops are open late on select nights over this period, with Main Street, Renaissance Mall, Renaissance Marketplace and Royal Plaza Mall all being great places to start.

Food

Like in most countries, food plays a huge part of the Christmas festivities. Many restaurants will put together special holiday menus. A popular Aruban holiday dish is the ayaca, which consists of corn dough filled with pork, chicken or beef wrapped in plantain leaf and boiled. Why not try making one in your own kitchen in your Aruba holiday rental?
There is always some festival taking place on the island, meaning it is a great place to visit all year round.


Cuba or the Dominican Republic: Which is best for you?

Can’t decide where to take a Caribbean islands vacation? Unsure whether to rent a house in Cuba or book a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic? Let us help you choose what’s best for you! See below for factors to help you compare the two Caribbean getaways,

Nightlife

No matter where you go, you’ll always find a lively atmosphere in Cuba, a country that prides itself on its music, dancing, and discos. Said to be the ‘birthplace of the Mojito’, the island’s capital city, Havana, is a true nightlife hotspot, giving the likes of New York City a real run for its money!

There is plenty of nightlife in the Dominican Republic, too, although things to be a little tamer. Santo Domingo is very much an up-and-coming destination and has swapped its dive bars for sophisticated wine bars and well-equipped concert venues. Nightlife in Punta Cana is very much resort-style entertainment.

Winner: If you really want to let your hair down, rent a house in Havana, Cuba.

Beaches 

Although you can find absolutely stunning beaches along Cuba’s Varadero Peninsula, many travellers who stick to the central city of Havana won’t have many beach options available to them unless they hire a car. While Havana does have ‘urban beaches’, these are not your classic white Caribbean sands.

If it’s beaches you’re after, the Dominican Republic won’t disappoint. Punta Cana’s airport is conveniently located close to the resort town, with easy access to the 20-plus-mile stretch of golden sands. Santo Domingo has a few decent beaches, too, including Boca Chica, Playa Caribe, and Juan Dolio.

Winner: For great Caribbean beaches, opt for a villa with private pool in the Dominican Republic.

Shopping

With very few American influences in Cuba, it’s hard to find major stores or shopping malls here, even in Havana. However, shopping in Cuba is still a very fun experience! Be sure to check out the San Jose Warehouse near Havana Port, which is home to craft stalls set up by the local arts communities.

In the Dominican Republic, you’ll find bigger shops and department stores similar to what you may have back home. You might even find some of the world’s biggest brands here! The Agora Mall in Santo Domingo, for example, is home to Armani, Calvin Klein, Forever 21, L’Occitane, and MAC Cosmetics!

Winner: It’s a tie! Choose Cuba for local, handcrafted goods, and the Dominican Republic for big brands.


Escape the noise at Cuba’s private beach resorts

When you mention Cuba to beach lovers, the first resort that springs to mind is Varadero. With 20 kilometres of white silky sand, it is home to some of the best all-inclusive hotels on the island. But what if sitting on the same beach with hundreds of other holidaymakers just isn’t your thing? This guide will give you an insight into the locations of the most tranquil and picturesque beaches outside of your Cuba accommodation.

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Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco is located on the outlying island of Jardines del Rey. The island can be accessed by boat, and although it does have many hotel resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to find a sunny spot all for yourself. Cayo Coco is known for its coral reefs and beautiful, soft white sand. It’s a great area for snorkelling, and you may even be lucky enough to see rare bird life such as the white ibis and one of the largest pink flamingo colonies in all of the Americas.

Guardalavaca

Situated on the north shore of the island, this picture-perfect stretch of beach is laid-back, sprinkled with palm trees, and home to the inviting, clear, turquoise warm waters of the Caribbean. It’s the ideal place to relax, swim, dive, and view dolphins in their natural habitat.

Cayo Largo del Sur

A small mangrove covered island, Cayo Largo del Sur seems a world away from the cities of Havana, Trinidad, and Santiago. You can access the island by boat from your Havana villa rental. The abundant coral reefs are a sight to behold and the beach and mangroves are home to fascinating wildlife such as the iguana. Don’t be surprised if one casually strolls by while you are sitting on the beach!

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Playa Ancon

One of the finest beaches on the south coast of Cuba is just a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Trinidad. It has calm, fresh azure waters and a lush tropical backdrop.

Varadero

Even though this resort is one of the most highly populated in Cuba, it’s still worth a mention due to the fact that there are 20 kilometres of beaches stretching along the coastline. Whether you wish to explore the cool caves or outlying cays, you are sure to find a secluded spot where you can live out your beach paradise dream.

 

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