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.


The Incredible Nightlife of Curacao

The island of Curacao is known for many things, but people flock to get a villa in Curacao in droves in order to make the most of its legendary night life. For such a small island, there are a large number of venues throughout Curacao where you can dance the night away, admire the views with a drink in hand or listen to some live music. It is not surprising that the majority of the nightlife scene comes alive on the weekends, so here is where to head when on your Caribbean vacation:


Thursday

 

On Thursday, there are plenty of entertainment options, especially in the Pietermaai District. This area of the island is seriously trendy, with a huge number of old historic homes being renovated and transformed into a range of unique bars and restaurants. Expect live jazz and blues music, with a spectacular sunset backdrop.

 

Friday

 

If dancing is more your thing, then Friday night is your night to go out. The evening is known as Drink, Dine and Dance, and you can enjoy endless salsa dancing between the 100 year old walls of the Rif Fort. If you are not brave enough to take to the dance floor yourself, you could simply spend the night enjoying a dinner if cocktail and watching the dancers before you head back to your vacation rental in Curacao.

 

Saturday and Sunday

 

On Saturday and Sunday evening, the most popular spots for nightlife really come alive. The four best nightlife bars are arguably Hemingway, Madero Ocean Club, Cabana Beach and Wet & Wild. After starting with the live music at Hemingway, move with the crowds over to the other clubs where DJs set up on the beach, dancers flock to the sand and there are some excellent drink deals. Make sure you get a Caribbean villa nearby, so you don’t have far to travel home!


Brewing Beer in Aruba

There are many thongs to love about the island of Aruba, but one thing that is particularly loved by tourists and locals alike its only home grown beer, Balashi. There is no better way to relax in an Aruba vacation rental than sipping on an ice cold beer around the pool, or with stunning views of the ocean. The beer is brewed from imported Scottish malt and hops, and tastes and looks like your typical Caribbean beer, but there is certainly something special about knowing it was brewed on the island.

Its name was derived from ‘Bala Bala’ and ‘Balana’, which are words from the language of the original inhabitants of the island. Both of these terms mean ‘near the sea’, and is a name that was voted for by the people of Aruba.

If you have accommodation in Aruba, a trip to the Balashi Brewery is a great day out. The ‘Brouwerij Nacional Balashi’, was only built in 1998, and is a state of the art lab that utilises the power of computer software to make sure that the brewing process is of the highest quality. This high tech lab lies in stark contrast to many of the other factories on the island, making it a popular tourist attraction.

On your visit you will be able to see the entire bottling operation, and from a walk way you can see down into various areas such as labelling and packing. The factory also bottles a range of well known soft drinks, and can bottle up to 15,000 an hour!

In order to brew its famous beer, the company uses desalinated and treated ocean water, as well as a range of other imported ingredients. They strive to be eco-friendly by using less plastic in their packaging and sending the old grain to farmers to feed their pigs.

After the tour, you can head out into the picturesque garden for a well-earned and complimentary brew.

No matter where you are on the island, you will be able to pick up a can or a bottle of this light and refreshing beer which can be enjoyed at a pub or around the pool side of one of the many luxury villa rentals.


Spas in Aruba

When looking for an idyllic Caribbean vacation, the first thing that often springs to mind is relaxation. Aruba is a hotspot for sunbathing, sipping drinks at a beach bar or lazing round a pool at your luxury villa rental.

What many people don’t know however, is just how many locations there are on this small island to be pampered from head to toe. Whether it is for a couple’s beach massage or a speciality treatment, Aruba has it all.

Okeanos Spa

This spa offers a huge range of services from its two locations on the island. They have both and indoor spa and a beach spa, which is often referred to as Spa Cove. While there, why not take a few photos with the world famous pink flamingos that also call it their home? Imagine breath-taking beauty as you relax with some healing treatments, some of which include the native aloe vera.

Zoia Spa

This new Spa concept was introduced back in 2012 and specialises in a range of spa treatments. The design of the spa incorporates sustainable products and materials throughout the space, and offers both indoor and outdoor treatments.

Larimar Spa

Under a beach side cabana, this spa really knows how to pamper its guests. Lots of visitors opt for the rum and aloe vera massage, the spa’s speciality inspired by ingenious ingredients. After the treatment, you will be heading back to your accommodation in Aruba in ultimate bliss.

Spa del Sol

Spa del Sol has taken full advantage of Aruba’s beaches when it chose its location. The spa is located under a few gazebos on the beach and offers a range of treatments such as massages, manicures and pedicures. What makes it even better, is there is even a steam room and whirl pool. Seeing as the island is so small, no matter where your vacation rental is location, it is easy to reach Spa del Sol.


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.

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