Oranjestad, Aruba

Oranjestad, Aruba

The tiny island of Aruba, one of the southernmost islands in the Caribbean, just north of the Venezuelan coast, has earned a reputation for providing huge vacationing fun, and thanks to Royal Holiday, members have the chance to explore the island from the its exciting capital city, Oranjestad. Whether visitors plan to spend their time shopping all day, partying all night, or just laying on the beach watching the cruise ships sailing along the glittering water of the Caribbean, Oranjestad is the perfect destination. With its world-class transportation system, charming main street, and access to miles of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the city remains an unbeatable location for the Royal Holiday member looking for the ideal getaway.

Members stay at Royal Holiday’s luxurious affiliate on the island, Paradise Beach Villas, a condominium community with lodgings available for couples and large families alike. With completely equipped kitchens, balconies overlooking the resort and the ocean, and a comfortable central pool, Paradise Beach Villas possesses the home-away-from-home charm vacationers desire in a condo resort. Its main attraction, however, remains the easy access to Eagle Beach and its miles of white sand and turquoise surf.

Despite the obvious attractions of Aruba’s endless beaches, many Royal Holiday members will find themselves distracted by the island’s other natural features. Aruba holds 20% of its island as a nature preserve, and Arikok National Park showcases the island’s astounding beauty across the nearly 8,000 acres of its grounds. Guests can easily arrange hiking tours with park rangers, who guide travelers through pathways that reveal the incredible biodiversity of the island, including the Aruban parakeet, burrowing owl, and whiptail lizard, as well as Aruba’s geological wonders, such as formations that blend lava rock and quartz crystals.

Arikok National Park is an excellent place to begin an Aruban adventure. Royal Holiday members looking to enjoy a day at the beach can sun at one of the park’s playas, like Boca Prins or Diamari Beach, but others will want to enjoy the spelunking opportunities found at Quadirikiri and Huliba caves. Horseback rides through the park provide an exhilarating way to experience its natural beauty, while ATV tours through the Aruban wilderness can be just as thrilling. From Oranjestad, it’s easy enough to join a group of divers venturing under the sea to explore an ancient shipwreck. Visitors can also rent a windsurf board and ride the waves.

Those looking for more relaxing fare, however, will also be delighted with Oranjestad. In addition to its miles of pristine beachfront, its bustling Main Street offers endless opportunities to shop until you drop at both internationally renowned boutiques and quaint shops selling objets d’art drawn from local culture. A visit to Fort Zoutman and the Willem III Tower will shine light on the island’s colonial past, while exploring the city’s Historical Museum and Archaeological Museum offer a glimpse into the Amerindian culture of the island’s natives. To cap off an island adventure, many Royal Holiday members make sure to catch the weekly Bonbini Aruba Festival, a downtown event with live music and plentiful local cuisine.