The Caribbean and Bahamas offer up one fantastic destination after another, yet Aruba in the Lesser Antilles is a relatively unvisited paradise, despite its myriad powdery sand beaches, electric music scene and incredible dedication to host events large and small year-round across the island. For these reasons alone it’s not hard to see why Lonely Planet named Aruba one of its top 20 destinations to travel to in 2020.
Language barriers aren’t a problem: The official languages are Dutch and Papiamento – a creole based on Spanish and Portuguese – but English is widely spoken everywhere. US dollars are accepted everywhere and there is little difference whether you use USD or the Aruban Florin (AWG) in making your purchases.
It’s also possible to include Aruba in a larger itinerary exploring the region, particularly with Curacao and Bonaire, for an ‘ABC Islands’ vacation. Sailing yacht VINTAGE is one such vessel available in Aruba and beyond: Her classic interiors belie plenty of modern technology installed in her 2017 refit for guest comfort and entertainment. At 27m/88.7ft she is an ideal size for family charters, providing accommodation for up to eight guests in three cabins: 1 Master suite, 2 double cabins and a convertible bed in the salon.
The deck area provides a spacious environment for alfresco dining and sunbathing so that guests can spend as much time outdoors as possible connected to their environment, and a top speed of 16 knots will take guests wherever they want in excellent time.
5 Reasons to choose Aruba in 2020:
Fantastic weather throughout the year
Aruba is a year-round destination because of its stable temperatures, never drifting far from the average of 31°C/87.8°F. The rainy season from October to December is relatively short and most rainfall happens in sudden short bursts followed by glorious sunshine, giving your charter group plenty of opportunities to get in time at the beaches or to be unaffected when diving and snorkelling under the water.
The sea temperatures are just as reliable as the sunshine and visitors can expect a warm and welcoming 29°C/84.2°F in the hottest months of July to October, while the winter season from January to April reaches a low of 26°C/78.8°F. This makes the waters around Aruba excellent training grounds for beginner divers looking to advance to intermediate level and diver deeper than before.
Moreover, the predictable weather and pristine beaches mean that Aruba is the perfect destination for weddings and honeymoons and guests can fly in to arrive at the international airport in Oranjestad or cruise through the Caribbean.
Gorgeous beaches for special event charters
The glittering shores of Aruba are just one of this island’s most powerful allures and many visitors come here for weddings and honeymoons.
Baby Beach is aptly named because its clear shallow waters within a natural bay are perfect conditions for paddling with young learners. Its location south of San Nicolas makes it a popular choice with holidaymakers in the peak season however it is practically deserted the rest of the year. If you are in the area, it is worth visiting for its beautiful pale sands, attractive coral reefs and variety of fish.
Boco Grandi is popular with kite surfers and has strong currents but when the winds and waves die down it’s also a great place for strong swimmers to go snorkelling with turtles. Visitors might prefer Arashi Beach, which has soft white sands and a sheltered lagoon where blue striped snappers and other fish play.
Boca Catalina, Catalina Cove & Tres Trapi are all close together near the northeastern tip of the island and this area is one of the best places to spot turtles. Nearby Catalina Cove has white sands, a shallow incline into the topaz blue waters and plenty of fish like blue tangs that add a dart of colour to your pale and perfect surroundings. Tres Trapi means ‘Three Steps’ aptly describes the three rocks which form a stairway down to the sea. Less fish are seen here but there are many pretty starfish that make this section of the coast an attractive stop.
You’ll know when you reach Mangel Halto because of the mangroves surrounding its transparent waters. Turtles are regular visitors to the coral garden beyond the shores, while the beach itself is a beautiful, sheltered and private spot to rest after hours of fun in the water.
Water sports sites and land-based adventure in abundance
Due to the easterly winds blowing over Aruba there are excellent conditions for sailing yachts and wind-based water toys. The breeze produces a steady six knots that can be used for kite surfing, parasailing and windsurfing, and if you choose a luxury yacht with an instructor on board, beginners can spend the week learning a new skill in the tranquil shallows of a pristine Aruban beach. Status as an Approved RYA Water Sports Centre or PADI Certified Dive Centre let you learn how to use jet skis and Scuba diving equipment respectively, so beginners can join more experienced members of the group and share in the discovering what lies beneath the waterline.
Snorkelling and Scuba diving sites are abundant as many old vessels have been purposely sunk to become artificial reefs and their success is evident as you approach through the calm clear waters: Hard and sofa corals thrive on the hulls and have attracted species of all sizes from rays and turtles to clownfish and angelfish. A lot of these open wrecks are a perfect introduction to wreck diving for rewarding experiences at a maximum depth of only 15m/49ft.
The mid-section of the oil tanker PEDERNALES lies on the seafloor just 10m/32.8ft below the surface and is a great place for beginner divers to have a taste of wreck diving: Eye-catching anemones and spectacular gorgonians across the structure and attract schools of fish of every colour and stripe.
Visitors and locals consider the SS ANTILLA near Malmok Beach to be one of the best wreck dives in the Dutch Caribbean and it’s worth bringing your camera along for this snorkel trip or dive: The exterior is a metropolis for fish life and the more experienced can head inside to find out which species have made SS ANTILLA their home.
Another great snorkelling wreck along Malmok Beach is the M/Y BABOO. She was originally sunk to create an artificial reef and a hurricane in 1999 caused her to resurface. Her resting spot in 2-3 metres (6-10 feet) of water boosts the confidence of less experienced snorkelers and this long-established wreck is a thriving hub for marine life.
Whether you are an expert fisherman or you will be picking up a rod for the first time during your charter vacation, Aruba has a magnificent selection of sportfish including Mahi Mahi, wahoo, tuna and kingfish for you to catch and cook on board and complemented by the prefect refreshment from the wet bar.
On land, the Arikok National Park has hiking and biking trails where guests might encounter hummingbirds flitting between the park’s cacti and there’s the chance to spot the endemic Aruban burrowing owl on the journey. The Fontein Cave has wall paintings by the Caquetois and graffiti left by the early European settlers, and farther north along the coast is the collapsed Natural Bridge which is still worth visiting for the amazing colours of the landscape and the great large beaches nearby.
Rich and varied nightlife
The social calendar in Aruba has something for every month of the year, from regattas and cycling competitions to food festivals and parades. Depending on when you travel, you could time your visit to a concert in Oranjestad or fit in the Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman every Tuesday.
Arubans don’t wait until the sun has set to start dancing and you will find many open-air ‘halls’ close to the beach for drinks and dancing long past sunset. Beach bars, clubs and restaurants are easy to find along the waterfronts, and along the northwestern coast there are casinos for a night of thrills.
You can create your own special event aboard your luxury yacht when you drop anchor in a secluded cove or lie dockside, and with so many beaches to choose from its simple to spend a night on the shores enjoying a barbeque and songs or a candlelit dinner under unpolluted night skies.
Duty-free and unique shopping
Aruba is a duty-free destination and a shoppers’ heaven for luxury goods such as bespoke jewellery, men’s accessories and perfumes and clothing. More unique souvenirs from the region could include Cuban cigars or Aruban aloe, and there is a wide range of liquor on offer from international names to locally-made treats.
The north-west coast at Palm – Eagle Beach is a favourite among tourists for global brands and boutique shops so that you can update your wardrobe with the latest fashions.
Galleries are be found in the north-west, within the capital city of Oranjestad or down south in San Nicolas, which is a particular haven for creatives. Here you may find bespoke artwork and intricate craftsmanship ranging from canvases to garden sculptures in a range of styles to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. This is a great place to pick up a memento of your time on Aruba with something personal that fits into your life back home.
A luxury yacht charter in Aruba is a sensational way to experience this Caribbean Island and there are motor yachts and sailing yachts for every budget and to suit the interests of the group.