Aruba, is the self-proclaimed happy island of the Caribbean, but with a southern coastline of beautiful sandy beaches and stunningly clear waters, it’s difficult to argue with the moniker.
Beaches and the sea are extremely important to locals, and of course are one of the main attractions for the many tourists, adding to their relevance. Since the decline of a once prolific oil refinery, the economy is now almost entirely dependent on tourism dollars, which doesn’t seem a bad thing.
More underwater adventures: Great Mayan Reef – Snorkelling, An Underwater Adventure
The ocean seems to be the main source of recreation for islanders, watersports of all kinds, sailing, diving, windsurfing, paddleboarding, kitesurfing and of course swimming being popular activities. As there is often a strong breeze, it’s especially suitable for pastimes which require the wind. There certainly appeared to be a good standard of windsurfers and kitesurfers speeding along the coast just beyond the breakers of the shore.
In fact, an international windsurfing competition was being held during the time we visited, their skills were impressive and it was exciting to watch them ride the wind and skim over the surface of the azure coloured ocean.
Beneath the waves, there are coral reefs and numerous shipwrecks, perfect for snorkelling or diving for those wishing to really explore the undersea world around the island. A multitude of colourful fish including parrot fish and a variety of angel fish are regularly seen, and turtles are even possible although none of our group was that fortunate.
A previous encounter with a turtle: Snorkelling with Turtles on Lady Elliot Island, GBF
We did try power snorkelling however, using a small, portable motorised propeller to enable the swimmer to dive deeper and longer without any effort. It enabled us to see more, even hanging over the drop off where the shallow shore drops steeply away into the depths. It’s great fun and neither of us wanted to give up our personal underwater chariots when it was time to leave the water.
There are also plenty of restaurants and bars catering for those that get hungry, or thirsty from all this activity. Seafood is obviously on virtually every menu, there are even a few offering to grill any fish caught. Washed down with a cocktail, while recovering from earlier exertions, or more likely, the excesses of the previous evening!
The north coast is much more rugged and battered by heavy seas, but these images are typical of beach life on Aruba’s most famous stretches of sand; Eagle, Arashi or Baby beach, and good reason it is one happy island.