People assume many things before going on a vacation. Assumptions obviously aren’t correct most of the time. The biggest assumption about Aruba is that this island is a tropical island, of course, beaches, margaritas and palm trees. Tropical in my opinion also means rain.
Would you believe it if I told you that Aruba might be one of the most desert-like islands in the Caribbean? According to the local Meteorological Service in 2006 it rained about 400 millimeters (15.7 inches). Consequently cacti-landscape like you see in the picture below is the natural result.
Many times visitors ask me a very simple question regarding the beaches: are there private beaches on Aruba? The answer is: NO!
The mainstream beaches on Aruba are Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, both located at the west side of the island. All major resorts are located at these beaches.
Confusion arises because of the way resorts place these small cabana-huts and other facilities for their hotel guests. This might suggest ownership of the whole beach, while this is definitely not the case.
It is not allowed to restrict access to any beach on Aruba to anyone, not by hotels, not by luxurious residential villa owners, not by anyone.
In the territorial waters of Aruba there are two private islands with their own beaches however.
Hotel chain Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino bought a piece of property that wasn’t more than a dead coral reef. They fixed it, build facilities like a restaurant, bar, shower etc. for the use of the hotel guest. Renaissance did this because it lacks access to a beach. This resort is located in heart of the capital of Aruba. There is a boat that transports people from the lobby of Renaissance Marina Hotel to the Renaissance Island throughout the day. Non-guests are welcome as well, provided you pay the corresponding fee.
Another company that did something similar is De Palm Tours. This company is the biggest tour operator on Aruba.
Aruba is cooled by a very comfortable breeze, the trade winds, at an average speed of 32.2 km/h (20 mph). Wind gusts up to 56.3 km/h (35 mph) are also very common. Combine this with the perfect depth at Fisherman’s Huts beach/Hadicurari Beach you’ll get the ideal location for any event.
Windsurf enthusiasts have recognized this potential and organized an international windsurf competition called Aruba Hi-winds. This event has been held since the eighties pretty consistently. This year this event will be celebrated from June 27th to July 3rd. Visit the official Aruba Hi-winds 2007 website for more information.
Spanish hotel chain Riu Hotels & Resorts purchased a prime piece of property on the Palm Beach strip on Aruba in 2006. The last resort that operated that property was Aruba Grand Hotel and way before that, Sheraton. Riu have since rebuild the existing tower and added two additional towers. Construction is on-going (day and night) and according to a recently posted press-release its inaugural date is July 20, 2007.
The company state that they invested US$ 120 million to make this first 5-star all-inclusive resort on Aruba happen. The resort will consist of 450 rooms and several restaurants and casino among the amenities.
In the media has been suggested that Riu wants to focus its attention towards the European visitors, predominantly from Spain, specially when Aruba tourism figures shows that more than 70% of current visitors arrive from the United States.
Many times when a new project arrive to Aruba, locals welcome it. This project is no different. There are some voices of concern within certain sectors however. The main concern is that this property offers so much and it is all-inclusive that visitors at this resort might not be as inclined to leave the resort premises as opposed to visitors at other resorts. Taxi’s, restaurants and in lesser scale local tour operators might not get additional business. Aruba already has experience with all-inclusive resorts like Occidental Resort, Holiday Inn and Divi Resorts amongst many, and it worked out. At this point people I talk to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope it becomes as successful as other all-inclusive resorts on Aruba.
I cruise daily the Palm Beach area and many times tourists tell me that it doesn’t look like its going to be opening soon, there is still a lot of construction that needs to be finished. Maybe the resort is going to open partially?
Recently officials announced the creation of new rules for motorboats (including jet ski’s and/or wave runners) at one of the most popular beaches of Aruba, Eagle Beach. These rules are supposed to increase the safety of people swimming and users of motorboats alike.
The new rules include the creation of a buffer zone of 75 meters (246 feet) after the swimming areas. Swimming areas are the areas that are shallow and calm enough for people to swim at Eagle Beach. In the buffer zone boats are not supposed to go full speed and vigilance is required.
Furthermore, special areas are marked where boats are allowed to reach the beach or piers and the maximum speed is 5 km/h (3 mph). All above mentioned areas are clearly marked with yellow buoy’s with a little light on top.
According to police officials these new rules give them new authority to penalize any infraction towards the new rules.
The resorts in the direct areas where the new rules are applicable are Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, La Cabana Beach Resort, La Cabana Villas, Paradise Beach Villas, Marine Verlof Centrum, La Quinta Beach Resort and Costa Linda Beach Resort.