As mentioned in an earlier post about the rainfall in Aruba, this island is very dry. Rainfall is average 16.2 inches/44 centimeters per year. Being a volcanic island (meaning: this island came about an underwater volcanic eruption a long time ago) and also a coral island, there is no water source under the ground. A major conundrum: how do you get your fresh drinking water? The title gave it away: from the sea. The body of water that surrounds Aruba is the very salty Caribbean Sea and the only source of Aruba’s fresh drinking water.
According to international organizations, Aruba’s drinking water ranks among one of the best in the world. It can easily compete against any fancy brand of bottled water. “Tap water is pure distilled water filtered through a bed of coral rocks where it absorbs important minerals such as calcium, and oxygen,” according to Aruba’s water company’s information site.
How come it is so good? The water company: “The World Health Organization’s standard for dissolved salt is 600 parts per million (ppm). Aruba’s water contains between 5 and 15 ppm of salt which is 40 times better.” Furthermore: “The quantity of bacteria is consistently below detectable levels, in other words, a very high level of purity.”
The core machinery uses fossil fuel, namely gas-oil or better known as diesel. The desalinization process is a very extensive and expensive one. When oil prices keep rising the water bills go up, too.
I have an information booklet with drawings on how exactly the purification process works. In a later post I’m going to scan it and publish it for you. Stand by for that.
Updated January 2019: Update includes new hotels and properties, removal of discontinued brands.
Popular Aruba Beaches
The two most popular Aruba beaches, by far, are Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. Both beaches are located in the developed hotel areas on western part of the island. These are the most visited beaches by locals, hotel guests and cruise ship visitors.
In this article I will lay out the differences and similarities between the two beaches and back them up with data, which I collected personally with public information provided by Aruba statistical office.
Today I was down at the Baby Beach again. It was relatively calm for a Sunday. Generally it is one of the busiest day of the week, specially with locals.
One thing is for sure: Baby Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Aruba. The people with me today didn’t want to get out of the water. Even when time’s up, I almost needed to drag ’em out of the sea. That’s no problem actually, that’s a complement.
Americans back in the twenties and thirties gave this particular beach the name ‘Baby Beach’ because of the shallowness of it. The beach was enclosed to prevent the currents and waves from coming in, making it the perfect location for safe swimming. They kept a small opening, this way better swimmers and snorkelers could still be able to ‘get out’ of the bay and swim around the larger fish in the water.
There are some ambitious plans to develop the area around Baby Beach and vicinity. I don’t know if I would support such plans. From what I’ve seen and read, it seems to be really big. Look for you self.
Meanwhile I found an awesome site with historic pictures and stories about our long lasting relationship with the United States. Did you know that Aruba had one of the biggest oil refineries during the WWII? Did you know that Aruba was the biggest supplier of fuel to the allied forces in the western hemisphere?
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?