It's as easy as 1-2-3 in these Caribbean islands.
As the heat of the summer rolls on, and you realize you need a vacation: consider taking a beach trip somewhere new and exciting in the Caribbean.Just off the coast of Venezuela, below the Hurricane Belt, you will find the Dutch ABC Islands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. The Hurricane Belt can impact a traveler's vacation in the Caribbean, but not here. Out of the path of hurricanes and in the sun lie these destinations that are unlike any other Caribbean experience.
A is for Aruba
Malmok BeachMost known for: being the happiest Caribbean Island.
Friendly people greet you as you step off the plane on to Aruba
. The island's weather is more-or-less guaranteed; it's hot, and there’s always a nice ocean breeze to cool you off. There is also rarely a rainy day, which makes it a great vacation destination year-round. Not to mention, the water is a beautiful aquamarine.
Aruba is great for couples families, adults or children. There are always activities to do that appeal to so many different audiences. You can relax, boat, parasail, snorkel, tube, and shop! You will never be bored here.With many direct flights into Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) out of major airports, getting to Aruba is easy. Also, there is a cruise port located in the capital, Oranjestad. Aruba is 6 miles across and about 19 miles long. In the center, you will find Arikok National Park where you can explore a desert landscape filled with diverse flora and fauna surrounded by impressive rock formations. Surrounding the island is the clear, crystal blue water which is ideal for scuba diving. There are many different dives near shipwrecks like the Antilla Wreck, which is a 400-foot German shipwreck. It’s a diver’s paradise for both advanced and novice divers.
Janie Lorenzo and her family, of New Jersey, have been to Aruba year after year and she says, “There’s always something for everyone in my family to do in Aruba, and it is a very comfortable place to be, in the sense that you feel very safe. Additionally, everything is in walking distance so it’s easy to get around and do a variety of things.”
A great way to see the island during sunset is on a sailboat tour
on a luxury catamaran. You’ll sail with the white sandy beaches on one side and the bright blue Caribbean on the other.
B is for Bonaire
Lac BayMost known for: exquisite scuba diving.If you’re looking for some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean or a tranquil vacation with peace and quiet, don’t look any further. In Bonaire, you will be living on island time with the locals. Forget your morning commute, traffic lights, even the hubbub of your day-to-day life.Bonaire is a little island that was first claimed by the Spanish in 1499, it eventually was taken by the Dutch in 1636. Although it changed hands a couple more times, Bonaire was returned to the Dutch in 1816.
With its desert landscape, you can always expect warm and sunny days in Bonaire. The coral reef just off the coast is protected by Bonaire National Marine Park and it is lined with phenomenal dive spots, making it a great spot for both divers and snorkelers alike.Getting here is easy with flights to Flamingo International Airport in Kralendijk out of major U.S. airports such as Atlanta, Newark, and Houston. We suggest renting a car to explore the whole island, thus making the most of your time here.If you want to tour the island in a different way, then you could try a sailboat tour. You will sail from Kralendijk and along the coastline of Bonaire. During this three-hour sail aboard a 44-foot long yacht, passengers get to swim and snorkel as well. The cuisine is something you don't want to miss out on in Bonaire. To get a taste of the Caribbean while sailing you can hop on a boat tour and enjoy a dinner at sea. During this sunset tour, you will have a guided snorkeling tour, try delicious BBQ, and enjoy music on the water.
C is for Curaçao
Willemstad's historic architectureMost known for: the colorful architecture of Willemstad, along with Blue Curaçao Liqueur.The most densely populated of the three, Curaçao was originally controlled by Spain, and in 1634 was claimed by The Netherlands. It became an important port for trade, with salt as the main export.Getting to Curaçao can be easy with a flight to Hato International Airport, located just outside of the capital Willemstad. Also in Willemstad are the cruise ports Curaçao Mega Pier and the Curaçao Cruise Terminal. The island is about 37 miles long and 9 miles wide, and getting around is simple if you rent a car for as little as $45 a day.
In the historic district of Willemstad, you'll find traditional Dutch architecture painted with a flair of bright, Caribbean colors. You'll also discover coral reefs and breathtaking hidden beaches.
There's always something new to do or try on Curaçao. Exploring the underwater world with a scuba tour
is great for beginners who want to try out scuba diving. The guide will introduce you to the basics, and you will experience some of the most breathtaking underwater scenery in the Caribbean.
Another place to explore is in the mangroves off Willemstad. On a kayaking tour
through the mangroves, you can paddle through the calm waters and learn about native flora and fauna. You will be able to take in the lush beauty of the mangroves and end your day with lunch at a restaurant called Pirate's Nest.