Canadian honeymooners loving it in Aruba … and a Curacao wrap up
PALM BEACH, Aruba — Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of Aruba’s secession from the Netherlands Antilles — and an amazing quarter-century it has been for the 34-kilometre-long island.
Aruba has quickly become a vacation mecca with immaculate golf courses, resorts from lavish to stately, a dozen casinos, high-end shopping and fantastic beaches. More than 1.4 million tourists a year visit the island and Canadians make up about 10 per cent of the tourism market, according to Aruba Tourism Authority public relations coordinator Ricardo Croes. Among the Canucks on the island right now are a group of honeymooners celebrating their nuptials.
Toronto’s Richard Kovacs and his wife chose Aruba for their honeymoon because they’d had a good experience in St. Maarten and wanted to explore more of the Caribbean islands tied to Holland. Chris Laperle of Ottawa (pictured here with his bride, Jennifer) chose Aruba because of recommendations from friends and family.
“No hurricanes and it’s just great weather,” he said were the other reasons for pick.
The weather has been great the past couple of days — but not in the way you’d expect. Although Aruba isn’t in the hurricane belt, it is being affected by the two recent hurricanes in the Atlantic. The tail of a hurricane will suck the air away from the Caribbean Sea, leaving the islands humid and muggy, and there are dramatic effects too. On Saturday, the waves went wickedly high on Palm Beach, which is in the island’s north end, home to the Hard Rock Café and several of the Aruba’s top resorts. Those of us testing the waters got jostled around pretty good. And on Sunday night there was a lightning show that provided amazing entertainment. For two hours the sky lit up went black then lit up again then crackled with booming thunder and bolts from sky to sea. Over and over again. An awesome sight.
Beaches a big charm of Curacao
Many Canadians and Americans would only recognize Curacao as the name of a liqueur. But this island has a ton to see and a real nice mix of things to do. There are about 35 beaches, which means there’s loads of space on the sand and you don’t have to worry about staking out a spot for your beach towel. The water changes colour from beach to beach, depending on the cloud cover and amount of sunlight. The west side of the island, which is about 60 kilometres from the capital of Willemstad, is remote, uncommercialized and about as tranquil a place as you’ll find in the Caribbean.
On my visit to Kenepa Grande (or Big Knip) beach, the turquoise water was so clear you could see several feet to the bottom. Jeremi Beach was a winner: a small, cup-shaped cove bracketed by cliffs on either side, perfect for intimate meetups. Santa Cruz beach is another beautiful spot that’s also home to one of the most eccentric characters I’ve ever met. You’ll read about the man called Captain Good Life and more about Curacao and Aruba in the coming weeks in the Star Travel pages.