It’s that time of year again, time to flee southward and find a sunny island with palm trees, warm beaches and lapping waves.
Someplace like Aruba, the island off the coast of Venezuela with a mixture of Dutch and Caribbean culture, where the local greeting is “Bon bini.”
Need some visual inspiration? Go to the island government’s own Web site (see links at right) and click on “About Aruba” to open a menu that includes “Virtual Tour.” The tour takes you to an interactive map you click on to select panoramic, 360-degree photos of beaches, golf courses, beaches, caves and more beaches.
All About Aruba
Click on Eagle Beach and picture yourself relaxing on the bright sand or splashing into the water while your neighbors are shoveling snow and trying to get the dog to go outside when the temperature is somewhere around zero.
When you’re done playing with the pictures, go back to the “About Aruba” menu and check out the entries for general information, places to see, maps, restaurants to try and transportation. Some of these pages have additional panoramic photos.
If you need any more convincing, click on “Weather” for the current conditions. Or, look for the entry on “Cool Honeymoons.”
Put yourself a little more in the mood with a minute or two listening to a little island music while you scan Aruba Online for visitors’ tips and links to local news stories.
For a bigger selection of useful information, take a look at the Aruba offerings from 4Anything. There’s a map of local attractions (sorry, no pictures here), links to things to do that include “Ten Most Romantic Spots” and links to several other general guides about the island. Alas, some of their links lead to dead ends.
Scuba Diving Conditions Online
You might want to cut out the distractions and jump right in the water. Get an overview of some of the companies operating boat rentals, diving tours and other water sports at the Sun and Fun section of Visit Aruba.
Then, open a digital copy of Scuba Diving magazine and search for “Aruba” to find descriptions of the local reef marine life and shipwreck diving.
If what you’ve seen so far whets your appetite and you have time for more, direct your Web browser to Aruba Links for connections to more info on restaurants, resorts, rentals and more things to do.
Save part of your vacation time for Aruba’s cousins in the Netherlands Antilles: Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
De Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba has an English-language section that will show you the basics about the islands and how to get there.