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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

Perfect Conditions Lure World-class Sailors And Tourists To Aruba

Each year at the beginning of the tourism season, world champion catamarans and their sailors descend on the island of Aruba. Lured by the incredible weather and perfect sailing conditions, participants in the prestigious Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will race this year from November 10-16. Though a limited number of boats will be featured in the daily races, this world-class sailing event also features plenty of activities for tourists. As the races and special events ta...

Aruba, Aruba travel

Each year at the beginning of the tourism season, world champion catamarans and their sailors descend on the island of Aruba. Lured by the incredible weather and perfect sailing conditions, participants in the prestigious Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will race this year from November 10-16. Though a limited number of boats will be featured in the daily races, this world-class sailing event also features plenty of activities for tourists. As the races and special events take place at Palm Beach – home to some of Aruba’s most popular resorts and tourist destinations – the Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will provide a little extra fun for everyone during one of the most exciting weeks of the year.

Now in its 17th year, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta will feature 40 European sailing teams and five boats local to the island. During the races, all sizes of catamarans will sail side by side. Additionally, world champion sailing teams will share the waters with less experienced sailors, adding to the event’s playful camaraderie. Over the course of a week, several different types of races will be held off the coast of Aruba. The short track races (also known as gate courses) and triangular races are estimated to take about one hour each. The most exciting event, for sailors and spectators alike, is the long distance race that hugs the island’s coastline and finishes up in the harbor surrounding Palm Beach.

After the races each day, tourists can also sit in on the award ceremonies. Daily prizes are presented to the top three catamarans in each handicapped category. As all sizes of boats start each race together, the results are separated into fast and slow heats. With more awards to go around, the daily award ceremonies and their accompanying happy hours have come to be known as the event’s most entertaining evening activities.

Even before the Heineken Catamaran Regatta became an annual event, Aruba was known as a premier sailing destination. Nearly all year round, the winds offshore create perfect sailing conditions. These gentle Caribbean breezes are always consistent enough to fill the sails of world champion regattas, yet pleasant enough for amateurs to enjoy the water. Likewise, the waves are mild and the crystal-clear water allows sailors to enjoy the underwater sites while racing. For tourists, the event falls at the beginning of Aruba’s tourism season. Throughout the winter, uninterrupted sunshine is the norm while temperatures remain in the high 70s and low 80s.

For all the visitors not participating in the races, there will be plenty of activities throughout the week, all focused on Aruba’s most famous beach. As the boats race close to the shore at Palm Beach, you can watch the races while relaxing in the sand. The Heineken Catamaran Regatta will also provide spectator boats during the races. Visitors can hop aboard and sail next to the racing sailboats, right in the heart of the action. Throughout the week-long event, there will also be a number of special dining and entertainment opportunities open to the public.

With one of the best sailing events in the world on the island during the exciting start to the tourism season, visitors can enjoy some extra fun outside of their itineraries. As perfect weather is almost a guarantee in Aruba, tourists will have a chance to see – and potentially participate in – an exclusive sporting event from their own stretch of powdery sand on Palm Beach. Most importantly, the conditions that make Aruba so popular for sailing can also be enjoyed by you and your family throughout the year.

 

Securing A Passport For Aruba Doesn’t Have To Be Painful

On January 8, 2007, all travelers to Aruba and other Caribbean destinations will need a U.S. passport for air travel. The change comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to alleviate travel concerns about border security under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Unlike previous years when passports were not required for travel to Caribbean beach resorts, this upcoming season has ad...

aruba wedding, aruba family Holiday, Vacation & Tour,

On January 8, 2007, all travelers to Aruba and other Caribbean destinations will need a U.S. passport for air travel. The change comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to alleviate travel concerns about border security under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Unlike previous years when passports were not required for travel to Caribbean beach resorts, this upcoming season has added potential for traveler headache. As many tourists that have planned their Aruba family Holiday, Vacation & Tour or scheduled a wedding may not be aware of the new rules, there could well be a rush on new passport applications near the end of the year. Also, because the program will be in its first season, there certainly exists a possibility of delays beyond the outlined timeframes for passport applications.

So, as you plan your activities for your Aruba wedding or Holiday, Vacation & Tour, you should also organize your materials for your passport application. Currently, the State Department claims that passport applications take 4 to 6 weeks to process. As backlogs are certainly expected this season, it is recommended that you either apply for your passport now as a couple of months remain before the legislation goes into effect, or apply as soon as you know you are going to travel.

To alleviate some of your concern, here are some additional recommendations to secure your passport as quickly and easily as possible for your Aruba Holiday, Vacation & Tour and even an outline of what to do when you don’t have enough time to apply for a passport via traditional methods.

Regardless of how you plan on applying for your passport, the first thing you need to do is obtain proof of U.S. citizenship, usually in the form of a birth certificate. If you have an expired passport in your possession, that can also serve as acceptable documentation. Next, you will need to have a pair of passport pictures made. This is one of the easiest steps as many businesses such as drugstores and copy shops offer the service. Then, carefully complete the passport application available on the State Department website, or obtain an application from any post office or government facility.

Now you have to determine if you have enough time to wait 6 weeks or possibly longer for your passport to return. If you have ample time, prepare the necessary payment and mail through one of the accepted locations. To find a location to apply and pay for a passport in person, visit http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.

If you are in a bit of a time crunch, you must determine what method will be the most effective for expediting the completion of your passport. Your best choices are expediting the application directly through the State Department or working with a third-party service. Though only the Passport Services Office of the State Department has the authority to issue passports, companies such as Passport Express and Travisa work directly with the government to secure passports in as little as 24 hours.

Either way, if it is your first passport or you have lost your expired passport, you must go to a passport acceptance facility with your passport photos, proof of citizenship and photo ID to have your application validated. The State Department lists about 7,000 locations, including courts, post offices, libraries and government offices.

At this stage, one of your options is to remit payment and mail applications from these approved locations. When mailing directly to the Passport Services Office, you will also have the ability to pay $60 for expedited shipping. Though this method doesn’t guarantee passport completion for immediate departures, it can be useful if you are traveling within 3 to 4 weeks to ensure you receive your passport.

In lieu of submitting your application directly to the Passport Services Office, your alternatives are to have your materials approved for mailing via the aforementioned third-party expediting services, or to make an appointment with one of 13 regional passport agencies. The regional offices serve citizens traveling within 2 weeks and can usually provide passports within 2-3 business days. After making an appointment at such an agency, you will need to provide proof of travel within the allotted timeframe. Yet, because these offices are located in only 13 cities, the third-party companies serve as more convenient methods for simplifying and expediting your passport application.

It is also worth noting that a Passport Card, or PASS Card, program is in development for land and sea travel to and from the Caribbean. When approved for use, this credit card-sized passport alternative could eliminate the need for a traditional passport if you were to travel to Aruba via cruise from the U.S. without any international air travel.

 

The Natural Side Of Aruba: Arikok Park

Of Aruba’s many activities, a tour of Arikok Park may be the most unique. From sand dunes and cacti within the park’s desert interior to the limestone cliffs and hidden coves on the Caribbean shore, Arikok Park offers as much ecological diversity as any place you’ll ever visit. Unique historic sites within the park’s boundaries shed light on Aruba’s agricultural and mining past. Arikok Park is also home to numerous unique species, supported by the microclimates of the park’s ...

travel in Aruba, Caribbean Holiday, Vacation & Tour, aruba Holiday, Vacation & Tour, Caribbean hospitality

Of Aruba’s many activities, a tour of Arikok Park may be the most unique. From sand dunes and cacti within the park’s desert interior to the limestone cliffs and hidden coves on the Caribbean shore, Arikok Park offers as much ecological diversity as any place you’ll ever visit. Unique historic sites within the park’s boundaries shed light on Aruba’s agricultural and mining past. Arikok Park is also home to numerous unique species, supported by the microclimates of the park’s geography. Several types of snakes, lizards and birds native to the park are found nowhere else on earth. With nearly 20% of the island devoted to this one-of-a-kind preserve, nature lovers won’t be disappointed by this Caribbean treasure.

Arikok Park is simple to explore as the trails are well marked and informative signs and displays are placed along many routes. For a little extra direction, the park office offers a very detailed guidebook worth your investment if you plan to spend much time here. Try to arrive early in the morning, as the birds and animals are most active just after sunrise. It is also recommended that you pack food, water, sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

Our first stop inside the park’s boundaries is the farm known as Cunucu Arikok, an attraction recalling Aruba's agricultural history. Walking paths wind through natural vegetation and wildlife - land formerly used to grow beans, corn and peanuts. The adobe farmhouse has rarely-seen cactus roof beams, while cacti hedges still stand guard for the farmland. Additionally, several fine examples of Amerindian drawing exist on the rocks above the farm.

The Prins Plantation was the site of a coconut farm until the 1960s. Walking through the trails of the Prins Plantation, one will come upon a captivating ocean cove and plenty of wildlife. For a bit of history on Aruba’s aloe cultivation, visit the Masiduri, a unique garden complex featuring a wealth of eucalyptus trees and informative exhibits on the aloe industry. Miralamar, an abandoned group of gold mines and trenches, is another interesting location to explore.

Nearing the coastline, the vegetation and landscape change dramatically. On the beaches of the rocky northern coast, where the sea meets imposing limestone formations, you will see crabs darting across pristine stretches of sand and giant birds floating above the water. The beach of Boca Prins is a popular site to watch the hatching of baby sea turtles, while Fuente possesses the cinematic grandeur of crashing waves. For picnics and sunbathing, Dos Playa is the best option inside Arikok Park, though swimming is usually too dangerous. Here you will also find the only eating establishment inside the park, serving excellent local cuisine and fresh seafood.

Hiding on the coast northwest of Dos Playa, the Natural Pool - known to locals as Cura di Tortuga - is sheltered from the waves of the Caribbean by rock formations. It is believed that the pool once held sea turtles waiting to be sold (‘tortuga’ means turtle in the indigenous Papiamento language). Today, the pool serves as an exotic swimming hole for those lucky enough to discover it.

Just a short walk from Boca Prins lays the Fontein Cave, the most visited cave of Aruba’s northern coast. The walls of this cave are covered in Amerindian drawings and markings of early European colonizers. For your inner spelunker, the bizarrely-shaped stalagmites and stalactites are sure to impress. Just south of the Fontein Cave is the Hofi Fontein, or Fountain Garden, site of the only freshwater spring on Aruba’s northern coast. The site also features a charming museum with plant and animal displays, always staffed by friendly park rangers.

With two large chambers opening to the Caribbean sky, the Quadirikiri Cave allows visitors to explore its cavern without flashlights. Local myth has a strange explanation for the cave’s ceiling: it is said that the fiery daughter of a prominent Indian chief became trapped in the cave with her scorned suitor. In death, the spirits of the young couple burst through the top of the cave to heaven.

Also located on Aruba’s northern coast, the Baranca Sunu Cave, also known as the Tunnel of Love for its heart-shaped opening, is rumored to have been popular hiding place for pirates and their treasures. Though the stories haven’t been validated, the cave certainly possesses an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. When you leave the caves and Arikok Park, consider following the coastal road to San Nicolas, a charming town with plenty of new activities for you and your family.




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