Beating the Winter Blues in ArubaWhile snow is falling throughout the U.S., the Caribbean island of Aruba is enjoying never-ending summer. With an average annual temperature of 82°F (28°C), visitors are guaranteed a balmy climate regardless of season. In fact, no month has an average high temperature lower than 85°F (29°C) or higher than 89°F (32°C). Low temperatures typically range from 76°F (24°C) to 80°F (27°C), allowing visitors to enjoy the nightlife all year long. Yet, because so many of us suffer the winter blues at home, the travel season from December to April is the best time to take advantage of Aruba''s amazing climate.
Though Aruba lies close to the equator, a consistent eastern trade wind cools the island and prevents storms from hovering over the island. As a result, Aruba averages a mere 18 inches of precipitation a year, with most rain falling between October and January. This trade wind also creates impeccable conditions on the eastern coast for sports such as windsurfing. On the other hand, the calm waters of the western coast are great for scuba diving and snorkeling. The sun even rises and sets at nearly the same time every day, allowing visitors to enjoy a majestic Caribbean site any time of year. Perhaps best of all, the island is never threatened by tropical storms.
One of the biggest advantages of visiting Aruba during January and February is the ongoing Carnival celebration. Beginning with the New Year, Carnival is a nonstop festival highlighted by parades, live music and unique cultural performances. The Carnival celebration peaks with the Grand Parade - now in its 53rd year - on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. If you were wondering just how important Carnival is in Aruba, take note that the island has declared the following Monday a national day of rest!
These winter months are also a great time to explore Aruba''s Arikok National Park, a one-of-a-kind nature preserve covering nearly 20% of the island. With miles of hiking trails and numerous exotic species you won''t see anywhere else, Arikok National Park is an essential stop on your Aruba vacation regardless of when you visit.
Though it may seem strange to lie out on the beach in mid-February, that is exactly what makes Aruba so enticing. Aruba''s beaches regularly rank among the cleanest, widest and most beautiful in the Caribbean. On the island''s southwestern coast, travelers will find one beach after another, each with its own unique atmosphere and diverse activities. Nearly all of the beaches are public and plenty offer water sports equipment, swimming and diving.
In addition to outstanding shopping opportunities, Aruba''s capital Oranjestad features a number of unique museums and historic sites. Oranjestad is, in fact, a bustling colonial capital during the high season, with plenty of tours and activities available. Outside the capital, you will find a wealth of historic architecture and remnants of Aruba''s colonial past. As Aruba''s high season corresponds with the States'' winter months, activities can be harder to find in the summer. Yet, the tourism off season ? from April until the beginning of the winter holiday season ? can be a great time for families and budget-conscious travelers to visit Aruba, as plenty of discounts are available. However, keep in mind that some tour operators may have limited or no service during parts of the off season, while stores and restaurants generally close earlier. Aruba''s summer months are also enjoyed by more European and South American visitors, though Americans are still the most represented tourist group.
A winter escape to Aruba can be a dream come true for Americans trapped in the snow. Every season in Aruba will deliver great weather and great fun.
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about travel in Caribbean for the Marriott Aruba hotels