Aruba: One Happy Island, Many Happy Languages

Aruba

Photo via Wikipedia

For all you language people out there: are you looking for a place that is away from everything, with miles and miles of beaches, beautiful blue sea everywhere you look, and a wealth of languages to hear and speak as well? Then your next destination is Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. Here is why Aruba ticks all the boxes for you.

Beaches, beaches everywhere

For an island that looks so tiny on the map, Aruba has a number of different beaches for you to visit! There is the calm, shallow-watered Arashi Beach between Malmok and the California lighthouse. Palm Beach which is the main spot tourists head to and tends to be thriving as a result. Eagle Beach which attracts those wanting to try their hand at everything from windsurfing to snorkelling. And the firm favourite Baby Beach, which is a shallow, sheltered lagoon located in Seroe Colorado. And plenty more besides!

Climate

Aruba is a popular spot for tourists because of its almost constant dry, warm weather. The temperature never really drops lower than 21 degrees, or reaches higher than 36, and with that temperature regulated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean you should never be without at least some reprieve from the heat if it gets too much! There are an average of only 65 rainy days annually in Aruba, with the majority of that appearing in November and December. In other words, Aruba is fairly close to paradise!

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Photo via Wikipedia

Cultural

A large smelting works built in 1872 for gold mining has stood the test of time and is a popular site to visit even today. The Alto Vista Chapel dates back to 1750 with some of its original parts still visible between various reconstructions. The California Lighthouse is an impressive landmark that was built between 1914 and 1915. From the lighthouse you will get the most spectacular views of the north coast and the sand dunes area. And finally, the Antilla Wreck, which is cited as the largest wreck in the South Caribbean, was a German freighter confiscated at the start of World War II. This is a popular site for diving by both day and night, and a great place for a photo opportunity. There are many things for you to see and do in Aruba!

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Languages

Because we promised you languages, and Aruba is happy to deliver! Since Aruba falls under the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dutch is one of Aruba’s official languages. It features heavily on Aruba’s sign language and is taught in all of its schools. Both English and Spanish are also required languages for Aruban citizens, English for the bustling tourist trade and general usefulness, and Spanish for the island’s proximity to Venezuela.

Papiamento

We haven’t finished with languages yet! While Dutch, English, and Spanish are widely spoken and essential languages in Aruba, it isn’t considered the island’s native language. That falls to Papiamento, a creole language that is a rich mix of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English. There is also an influence of African languages in its grammar and vocabulary.

There are various theories about how Papiamento came to be, ranging from a pidgin language developed between African slaves and Portuguese slave traders, to a kinder historical view of an adaptation to the Europeans arriving in the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries. Make of that what you will… Papiamento is an official language in Aruba alongside Dutch, and is frequently used throughout both the media and government. It is also to be heard in the two other ABC Islands of Bonaire and Curaçao.

Aruba sunset

Photo via Pixabay

Travel

You can reach Aruba by air, landing at its Reina Beatrix International Airport that sees around 150 flights a week to and from a number of cities throughout USA, Canada, several countries in South America, the Netherlands, England, and other Caribbean islands. And if you want to make your journey a little more relaxed, why not come to Aruba by cruise ship? The port of Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, has three terminals, shops that will rival any airport duty free, and most importantly for some of us, excellent Wi-Fi.

Aruba, in short, is about as close to perfection as we think it’s possible to get. Who wouldn’t want reliable warm weather with spectacular sea views, and the chance to learn and practise numerous languages without ever having to leave the island? So, the question is, what are you waiting for?