No one cares or even notices we’re driving in the wrong direction. We’re officially on Aruba time, where moments are counted in happiness rather than minutes. Cacti and colourful buildings blur together and a reggae remix of Chers ‘Believe’ beats out of the speakers. As I dangle my arm out of the car window the familiar breeze of the island heat warms my skin, and I close my eyes not wanting to wake from this dream.
I haven’t even left yet, but somehow Aruba’s got me hooked, I’m urging time to stop, so I don’t have to say goodbye to what the locals, and I now call, the one happy island.
One week in Aruba seemed like plenty before I arrived. At only 8km at its widest, and 30km at its longest, this small Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela isn’t exactly vast. But what it lacks in size, Aruba makes up for in punch. There is an abundance of natural wonders here, alongside the better-known resorts and casinos, though sadly I feel many people don’t venture beyond their all-inclusive.
While there is no shame in just taking a holiday, and boy Aruba is the perfect place to do so, for those who want to venture beyond those oh-so-inviting waters and their next cocktail, you’ll be pleased to hear an authentic Aruba still very much exists. With rugged national parks, incredible stargazing, fantastic local restaurants, near-empty beaches, caves with historical paintings and a thriving street art scene, Aruba is so much more than a sandy feet escape.