What does an Aruba vacation cost? Travel tips and a breakdown of costs

We have made your mouth a little watery in the last few weeks with our reports about Aruba and the many pictures of the dream beaches on the small Caribbean island, we admit that. Guilty as charged. The fact is that Aruba is not exactly a cheap travel destination and many people immediately think of a real luxury vacation when they think of Aruba, which they can never afford anyway and immediately discard the thought of an Aruba vacation because of the costs.

MÖP! Sorry, we have to slide in between. Aruba doesn’t have to be expensive! Well, Aruba will probably no longer be a travel destination for backpackers, but you can experience one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean for a normal amount of money (we think).

When we started with BEFOREWEDIE.DE , we decided from the start that it shouldn’t just be about our travel adventures , our road trips or our weakness for dream beaches , but that we also want to talk openly about the costs of our trips. Because the question of costs is definitely the one that we are asked most often – if people dare. We honestly don’t see any reasonable reason not to talk about the money. After all, that interests you and it helps immensely when planning your trip if there is empirical data that you can use as a guide.

Therefore, we would like to explain the costs of an Aruba vacation to you: What expenses should one expect? Where and how can you save money in Aruba? We would like to shed light on the darkness and provide you with a detailed breakdown of our expenses and some tips for your trip to Aruba.

The Cost of an Aruba Vacation: A Detailed List of Costs

Cost of flights

It gets a little more complicated right at the beginning: Anyone who has ever looked for flights from Germany to Aruba will know that the price for them is around € 600-800. That was too expensive for us. So we used a trick: We flew from Amsterdam to the Caribbean . You have to know that the so-called Dutch Antilles exist (or existed until 2010) in the Caribbean – a group of islands that are Dutch overseas territory. In addition to St. Maarten, this also includes the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) and these islands are basically served from Amsterdam at the prices of a domestic flight. Jackpot!

Since we only need a good 4 hours by car to Amsterdam, we used this option and did a little island hopping through the Caribbean: We flew from Amsterdam to St. Maarten, from St. Maarten to Aruba and from Aruba back to Amsterdam .

The total prices are based on 2 people.

  • Amsterdam – St.Maarten – Aruba – Amsterdam (with TUIfly NL, booked via Skyscanner * ): 996.78 euros
  • St. Maarten – Aruba (with InselAir, now insolvent): 356.48 euros
  • Baggage booked at TUIfly: 60 euros

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Total price of the flights: 1413.26 euros

Now we went to Amsterdam by car and had to park it there near the airport for almost 2 weeks. You don’t believe it, but it’s super cheap! The entire area around Amsterdam Airport is full of car parks and hotels that offer long-term parking for little money. The costs of getting to Amsterdam are:

  • Parking fee for a car: 45.48 euros
  • Fuel costs for the journey: approx. 100 euros

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Total price of flight costs: 1558.74 euros

BUT: That’s the total cost for St. Maarten AND Aruba, for 2 people. Since we have booked the flights except for the feeder from St Maarten to Aruba on one ticket, we divide the total costs by 2 to find the price per destination.

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Total flight costs for Aruba: 779.37 euros

Airfare to Aruba per person: 389.69 euros

As you can see, a flight from Amsterdam to the Dutch Caribbean islands is still several hundred euros cheaper than from Germany, even with travel, fuel costs and parking fees.

Accommodations & Hotels in Aruba

Hotel prices in Aruba are tough. Especially at Palm Beach , the tourist center of Aruba, you can find prices beyond good and bad. This is where the big luxury hotels are located and depending on the season you can pay four digits per night (!) For a normal room. Uh … no. It’s cheaper, we thought. We had 3 different accommodations in Aruba for 7 nights . Sounds complicated, but it actually wasn’t. We are used to a completely different frequency from our road trips anyway, so we rarely spend more than one night anywhere.

In practice it looked like this: On the first evening we arrived very late and therefore took the cheapest  AirBnB in Aruba * that we could find. The next day we moved to the Renaissance Hotel * because that was the prerequisite for going to the famous Flamingo Beach in Aruba (which, embarrassingly, was the real reason for our trip to Aruba for YOLO reasons). We spent the other 4 nights in a self-catering apartment that couldn’t have been better (look at the pictures, a super modern, large apartment!).

  • 1 night AirBnB: 43 euros
  • 2 nights Renaissance Hotel: 437.23 euros – view hotel here *
  • 4 nights apartment: 220.55 euros – view apartment here *

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Total cost of accommodations in Aruba: 700.78 euros

Cost of accommodation in Aruba per person: 350.39 euros

We have to mention that the lovely apartment in the pictures was an upgrade. We had actually booked an uglier one for 55 euros a night. The apartment in which we ultimately lived and which you can see in the pictures would have cost around 75 euros / night.

Aruba Renaissance Hotel

Car rental in Aruba

There is not much potential for savings in rental cars in Aruba, unfortunately they are quite expensive. We looked for bicycles or a scooter rental relatively extensively in advance because we wanted a car for a max. We found the 30km long island a bit exaggerated for the entire period, but we didn’t find an alternative. Aruba is very much influenced by American tourism and Americans drive a car. The Dutch cycling culture somehow did not catch on in Aruba and a scooter would actually have been more expensive than a car.

Aruba Snuba Diving excursion

Each of us paid almost 1200 euros for a week in Aruba . For some, this is certainly not a stick-out, we are aware of that. But realistically this is probably more in the lower price range for an Aruba vacation. This is most likely due to the fact that we were off season in Aruba: The main travel time for Aruba is in the winter months, when prices explode. We were in Aruba in June, and that should have helped us.

In terms of the weather, it doesn’t matter when you travel to Aruba, there is sunshine all year round, because the island is outside the hurricane belt. The fact that the main travel season is concentrated in the winter months is simply due to the fact that Americans like to take their entire annual vacation (usually a measly 2 weeks) over Christmas and then go into the warm. During these 2 weeks, the entire holiday budget of the year is cut out, which in turn explains the hotel prices, which for us Europeans seem absurd.

The cost of an Aruba vacation could be reduced even further by foregoing excursions and Flamingo Beach and skipping the rental car. In Aruba, the Arubus is also good for getting around as long as you want to stay in the touristy areas. The expenses for meals could also be reduced even further by consistently catering for yourself in your apartment (we didn’t do that, we had a lot of bang at Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Cinnabon… hr. We were also three times “right” ”Eat in the restaurant).

We think: We didn’t pay too much for such an extremely beautiful island in the middle of the Caribbean (Caribbean! That’s not around the corner). Aruba is not cheap, of course, but our expenses are far from expensive.

Palm Beach Aruba: Between dream beach and luxury hotel hell

The Palm Beach on Aruba offers the absolute contrast to the less touristy Baby Beach on the southeast tip of the island, which we have already told you a little about. Palm Beach is THE beach in Aruba and is located in the middle of Aruba’s tourist hotspot. Basically nothing bad to say about it, because it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in Aruba. However, there is one thing that tarnishes the paradisiacal image of the dream beach a little….

Palm Beach Aruba: A Dream in Aquamarine

Like all the other wonderful beaches in Aruba, Palm Beach is located on the south side of the Caribbean island, northwest of the capital Oranjestad. With a good 3km it is the longest beach in Aruba and it is beautiful: The water is shimmering in aquamarine, the sand is soft and white. The water is relatively shallow and there is hardly any current, everything is perfect. Just wow!

Katrin on Palm Beach, Aruba

The Palm Beach and the luxury hotels

There is only one thing that at least bothered us insanely and that we do not want to hide from you: The Palm Beach is built over with hotels. And with really big hotels. Even if Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba , the tourist center of Aruba is located on Palm Beach. Numerous luxury hotels have settled here, which have simply placed themselves on the beach without any gaps, there is not even a beach promenade. Over the years, a parallel world emerged on Palm Beach, almost a place of its own consisting only of hotels, shopping malls, fast food chains and casinos. A kind of Disneyland for American tourists that actually reminded us of Las Vegas.

You may or may not like that. We think something like that has no place on such a small, fantastically beautiful island.

Luxury hotels on Palm Beach

But the child has already fallen into the well, it is as it is. The only consolation in the matter: Palm Beach is still open to the public. The big luxury hotels would actually like to have their closed private beaches here, but fortunately the Aruba government does not play along. As far as we know, only the small Boardwalk Hotel * has managed to take a small stretch of beach in the north of Palm Beach as a private beach. We sincerely hope that it will stay that way in the future and that Palm Beach will continue to be open to the public.

Incidentally, because of these huge luxury hotel complexes, Aruba has a reputation for being particularly expensive and exclusive. And yes, if you want to live on Palm Beach, you have to have a bulging wallet: the rooms here cost several hundred euros per night, even in the simplest variant. In the high season around Christmas the prices soar that you can pay a four-digit amount per night for a room. The landlord of our apartment (we lived much cheaper 😉) told us that the whole thing is even assuming such absurd proportions that the beautiful and rich of this world not only rent the suites of the hotels or entire floors in the high season, but just the whole hotel. After all, you want to have some peace and quiet. Crazy Shit.

Is the Palm Beach suitable for children?

Yes, without restriction! The large number of tourists means that Palm Beach is quite crowded compared to other beaches in Aruba . It’s great for kids, of course, as they have a bunch of other kids to play with. The water falls flat, is very calm and (as far as we have seen it) there are no stones or nasty sea urchins in the water.

Aruba Palm Beach

How can you get to Palm Beach?

This is in contrast to Baby Beach not hard at all, because the Arubus controls with the lines 10, 10A and 10B several stations at the level of Palm Beach on.

Alternatively, you can also come here by car : If you come from the south, you can park the car for free right where Palm Beach begins . In the middle it gets a bit complicated, because as I said everything from the hotels is built up like Disneyland, so that you can no longer go to the beach, unless you cross the huge hotel complexes.

By the way, north of Palm Beach it quickly becomes quieter, here you will find, for example, the beaches Boca Catalina or Arashi Beach , which are particularly suitable for snorkeling. In the south of Palm Beach you will find Eagle Beach with its famous Divi-Divi-Trees, one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole Caribbean .

Palm Beach Aruba: Excursions and Water Sports

Since Palm Beach is the secret center of Aruba, there is a huge range of all kinds of excursions and water sports. Although ‘sport’ may not be the right term because it is all clearly designed for American tourism. Sport also includes jet skiing , the banana boat and lots of boat excursions where drinking rather than snorkeling and diving is more important 😉 The largest provider of excursions (and probably the only one, we did a lot on site anyway Difficult to find another) is De Palm Tours , by the way .

At the height of the Riu Palace Hotel (which can be seen in the pictures here) is the De Palm Pier. All excursions start from here. If you want to book any excursion, you can just stop by here. However, it may be that everything is booked out spontaneously and you have to wait 1-2 days for your trip. Jet skis etc. are always available spontaneously.

De Palm Pier

Palm Beach Aruba: Our conclusion

Palm Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Aruba with its expanse, powdered sugar sand and calm turquoise blue water. Unfortunately, the luxury hotels and the many tourists associated with them ruin the idyll a bit. To find a little peace, you have to move towards the edge. However, we found it still absolutely bearable in the middle of Palm Beach, you definitely don’t lie here like the oil sardines! Surprisingly, most American tourists stay in their hotels and hang out by the hotel pool with loud music (these weird people, I don’t get it …), so that the beach remains relatively empty.

If you like a minimum of hustle and bustle and like to have a cocktail in one of the beach bars in between, then you’ve come to the right place!

Lago di Sorapis: On a hike to Italy’s bluest lake

It was in the summer of 2018 when I went for a small road trip to the Dolomites in northern Italy for the first time. We hadn’t planned anything great beforehand and so I started researching on the road. When I came across the pictures of the bright, milky turquoise Sorapis Lake (Lago di Sorapis in Italian), it was immediately clear: I have to go there. Unfortunately, only a few minutes later it was also clear: we won’t make it. The hike is too long and we didn’t have the time. But of course I couldn’t get the spectacular pictures of Lake Sorapis out of my head and anyone who knows me knows: once I’ve got something in my head, there’s no getting around it. And so, almost a year later, I was back in my car on a road trip through the Dolomites and this time the visit to Lake Sorapis should succeed.

Hike to Lake Sorapis

The Lago di Sorapis is located at an altitude of 1923m in the middle of the Dolomites in the province of Belluno in Veneto near Cortina D’Ampezzo (and therefore no longer in South Tyrol, which I wasn’t aware of). Nestled between the steep rock faces of the Sorapis Group, the lake shines in an incredible turquoise blue, which I have only experienced in a similarly spectacular way on my hike to Havasu Falls in the southwest of the USA . The milky turquoise color of the Lago di Sorapis arises from the calcareous springs in the lake, making it a rare and really impressive natural gem.

Fortunately, unlike other mountain lakes in the Dolomites, such as Lake Braies, Lake Sorapis can only be reached by hiking. The hiking route is a total of almost 12 km long , i.e. almost 6 km one way. This is absolutely feasible for an average trained person, but too strenuous for younger children, for example, which reduces the crowds in a natural way.

Starting point of the hike: Passo Tre Croci

The starting point of our hike to Lago di Sorapis is the Passo Tre Croci, in German Tre Croci Pass. This is roughly near the municipality of Cortina d’Ampezzo on SR (Strada Regionale) 48. The best thing to do is to simply enter the Tre Croci Pass as the destination in your GPS, then you should find it easily. As far as I know, the pass is the only starting point for the hike, there is no other path.

Passo tre Croci

When we arrive at the Tre Croci Pass, it’s almost 11 a.m., so we’re actually way too late. The search for a parking space is therefore a bit difficult, because you can only park up there on the side of the road. And turn around on a mountain pass …. well. So depending on how early or late it is your turn, it is best to take the first free parking space that you catch. The hike to Sorapis Lake starts right on the roadside and is well signposted.

The hiking trail to Sorapis lake: difficulty and duration

First it goes over a wide path, gently sloping, very pleasantly through forest and meadows. We had read before that the hike to Lago di Sorapis only has to climb 100 to 200 meters in altitude – that sounds chilled and that suits me. My weaker self is cheering! But do not rejoice too early: even if it looks like it at first, the hike is definitely not a walk.

Hike to Lake Sorapis

Hiking trail Lago di Sorapis |  View of the Dolomites

I have to admit at this point that I am not an accomplished hiker. So I’m neither particularly athletic, nor do I have any idea what the usual abbreviations and descriptions of a hiking route mean on the common outdoor websites. As a result, every hike for me is a little adventure into the unknown and I am probably the worst prepared person in the world. So when I describe a hike here and give my opinion on it, then you read it from the point of view of an average fit person who has dared to go on an adventure without highly professional equipment. Ha! And that is exactly what I want. On my hikes for dummies , you will only find routes and destinations that are recommended by DAUs ( D ümmste A.nzunehmende U ser) like me are feasible.

The hike to Lake Sorapis is one such hike. And so that you are not as haphazard as I am, here are the GPS data that we tracked along the way:

  • Hiked on Friday 5th July 2019
  • Distance: 5.6 km
  • Duration: 2 hours, 32 minutes and 2 seconds
  • Average speed: 2.2 km / h
  • Minimum altitude: 1742 m
  • Maximum altitude: 1929 m
  • Ascent (total): 272 m
  • Gradient (total): 135 m

The one-way hiking route is almost 6 km long . Since we went back the same way, the total distance was almost 12 km . After it is easy peasy at the beginning through forests and the wonderful mountain panorama of the Dolomites, the chill mode is unfortunately over at some point and there are the first scree fields and climbs to be overcome.

Lake Sorapis hike

Then you will come across some passages where a lot of height has to be overcome using step ladders (no via ferrata). Other passages are very narrow, right on the precipice and therefore secured with wire ropes that you can hold on to. I had read about these passages before and that hiking experience and surefootedness are an absolute must here. And there I stood, a non-hiker, with my slight fear of heights and my sneakers … but if you don’t dare, you won’t win, right? And you know: when I’ve got something on my mind

And what can I say: there is absolutely no reason to wear your shirt. Surefootedness and a little concentration are required on these passages, but you can also do this with sneakers that have enough grip. You don’t need any special equipment. Admittedly, it is probably a real challenge for people with a severe fear of heights. On the way we also saw a girl who had to turn back because she was too scared.

Hike to Lake Sorapis

I myself am not free from giddiness either, but over the past few years I have unintentionally put myself on hikes in situations where I had to go beyond my limits, haphazardly and unprepared as I basically am. As stupid as it sounds, at some point you get used to the fact that you are in a shitty situation again that you have to get out of. And then you just turn off your head and move on. The more you do this, the better it goes. Therefore, these passages, which are probably also the reason why the hike to Lake Sorapis is categorized as ‘challenging’ on the popular outdoor sites, were not a problem for me.

 

And what about the altitude meters? It goes up and down the whole route again and again. In terms of numbers, there are only a few meters of altitude to overcome, but because you are constantly gaining and losing altitude, it is still exhausting. In addition, most of the time you run in the blazing sun. With breather and photo stops, we need 2.5 hours for the ascent .

Paradise found: Lake Sorapis

Shortly before we reach our destination, we can hear a small brook babbling. You have to cross this with a little skill in order not to get your feet wet. On the left it goes towards the Vandellihütte, on our right there is a last small hill that we have to overcome. And there it is finally in front of us: the beautiful Lago di Sorapis, which glows in an incredible turquoise even from a distance.

Lago di Sorapis Dolomites

Sorapis lake from above

Surrounded by mountains, it shimmers milky blue and despite the fact that we are really not the only people up there on an afternoon during the holiday season, this place exudes an incredible calm and beauty for me.

It is not uncommon for places that you have previously seen in pictures to exude little of the magic that you would have expected based on the photos. But at Lago di Sorapis it is exactly the opposite: when I walk over the last knoll and see the bright blue for the first time, I can hardly believe my eyes. I even have to pause for a moment to understand what I am seeing. Pictures cannot begin to describe how beautiful this place is.

Sorapis lake with the drone

So we first look for a place on the lake shore and just enjoy. Over time, the other hikers gradually set off to start the way back and it empties a little.

And guess what? Now is my time to start what is arguably the craziest action of the entire trip! There is this big rock in the lake – I want to go up there. And that is only possible by swimming to it and climbing up. The problem: mountain lakes are usually as cold as pork. And I’ll tell you, Lago di Sorapis sets new standards here HOW cold such a lake can be. But hey, only the tough come into the garden

When you come to Lago di Sorapis later in summer, the water level is lower and the rock is easier to reach or even without swimming. The other small rock next to it is easier to climb, the water goes there max. down to the knees.

On that day, in the 3 hours that we were there, only four other people besides me dared to venture into the lake.

Bathing with flamingos: This is only possible on Flamingo Beach in Aruba

If there is one thing the small island of Aruba in the southern Caribbean is known for, it is the pictures of pink flamingos stalking across the white powdered sugar beach in the turquoise blue sea with palm trees in the background. We admit it: It was precisely these images that lured us to Aruba . We tourists. But let’s be honest: How can you please not jump on Flamingo Beach in Aruba? There are flamingos! At the beach! With touch. IN. OF THE. CARIBBEAN. Wah!

The other beaches on Aruba such as Baby Beach or the famous Eagle Beach are of course also incredibly beautiful, but flamingos on the beach – that’s a blast.

When a picture of the flamingos first appeared on my Instagram feed a few years ago, I immediately began to research with shining eyes where in the world this paradisiacal place was. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear: Shit, I can never afford that. The Caribbean , a private beach, a lonely island … that is impossible. And so I buried the dream of a flamingo beach somewhere far back in my head. Of course, I could never really forget him.

It took a couple of years and finally a degree, but in the summer of 2016 I actually fulfilled my dream! YOLO and so 😉 I naturally forced Christian to come along and also enjoy our adventure with the flamingos, so we scraped together our last pennies and flew in the tourist bomber to the pink birds in Aruba.

Rational people without hearts may argue that flamingos could have been had cheaper in the zoo. But would, would have bicycle chain – go away, you funny people! That’s not what this is about! There are flamingos, on the beach, in the Caribbean. Nuff said.

Sea view off Renaissance Island

Flamingo Beach Aruba: Private Renaissance Island

Who is still there: Aloha! 🙂 I’ll tell you where to find the flamingos in Aruba and how to get there. There is actually still a lot of uncertainty and many think that flamingos walk around every beach in Aruba . I have to disappoint you, it’s not that simple. The flamingos on Aruba can be found on exactly one beach , namely Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island .

What is this Renaissance Island now? Renaissance Island is a small private island off the coast of Aruba, which in addition to Flamingo Beach also has Iguana Beach. This private island belongs to the Renaissance Hotel Aruba * . The hotel makes the island available to its guests free of charge and takes you every 15 minutes by speedboat directly from the hotel to the dream beach on the private island. Yaaass!

Renaissance Island Flamingo Beach

Do you have to be a guest in the hotel to be able to go to the private island to Flamingo Beach?

No. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to be able to go to Renaissance Island and hang out on the beach with the flamingos. There are basically two options:

1. You are a guest of the Renaissance Hotel * , a room is available from just under € 200 / night , depending on the travel time . That’s not a snapper, we also know that. But the use of the Flamingo Beach and the transport with the water taxi are included in the price and the hotel itself is also great. We save ourselves a review at this point, because our photos have just become too crappy and we have absolutely nothing to complain about. The hotel can be booked without hesitation.

2. If you are not a guest of the hotel , you can visit the island for a fee of around $ 90 per person per day . Unfortunately, there is very little information about this day pass, not even on the hotel’s website . We don’t know why that is, probably because the hotel would rather have its rooms full.

We decided on option 1 and treated ourselves to two nights. The fact that it turned out to be two nights was mainly due to the lack of clarity as to when exactly you can use Flamingo Beach. When you are a guest, that’s clear … but when are you a guest? Once you’ve checked in? Or as soon as you have come to the hotel and have already deposited your suitcase and announced that you want to go to the flamingos, even if the check-in is not yet possible? You can see that we wanted to get the best out of our visit to Flamingo Beach 😉 And because according to the hotel, check-in should only be possible in the afternoon and we didn’t want to take the risk of only being able to spend 2-3 hours at Flamingo Beach, we booked two nights.

If you are also asking yourself this question, the answer is: You can take the water taxi to Flamingo Beach as soon as you have your room card . This is used as an admission card and is registered when boarding the speedboat. Fortunately, we were able to check in in the morning and thus had two full days at Flamingo Beach! For the foxes among you: On the day of the checkout, you can no longer transfer to the private island for free, because you hand in the card when you check out (unless you forget … ahem. We didn’t dare to mess around with it, otherwise it would be maybe embarrassing. Only we happily continued to use the hotel parking lot with the forgotten room card).

If you happen to have your own boat (who doesn’t have one), it is also possible to moor it unnoticed on the private island and enjoy Flamingo Beach for free .

Aruba’s highlight: off to the flamingos!

Now butter with the fish (and flamingos): How is it now on the private island with the pink birds? In a nutshell: Awwwwww !!

After you have crossed over by boat, a perfectly dressed up private island awaits you. You enter the island via wooden walkways, get free towels and make your way to the beach with the flamingos.

Renaissance Island Aruba

The island has a total of two beaches to offer, one is the slightly larger Iguana Beach, where children are allowed to mischief and the Flamingo Beach, which is only for adults. Incidentally, the iguanas adhere to the guidelines very little and hang around the whole island, at the Iguana Beach intended for them we did not discover a single one of these revolutionaries.

On the short path to Flamingo Beach you cross the mangroves and rivers of the island over small bridges. There I discovered my first boxfish and was thrilled to see this spherical, colorfully spotted fish … I didn’t even know where to look first! Iguanas, flamingos, funny fish… .uuuiiii! (sorry, I’m 5 years old again, I can’t do anything!)

After I watched all the fish extensively and slowly calmed down, the flamingos had to believe in it. Pictures, please! The flamingos are used to the tourists and strut around unimpressed between the loungers. At the moment 6 of them are stationed there (i.e. flamingos, not loungers, although some of them donate from time to time and the number fluctuates temporarily).

Flamingos on Reniassance Island

 

Feeding is highly appreciated, which is why there is also a machine at Flamingo Beach where you can pull food for a few cents. The flamingos are totally into it and more or less carefully fetch the food out of your hands (and out of your trouser pocket, if you have stashed something there) and you can take photos with them in peace. But woe betide you want to stroke her, then your hand will be hacked straight away!

Flamingo feeding

Flamingo Beach Aruba

The iguanas, by the way, are just as brutal, they also like to be fed and sometimes touched. But beware! You can bite hard and the tail is like a whip! I wasn’t careful when I was feeding and suddenly three iguanas pounded around my banana and got a bite in the process. The bite was not deep, but since iguanas are scavengers, something like this is not entirely harmless due to the risk of tetanus (and of course I was not vaccinated, would have been too easy).

Iguanas in Aruba

Since Renaissance Island is a mangrove island, snorkeling is also worthwhile here. There isn’t really much going on underwater, but in the small, shallow rivers of the island the fish cavort between the arms of the mangroves. The boxfish in particular like shallow, warm water very much and are not afraid of snorkelers. But don’t touch! Boxfish are related to puffer fish and release a poison when they are stressed (which probably only triggers a skin reaction in humans, but unfortunately the cute fish sometimes die themselves from their poison).

You can already see: There is a lot going on at Flamingo Beach in Aruba and we have jumped death several times. If you don’t want to live as dangerous as we do, you can just throw yourself in the hammock with a cocktail and watch others risk their lives or spend hours shooting the perfect Instagram selfie. Everything is possible at Flamingo Beach! 😉

Traveling with a wheelchair

Globetrotter travel advisor Roland Bigler has been in a wheelchair since a swimming accident. That never stopped him from traveling. And with his experience, he now has the right tips in store for everyone with a wheelchair who wants to travel.

The first trip takes courage

Every beginning is difficult. For people in wheelchairs, especially when it comes to daring the first trip, the first vacation in the new life situation. It didn’t take long for Roland Bigler: ten months after his accident, he was back on the plane heading for Cyprus. That was a group trip organized by the Paraplegic Foundation. And he remembers: “Maybe that was a little naive. I didn’t really know the situation, I had just started a new life. ”

And yet he was able to learn a lot on the well-organized trip, to learn a lot from the other travelers in wheelchairs, some of whom had years of experience. He laughs today that Roland’s first trip in a wheelchair didn’t end so well: “The doctors told me to drink a lot, wear support stockings and avoid the sun – I did exactly the opposite and promptly had to leave Rega with a thrombosis be flown home. ”

Traveling by boat in Kenya

Roland was 20 then. Today, more experience, he has a lot of recommendations for people in wheelchairs and their first trip. “I would probably do something with the train for the first time,” he says. Paris or Lyon maybe. Or Berlin. “That’s awesome there, almost everything is wheelchair-accessible.” Except for the television tower, that’s what Roland hissed. “They did have a lift, but for fire safety reasons they wouldn’t let me up. I almost wrote to Merkel, ”he says and grins.

Olympic cities as pioneers

Overall, cities that hosted the Olympic Games are often particularly suitable for people in wheelchairs. “That’s where the Paralympics always take place,” says Roland. Cities like Vancouver, Sydney or London are then for a short time real pioneers when it comes to accessibility.

Wongaling Beach, Queensland, Australia

For a first flight with a wheelchair, Roland does not recommend a transcontinental flight. “Many wheelchair users like it warm,” he says. “Tenerife, for example, is very suitable.” With the Los Cristianos beach in the south of the island, one of the first top destinations for people in wheelchairs was created around thirty years ago. “There are kilometer-long promenades, access to the sea with beach wheelchairs to help you get on, numerous barrier-free toilets and excursions in wheelchair-accessible vehicles.” But Mallorca is also a good first destination with wheelchair taxis and barrier-free public transport.

Flying remains an obstacle

Whether on the short haul or across the Atlantic, air travel in a wheelchair is always a hassle – and sometimes tedious, as Roland had to experience several times. “In any case, you have to register with the airline in good time. Preferably a week in advance. ” And then all requests and special needs should be registered.

Thai State Railways Bangkok

Getting on the plane with your own wheelchair is impossible, even over the passenger bridge. The entrance is too narrow, the aisle between the seats too narrow. So there is a narrow folding wheelchair for the transfer to the seat. Your own wheelchair comes with you in the hold. Incidentally, this does not cost anything, the airlines are obliged to enable people with reduced mobility to travel just like everyone else.

Looking for personal contact

The hotels are getting better and better, says Roland Bigler. “Many hotel operators now know what a drive-in shower is and write it directly on their website.” Others simply write “Facilities for the disabled” on their site. “That’s no use to me at the moment!” The problem with booking a room is still the same: There is no such thing as barrier-free travel because people can have many different restrictions. Not only people in wheelchairs need accessibility, but also deaf people and people with visual impairments. And their needs are completely different.

That’s why Roland swears by direct communication with the hotels. He looks around the booking platforms, looks at pictures, but often emails the accommodations directly. Wheelchair users are generally on the Internet a lot. Roland himself says: “I often look at my destinations on Google Street View, then I see where there are ramps or stairs.” In this way he avoids unpleasant surprises and sees in advance where it is not even worth going to.

Stay flexible!

No matter how well orchestrated a trip is, things can always go wrong. As a travel consultant, Roland tries to clear all the stones out of the way for his customers (most of them are in wheelchairs, by the way), but whether pedestrians or wheelchair users – no one is immune from all eventualities. “I have already experienced that with a customer – despite a corresponding booking – no more accessible hotel rooms were available.”

Boat trip in Ireland

Then communication is required, and an uncomplicated rethinking. A stubborn head doesn’t get you anywhere, says Roland: “When you travel, you simply leave your comfort zone. It’s the same for everyone. Then you have to be flexible according to your abilities. “

Inspiration to others

Many of Roland’s customers are insecure and do not really know what to trust. “I try to encourage them,” says the travel agent. But he also makes recommendations. For example, he advises: “I would always take someone with me.” There are many wheelchair users who want to travel alone. “They do it anyway, and they book themselves too.” For him that would not even be an option. As a quadriplegic, he cannot move his legs or fingers. “I need so much help that traveling alone would not be possible.”

Australia

Arashi Beach in Aruba: 5 reasons why you will love the dream beach

The small Caribbean island of Aruba is the island of dream beaches and the island of contrasts: While you are swimming with flamingos on the beach for a moment or strolling across the endlessly wide Eagle Beach , you are only a few meters further in the middle of a desert-like stone landscape with cacti and aloe plants. Aruba also has a lot to offer when it comes to snorkeling and is known as the Aquarium of the Caribbean for a reason. With Baby Beach we have already introduced you to one of the snorkeling hotspots on Aruba, the second hotspot is Arashi Beach in the north-west of the island. We’ll tell you why you shouldn’t miss the small beach when you’re in Aruba.

Arashi Beach: Aruba’s snorkeling paradise

Pack your snorkel and mask, because there is a lot to see at Arashi Beach! As always, where there are stones, there are fish. It is no different here and so on Arashi Beach the places full of stones alternate with the places where you can walk perfectly and easily over the soft sand far into the sea. The further you swim out, the more there is underwater. This is also the big advantage of Arashi Beach compared to Baby Beach : At Baby Beach you are in a lagoon that you shouldn’t leave due to the strong current, that’s not the case at Arashi Beach. The water is calm and you can swim as far out as you want (but you should still be an experienced swimmer, because the current is definitely there).

Aruba Arashi Beach

If you are into adventure , a specialty awaits you off the coast at the level of Arashi Beach and the adjacent Boca Catalina Beach: Approx. The wreck of the German SS Antilla lies aground 700m from the coast . The ship sank in 1940 and since then tons of animal species have settled here, which is why the shipwreck has become one of the most popular diving spots in the Caribbean.

But we warn you: For normal swimmers 700m (one way) in the sea are not manageable! Of course not for us either (we are not tired of life, even if you could assume that due to our day hike to the Havasu Falls ), which is why we explored the Antilla as part of a guided snorkeling excursion (the report will follow soon). If you want to do it on your own, you can organize a rubber dinghy or something similar with which you can paddle the stretch out to sea from Arashi Beach or Boca Catalina. Worth it!

Divi Divi tree on Arashi Beach

Arashi Beach: Favorite of the locals

The Arubans tend to distance themselves from the large beaches such as Palm Beach and Eagle Beach and prefer to swim on the beaches that are less frequented by tourists. Arashi Beach is one of the absolute favorites of the locals and so you mainly meet locals and people who come by especially to snorkel or dive. Arashi Beach is therefore never particularly crowded, even if it is quite small in comparison. Irritatingly, however, a tour bus operated by the organizer De Palm Tours Stop at Arashi Beach – the beach seems to be a stop on some island tour. But don’t worry: people just look, they don’t bathe. We suspect that the tour group is shown the Antilla shipwreck from Arashi Beach (for which De Palm Tours also offers a tour 😉) and then continues without bathing. Phew, lucky … (Do you know that when you get on the train and there is already a school class there? Fuuuuck. That’s what it felt like when the tour bus was unloaded. But it was just fine again)

Dream beach Arashi Beach in Aruba

The most beautiful sunset in Aruba

You can find it on Arashi Beach. Because: in the east the sun rises, in the south it takes its course, in the west it will set … Arashi Beach is located in the far west of Aruba. It’s perfect for watching one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Caribbean in the evening. What is going on here is difficult to put into words. The only lighthouse in Aruba, the California Lighthouse, is also suitable as a sunset spot. It’s right around the corner and it’s best to just come to the lighthouse or Arashi Beach every evening.

Katrin on Arashi Beach Aruba

Arashi Beach is suitable for children

While we only recommend Baby Beach to a limited extent for children due to the very high stones in the water and Eagle Beach is not perfectly suitable due to the slope, you will find everything children could want at Arashi Beach. There is a lot to discover while snorkeling, the current is limited (but is more intense than at Palm Beach), there are stone-free places and the water falls flat. Sounds good? Is good.

What is the difference to Boca Catalina Beach? Boca Catalina is just a tiny bit south of Arashi Beach and is equally good for snorkeling. The problem is that you will mostly find rocks and stones here, getting into the water is much more difficult. It’s not really suitable for children, even if the underwater world is supposed to be a bit more spectacular than at Arashi Beach.

Accommodation and parking at Arashi Beach

Park. Yes. Hotels: No. For others this is definitely a nightmare, for us large hotel buildings near a beach are a nightmare. There are no more hotels near Arashi Beach or generally in the north-west of Aruba , residential areas are popular here. Instead, you will find some pretty little houses and villas that are rented out on AirBnB. And we can tell you: The corner in the very north of Aruba is super beautiful! The villas are partly on a hill directly by the sea or directly above the beach with an amazing view, have a private pool or a small garden and everything you could want.

You can even park at Arashi Beach itself, without it being directly on a busy road such as Eagle Beach. In a pinch you can even reach the beach with the Arubus , the Arashi Beach is the last stop on line 10A.

Albania Travel – the oasis in Europe

Albania was a trend destination this year. What does that mean? The author of this text wanted to know exactly. She spoke to two Globetrotter travel consultants who recently visited the Balkans. One thing first: traveling to Albania is not just a trend. Albania is probably one of the last oases in Europe.

What comes to your mind, dear reader, when you hear the word trend destination? Is it also Caribbean beaches, chic hotels, full bars and lively street cafes? “You can find the latter on every corner in Tirana, the capital of Albania,” says Carla Riss, Globetrotter travel advisor at the Aarau branch. The exciting thing about the cafés is that, in contrast to local climes, they are almost exclusively occupied by men. There is really “käfelet”, gesticulating and discussing. The keyword is exciting.

Hospitable Albania

Carla Riss and Pascal Schmid, Globetrotter travel consultants in Zurich, agree that the city with its communist past and buildings is very exciting. Accordingly, the accommodations, which are rather simple and do not necessarily correspond to the “European standard”. The hotels and inns are often run by families, says Carla. In this context, she mentions the exceptional hospitality that is shown throughout the country. And last but not least, the fine Albanian food, which is available practically everywhere for little money.

coffee albania tirana

 

Nature like in Norway

The adjective “beautiful” is not used in Tirana, but it definitely comes into play. And that is when we talk about nature in Albania. For example, the rather isolated Valbonatal in the north of the country should not be missing on any trip to Albania. On the contrary. “Between the mountain ranges I felt like I was in Norway,” Carla sums up. The valley is best discovered by hiking. “And make sure you bring your time, because the journey there is long.” Speaking of time. If you have a little more of it available, three or even four weeks, a trip to Albania combines with the neighboring countries Kosovo and Macedonia. «Or with Greece. The island of Corfu is very easy to reach from Albania », says Pascal

Valbona Valley National Park, Albania

Albania trip = Caribbean feeling

But back to Albania. A “real” trend destination also includes the beach and the sea, right? In the south of the country you can even feel that Caribbean feeling, says Pascal. For example in Dhermi, which is located between the larger towns of Vlora and Saranda. The locals would also like to spend their free time in the south, says Pascal. That speaks for itself. In general, the country is visited by many tourists from neighboring countries, but less by «western» tourists, both travel advisors believe. The question of whether the word trend destination does not apply to Albania cannot simply be answered with yes or no.

Dhermi, Albania

Italy 40 years ago

“It would be great for the people in Albania if tourism grew,” says Carla. Because poverty is already being felt, especially in rural areas, yes, cell phones and computers are not at all taken for granted. “Sometimes I felt like I was in Italy. But 40 years ago. ” But that is not meant negatively at all, on the contrary. It is precisely what is tangibly original that makes Albania so special as a travel destination and even an “oasis in Europe”. According to the latter statements of the two travel consultants, the author of this text is convinced that a trend destination should not be reduced to chic hotels and full street cafes. There is definitely more to it than that. So off to Albania? Oh yeah! (See box). 

Gjirokastra, Albania

Vancouver Travel – the dream city on the Pacific

If you are in western Canada, a trip to Vancouver is highly recommended. The city on the Pacific offers you wonderful views, a mild climate and short distances between the various sights. There is a reason why Vancouver is so popular around the world.

Movie set in Vancouver

As soon as you arrive you can walk into the middle of a film set on your Vancouver trip. As the third largest film production center in North America, over 350 films were made here in 2015 alone. Or would you have thought that most of the last “Godzilla” film was shot in Vancouver? But also “The Twilight Saga”, “Mission Impossible” and “Seven Years in Tibet” owe large sections of the film to the wonderful backdrop of this city.

Steam clock in “Gastown”

In the hip “Gastown” district you will find the steam clock that plays a song to its visitors every hour. The region exudes its own charm with cobblestones, cafés and gas lamps and is ideal for strolling and strolling.Interesting facts about camper trips and an overview of the available models.

Also something for sports enthusiasts

A trip to Vancouver is also something for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. Here you can go mountain biking, skiing, kayaking or swimming. Fishing, boating and hiking are on the possible program. The offers are varied and there is never a reason to be bored. Stanley Park in particular offers great opportunities to spontaneously rent a bike and explore the beautiful nature in and around Vancouver.

You shouldn’t be afraid of heights here

Do you love beautiful views? Then a visit to the Lookout Tower in the Harbor Center might be just the thing for your trip to Vancouver. The glass elevator takes you in no time up to a height of 130 meters, where you can expect a fantastic city panorama of 360 degrees. And the restaurant on the 42nd floor of the Empire Landmark Hotel also offers beguiling views. Here you can enjoy the view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world while feasting: Vancouver!

Taiwan trip – between nature and the big city

Called “the beautiful” by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the island off the Chinese coast impresses with its unique diversity.

Discover breathtaking natural spectacles, beautiful coastal landscapes and cultural diversity on a very individual Taiwan trip. The magical mountain landscape, surrounded by lakes and deep gorges, invites you to explore together with countless hot springs. Get to know the extremely friendly and open-minded locals and visit big cities like Taipei, which will take you on an extraordinary culinary journey.

Tradition meets modernity in Taipei

A metropolis that you definitely shouldn’t miss is the colorful and lively capital of Taipei. Impressive temples and churches meet the most modern architecture there. Architecture and shopping enthusiasts alike will get their money’s worth at the world-famous Taipei 101. The 508 meter high skyscraper with its 101 floors offers countless shopping opportunities as well as a breathtaking viewing platform. Enjoy an incomparable view far beyond the city limits on the 89th floor.

Taroko National Park

Taiwan is not only characterized by its urban life, but also by its unique landscape. Hike in the mountains, explore gorges, and spot rare animal species. In the impressive Taroko National Park you have the opportunity to explore the area along steep cliffs. Since sights and entrances are often miles apart, you can also discover the gorge on your own with a vehicle. Trekking paths also offer you wonderful views and you can also visit parts of the gigantic abysses on foot. The unique combination of great food, beautiful scenery and diverse culture makes your Taiwan trip a truly unforgettable experience.

The night markets of Taiwan

Not only in Taipei, but also in other parts of Taiwan, the well-known night markets are set up in the evenings, sometimes even with road closures. Stroll through these lively zones and immerse yourself in the country’s authentic nightlife. If you are looking for a bargain this is the place for you. You can also try exotic delicacies and let the unique atmosphere work its magic on you with exciting aromas.

Newfoundland Travel – Adventure in Nature

On your Newfoundland trip, discover “The Rock”, as the locals call the island. Here you will find yourself in a truly heavenly piece of earth. Watch whales, spot icebergs floating in the sea, or explore the settlements of the Vikings.

 

Canada’s easternmost province not only impresses with its charming landscape and exciting history, but especially with its inhabitants. It is not for nothing that Newfoundland has the reputation of being home to the friendliest people in Canada. Let the sociable and helpful disposition of the Newfoundlands welcome you to one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

The oldest city in Canada – St. John’s

Despite its long history, the capital of Newfoundland, St. John’s, could hardly be more lively. While strolling through the city, you will see colorful houses adorned with flowers on the steep hillside streets. For the more adventurous, the city offers the perfect starting point to follow a spectacular hiking trail. Explore the east coast of the island and marvel at whales or watch fishing boats maneuver past icebergs.

Historical Viking settlement

The interesting history of the province leads to another recommendation for your Newfoundland trip. L’Anse aux Meadows should definitely be on the travel list of your Newfoundland adventure. In this historic Viking site in the west of the island, you will learn interesting facts about the exciting history of the dreaded pirates. Thanks to reconstructed Viking houses, you will feel transported back to the year 1000, when the first immigrants reached Newfoundland.

Newfoundland World Heritage Site

In addition to adventurous hiking trails, the west of Newfoundland offers another highlight. There a walk through the Gros Morne National Park reveals a breathtaking scenery. In order to protect the unique geology of the Tableland Mountains present there, the park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its impressive landscape is characterized by waterfalls, rock cliffs, mountains and fjords. You will not be able to get out of your amazement, because this park offers great views – as far as the eye can see.