Aruba enhances green credentials
Aruba has further enhanced its green credentials with the introduction of electric, zero-emission buses – the first in the Caribbean.With a target of becoming emissions-free by 2020, Aruba hopes to convert all public and private vehicles into electrified alternatives.The launch of the first bus came at a ceremony held in conjunction with the recent Green Aruba Conference and the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF). The 12-metre bus was built by the China-based BYD Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of all-electric buses. The bus is the first step under a memorandum of understanding between BYD and Aruba and signed in June. The first of four objectives in the MOU was electrifying public transport.
At the launch ceremony, Aruba’s Minister of Transport, Otmar Oduber explained: ‘This bus will cost Aruba 60 per cent less than fuel-driven buses in service at the moment, saving over US$600,000 per bus over a lifetime of more than 12 years.’The bus will undergo rigorous testing and research by an independent research organisation to verify its efficiency. Aruba plans to have four buses in service next year and a total of 20 before 2020.
Carnival gears up for diamond jubilee
Aruba is gearing up for what promises to be its biggest-ever carnival celebration. Carnival season is now officially underway on the island and next year’s event is the 60th anniversary of carnival on Aruba.The island’s carnival is one of the largest in the Caribbean, with the season moving to its high point in January with the Torch Parade and ending at midnight on the eve of Ash Wednesday, March 5, and serving as a last hurrah before the abstinence of Lent. The carnival schedule features parades with their characteristic colourful floats, extravagant costumes and rolling sound trucks that fuel the dancing crowd with roadmarch songs. Jump-ups (street parties),impressive steel-pan drum performances, a tumba contest, calypso and roadmarch contests, a spectacular night-time Lighting Parade and the Grand Parade on Sunday March 2 make for a celebration of fun Aruba style.
More accommodation choices as Blue Residences opens
Travellers will have even more choice of where to stay in Aruba with the opening on March 1 of an upmarket Blue Residences condominium resort. Currently in its final phase of development on Eagle Beach, Blue Residences will consist of three towers. The first to open in March will offer 42 units, including two five-bedroom penthouses, four three-bedroom penthouses, and the remainder in three- and two-bedroom units. A second tower will open in May, with the third in January 2015, giving a total of 124 units.
New tennis facilities served up
Improvements at Aruba Racquet Club have provided eight upgraded tennis courts, four beach tennis courts and a state of the art gym and fitness centre. The centre has also added a Mexican pool bar, a family restaurant with daily theme nights, Sunday brunch and barbecue and a health-oriented snack bar.
Aruba’s latest luxury hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, has opened with 320 rooms, including 55 suites. Located on Palm Beach, the property is Ritz-Carlton’
The hotel also has a range of meeting and special event facilities. A 7,500 square feet ballroom is divisible into three salons, while there are also three meetings rooms and a selection of outdoor venues, including poolside decks and a beachside reception area. A 24-hour casino completes the range of facilities.
Holiday Inn transformation
December will mark the completion of a US$20 million renovation of Aruba’s Holiday Inn Resort. By the end of the project, all of the resort’s 597 rooms and suites will have been modernised, while the property will also feature a redesigned lobby and a new spa. Standing on Palm Beach, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba features three towers, the first of which, Sea Tower, underwent renovation last year, with the work including free wi-fi and 37-inch LCD televisions. Work in Ocean Tower was completed earlier this year, while Ocean Tower will be complete by the middle of December. The hotel features three restaurants, including the Oceanside Bar & Grill on the beach.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Bucuti scoops yet more awards
Adding to its already impressive tally of awards, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts has been ranked among the top 25 resorts in the Caribbean in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. More than 80,000 readers voted in the poll, giving their views of hotels, cities and islands they have visited during the year. Aruba’s only boutique-style resort catering exclusively for adults, Bucuti has claimed a number of recent accolades, including a listing on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List and TripAdvisor’
IN THE DIARY: THE BEST EVENTS OF 2014
11 January 2014
The official opening parade of the Aruba Carnival schedule. Bright lights lead the eway down the main streets of capital Oranjestad. The parade begins at 8pm and sets the pace for the festivities to follow in the weeks ahead.
Grand Tuma Contest
1 February 2014
Originally from Africa with a Caribbean influence, tumba music is played throughout the island’s carnival. This event features local bands and singers competing for the tumba king or queen title with their original musical compositions and lyrics. Aruba Entertainment Center, 7pm
Tivoli Lighting Parade
22 February 2014
Aruba’s favourite evening carnival parade is a visual spectacle. Thousands of tiny lights are incorporated into costumes and floats, heightening the dramatic effect of the parade. Live bans accompany the participating carnival groups. Held in downtown Oranjestad, the parade begins at 7.30pm
60th Grand Carnival Parade
02 March 2014
The largest of all the carnival parades, the Grand Parade winds its way through Oranjestad, bringing with it distinctive music, spectacular floats, with original costumes decorated with colourful stones, sequins and feathers. The main event starts at 10am, continuing into the early evening
Aruba Tourism Authority
Aruba Tourism Authority