The Carubbian Festival is staged every Thursday evening in Aruba’s second city of San Nicolas, located on the southern end of the island and an historic contrast to the hotel and resort area of capital Oranjestad and northern beaches beyond.
The evening’s fun is based around the main street of San Nicolas, where visitors are welcomed by locals and can enjoy traditional entertainment, including dancers and displays of carnival costumes, and also sample typical cuisine and drinks. Dishes include curried goat, jerk chicken, salt fish and chicken satay. Visitors can also buy such desserts as coconut drops, pineapple cake and pan boyo (bread pudding).
The evening comes to a climax with its own carnival procession, heading by a brass band, winding it noisy way through the city and in which visitors are encouraged to participate.
The Carubbian Festival is held every Thursday night from 6pm to 10pm and visitors can purchase a package at their hotel, costing around US$66 (about £38), including round-trip transport.
And there is no shortage of things to do by day or night the rest of the week during an Aruba holiday – here’s the other attractions making up the island’s top 10:
Eagle Beach: Stroll along Eagle Beach, named one of the best beaches in the Caribbean on TripAdvisor. It’s the island’s longest stretch of pristine white sand and home to iconic fofoti trees. Many Arubans enjoy the popular public area just off the main road with ample parking, shaded picnic areas, and beach huts.
Jolly Pirates: Sailing aboard the teak schooners of the Jolly Pirates is one of the most popular things to do in Aruba. Spend the day swimming and snorkeling Aruba’s best underwater sites, launch yourself off a rope swing, and admire a stunning sunset from just offshore.
Aruba Kitesurfing School: Aruba’s trade winds make it one of the world’s best locations for wind sports. Take a kitesurfing lesson from one of the island’s pros, where beginners can practice on soft sand beaches and catch their first air in calm turquoise waters.
Horseriding: Depending on the route chosen, one can enjoy rides along white-sand beaches, or over gorgeous, rugged terrain, all the way to Conchi, Aruba's natural pool.
Arikok National Park: Rent a Jeep and explore Arikok National Park, a natural preserve that covers one-fifth of the island. There’s a lot of natural wonder to explore here, from breathtaking viewpoints, secluded beaches and coves, rock formations, and ancient caves.
Beach tennis: Along Aruba’s beaches, visitors will see games of beach tennis, the national sport. A combination of beach volleyball and tennis, Aruba hosts one of the biggest beach tennis events in the world every November. Try it for yourself at one of the courts around the island.
California Lighthouse: The old stone California lighthouse stands as a silent sentry near Aruba’s northwestern tip. One of the highest points on the island, visitors walk, drive or cycle up at sunset from hotels on Palm Beach to for panoramic views of the island as sunshine gives way to a watercolor sky.
Bushiribana Gold Mill ruins: A popular stop on off-road and ATV tours, this abandoned gold mill on the northern coast is a fun way to imagine Aruba’s rich history, and a great opportunity for unique beach photos.
Casibari rock formation: Climb these enigmatic monolithic boulders that rise above the rugged landscape to get a unique vantage point of Aruba - from the beaches to panoramic sea cliffs.
For more information about Aruba, go to www.aruba.com
Note to editors: The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba lies 15 miles north of the South American coastline, benefitting from year-round sunshine, an average temperature of 32 degrees and a cooling breeze. Located on the edge of the hurricane belt, with a nine mile stretch of award-winning pristine beach, turquoise seas, colonial Dutch architecture and a Latin vibe, Aruba is a delightful alternative Caribbean experience. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operates to Aruba five times a week, with departures from 15 UK airports via its international hub at Amsterdam Schiphol. Thomson Airways operates weekly charter departures from London Gatwick from May to October. Leading tour operators offering packages to Aruba include Thomson Holidays, First Choice, Kuoni, Tropical Sky and Black Tomato