This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aruba Tourism Authority. All opinions are 100% mine.

Aruba is a well situated island just north of Venezuela and south of the hurricane belt offering reliably warm weather that vacationers desire on a Caribbean island getaway. As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba’s official language is Dutch in addition to Papiamento, a local language, though English and Spanish are widely spoken. Thus, the island has quite the cultural heritage and what better way to celebrate its unique island life with a gorgeous landscape backdrop than with annual events and festivals. We love using special events as reasons to plan our trips to new destinations. The typical sightseeing spots will be there year round, but once a year special occasions allow a solitary glimpse into a way of life. So here are five annual events we’d schedule a visit around to add excitement to any Aruba travel plans.

Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival

Held annually during the first week of October, this year will be the 7th for the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival. The outdoor music event offers a mix of styles such as jazz, latin, soul, funk and blues. In addition to the music, there’s plenty of food and drinks served to satisfy on all levels. Check it out this year October 4-5, 2013. 

Aruba Carnival

This month long celebration is held primarily in February until the evening before Ash Wednesday. The schedule is jam packed with events including parades, Carnival Queen elections, and street parties also referred to as “jump-ups”. Aruba Carnival is an all-ages event as well as there are various parades specifically for children.

Aruba Hi-Winds

Aruba boasts excellent sporting events that take advantage of the beautiful blue water and practical coast line. A distinct sports event that caught our eye is the Aruba Hi-Winds, an international competition of windsurfing and kite boarding held in July. In addition to enjoying this race and freestyle competition, there is also plenty to see and do on the beach which is occupied by artists, bands and DJs for all to enjoy.

Dera Gai (St John's Day)

For a truly cultural experience, this celebration of St John held every year on June 24th is the perfect time to visit the island. Its an opportunity to experience traditional song and dance as people wear red and yellow costumes symbolizing fire. Smoke drifts throughout the cities as bonfires are part of the festivities and people burn their own garden waste. 

Unox Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year's Plunge)

If a warm getaway is what’s in mind during a normally cold winter holiday, then celebrating the New Year in Aruba is a considerable option. A party on New Year’s Eve is not the only reason to go, however. There is also the New Year’s Plunge held every year on January 1 at noon at MooMba Beach. Unlike many other New Year’s dips around colder parts of the world, this one is sure to not be as freezing! There’s also erwtensoep, traditional Dutch pea soup, to be enjoyed as a reward afterwards.

Which of these annual festivals would you head to Aruba for? It’s hard to choose! Share with us in the coments below.

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