Seven Windsurfing Wonders of the World

Aruba: Two-Sided Treasure

Ah, Aruba! Located only 12 degrees north of the Equator, this Caribbean island offers warm, crystal-clear water that rarely drops below 75 degrees F and consistent winds that are a windsurfer's dream: the average wind speed, year-round, is more than 20 knots, though it can get up to 10 knots higher in June, the island's windiest month.

With winds like these—beloved of speed sailors—Aruba should be a destination for experts only. Not so. Although the northeastern flank of the long, narrow island is turned toward the prevailing trade winds, its sheltered, lee side to the southwest provides excellent flat-water sailing—made even better by the presence of a nearby reef that blocks the ocean swell.
A number of tour operators book windsurfing vacations in Aruba. Our top choice is Vela Windsurf Resorts, (4604 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. 1.800.223.5443 or 1.831.461.0820,, which operates the Fisherman's Huts Windsurf Center—probably the best facility on the island. Located on the northwest end of Aruba, the center offers a variety of lessons taught four times daily. Costs depend on season.

Also recommended is Sailboard Vacations (193 Rockland St., Hanover, MA. 1.800.252.1070 or 1.781.829.8915., which offers packages that include lodging and equipment rental. The company's Aruba Windsurfing Academy provides high-quality instruction for all ability levels, which special clinics held in April, August, and December. Sailboard's equipment is new, and its accommodations are located quite close to the prime sailing spots.

Aruba has much to offer in addition to wonderful windsurfing conditions, so if you're recovering from sunburn, blisters, or just plain fatigue, take time out to enjoy some of the island's other attractions. During the day you can relax in temperatures that average a balmy 82 degree, with low humidity. And at night—when Aruba really comes to life—you can try your luck at one of the island's popular casinos, where the roll of the dice can be less predictable than the blow of Aruba's trade winds.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 20 Jun 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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