TORONTO — Sunquest has been taking Canadians to Aruba for close to 25 years, and in that time has seen the island evolve from a quiet little outpost in the Netherlands Antilles to a destination with one of the highest repeat visitor rates in the entire region.
“Aruba has grown and changed so much over the years,” said Wayne Noseworthy, Senior Product Director for Sunquest and buyer for the island. “When we started selling packages there were just a handful of key hotels.”
A little further afield than many other Caribbean hotspots (five hours from Toronto, flying direct), Aruba has always catered to a higher end clientele, but with Sunquest’s new business model, which offers enhanced flexibility during the booking process and value, the island has become even more affordable and accessible than ever before, said Noseworthy.
Sunquest offers direct weekly flights to Aruba on both Air Canada and WestJet, but also invites customers to take advantage of other options such as daily flights on American Airlines via Miami, on Delta via Atlanta, or on US Airways via Charlotte. The advantage? Customers can more easily pick and choose their travel days, and because it’s a connecting flight, there is generally a break in price as well.
As for the extra travel time generally associated with a connecting flight? “It is so easy and convenient in both directions because both Aruba and Toronto offer U.S. Customs & Immigration pre-clearance facilities, which makes the flight connection a breeze, with no additional security screenings required – you get off one plane and onto another, sometimes at the very next gate,” said Noseworthy.
Once there, Sunquest offers a total of 10 resorts to choose from, including the very popular sister properties Divi Aruba and Tamarijn Aruba on beautiful Druif Beach, the recently refurbished Renaissance Aruba, which is located in the heart of Oranjestad in the marina area and offers a private island and beach for guests, and the Holiday Inn Sunspree on pristine Palm Beach, where most of the island’s high-rise resorts are located. Sunquest offers all-inclusive packages at each of these resorts.
But Aruba isn’t all about its beautiful beaches, although they certainly are big selling features, it also offers unique experiences and a fantastic culture.
“Renting a jeep and hitting the road is the best way to really get a feel for Aruba,” continued Noseworthy. “The island is small and flat, and the infrastructure is good, making it very easy to get around and explore in a day.”
Scenic highlights include:
- The California Lighthouse or Hooiberg (also known as Haystack Mountain) to take in some of the best views;
- Arikok National Park, which is home to Aruba’s flora and fauna, as well as caves, sand dunes, the natural pool and the Guadiriki Cave;
- The wreck of the Antilla, the largest wreck in the Caribbean and a truly amazing dive site.
Being an arid place, Aruba does get hot, but thanks to its cooling trade winds that constantly blow, the days are always very comfortable. “It’s a great place to go even in the summer,” said Noseworthy. “July and August can get so humid here in Canada, but in Aruba, it is dry and comfortable thanks to those winds.”
For more information and to book clients on their next trip to Aruba, visit SunquestAgent.ca.