Our Fabulous Finds in Aruba: One Happy Island
Aruba’s motto, One Happy Island, is the perfect sentiment to describe this joyful, friendly island. Ask a local for directions and they may very well walk you to where you want to go. Take the local bus and they will likely strike up a conversation to last your entire bus ride. This happy island, located 15 miles north of Venezuela is known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. Sitting outside the Caribbean hurricane belt, the weather is perfect with a year round almost constant temperature of 82 degrees and rainfall of less than 20 inches.
During my recent trip I stayed at two different resorts. The first, Riu Palace Aruba, is a magnificent all-inclusive resort situated on Palm Beach in the High Rise area. I found the resort offers the perfect combination of luxury and entertainment. The Riu provides a beach front location with large ocean-view rooms. The swim-up pool bar is the place to be during the day for fun activities and people watching. Dinner at the resort offers two sittings per night with a large buffet. The nightlife is hopping with the Casino and Sports Bar open until the wee hours of the morning.
The second resort, Divi Village Golf Resort, is one of my favorites for an easy going, do-what-you-want type of vacation. Divi offers a beach front location in the Low Rise area and features Studio to 2-bedroom accommodations perfect for a couple or a large family. The name tells you that golf is a big deal here and the 9-hole course has tournaments almost every day. Window on Aruba, arguably one of the best restaurants in Aruba is located on the property and boasts wonderful views with even better food and service. Don’t miss the sunsets from Jimmy’s Sunset bar. Thursdays Jimmy himself sings some of his favorite songs from the 70’s.
My insider tip, however, is that Aruba is not an all-inclusive resort island. There are too many scrumptious restaurants, fabulous shopping areas and activities to be confined to one place. Eat lunch and sip on one the famous Margaritas at the West Deck in town while you watch the arrival of the many cruise ships. Dine at Pizza Bob’s for a casual evening meal or for an elegant, romantic sunset dinner for two try Elements at the Bucuti Resort. For the steak lovers, El Gaucho’s is a must visit for the amazing Argentinian beef.
The town of Oranjestad has the best shopping in town. Aruba is very Americanized and accepts the US dollar as well as traveler’s checks and major credit cards. For water fun, Aruba is a fantastic island for snorkeling. Boca Catalina is the best place for seeing marine life. This trip I saw an octopus! If you visit during Carnival (just before Lent) you can enjoy the Children’s Parade and Pajama Parade in San Nicholas.
The sunsets in Aruba are some of the most breathtaking in the Caribbean. You’ll want to find a special place each night to see them. You can take a sunset sail on a Catamaran, visit Bugalo’s, a local bar that sits on a pier, or simply sit on the beach with the local beer Balashi and enjoy the show.
The “Happy Island” is quickly becoming one of my favorite luxury tropical vacation destinations. With all it has to offer, it’s not hard to see why Aruba has one of the highest repeat visit rates in the Caribbean.
The Tropical Travelers can help you plan your escape to this beautiful island. Contact us by phone at 1-800-479-0949 or visit our website. Your tropical paradise does exist and we know where to find it.