Find your happy place in Aruba
SHERYL NANCE-NASH | 3/7/2019, 4:10 p.m.
They call Aruba the Happy Island. It won’t take you long to figure out why. The vibe is calm, chill. Fancy turquoise, lovely water? There’s plenty. To get started, try Arashi Beach near the northwestern tip of the island and Baby Beach on the southeastern end of the island. Whatever you do, don’t forget your sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. The sun shines bright and forget about rain. You also don’t have to worry about hurricanes. Aruba is out of the hurricane zone.
There are many options for accommodations, but the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino on Palm Beach is the place to stay. With nine eateries and bars, including the popular seafood restaurant Atardi, with all its romance and charm, you and your crew will have a hard time trying to decide which one. No worries, they all offer various temptations. If you choose a premier suite you can check out the Tradewinds Club, which occupies the top floor of the hotel and offers an array of complimentary food and beverage options, a pool and reserved beach seating. You’ll also have a good time hanging out at the hotel lobby bar. Expect creative cocktails. Drink up.
Work up your appetite by playing beach tennis, the island’s signature sport. If you’ve never played, you can take a lesson. On nearby Moomba Beach you’ll find Beach Tennis Moomba. The adorable teachers are beyond patient. They don’t laugh, even when you give them much reason to do so. That’s not say they won’t make you work. Unless you resist, they might make you start your class running laps and if you hit the ball over the fence, be ready to hit the deck doing pushups. It’s all good, spirited fun. They don’t really enforce the pushups, there would be more of that than beach tennis!
Aruba is all about water sports. Snorkel, windsurf or try your hand at Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga at Vela Windsurf. What can be better than doing a downward facing dog in the middle of the sea? Yoga on a paddleboard is cool to do and cool to watch if you’re not feeling adventurous. Go for it though, you’ll be glad you did. The beach isn’t deep, so even if you fall off your board, there’s no need to panic.
For a very memorable evening, take a Sunset Sail with De Palm Tours. The two-hour ride aboard a catamaran is fab. The music is rocking, lots of reggae to set the island mood. There are light bites and open bar. It’s a good time soaking up the scenery of hues of blue and the sunset is stunning.
During your trip, make sure to go inland and join an off-road safari UTV tour or visit the Butterfly Farm, a tropical garden with thousands of butterflies from all corners of the planet. Another spot worth dropping by is the Aruba Aloe Museum and Factory. You’ll see how the aloe vera leaf is transformed to Aruba Aloe lotions. If you’re a shopper, go downtown for your fill of shops, from designer to small boutiques.
While you’re out and about, have dinner at Pinchos Grill & Bar, a hip spot on the pier at the Aruba Surfside Marina. All tables are over the water. The setting is serene. Pinchos is known for its Black Angus filet mignon with a truffle butter sauce, pan seared Caribbean Grouper and other dishes that are just as fantastic as the romantic setting.
If you want to get your party on, Aruba doesn’t disappoint. Only the wimps will call it quits before 4 a.m. You’ll find some place that will make you not want to go back to the hotel, and then there’s likely to be an “after-party.”
For sure, there’s much fun to be had in Aruba. It’s no wonder they call it the Happy Island.