Winter in New York can be brutally cold, sometimes you need a vacation to escape to a warm weather location to recharge and soak in some sun. Winter travelers are heading south to Aruba, a Dutch Island off the coast of Venezuela. Aruba is known as “one happy island,” with pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters, it’s no surprise that the island has repeat visitors that return year after year. Whether you want a low-key relaxing vacation or attractions and activities to explore, Aruba has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for a restful and relaxing vacation, reserve your palapas, dine like the locals, and unwind at the spa.
Accommodations in Aruba
If you’re looking for accommodations in Aruba, steer clear of all-inclusive resorts. Packages that offer all you can eat and drink might sound appealing but the dining at some of the all-inclusive resorts can be subpar. The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa And Casino, are three highly recommended resorts worth considering. The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino seems to offer the best rates of the three and includes a voucher for a beautiful buffet breakfast including an omelet station, waffle bar, a variety of smoothies and juices, mimosas, infused waters, fresh coffee, bread and pastries, and hot options including bacon, sausage, and pancakes at the Laguna Restaurant. Start your day al fresco dining by a lush lagoon filled with koi fish and swans surrounded by tropical foliage.
Before hitting the beach, remember to reserve your palapas, structures of wood covered with dried, woven palm leaves, resembling a tiki-hut, with two chaise lounge beach chairs placed underneath. Since Aruba is located close to the equator, the sun is strong. A palapa, sunglasses with UV protection and reef-safe sunscreen will help you sun tan safely while providing protection from harmful rays.
Luckily, Aruba is the biggest producer of aloe vera plants and Aruba Aloe stores can be found throughout the island if you need sunburn relief. Trade winds, wind blowing steadily toward the equator, will help keep you cool from the hot rays. Before engaging in beach activities, keep in mind that strong winds can make water sports like paddle boarding challenging compared to other tropical locations.
If you’re planning to just relax and day drink at the beach, beverage service begins at 11am. Turn the knob on the side of your palapa up to green and someone from Gilligan’s Seafood Shack will be over to take your food or drink order. Drinks can be charged to the room is you don’t want to carry cash or credit card to the beach.
If you’re unable to book palapas, you can always sit back and relax poolside where you can rent cabanas for added shade and comfort. If you don’t want to deal with kids splashing in the water, reserve a spot near the quiet pool and read a good book or pop in your earbuds and listen to the ultimate pool party playlist.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370-A
Salt & Pepper is located conveniently across the street from The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. If you’re craving a big juicy burger, steak or cold or hot tapas, Salt & Pepper is sure to satisfy your craving. Daily deals include Early Bird specials from 4pm until 6:30pm and Happy Hour from 4-6pm. If you can’t decide what to order, enjoy a variety of appetizers and snacks off the tapas menu. Salt & Pepper can also accommodate guests with food allergies. If you can’t have gluten or dairy, enjoy a burger on a low-carb lettuce wrap, a figure-friendly option for a beach vacation.
Palm Beach 13A, Aruba
When traveling to a new place, it’s easy to get caught in tourist traps and overpay for mediocre meals. If you’re looking to dine at a locally-owned mom and pop eatery, head to Local Store where you’ll enjoy delicious dishes made with local ingredients paired with craft beers. Local Store is known for their wings which come in a variety of flavors including Curry Ranch, Local Criollo (tossed in a homemade Creole sauce), Garlic Parmesan, Balashi BBQ (tossed in a Aruba’ Balashi Beer BBQ sauce), Boom Boom (tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce) and many more. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, Local Store has a large variety of craft beers to choose from to pair with your meal.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd, 81, Aruba
If you’re looking to primp and pamper yourself on vacation, book a wellness retreat at the eforea Spa at Hilton Aruba. Guests can arrive early and use the steam room, sauna, cold plunge pool and sit in the tranquil Japanese-inspired relaxation area. Indulge and treat yourself to eforea’s signature 80 minute Aloe Vera and Rum Massage and let the stress melt away. Eforea also offers a plethora of hair, makeup, nail and spa services.