Aruba, A Happy Island of New Adventure

Adventures in Aruba

This post brought to you by Aruba Tourism Authority. All opinions are 100% mine.

The last two times I traveled to the Caribbean it rained seventy-five percent of the time.  I had no choice but to make the best of it.  A few months ago, when my friend Ana and I decided to plan an island get-away, we had three requirements: 1) A destination where neither one of us has previously traveled; 2) An island with adventure; and 3) A place where it is less likely to rain. We chose Aruba for these reasons and more.

Upon our arrival, we checked into the Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino, toured the property and wasted no time before going to the beach for lunch, drinks and a bit of relaxation.   After dipping into the ocean, mingling with other visitors, and watching people partake in water activities, we decided to try our hand at stand up paddle boarding (SUP). We had a quick lesson from the instructors at Divi Surf and thought we were ready for this easy water activity. To stand on a board and paddle in a balanced, controlled manner is not as simple as it looks.  As much as we enjoyed the experience, it was more of a work out than we bargained for after a few cocktails.

Later that day we wanted to explore more of the island so we booked a catamaran sunset dinner cruise.  As soon as we boarded the boat, the steel pan drummer began to play to the beat of the reggae and island songs that were blasting through the sound system. This was not a typical romantic sunset sail for honeymooners and couples. This was a party boat and we could not have been happier.  We danced merengue, salsa, and calypso for nearly two hours.  Two and a half hours from the time we set sail, the sun had set, we ate, drank and returned to shore.  Although we wanted to keep the party going, we knew we needed to rest for an early day at Arikok National Park.

The next day we drove to Arikok National Park to learn about the flora and fauna in Aruba.  The park ranger and medicine doctor, Julio, shared the history of Arikok, taught us a few things in Papiamento (local language), and explained the medicinal uses of the plants unique to the island. Surprising to me, the plants and landscape in Aruba were nothing like I imagined. It is not lush and tropical as with many Caribbean islands.  It is arid, strewn with cacti, succulents, and plenty of homeopathic plants. During the tour, we startled a herd of wild goats; took pictures of exotic lizards and explored the cave paintings drawn by the Caquetio who are the descendants of the Arawak Indians and inhabitants of Aruba from 1000 AD.  The private tour was the perfect way to fulfill our desire for adventure and culture in an island that has long been known as the ideal Caribbean destination for sun, sea, and sand.

After returning to our hotel, we relaxed and prepared for dinner at the Old Man & the Sea restaurant.  This was our last supper in Aruba before departing back to NYC and we wanted it to be special.  When we arrived at Old Man & the Sea restaurant we felt as though we had walked into a mini paradise. The walkway into the outdoor restaurant was decorated with an assortment of beautiful plants with sheer curtains blowing in the breeze. We sat at a table in the sand as we watched the sun set and dined on lobster and mahi mahi that was paired with a Chilean sauvignon blanc. The view and ambiance was world class and the food and service was excellent.

After a delightful dinner, we returned to relax at the Tradewinds Club lounge in the Aruba Marriott for nightcap before our flight the next morning.  We hated to have to leave this beautiful island that met our three requirements for a new, adventurous, weather friendly Caribbean destination. We were pleasantly surprised to have experienced more than we could have asked. We will definitely be returning to this “One Happy Island”.Aruba travel

Here’s a video highlight of my experience in Aruba! http://www.travelista.tv/adventures-in-aruba/

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