Aruba Vacations All-inclusive Resorts vs Family Reunions vs Planning a Wedding ... and 5 more
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney, Alma
Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean lying just north of the Venezuelan coast. Its climate is warm and dry all year around thanks to the constant influence of the trade winds. Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dutch influence remains obvious in its architectural style as well as the fact that one of the main languages spoken is Dutch. However, Spanish and English are also spoken, as well as the local tongue, Papiamento.
Method 1: All-inclusive Resorts
Whether you're looking for an Aruba vacation for families or just a couples' getaway, the all-inclusive resorts on Aruba give you the best value for your traveling dollar. If you are looking for cheap Aruba vacations, go all-inclusive and forget the nickel-and-diming.
- 1Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. Manchebo Beach Resort is a small boutique outfit (it has just 72 guest rooms) that caters to discerning couples looking for a relaxing Caribbean vacation where they can reconnect and recharge their batteries. Its spa offers Shiatsu and hot stone massages, pedicures and manicures, and a variety of scrubs and wraps for after you take part in the onsite Yoga and Pilates classes.Advertisement
- 2Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. A smallish resort, Bucuti & Tara Resort has just 104 rooms, which lends the resort a cozy and romantic ambiance that larger establishments may lack. It's an adults-only resort so you can bask in the sun by the freshwater infinity pool in peace and quiet without the noisy antics of children to disturb you. Get a couples massage with your love and enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach under a private palapa. After you've filled your belly with good food and wine, enjoy free movies on the beach under a starry night sky.Advertisement
- 3Barcelo, Aruba. With 373 rooms, all of which have balconies, six restaurants, and three bars, Barcelo offers the ultimate all-inclusive resort experience. Not only can you stay as active as you like with watersports such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and water polo, but you can also play beach volleyball, have a game of tennis on of the two floodlit tennis courts, or head over to the nearby golf course to hit the links. Alternatively, you can opt to get a massage in your room, by the pool, or on the beach,
Method 2: Family Reunions
Have you been thinking about planning your next family reunion? Why not get everyone together where you can enjoy the warm tropical sunshine and clear waters of the sparkling Caribbean? Aruba is a beautiful island with sunny and warm weather all year around, which is just perfect for your needs.
- 1Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort. A tiny resort by most standards, the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort has 49 suites and 23 studios for a grand total of 72 guestrooms. Family-owned and operated, it features two restaurants, including the romantic Passions on the Beach restaurant and two bars featuring twice daily happy hours. It's the perfect cozy spot to get together with relatives that you haven't seen in ages! Sunbathe by the freshwater pool with its relaxing waterfall, and let your kids splash around in the kids' pool. Enjoy live entertainment on theme nights, as well as weekly movies on the beach.Advertisement
- 2Merlot Villas. At 2,500 square feet and five bedrooms with four and a half bathrooms, this private villa is perfect for a family get-together. Enjoy swimming in the private pool and cooking together in the large kitchen. Or perhaps have a barbecue out by the pool? Enjoy the company of your relatives in peace and comfort in this beautiful tropical setting.
Method 3: Planning a Wedding
Aruba is the perfect place for a wedding, not only because of its beauty but also because of its lovely warm climate all year around. Have the outdoor wedding of your dreams without worrying about it getting ruined by rain and make that special day a time to remember forever.
- 1Divi Resorts, Aruba. Divi has three resorts in Aruba, one on Palm Beach, two on Eagle Beach. One of the resorts on Eagle Beach is a suites-only establishment. Offering wedding packages that are sure to delight, whether you want to get married on the beach, by the pool, or in a beautiful indoor location, Divi Resorts will take care of you. Don't worry about the reception, either. Have it poolside, on the beach, or in the banquet hall; it's your choice on your special day.
Method 4: Vacationing with a Family
Aruba is a very family-friendly place. With miles of beautiful beachfront, lively music, and fun activities for all ages, it's the perfect spot to bring your family to for a vacation.
- 1Occidental Grand Aruba. This family-friendly resort hotel has activities for people of all ages. While you are relaxing on the beach or poolside, your kids will be having the time of their lives splashing in the pool or making arts and crafts at the hotel's kids' club, a supervised activity center for the youngsters. But don't worry, there are plenty of amenities for the adults, such as relaxing massages and 11 delicious restaurants.
- 2Aruba Ostrich Farm, Oranjestad. If you like large birds, there's no larger bird than the ostrich. You can see, feed, and otherwise, interact with ostriches and emus at this farm as well as learn interesting facts about them. However, be warned: ostriches are not sweet and docile like the cute donkeys; no, they're mean and ornery, and would just as soon as take your arm off as allow you to pet them.
- 3Donkey Sanctuary. Feed and pet cute little donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary. Run by a non-profit group, the Sanctuary cares for injured or ill donkeys and nurses them back to health. It also educates people on the proper care and the history of donkeys on Aruba. The donkeys are calm, sweet animals, and you may end up wanting to take one home with you!
Method 5: Private Rentals
If you like to maintain your privacy while you're on vacation and you don't care for staying at a busy, crowded resort, you have the option of renting private accommodation for yourself and your family. Here are a couple of examples of what's available:
- 1Luxury Fourth Floor Apartment at Eagle Beach. This lovely apartment has 1,500 square feet of luxurious space for you to spread out in. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with all the modern amenities, such as Travertine tile floors and a gourmet kitchen. Best of all, the apartment features a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea and the beach.
- 2Villa Chuchubi. Located in Palm Beach, Aruba, this beautiful home has 2,186 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Enjoy swimming in the private pool or strolling through the beautiful gardens surrounding the home. It comes equipped with all the modern amenities, including two huge flat panel televisions connected to Netflix.
Method 6: Seven Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at your hotel and get settled in. Have a nap to recharge your batteries so that you can wake refreshed for the evening's activities. Most resorts have some bars and restaurants, so take advantage of the all-inclusive amenities offered, and have e a cocktail before eating a light dinner and heading out to one of the many nightlife spots on the island for a thumping good time.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, venture out to the tropical splendor of the Butterfly Farm in Palm Beach. After that, head back to the hotel and pick up some snorkeling equipment and prepare to get wet. If you prefer, you can rent scuba gear and go for a dive among one of the many wrecks that litter the sea around Aruba, such as the shallow water Antilla shipwreck.
Day 3: Spend the day horseback riding at Arirok National Park and exploring the caves and mines there. Afterward, don't miss the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations and the natural bridge that joins the Ayo and Casibari areas together.
Day 4: Enjoy a day relaxing at your hotel. Get a massage and enjoy the warmth of the sun by the pool or the beach. If you must stay active, try windsurfing at Hadicurari Beach.
Day 5: Head over to Aruba's capital, Oranjestad for a day of culture, good food, and shopping. Stroll the exhibits at the National Archeological Museum Aruba as well as the Aruba Historical Museum before having lunch at one of the many restaurants nearby. Spend the rest of the day wandering the shops and grabbing souvenirs to remember your trip by.
Day 6: Spend the day visiting the Ostrich Farm and the Donkey Sanctuary.
Day 7: Explore the coastline by going kayaking and then begin winding down by heading over to the Stellaris Casino for some gambling. Don't lose your shirt, though, because it's time to start packing for the trip home.
Method 7: What to Do in Aruba?
Whether you enjoy gambling, exploring, diving, animal-watching, partying, or all of the above, there's something or many somethings for you to do in Aruba.
- 1Casino at Hyatt Regency. Open from Noon to 4 a.m. daily, the Hyatt Regency's casino Is prepared to make you part with your money, even if you are not a guest of the hotel.
- 2Stellaris Casino. If you didn't lose enough money over at the Hyatt Regency, the Marriot Resort, to which Stellaris belongs, would like some of your cash and has no problem serving you even though you aren't a guest. Stellaris is open 24 hours every day.
- 3Arikok National Park. This wilderness area is located in the southeast portion of the island and features hiking trails and abandoned gold miles for your exploration. Wildlife is abundant here, including the Aruba rattlesnake, so it's best to watch where you step. Other animals you'll find there include goats, donkeys, and parakeets.
- 4Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations. These rock formations can be found near the village of Ayo as you head toward the natural bridge leading to Casibari. The Ayo formations are towering stone boulders that project out of the ground oddly, and around which you can find Amerindian drawings. The Casibari Boulder Clusters consist of massive tonalite boulders, around which paths and steps have been created for people to climb to the top of the boulders.
- 5California Lighthouse. This popular tourist attraction, built in 1910, was named after a British steamer that sunk offshore in 1861. Climb to the top for spectacular views, as the lighthouse is built on at the highest point on the north end of the island.
- 6Pedernales Wreck, off Palm Beach. The Pedernales was a Canadian WWII tanker ship that ran afoul of a German U-Boat on its way to the refinery on Aruba. The U-Boat fired off torpedoes and sunk the ship, the middle of which rises from the sea floor just 25 feet down. The Pedernales Wreck is perfect for beginning divers, and the waters around it teem with reef fish, parrot fish, sergeant majors, and even eel and octopi.
- 7Bon Bini Festival, Oranjestad. Every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm., the locals hold the Bon Bini Festival, a celebration of folk traditions, costumed dancing, rhythmic drum beats, and local food and drinks. "Bon Bini" means "welcome" in the Papiamento language.
Method 8: Beaches
Warm white sand and calm, clear tropical water that the almost unbelievable shade of aqua you've ever seen. That's what awaits you on Aruba's miles of beaches: a retreat where you can play in the water as much as you like, or just lie out in the sun while sipping a cool drink.
- 1Eagle Beach. Eagle Beach is a beautiful beach that remains relatively unmarred by development due to being classified as a low-rise zone by the Aruba government. Watersports of every kind are popular here, including kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, and diving. If you're there during the month of June, you may be lucky enough to see baby sea turtles hatch.
- 2Palm Beach. Unlike Eagle Beach, Palm Beach is in a high rise zone, which means that large hotels can be seen on it. It is less active for watersports; however, and better for those who want to swim in peace without worrying about getting hit in the head by a random surfboard. Its turquoise waters and white sand make it very attractive, as well.
- 3Hadicurari Beach. If you love to windsurf or ride a kiteboard, then the shallow waters off Hadicurari Beach are where you want to be. The strong winds coming around the northwestern tip of the island make for awesome conditions for either sport. Snorkelers will enjoy the clear sparkling water, as well, and if you're there for the months of June and July, you can participate in the kite surfing and windsurfing tournament held there every year.
- 4Baby Beach. Baby Beach is where Arubans like to go. It's less populated than either Palm or Eagle Beach and features shallow water that's great for snorkeling and swimming. Work on your tan or get a snack from on of the many food vendors around in between your dips in the water.
When is the Best Time to Go?
The best time to visit Aruba is between the months of April and August. Rates on hotels and resorts on the island are cheaper at this time, and since the weather is pleasant all year around, you're not sacrificing great weather for fewer crowds and lower prices.