Aruba-One Happy Island
One Very Happy Island.
Did you know, that Aloe Vera marked Aruba’s first source of welfare? Also, two thirds of the island was covered in aloe plants in the 1920s! Aruba the A of the ABC islands is a very popular destination and after visiting for a weekend, I can understand why it is “One Happy Island”. Our flight was a short three and a half hours from the Hartsfield Jackson International airport to the beautiful Beatrix International airport. On arrival, we were greeted by a young lady who gave us a Divi branded bag with coupons for restaurants, attractions and of course the Divi hotels. This meant we were definitely shopping. We were then greeted by a very pleasant immigration officer who seemed genuinely happy we were visiting his home. Our customs experience was even more delightful, as there was no wait which meant we would be having lunch on the beach. Once we were in the arrivals area we were met by the De Palm tours representative for our transfer to the hotel. The drive was approximately 30 minutes with a little bit of traffic, once we arrived near the capital city, Oranjestad. After we passed the capital city, there was less traffic with a very scenic drive with views of the beautiful water, awaiting for us to dive in, so how can one not be happy in Aruba. Our first impression of Aruba was definitely an insightful one. Tourism is important to Aruba and everyone seemed to be aware of that. Every person we encountered was genuinely happy to see us and wished us a great time on the island.
Our first night was at the Marriott Aruba Stellaris and Casino, located on the Palm Beach area. Lovely property, great for families and also anyone who wants to do a bit of gambling. The property has beautiful landscaping and it definitely has the island feel to it. Once we were settled in our rooms, we followed the music to the pool bar where it was certainly jamming. Lunch was ordered while we listened to the sweet sound of the saxophone. We thought that the saxophonist was the best we had heard and then we realized who that we were listening to. Kim Waters, the world renowned saxophonist just happened to be on vacation at the Marriott and decided to jam with the house band. What a treat. It was a lovely afternoon with great music, good food and loads of fun. Our first day in Aruba was going better than planned. We spent a few hours by the pool bar, as it was happy hour and the drinks were just flowing. We ended the first day, sipping on Aruba Ariba, the most popular cocktail on the island, it is also very delicious. We watched the spectacular sunset, on beautiful Palm Beach, and enjoyed the warm turquoise waters.
Aruba Aloe Our second day started with us lounging on the beach and then we got, what we call itchy foot, so we decided to rent a car and explore the island. This is highly recommended as you can see and do so much more. (Tip: Reserve the car online it will be cheaper, do not walk up to the desk and try to rent a car) The island gets limited rain so it is very dry with cactus, and an abundance of aloe vera and lots of goats. Aruba Aloe is considered one of the only aloe companies in the world that grows, harvest and manufacture on site. Aruba Aloe is also one of the oldest aloe companies in the world and one of the first to produce cosmetics based on the aloe vera gel. Aruba Aloe was definitely on every corner and if you missed a store, you can visit the Aloe Vera museum. (Yes, there is an Aloe Vera museum). Driving around was quite interesting, we drove through San Nicholas and found the only Anglican church in Aruba. We marked the spot to return for Sunday worship. The Palm Beach area is the perfect place to enjoy great food, entertainment and shopping. Night life is definitely alive in Aruba.
Dine Around With over thirty restaurants to choose from, your dining options are endless, and it is easy to sample a different restaurant every night. Aruba’s gastronomic offerings reflect a combination of cultural diversity. From Latin, Dutch, to Indonesian, the small island is definitely a powerhouse in the kitchen, with the many different spices used. I highly recommend “the dine around” program during your visit. It is certainly the most cost effective way to dine at many different restaurants. You can purchase the three nights, five and seven nights options. Your “dine around” programs covers a three course meal for two persons, or you can purchase for as many persons as desired. Many of the restaurants provides a special menu or you can choose from their regular menu. Some restaurants may have an additional surcharge for items not included in “the dine around” menu. Overall it is an excellent and very economical way to dine. Sunday Worship. We decided to head back to San Nicholas, a short thirty minutes’ drive on the eastern side of the island, where we worshiped at the Holy Cross Anglican Church. The Rev Fr Sydney Michael Jacob and his congregation gave us a very warm welcome. We felt very much at home, yet another reason to be happy in Aruba. To sum it up, we had a fantastic trip with warm hospitable people who all seem to be very happy on a very happy island. From arrival to departure, everything was superb. To top it off, you clear USA customs and immigration in Aruba, making your arrival back to the US hassle free.
Can you guess my next location? It has the longest wine route in the world. : 🙂