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Posted by Cayla Capri
Aruba Caribbean Dream
Aruba cover full
With stretches of sand enviable of beaches around the world, Aruba – a Caribbean island located 15 miles north of Venezuela – is home to a hodgepodge of cordial locals and chummy travelers who’ve extended their trip just one more week (they swear). Dine fine, deep dive and drink in the island’s bold culture as you down bolder cocktails. Aruba’s so rich with history that it’s great to be a small slice of the story, and a Caribbean honeymoon is a great way to kick yours off with a little exoticism.
the romance
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Aruba’s got romance hidden around every corner – down every winding road, echoing through every deep cave and along every last sandy beach. Take in scenery with appetite and impulse – climb rocky cliffs, scuba dive among the shipwrecks and corals, and enjoy a glass of wine at a waterfront restaurant. The adventures to be had are only rivaled by the natural beauty – late-night swims in the warm water and moonlit walks down the beach are sure to seduce any honeymooner.
the scenery
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The island’s dry climate and sandy landscape is ideal for those suffering the winter blues and craving some brawny heat. For crystal blue water and white powder sand, check out Palm Beach; for peaceful picnics, Mangel Halto; for secluded coves and water sports, the private Sonesta Island; for surfing and a ‘relaxed’ atmosphere, Manchebo Beach (re: bikini tops optional).
For a bonus dose of beauty, visit Arikok National Park, which showcases a variety of rare and exotic tropical plants, flowers and animals. Don’t leave without getting a good gawk at the Divi-divi trees in Aruba’s west side, which have been blown horizontally by the strong trade winds.
the adventure
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Aruba’s mix of peaceful coasts and rough waters give you a great choice of activities: snorkel in the shallow waters to view the rainbow of tropical fish, go scuba diving in the deeper waters to explore the shipwrecks, kayak through the coral reefs or learn how to surf the waves like a local.
Have a deeper itch for adventure, wee wench? Channel your inner pirate and set sail on an 85-foot wooden ship. Swing off a rope into the ocean, then swim and snorkel through warm waters off the coast of Aruba where you can marvel at the underwater wonders, such as the WWII shipwreck “Antilla.”
the secrets
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For a real hidden gem, find your way along the winding roads to a hidden area called the Natural Pool. This tranquil slice of surrealism is surrounded by a rocky wall that protects from the crashing waves. Diving off rocky cliffs into the pool makes venturing off the beaten path worth it, not to mention it gives your explorer-self a chance to enjoy the seclusion with your hubby.
the attractions
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Venture into the dark and mysterious Quadiriki Caves in the Arikok National Park, which are set in the wall of a limestone cliff. Deep inside the cavernous passages, past the stalactites, past the harmless bats, you’ll reach the stone engravings (petroglyphs) made by the Arawak Indians – the first inhabitants of the island. A bit scary, but totally awe-inducing.
If luck is on your side, you and your honey will want to try your hand at the glitzy Aruban casinos – smaller, tropical versions of those in Vegas – scattered across the island. These lavish casinos host hundreds of slot machines, Caribbean stud poker games, and professional poker tournaments.
before you go
What to Expect
Summer: late January – early October is hot and sunny (average 30 degrees)
Winter: late October – early January is the rainy season: although it barely rains, it can get quite windy. Temperatures average high 20s.
Dress for sun! Bring a sweater for the air-conditioned hotels and casinos.
Aruban florin, U.S. dollar
The Lingo
Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish, English
A valid passport
Local Delicacies
Tosti: a grilled-cheese sandwich often made with ham and pineapple or pepperoni.
Saté, skewered marinated chunks of chicken or pork, grilled and served with spicy peanut sauce.