AH-ruba💙 “You are exactly where you need to be” was a beautiful affirmation we stumbled upon shortly after arrival. Our first grown-ups only escape in over 10 years – ‘One Happy Island’ proved a fabulous place. Aruba has been on our radar to visit for a while (another tick off the Kokomo song 🎵 bucket list!) and this Lesser Antillas Island was the perfect spot for a couples retreat. We explored without a stuffed schedule, savouring her stunning natural elements – sun, sand and sea – more than enough to revive a weary soul and pause the endless cycle of fight or flight our minds and bodies have sustained the last few years. We very much rolled with that Aruban flow, sunk into total beach-bum states of mind, chose spontaneity and surprise over a packed itinerary, but did have some requests to share ideas on enjoying Aruba for couples, so here are some ways to connect with your partner on One Happy Island at your own rhythm (*most don’t cost a thing!*):
Aruba for Couples: Ways to Connect on One Happy Island
Why Aruba is a Top Destination Choice for Couples
Aruba tops lists for the ultimate romantic escape and there are many reasons why. Its white-sand beaches and water with the most beautiful shades of blue create the perfect romancy backdrop for a couples retreat. Year-round sunny, warm weather coupled with the steady breeze of the trade winds makes One Happy Island’s location in the southern Caribbean an ideal destination. Like any good couples’ destination, Aruba has a long list of fabulous ways to connect as a couple.
Article has been published on AllWays Traveller.
*Disclaimer: the travel climate is ever-changing. You should consult your country of residence’s travel advisories (for Canadian travellers, go HERE) and your destination’s latest travel/entry updates before booking and venturing off. Please visit Aruba’s “Guide to Safe and Happy Travels”.
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1. Stay at an Adults-Only Resort
As parents off-duty, choosing an adults-only resort to savour some grown-up time was the way to go. The Riu Antillas met our criteria – beachfront, great location, and all-inclusive food and drink (taking a break from all responsibility – including cooking/thinking about meals -was a wonderful luxury!). The Riu Antillas is frequently listed among ‘The Best Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts in Aruba‘.
2. Go for a Romantic Stroll Along Some of the World’s Best Beaches
Aruba is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches – Palm Beach and Eagle Beach among them. A slow stroll along the pristine shores of the island was the ultimate sand-icure! Get lost in the blue-tiful trance of the ocean, check out the other hotels along the beach, and sink your toes in the soft, white sand without a care or distraction in the world.
3. Soak in the Sunsets
By seated dinner, sunset sail or simply sitting on the beach on a lounge chair, pausing to soak in Aruba’s spectacular sunsets will pierce your souls. She was solace and fire in one radiant, pinkish-red burst – among the most beautiful we’ve ever laid our eyes on and voted among ‘The Best Sunsets in the World’! (Source: Celebrity Cruises)
4. Savour the Diverse Flavours of the Island
The Caribbean Island of Aruba is bursting with diverse flavours and world-class cuisine. You could call Aruba a “Foodie’s Paradise” – the island’s vibrant restaurant scene presents a happy opportunity for couples to indulge in delicious cuisine inspired by over 90 different nationalities. Aruban cuisine is a beautiful fusion of African, Spanish, French, Dutch, Indian, and Chinese influences. The island is loaded with fabulous off-resort spots to dine and savour Aruban fare (the fresh seafood dishes are oh my yum-aze!) or try a unique, immersive dining experience at a specialty international restaurant. Pasta from a flaming Parmigiano wheel at Gianni’s Italian Ristorante was buonissima! If you’re celebrating a special occasion, definitely take advantage of the advanced online reservation option most restaurants offer.
Top Foods to Try in Aruba:
Called the “edible souvenir of Aruba”, cala is a spicy, savoury fritter filled with beans and hot pepper, served as a cocktail snack.
Basically a cheese ball stuffed with spicy meat – yup it’s delish!
Seafood and Shellfish Everything
It’s no surprise, given Aruba’s setting in the Southern Caribbean Sea, that seafood and shellfish are a primary offering in most Aruban spreads and dishes – the lobster, the conch, the grilled fish, the shrimps, the all of it were all simply prepped yet wonderfully delicious.
Hearty stews made with either goat or beef blended with flavourful curry, hot pepper and nutmeg spices and earthy veg (potatoes and onions).
Pastechi is a traditional Aruban breakfast (or snack), consisting of deep-fried, crescent-shaped dough filled with a variety of ingredients such as chicken, beef, tuna, vegetables, and/or cheese and blended with complimentary spices.
The Aruban variety of sopi are flavourful and refreshing with the Cool Island Soup and Sopi di Pampuana being among the most popular.
Pan bati (“beaten bread”) is a lightly sweetened cornmeal and flour pancake serves as a staple side dish to many Aruban meals.
Aruba rests in the Dutch Caribbean, so top quality Dutch cheese is available everywhere and at all times of day (lucky you!)
Gouda cheese is the best-known Dutch cheese but there was always a beautiful spread of other lesser known but equally delicious cheeses available.
A treat influenced by the Netherlands, but with an Aruban twist, Dutch pancake eating is appropriate at any meal of the day. Dutch Pancake House has over 75 varieties, including the popular poffertjes – silver-dollar sized bites dusted with powdered sugar.
Sweet lovers should try this Aruban dessert, Kesio, with a semblance to creme caramel or a flan and considered a perfect way to cap off your island-y feast!
Keep that island flavour flowing when you return home by cooking up an authentic Aruban recipe as a couple in the kitchen – travel with your taste buds!
5. Take a Tour of the Island for a Unique Togetherness Experience
We were perfectly content to enjoy our kid-less escape in beach bum mode, but locals highly recommended a sunset catamaran cruise, which was a lovely way to see the other parts of the Island (Eagle Beach, the California Lighthouse in Noord, near Arashi Beach) and the only for-fee experience we invested in during our stay.
The De Palm Island excursion was quite popular, as was the 1/2 Day Off-Road UTV Tour with the “secret beach” or De Palm Island stopover included (*book this one in advance of your arrival – it was sold out for the duration of our stay!*). Most tours depart from De Palm Pier or Pelican Pier – both conveniently located off Palm Beach and close to most hotels.
6. Visit the Town for Shopping & ARUBA Signs of Good Times
Shop for souvenirs, beautiful sun dresses, jewelry or other keepsakes in town (*a short walk from most hotels along Palm Beach) and take some shots of the beautiful wall art scattered about. For the love of cheesy tourist shots, take couple’s shots or selfies at all the A-R-U-B-A signs you stumble upon!
7. Celebrate Good Couple Times with a Beverage for Two
Toast to the good love you’ve got with one of the ginormous bevvies for two served at one of Aruba’s best beach bars! We loved the vibe and waterside views at Bugaloe Beach Bar (right off De Palm Pier – try the “Passion” frozen Cocktail) and Pelican Nest (on Pelican Pier – get the “Summer Love” frozen sipper to share!).
8. Learn Aruba’s Language of Love Together
Papiamento is the mother language of Aruba and learning expressions of love full-on dushi (“sweet”).
Mi dushi – ‘my sweet’
Stimacion – ‘love‘
Mi ta stima abo – ‘I love you’ (locals sometimes shorten this to mi stimabo or stimabo).
Bo ta bunita – ‘You are beautiful/handsome’
Sunchi – ‘Kiss’ or ‘Kiss me’
Duna mi – ‘hug me’
For more English to Papiamento translations, we found this tool super helpful.
9. Dance the Aruban Nights Away
Take a dance lesson on the beach together (most resorts offer this as part of their programming), head to town and dance in the square to live music, or find your grove together with an impromptu boogie by the pool! The Aruba effect will bring the rhythm and joy out of you and dancing like everyone’s watching a fabulous way to connect in Aruba for couples! Aruba is also host to some spectacular music festivals you could time your vacation with to experience.
10. Capture Your Connection with A Couples Photo Shoot
Beautiful snaps of your beachin’ Aruba couple’s retreat are a meaningful way to capture your memories. It may feel awkward, but having photo keepsakes of your special time together are priceless and worth getting out of your comfort zone (together!). Most resorts have an on-site photographer you can book a session with. We’ve had great experiences with on-resort studios, but they can also be quite a splurge. The people of Aruba are endearing and wonderful. Having a staff member at RIU Antillas take a sunset photo shoot for us was so special and so appreciated.
11. Renew Your “I Dos” with a Vow Renewal
Aruba is not only a top destination for weddings and honeymooners, but also among the most special places to renew your vows! If you’re in Aruba in August, you can be part of the biggest beach vow renewal ceremony in the Caribbean. The Aruba ‘I Do’ ceremony is an extra-special way to reaffirm your commitment to one another and be a part of one of the biggest lovefests in the world among couples from all over the globe! Love is most definitely in the air in Aruba!
The Best Time of Year to Visit Aruba
What’s the best time of year to visit Aruba? In short, anytime! Locals affirm the warm, sunny weather is pretty consistent year-round and this vacation destination is one of the ‘ABC Islands‘, making its location less likely to take a hit from the eye of a hurricane storm!
We hope you found these ideas of ways to love on Aruba for Couples helpful and they’ve inspired you to choose ‘One Happy Island’ for your well-earned escape to get living that sweet life (“Biba Dushi”)! If you’re looking for a sign to book that grown-ups only vacation, this is it! DO IT! Un bon vuelo (Bon voyage/Have a good journey)!
Leave the Seashells by the Seashore
Important Note – Aruba has a no shelling law to preserve the natural flora and fauna of the Island. Leave the seashells by the seashore to avoid fines at customs when departing from Aruba’s airport and ending your couple’s escape on a downer.
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We Still Do: Our 12-Year Vow Renewal and How We Did It On a Budget
Love, light and happy travels,
Barbara Di Mambro says
What a wonderful story. Had family friends who travelled to Aruba many times. They loved it.