sunset sail aruba

A Guide to a Romantic Getaway in the Caribbean Island of Aruba

My husband and I plan a fantastic trip for our anniversary every year. For our fifth anniversary, we decided to explore the beautiful Caribbean Island of Aruba.

We meticulously selected our destination since our anniversary coincides with hurricane season (June to November). With its strategic location in the Caribbean Ocean and proximity to Venezuela, Aruba emerged as the ideal choice, ensuring our trip would be shielded from the potential disruptions of lousy weather. We chose wisely.

While there, we explored and enjoyed this picturesque paradise’s fabulous sights and sounds. From excellent food and romantic ocean sunsets to excellent cocktails on the beach, this island getaway has a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Where to Fly In

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Aruba has only one international airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), in the capital city of Oranjestad. This airport services the United States and several other countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere. As few direct flights were available, we had to connect through Houston on our way to the island. Just a few short hours later, we arrived in paradise.

It’s up to the individual traveler to rent a vehicle, but we chose not to. Plenty of ride-share services are available across the island, and most hotels even offer shuttle services to and from the airport. The island is small enough that when you can walk to most places from your hotel, and if not, you can jump into a cab or ride-share instead.

Where to Stay

bucuti tara aruba
Image Credit: Julie Royce for Simple is More.

If you’re anything like us, you prefer an adults-only hotel or resort, especially when celebrating an anniversary. After reading several reviews of hotels on the island, we decided to book our stay at the luxury resort Bucuti and Tara in Oranjestad. This magnificent hotel boasts ocean-view rooms, multiple suite selections, lush grounds, a great pool, fine dining, and a beach-side terrace cafe.

Each morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet that included a waffle-making and omelet station, fresh fruits, and many other options. We quickly learned that lunch at the resort was just as fabulous as breakfast. Dinner at the Elements Restaurant was superb. Its menu boasts authentic Aruban and Caribbean cuisines while catering to those with dietary restrictions.

Must-Visit Restaurants

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There are countless restaurants on the island where visitors can enjoy Caribbean cuisine. The smell of jerk chicken and seafood paella beckons from around every corner. So, deciding where to dine can seem overwhelming- this is where I come in to help.

Madame Janette

madam janette sign aruba
Image Credit: Julie Royce for Simple is More.

No trip to Aruba is complete without first dining at Madam Janette. Located in the north part of the island, guests will enjoy the tropical breeze while dining al fresco among the lush gardens surrounding the open-air patio.

This award-winning restaurant’s menu is a culinary journey, offering mouthwatering selections from all over the world. Every dish is a delight, from its famous Schnitzel Vienna Style, which takes up the entire plate, to excellent cuts of dry-aged ribeye or porterhouse steaks. And don’t skip the lobster ravioli- it’s out-of-this-world delicious. We started our meal with the Panama Ceviche while sipping handcrafted tropical cocktails made with the freshest ingredients.

If your table isn’t ready, don’t worry! Check out the Craft Beer Corner and choose from the largest collection of specialty beers in the Caribbean.

Bohemian

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Bohemian is a bar, restaurant, and lounge that combines the charm of the French Riviera with a New York Soho red brick industrial vibe. Serving French cuisine created by French culinary masters, this festive spot is a gem to experience. Try their Fois Gras and excellent charcuterie boards while sipping a crisp Champagne.

The evenings at Bohemian come alive with weekly live acts and DJs, turning the restaurant into a clubby vibe, like Miami Beach and the South of France, when the ambiance and the guests permit it.

Opus Ocean & Grill

opus ocean grill aruba
Image Credit: Julie Royce for Simple is More.

In the heart of Oranjestad sits a world-class, family-owned restaurant that serves the freshest seafood, delicious steaks, and locally sourced vegetables. Opus Ocean and Grill wouldn’t be sustainable without local farmers and fishermen.

Their dishes are only possible with the daily deliveries they receive, ensuring a little taste of Aruba is in every bite taken. We feasted on charred octopus, Caribbean lobster tail, and scampi Cesare made with scrumptious buttery shrimp. Although the food was top-notch, the service was even better. We truly felt like we were part of the family.

Things to Do

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Image Credit: Julie Royce for Simple is More.

There are countless activities and adventures to go on in Aruba. From UTV tours and horseback riding to snorkeling and sunset cruises, visitors to this tropical island will always be energized. However, you can always just lounge on the beach or by the pool, too. You’re on vacation—the world is your oyster!

Sunset Champagne Cruise

sunset champagne sail
Image Credit: Julie Royce for Simple is More.

Since it was our anniversary, we had to do at least one private and intimate romantic activity. We opted for a Catamaran Sunset Sail through De Palm Tours. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Okay, maybe the couple’s massage on the beach back at the resort was also romantic, but I digress.

Couples can enjoy a two-hour private sail that departs at 5:30 PM. As the sun sets, you’ll be treated to spectacular views and all shades of pink, orange, and purple, illuminating the evening sky over the ocean.

Enjoy a selection of delicious tropical treats and a flute of bubbly champagne as you absorb the beauty around you.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding tour beach
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Another favorite adventure was taking a horseback ride through Arikok National Park to the Conchi natural pool for a refreshing dip. These pools are only accessible via horseback, UTVs, or on foot. Tickets cost about $140 per person, but the unspoiled and rugged desert landscapes and the reward of a dip make the price worth it.

Most tour companies will pick you up and return you to your hotel, and you aren’t required to be an experienced rider. A guide will be with you the whole way, and the equines are gentle beasts who slowly plod along the trails.

Art Galleries and Museums

caribbean street artist
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Aruba is a vibrant island filled with lush plants, towering palm trees, and golden-sand beaches surrounded by crystal-clear water. Local artists use these attributes as inspiration when creating brilliant pieces of art depicting Caribbean life and capturing the spirit of the island and its inhabitants.

Etnia Nativa is a cultural landmark encompassing the Caribbean’s heart and magic. You’ll be asked to gather at an atrium entrance with unique Paleolithic objects and artifacts when you enter from the street. From there, the owner guides participants to access a revealing experience through spaces furnished with exclusive antiques from Aruba’s first “society” families.

Casinos

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If you’re a fan of card games, gambling, and slot machines, check out as many of Aruba’s twelve casinos as possible. The island is the originator and home of Caribbean stud poker and hosts multiple professional poker tournaments annually.

Although casinos are popular throughout the islands, no Caribbean island has a casino scene as robust and refined as Aruba.

Two-Day Itinerary Suggestion

caribbean ocean beach palm trees
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After arriving in Aruba, get settled into your hotel and take a breather. If your flight was a long one, maybe even take a nap. Then, head to the beach or the pool, have a cocktail, and relax some more.

For the next two days of your trip, I suggest you do the following: Start each day with an excellent breakfast and a walk on the beach. As the day heats up, spend some more time at the beach and plunge into the perfectly tempered waters of the Caribbean. Afterward, take a stroll through the open-air markets, check out some art galleries, and have lunch along the way. For dinner, reserve a spot at one of the restaurants I suggested early, and then head out to the city center to listen to the rich sounds of calypso and reggae music.

On day number two, plan an activity outside the resort, like horseback riding or a UTV tour in the morning. After that, take a plunge in the ocean or hotel pool again before having a delicious lunch and a cocktail or two. Schedule the romantic sunset champagne sail for that evening and enjoy a light dinner while drifting along the Caribbean Ocean.

Minimalism vs Simple Living: Understanding the Key Differences

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Image Credit: Ground Picture and Shutterstock

Minimalism and simple living are two popular lifestyle choices that have gained much attention recently. Both lifestyles focus on living with less and finding contentment in what you have rather than constantly seeking more. While there are similarities between minimalism and simple living, there are also some key differences that set them apart.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that involves intentionally simplifying your life by eliminating excess possessions and focusing on what truly matters. It is about finding joy in the things that matter most rather than being bogged down by clutter and material possessions. Minimalism can be a great way to reduce stress and increase your overall sense of well-being.

11 Simple Money Habits to Learn From Minimalists to Streamline Finances for a Richer Life

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Image Credit: Fizkes and Shutterstock

In today’s fast-paced consumer society, the art of minimalist living offers more than just a decluttered home – it presents a pathway to financial serenity and empowerment.

Minimalism, at its core, is about stripping away the non-essential to make room for what truly adds value to our lives. This philosophy extends powerfully into the realm of personal finance, where minimalist habits can lead to a healthier, more mindful approach to money.

By adopting certain financial practices championed by minimalists, anyone can experience the profound sense of freedom and control that comes with financial simplicity.

From prioritizing experiences over possessions to embracing the discipline of budgeting, the money habits of minimalists are not just strategies for saving; they’re transformative steps towards a more purposeful and enriched life. Here are some minimalist money habits that anyone can benefit from.

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With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.