….I just wanted to thank you for planning our anniversary trip to Aruba. We had a fabulous time. I have never seen water so clear and blue. I liked how I felt safe when we left the resort to shop a little. The food and service at the Barcelo Resort were perfect. Everything went smoothly with the covid issues too. No problem with the PCR testing and mask wearing for us was basically restricted to the lobby and elevators. We have been to the Bahamas, the DR, and Mexico, but Aruba was our all- time favorite. We will definitely go back some day soon!
Emails like this not only help remind me why I love my job as a travel agent, but how nice it would be to visit Aruba again! This beautiful little island, located just off the coast of Venezuela, enjoys the honor of having the most days of sunshine in the Caribbean. Throw in the most pristine white sand beaches imaginable, and you have a pretty good idea why I miss it so.
Even with all the covid requirements in place, how nice it was to know this sweet anniversary couple had a great time on this island. I often consider Aruba one of the Caribbean’s best one-stop vacation spot. No matter if you are looking for exclusive or all-inclusive, romantic or family friendly, a sports-fanatic or a beach bum, this 20 miles long and 6 mile wide island has it all. Actually, Aruba’s size works in its favor, because the island easy to navigate. Plus, as Rob and I quickly learned when we set out to find the island’s best beach, the divi divi trees serve as excellent guides. The jeep rental agent had told us, “No need to worry. You will not get lost. Just follow the bend of the divi divi trees. They will always show you the way back to Oranjsted, the only city on the island.”
These trees, which dot the beach and look like the coolest bonsai trees ever (think Monterrey/Carmel coast), have been shaped by the steady blowing trade winds from the northeast, so, by looking at the direction they lean, you have a natural compass to follow when meandering around the island.
And, Aruba is made for exploring. Like my client said in her email, it feels so safe to do so! Being a part of the Dutch Kingdom has given the island a significant degree of stability, prosperity and security. With one of the highest GDPs per capita in its region, the island looks prosperous. Its people are well educated. Most Arubans speak 4 languages and, because their educational system encourages students to study abroad, many islanders are as well traveled as the tourists who visit their country. A highly visible Dutch military presence probably helps to keep the crime rate extremely low and allows tourists to feel comfortable about leaving their hotels.
On our quest to find the island’s best beach, Arikok National Park, the largest nature preserve in the Caribbean and the island’s most popular tourist site, was our first stop. The park covers about 20% of Aruba, so it’s pretty hard to miss. Although we found its rocky roads to be one of the most remarkable hang-on-to-your-hat-and-handle-and-anything-else-you-can-find–experiences we have ever done, our reward was discovering some of the most spectacular–and memorable– panoramic views we have ever seen in our travels.
For history buffs, the park has a number of interesting caves with drawings and hieroglyphics dating back thousands of years. There is also a Natural Pool with a small swimming area where brave souls jumped from the top of rock formations to the waters below while the less-daring snorkeled among stunningly beautiful fish and coral, but, to be honest, we did not tarry for long. After all, we were on a mission to find that perfect beach.
Silly us! It did not take long for us to realize all the beaches in Aruba are perfect! The sands of the Aruban coasts are all sugary white. It feels like powder beneath your feet, and, even in the middle of the day, we found them never too hot to walk on! Since all of their beaches are public and circle the entire island, there is never a shortage of spots to claim as your own. Pristine white, exquisitely maintained, they look untouched and are stunning.
And, then, there is all that big blue water, so shallow that the sun penetrates right down to the white sand at the bottom and reflects the light back up, making the blue sky above seem even more brilliant! From the shore, it’s like an artist’s dream: you get that beautiful ‘ombre’ effect–you know, the bright blue just slowly meshing into midnight darkness as the water deepens. Those views, the ones that simply take your breath away, are what I remember from our trip to Aruba!
Whereas our city’s moniker is “Monroe Proud,” Aruba’s is “One Happy Island,” and, to be honest, if I were surrounded by all that natural raw beauty–for free–every day, I would be pretty happy, too. Picture perfect weather–around 80 degrees all year long with a steady breeze–and the fact that my island does not reside within the Caribbean’s Hurricane Alley, would probably put a smile on my face, too.
Like my anniversary travelers, I, too, think Aruba is a perfect escape. Every water sport possible is just waiting to be enjoyed. You can walk the streets, shop the local boutiques, sample the cuisine, which often reflects the 90 different nationalities who have influenced the island, and gamble the night away in a casino. (FYI: winning big in Aruba means you get to keep it all; this island has no gambling windfall taxes to pay!)
So, if you are feeling the need to go someplace really cool in the next few months, why not give me a call at Monroe Travel Service and let’s talk about escaping to Aruba? An island that gets about 15 inches of rain all year just about guarantees you will have warm sunny days on a gorgeous beach. Doesn’t “ONE HAPPY ISLAND” sound like a really nice place to be during a pandemic?
Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service. Currently, our staff is working remotely, so please call 318 323 3465 or email [email protected] if we can help with your next trip. When you are ready, we would love to send you away.
This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Aruba is your best one-stop vacation spot