I visited Aruba a few months ago for the second time. But I’ll be back.
Even though it’s a long haul from California, it’s a short hop for those on the East Coast. That’s why “One Happy Island” offers many things that you’d enjoy in the dead of winter.
Their tourism website calls it “blissful weather” and that’s certainly true with an average annual temperature of 82 degrees.
First, when I was there in mid-November, this screen grab from my phone tells the whole story. Blissful, indeed!
During my 20 or trips to Hawaii, I’ve noticed that the nights can definitely be cooler than the Caribbean.
Not so in Aruba. Plus, it’s never had a direct hit from a hurricane, which is another reason to visit this Southern Caribbean island year-round.
That’s why I go to Aruba and other tropical locales to enjoy the ocean, where I was greeted with an 80-degree water, both on the surface and below.
I’ve swam, snorkeled and dived in warmer water a few times, but I’ll take a very comfortable 80 any time.
The diving and snorkeling in Aruba are both excellent for this part of the world. Great wrecks, plenty of fish, not much current, so it’s fairly easy diving for beginners to advanced levels. On one trip, I even saw a bait ball of sardines and slowly swam into it until I was surrounded by teeming fish life. A pretty amazing memory!
In fact, Aruba diving is certainly far more enjoyable than the 53-degree chills I experienced in Monterey, California years ago, which permanently changed me from a cold-water diver to a warm-water patsy.
The beaches in Aruba are multiple and beautiful, with the best and most sheltered sand on the southern side of the island.
These include Palm, Eagle, Baby Beach and many more. One is more beautiful and serene as the next, as shown in this sunset video where you can hear the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore.
I’ve seen beaches all over the world with huge, jaw-dropping breakers and strong undertows. They’re all very exciting.
But a quiet shoreline like Palm Beach is priceless in my book. And the sunsets are just about perfect.
I always dive, snorkel and sail with Red Sail Sports Aruba. They’ve been on the island for about 40 years and I’ve been impressed with their updated fleet of catamarans and dive boats, extremely friendly crew, and excellent food on the lunch and dinner sails.
On a past visit, I booked an Atlantis Submarine ride through Red Sail Aruba with my daughter who was not a diver, so we both could experience underwater life at a depth of about 40 feet.
I was also brave enough to go parasailing and got buffeted by gusty winds about 100 feet above the ocean as the motor boat towed me like a kite, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
I also rented a car and drove around the island across a few days.
Don’t miss journeying to the northwest part of the island to see the majestic California Lighthouse and steep California Sand Dunes; to Oranjestad to experience the casinos, shops and local restaurants; and to the southeast corner to enjoy Baby Beach, a favorite of the locals where my daughter encountered her first underwater sea life and yelled through her snorkel, “I see a fish! I see a fish!”
But Aruba isn’t all the Catch of the Day. Though we dined on lobster tail, macadamia grouper, crab cakes, red snapper, yellowtail tuna, sea bass, salmon and other types of ocean critters, we also enjoyed filet mignon, chicken, pasta, pizza and other local specialties.
One of our favorite places to dine anywhere in the world is at the Marriott Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. It was once called Simply Fish, but is now known as Atardi.
The resort calls it “The best kept secret on the island, our beachfront restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner… You must come by and feel the warmth of the sand between your toes.”
And that’s exactly what we did. Took off our sandals and stuck our toes in the warm sand as we toasted the sunset.
But wait… there’s more. A short stroll on the sand south of Atardi is another great venue where you can also dine al fresco and without shoes. It’s called Hadicurari and the food is equally good.