ARUBA: The Beach and Be­yond

DINE and Destinations - - CONTENTS -

An is­land get­away, Aruba-style By Par­mjit Par­mar

When you think of Aruba, you think of beaches, wed­dings, hon­ey­moons, wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties, and shop­ping. You might be sur­prised to learn the Is­land has all of the above, plus a vi­brant culi­nary offering.

Aruba’s boom­ing food scene is an epi­curean melt­ing pot in­flu­enced by the 90 dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties on the is­land. Im­mi­grants hail from South Amer­ica (pri­mar­ily Colom­bia, Venezuela and Peru), other Caribbean is­lands, and as far away as China, the Philip­pines, and 17 African na­tions. De­spite this multi-cul­tural back­ground, Arubans share a strong na­tional iden­tity. Sand­bar Din­ing

The Fly­ing Fish­bone was one of the first toes-in-the sand restau­rants in Aruba. At night, it’s ro­man­ti­cally lit, cre­at­ing an in­ti­mate at­mos­phere where you can re­lax, yes, with your toes in the sand, while en­joy­ing oys­ters on the half shell. Other seafood dishes are cooked to per­fec­tion, from scal­lops to yel­low­tail snap­per and mahi mahi. It’s a beau­ti­ful set­ting.

One of my favourites among the abun­dant din­ing op­tions along the coast­line is the Scream­ing Ea­gle. It has a ca­sual look­ing ex­te­rior but in­side a com­plete Miami-in­spired blue-lit in­te­rior. Bil­low­ing cur­tains sur­round canopied beds where guests are served an in­ti­mate meal “in bed.” It’s an in­ter­est­ing date-night ex­pe­ri­ence. The food is en­tic­ing, from ce­viche to sal­ads with grilled Brie. Steak sauces with black pep­per corn are made tableside.

The Bu­ga­loe Beach Bar & Grill is great for pre-din­ner drinks or late night Caribbean at­mos­phere. Lo­cated on the wa­ter, this is a pop­u­lar gath­er­ing place for tourists and lo­cals alike, where you can view in­cred­i­ble sun­sets from the pa­tio while lis­ten­ing to a live band. Af­ter the Beach Arikok For­est,

Aruba’s na­tional trea­sure—beau­ti­ful and arid, it is made up of 8,000 acres of park­land with some paved roads, al­low­ing visi­tors to ex­plore (by car, horse­back or ATVS). Here you’ll find desert land­scapes with clus­ters of cacti, hid­den coves and caves that house bats and an­cient draw­ings left by the Arawak peo­ple, herds of don­keys and goats and rep­tiles soak­ing up the sun. There are a couple of beaches to ex­plore, but the cur­rents are too strong for swim­ming. A cool dip can be had in the Nat­u­ral Pool (Conchi). The pool has been formed by mas­sive rocks that of­fer pro­tec­tion from the rough sea. It’s a lit­tle dicey get­ting in, as splash­ing waves make the rocks slip­pery, but once in, you have the most idyl­lic spot to swim or snorkel.

Not all of Aruba’s beau­ti­ful shore­line is tran­quil, due to heavy seas and un­der­tows. I found the best beaches for swim­ming com­plete with turquoise wa­ters and white sand are Ea­gle Beach and Palm Beach, both ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful.

There’s a Carub­bian Fes­ti­val ev­ery Thurs­day evening from 6pm - 10pm on Main Street in San Ni­co­las. You can enjoy the warmth and charm of a cul­tural cel­e­bra­tion with in­ter­na­tional mu­sic, colour­ful cos­tumes and danc­ing. Eat jerk chicken and slaw along with eth­nic food spe­cial­ties as you stroll the street. Tip: Pack­ages can be pur­chased through your ho­tel and in­clude round-trip trans­porta­tion.

Where to Stay Ritz Carlton, Aruba Lux­ury lo­cated on the pow­dery white sands of Aruba’s famed Palm Beach. L.G. Smith Blvd., # 107 Palm Beach; T: + (297) 527-2222 www.ritz­carl­ Prop­er­ties/aruba/ Board­walk Ho­tel, Aruba This bou­tique prop­erty of...

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