Reminiscing after a week of sun, sand, and acai bowls…
A couple weeks ago Andrew and I joined my parents in Aruba for a week long getaway. It was a well-timed break, and we had so much fun relaxing together, while escaping the freezing, gray temps back home. In all honesty, we did not explore too much during the day beyond the gorgeous beach, but we did venture out for a lot of fabulous meals, which I am excited to tell you all about. I am a firm believer that sometimes a week of simply being with people you love, doing “nothing,” and only contemplating when you will next get too hot and go in the ocean is exactly what the mind/body needs.
Aruba is an idyllic island – the beaches are pristine with clear, turquoise water, and although it rains occasionally, the clouds never last for long. There were many healthy places to dine out as well and nearly everywhere we went was able to accommodate a variety of diets including vegan, plant-based, and gluten free. Below I have highlighted my top picks and recommendations from the trip including, where to stay, eat, and play. (Apologies for some of the not so great quality iPhone pics, but I wanted to share the highlights).
Where to Stay
We rented a timeshare at the Marriott Surf Club, which worked out nicely for our stay. Our condo had two large bedrooms and in between the rooms was a kitchen/dining area as well as a tv room. It was perfect for the four of us because we had two separate bathrooms but also shared the communal area so that we could all hang out together in the morning before grabbing breakfast or at night before going to bed. The only con I can think of is that the resort is huge and typically full. Thus, the beach is slightly more crowded. If you are looking for a more secluded, full service experience (probably just for a couple) then I would recommend either of the two resorts below.
The Ritz Carlton – This is a beautiful resort hotel that was just a short walk down the beach from where we stayed. We ventured over here quite a bit for spa services, dining, and the casino 🙂 The pool area was quiet and filtered right out onto the beach.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort – We only visited this resort one night, when we had dinner at Elements. However, from what I could gather it was absolutely idyllic, a true wellness retreat. It is located on Eagle Beach, which is the more quiet, secluded beach on the island. All four of us agreed that if we come back to Aruba, this would be where to stay.
Where to Eat
Eduardo’s Beach Shack – One of the best finds of the trip, just a short walk down the beach from where we stayed; you may have to ask for directions as it is a bit tucked away. They are serving up some of the freshest and tastiest vegan bowls and juices that I have had. The pitaya bowl ended up being my favorite, loaded with fresh pineapple, kiwi, mango, berries – I am still dreaming about it. They also serve coco whip, topped again with copious amounts of fruit and granola. It is a wonderful soft serve alternative made with coconut water rather than dairy and the perfect bite after being in the sun all day. I shamelessly ate here every single day of our trip. They also serve smoothies, vegan breads, and all sorts of energy balls.
Elements Restaurant – A lovely restaurant located right at the Bucuti & Tara Resort. The focus here is on refined food, with many healthier vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options. The dining room is situated on the beach and you can also reserve a table in a secluded cabana.
White Modern Cuisine – Situated in a new and renovated gated community, the restaurant is located in the clubhouse by the pool, overlooking the reflective waterfront. Everything here has a modern feel, while remaining very quiet and serene. The food was incredible, I am still thinking about the roasted cauliflower dish.
The Kitchen Table by White – This was one of the best and most memorable meals I have ever experienced with the same executive Chef as White Modern Cuisine. It felt like we were attending a very gourmet dinner party. We were asked to arrive at 6:30 pm and as soon as we walked up, the host greeted us with a glass of champagne and introduced us to the other diners. For the next hour we watched the sunset and chatted, before being escorted down to the dining room. Each night the restaurant seats 16 individuals at one large table surrounding where the chefs are cooking. The multi course meal was out of this world, incorporating Aruban as well as West Caribbean flavors (each month they explore a different cuisine, mixed with an Aruban flare). Additionally, they were happy to make our meals entirely plant based; be sure to let them know beforehand as they order all the ingredients fresh day of.
What to Do
Sail and Snorkel – Although most days we did not venture too far from the beach, we did do a short afternoon sail. The Tranquilo is a small boat, perfect for spending a relaxing day on the water. The captain was great and led us to a wonderful spot for snorkeling.
The Spa at the Ritz Carlton – I visited the spa early on during our trip for an 80 minute deep tissue massage. I love massages that hurt a little bit as I find that I truly feel better the next day. Additionally, the facilities at the Spa were top notch – steam, sauna, showers, and a ton of healthy snacks along the lines of fresh fruit smoothies, granola, and nuts for snacking.
The Casino at The Ritz Carlton – We thought it would be fun to play a few rounds after dinner one night, made the short walk over here, and enjoyed ourselves.
Listed below are a few more sites/activities that were recommended, but we ran out of time and will have to visit on our next trip!
Also, check out the widget for some of my beach getaway essentials.
Now I will just keep dreaming about that blue water and 85 degree days.